Product review- Pig Iron BH-1E ball head

03rd May 2017
                  

Since switching from DSLRs to Mirrorless systems, I've been on a mission to decrease the weight of my equipment wherever possible.
One of the first items on the list for a change was my huge Manfrotto ball head. It weighs in at over 1kg and is actually larger and heavier than my new camera body and lens!
In all honesty I never liked the Manfrotto anyway. A decent bit of camera gear should just let you get on with taking a photograph and not get in the way. We had a mutual dislike for each other. Plenty of people rave about them and that's fine. I'm glad their experience was more pleasant than mine. The two I've owned recently both drove me nuts! If I could get the ball head to stay just where I wanted it (and I rarely could) then the bloody quick release plates would wobble in the slightest bit of breeze.
Enter Pig Iron. A great name by the way! No more wondering what the English translation is.
After having a natter with them, they sent me out their smallest model of ball head and L Bracket for a look.
First impressions were very good. The finish is extremely nice and you can notice the quality of components used straight away. The first thing I checked was the quick release and bracket. They fit perfectly together with little effort and offer up absolutely no wobble when locked. The adjustable L bracket also allows placement of it on my cameras without blocking access to the battery door or the door on the side for my remote. perfect!
I put the ball head straight in to heavy use. Within two weeks, I had shot 30,000 timelapse photos over 60 hours. I noticed absolutely no movement in the ball head during that period which is impressive considering I was loading it with a 200mm telephoto lens at times. There was no droop even on cold evenings with plenty of moisture in the air.
The dials are all easy to rotate and have a fine rubber finish which I find easy to use even with thick gloves on. It's also worth noting here that the dials are impressively large for such a compact ball head. This should mean that they would be cumbersome, but they designed the real estate of the head well and at no point have they felt like they have been in my way.

There is a 'but' and it's a minor one for me as I rarely use this part. It's quite difficult to tighten the dial for panning without the ball head moving with you just a fraction. It really is just a fraction but is enough to noticeably alter your composition with a telephoto landscape. I'm not 100% sure why this does happen. Possibly because that dial has very little friction and the friction dial doesn't actually change the panning one, meaning extremely minor adjustments are quite difficult. It's worth noting that I have found this to be the case with all ball heads that I've used. Ultimately, If you need the tiniest of adjustments, a ball head is the wrong choice. You need a geared head for that!

And that's it. After heavily using this ball head and L bracket for almost 6 months, I couldn't think of any other issues. It's also worth noting that after almost 6 months of heavy use (I don't mother my kit), it still looks brand new! They're obviously using good quality materials.
In fact I can comfortably say that this is the best ball head I have used. (and I have gone through a lot!)
It's a perfect match for mirrorless cameras. Its feature set seems to match ball heads of a much higher price range. This means that for a change, you actually do get more than what you pay for. A very rare thing in itself.

                  

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