Pro Media Gear is an interesting company. They don’t make the kind of gear that photographers and magazines usually get excited about but they do make an assortment of items that are essential to all of us. Things like Arca Swiss compatible clamps and plates, L-brackets, gimbal heads, flash brackets, etc., and now a ball head. A lot of companies make many of the same kinds of gadgets but the Boomerang Flash Bracket (which I’ve used for many years) and this new Ball Head are works of genius.
Like many, I have a number of tripods and heads for various types of shooting so why would I even consider buying another head? A couple of things that have always annoyed me about the heads I’ve used: the knobs and the cutout slot for tilting the camera down. In many cases, the knobs are too small to work well with gloves or to get a tight lock and in some cases, there are multiple knobs for friction and panning that are very similar in size to the main release knob which can be annoying. The cutout slot is what allows the camera to be tilted down at a steep angle and is invariably positioned in the wrong spot so that you need to release and pan the head to get the slot in the right spot – and you’ll probably have to do it again for the next shot!
The PMG ballhead addresses both of my concerns. It has two knobs, a normal sized one to release the entire head so you can pan and the main knob which is huge, locks tight easily and can’t possibly be mistaken for the pan release knob. The cutout slot rotates as you tilt the camera from side to side, the result of which is that it’s always where you need it to tilt the camera down. Looking at it on a tripod, the whole thing looks like it’s on its side but it works beautifully. I tried it out mounted on my Induro CT414 tripod for some product work I did with a Nikon D800E and 70-200 f/2.8 attached. It’s a pleasure to use. No play whatsoever and when it’s locked, it’s really locked tight. There’s no friction knob but there’s just enough friction in the head to make small adjustments easy and prevent your camera from flopping around when you loosen the main knob slightly.
All in all, a nice piece of engineering that should be on everyone’s short list when shopping around for a full size ballhead.