Product Review: Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead with B2 AS II clamp

The Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead was a purchase that I debated for years. I had a good ballhead (Manfrotto 469RC) as it was but it was a bit on the heavy side and the operation was getting sluggish. There were several posts by some world famous photographers boasting about this particular item but I just wasn't buying it... After all, a ballhead is a ballhead right. Time past and I just kept looking at it over and over. Needless to say, I made the purchase along with an "L" bracket for my camera and custom plates for my lenses. Here are my basic findings:

Pros:

• Relatively lightweight
• Very sturdy
• Smooth/flawless Operation
• Liquid Level on the clamp (great for doing panoramics)
• Solid Quick Release Lever and custom quick release plates
• Low Profile
• Fast locking knobs to hold the camera where you want
• Good tension knob with a large amount of adjustments possible
• Stylish... and really cool looking

Cons:

• The quick release lever is long and sometimes gets in the way when removing or mounting the camera with a large lens attached (tripod colar mount on the lens). This however, was more me getting used to the equipment than an actual con. By the end of the first day I had it down pat.

Really, the only other con I can think of is the price tag. This product is only available through the Really Right Stuff website. You can check them out here http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/.

Conclusion:
So, why would you spend this much money on a tripod head?  The answer is simple; quality and reliability.  The very first day I used the BH-55 I took a good tumble down some wet rocks....it hit the rocks really hard (as did I) but the clamp held the camera firmly in place (saving the camera from a watery grave). The cosmetics of the ballhead were damaged but the functionality remains sound. At least now it looks used.... Overall, I wish that I had bought this product years ago. Really Right Stuff has a new and very pleased customer.