A bit over a year ago I picked up a used Gitzo carbon fiber travel tripod (G0027) for a great price. It’s not full size – and because of that – it needed a smaller ballhead. Well – as it turns out – a smaller ballhead that can also handle a 50D + 70-200 f/4L (at a reasonable price) is a tall task.
The Joby Ballhead X has filled that gap nicely.
Joby introduced the X to their Gorillapod line at PMA 2010 – and it has just recently started shipping. And though I’ve never formally reviewed the Gorillapod – I’ve mentioned it a few times – and have found it to be a great travel tool (it even made the 1st Annual 20 Photography Gifts Under $100). And though it’s likely I’ll use this with the Gorillapod at some point – my goal here is to outfit the smaller Gitzo tripod with a ballhead.
Straight out of the box – it’s easy to tell that Joby meant business with this one.
The specs state the Ballhead X can support up to 11bls. Personally – I like a ballhead to be rated twice the weight of the kit that I plan on using with it. In this case – the 50D + 70-200 f/4L weights about 57 oz (3.6 lbs) – less than half of our 11lb rating. And in all honesty – this is probably the largest load I’ll give it (unless I get the opportunity to upgrade to the f/2.8) – and it’s most likely I’ll use lighter / wider lenses with this setup in the field. And according to my scales – the Ballhead X only weights 9 oz. That brings the total tripod + ballhead weight to about 25 oz.
The Arca-Swiss compatible clamp and plate are straight forward and secure – and once the camera + lens were attached – there was absolutely no slip after everything was tightened. The well-sized rubberized adjustment knobs had a sure grip – with one for tilt and the other for panning.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a lightweight, medium duty ballhead – the Ballhead X is a great place to start your search. With the price, (perceived) durability, weight, and max load – this one hits a sweet spot in the trade-off curve.