The Acratech GV2 Ball Head / Gimbal Head with Lever Clamp is an updated version of the existing GV2 head. Rather than a rubber knob, this model features a locking lever for securing the Arca Swiss-style clamp that constitutes the quick-release element.
The GV2 is a sturdy, heavy-duty, yet compact ball head that is similar in design to most conventional ball heads (unlike Acratech's unique Ultimate head). However, the GV2 model can be locked down when the head is in the 90deg. orientation (in the "gimbal slot"), which effectively turns this ball head into a gimbal-style head. This allows the camera to pivot around its center point. A bushing on the ball's stem and a pin on the bottom of the ball enable this smooth rotation - free, gimbal-style movement.
The built-in industry-standard Arca-Swiss-style quick-release clamp makes it compatible with the many different plates available from Arca-Swiss, Kirk, Wimberley, Really Right Stuff, Foba, Novoflex, etc. The clamp also features a spring-loaded detent pin that projects into the pockets or windows that are cut into the bottom of most manufacturers' (Acratech, Kirk, Really Right Stuff, etc.) quick-release plates. This detent pin will prevent the plate from accidentally sliding out in the event that the knob is partially loosened.
In addition, this model uses a "leveling" q.r. clamp, which features a large 15mm bullseye bubble level that extends out of the side of the clamp. The GV2 features a low-profile design and sports all-rubber knurled knobs that are comfortable to use, even in extreme weather.
I tried several different heads on my monopod until I put this one on it. I'm done trying different monopod heads. This head tops them all. I purchased this without a clamp and topped it off with my RSS clamp. Using an RSS L plate on my camera and the gimbal feature of this ballhead gives my camera a well balanced, stable monopod platform with smooth vertical movements in the gimbal position. The best platform I've found for a monopod. The gimbal feature is surprisingly versatile and smooth, but, I doubt it would compete with a true gimbal head. Don't kid yourself...there's good reason a true gimbal head costs what it does. I haven't tried this on a tripod...it's staying on my monopod.
I love the dual control for tightening and releasing. It is very easy to set the tension for different camera/lens combination weights to get optimal control. It is also nice that the knob can't come off.
Light and easy to use. Would like the camera bases to have screws won't fall out when not in use.
I use this ballhead mostly for macro work with the fabuoulus Manfroto 055XPROB and a Novaflex CASTEL-Q precision rail. All angles - overhanging and up-side-down.. Solid support! Of course everything attaches with ARCATECH Arca Swiss mounts ! Very nice friction control - not on/off like some.... Smooth and Progressive. This is one of those products that are an absolute joy to work with. The price - yes high - but this is a porsche - and once you drive one you will not go back.
I love this ball head. Lightweight and easy to use.
I have not tried other high-end ballheads, but this is everything I need for daily use. It provides a very stable platform for my DSLRs. My combo of D7000 with a 300mm F4 probably maxes out its capacity.
OK, I read many reviews and decided to pop for this model. The engineering is amazing; thoughtful and out of the box. I have only used a few times and pleased overall with it's performance. I have noticed that you must tighten the the knob holding the ball in place pretty well when using larger DSLRs (I use a D300). I assign my lack of familiarity with the controls. I am impressed with the design and uses enabling movement in all directions and leveling as an added bonus. So far, I am very impressed with this head. The range of motion is terrific. I have noticed that I will need to re-work the head where it attaches to the tripod because it has a tendency to loosen and unscrew. Again, it may be my lack of familiarity (it's been a long, cold winter here)
I love how light and well built this ball head is. The rubber knobs enable precision adjustments with ease. The ball and movement within the socket is ultra smooth. Overall well built and completely satisfied. If your thinking about it, get it! Easily holds my D700 and 70-200vr2 with ease. Totally dependable and flexible for all types of uses.
Nicely engineered tripod head. Fully functional and well designed. With little practice, it becomes a wonderful tool to assist in recording images.
This ball head is one of the best heads we have every used. The head provides rock solid support and is very light weight. We have found to increase support and minimize the slightest camera movement; you might consider an L-bracket over a camera plate. We switched to L-brackets for our camera, the camera body remained firmly attached with no movement of any kind. So if you are looking for a light weight and firm support, this is the head you want.