Here's the great news.  The precision-engineered Giotto's MH 1302-655 Professional Socket and Ballhead weighs just 11.3 ounces yet is rated as powerful enough to hold 17.6 pounds of gear.  It is downright tiny and downright strong.   And best of all, the panning knob locks tightly for easy on and off, the tension adjustment is fine and easily set, and the main locking knob locks the head down completely.  I have been dreaming of finding a head like this for years for a variety of uses.  




Giotto's MH 1302-655 Professional Socket and Ballhead



The MH 1302-655 comes with a square plate that we do not recommend for use.   It is designed to work with the safety stop that can be see on the right side of the clamp above.  You will need 2.5 mm sized Allen wrench (hex key) to remove the stop.  The bad news is that the wrench does not come with the head; the good news is that you probably have one either in an Allen wrench kit or as the smaller of the two Allen wrenches that come with Wimberley plates equipped with stop studs.   The 2.5mm Allen wrench is the one that fits the stop studs.  We do recommend the use of the generic Wimberley P-5 Camera Body plate ($57 including shipping and handling from BAA).


Regular readers know that I have never liked the Wimberley Sidekick atop a ballhead for either intermediate or long telephoto lens.  (Do note that we sell several dozen Sidekicks each year and will be glad to send you one at any time.) Recently on the SW FLA Spring IPT Giulio Zanni arrived with a Mongoose atop a Really Right Stuff Ballhead.   After he set up his Canon 400 DO/pro body rig he wanted to know why the Sidekick was always slipping making lens handling difficult to impossible...  "Itís what is," I said.    My other huge concern with the Sidekick/ballhead set-up is the weight.  Giulio borrowed the lightweight Mongoose M3.5 and purchased one immediately. 


Since the introduction of the two Mongoose Action heads, first the M2.3 for the intermediate telephotos and then the M3.5 for the Canon 400mm f/4 DO, the Canon and Nikon 500mm f/4 lenses, and the Nikon 200-400, I have counselled many folks away from the Sidekick.  "But I do lots of scenic photography; what am I gonna do?"   I always followed that up with this:  "When was the last time that you were using a telephoto lens, removed your Sidekick from the ballhead, and mounted your camera and short lens on the ballhead?"  If they say that they do it regularly, we sell them a Sidekick.  Most folks, however, admit that they had never done it or that they had done it once several years ago.  We then strongly recommend that they opt for one of the Mongoose heads. 


The tiny Giotto's MH 1302-655 Professional Socket and Ballhead will solve everyone's problems.   Your MH 1302-655 can be stowed easily in a photo backpack, your vest or even in a pants pocket.  If you are using a telephoto lens and want to make some scenic images with a short lens at slow shutter speeds, simply twist off your Wimberley or Mongoose head, spin on the tiny Giotto's ballhead, and get to work.   We do recommend the use of the Wimberley P-5 generic camera body plate on your camera.   Below you will find some illustrated tips for using your new ballhead for scenic photography with lenses that do not come with tripod collars.  Do know that the head is strong enough to be used with small intermediate telephoto lenses and with all macro lenses with tripod collars, even when they are mounted on a professional camera body.   Folks looking to save weight both in the field and when packing for air travel will find this mighty mite irresistible.


This item is currently in stock.   As usual, we are selling this item for less than B & H.  You can order your Giotto's MH 1302-655 Professional Socket and Ballhead from BAA for $119.95 plus $8 shipping and handling via UPS (usually).  For Canada orders, the total cost will be $138.95.  All others outside the U.S. please call or e-mail.





For horizontal scenics, place your camera body plate in the center of the clamp. With this set-up, the panning knob is in the center, the main locking knob is on the left, and the tension adjustment screw is on the right.  A bubble level is pretty much mandatory for landscape photography. 




Here is the Canon 24-105mm IS L lens and an EOS 1D-MIII mounted on the tiny Giotto's ballhead.




When working in vertical format it is imperative that the plate be shifted to the right in the clamp so that when the camera is turned on end, the plate does not hit against the tripod platform.  A quick look at the next image will clarify this. 




One of the great advantages of having the tiny Giotto's ballhead available for landscape photography is that it eliminates the need for an expensive and heavy L bracket as setting up for verticals is a snap.  (The stem of the ball slides into the cut on the side of the housing.)  Note that working in vertical format the tension adjustment screw needs to be on your left so that that cut in the housing is on your right.