Having used the Benro B-2 Ball Head for over a year now, permits me to have a more clear aspect about its strengths and weaknesses.
During this time it had a little dip in the mud, a little exposure to direct sun at 45 oC and a few bumps with other fellow photo equipment in the trunk of my car although bagged.
It still operates smoothly and does not seem to have lost any of its locking ability, nevertheless I would like to share some findings and tips for better and long lasting operation.
More than 90 degrees tilt...
Being used to other ball heads, in the beginning I was a little frustrated trying to find the exact 90o angle when shooting in portrait position with this ball head. When the ball stem is dropped in the relevant notch it stops at an angle greater than 90o. But this was indoors where floors are quite level. Shooting outdoors at rough ground, I realized that this could be a benefit, saving time not to have to level the tripod more precisely for a few degrees difference.
|The Benro B-Series ball heads tilt to approximately 95 degrees when dropped in the notch.|
Mark the panning index...
One of the first things that I had noticed in my Benro B-2 Ball Head Review was the obscurity of the panning base index marks and the relative index point.
|A simple solution is to mark that index point and make it more visible. Using the tip of a small flat screwdriver you can carefully scratch off the paint from that peak.|
|The result is clear line, a lot more helpful than before.|
Use the friction (drag) control...
One of the most usual problems with ball heads I read about is the ball slip or drag during lock time. Yes it is quite frustrating but it is a problem of the past when ball heads had only one knob or lever to lock everything so we had to let the ball loose in order to frame and/or pan and then lock it at a specific position.
Nowadays, with ball heads that have friction regulation this is not so severe when you precharge the ball with friction to a sweet spot that permits movement but not dragging.
Close the quick release clamp for transport...
As many other brands Benro's ball heads and parts are manufactured using molded Magnesium alloy. This method has many advantages, like lower weigh, faster production, better vibration absorption but has also a small weakness. Molded parts are a little softer than parts which are CNC machined from massive blocks of Aluminum. This is due to tiny air bubbles trapped into the hot alloy during molding. unless high pressure extrusion machines are used, which I do not think this is the case with ball heads.
|Benro B-series ball head QR clamps are designed to minimize weight at maximum.|
|So a little precaution should be taken by closing the clamp fully prior to transport.|
Loosen all knobs for long storage...
On the other hand the opposite should be done with all knobs if you intend to store the ball head for a long time. As it is the situation with all ball heads, there are Teflon inserts and springs inside the head, which if left under pressure for a long time might be deformed and result in deterioration of its characteristics.
|All four, Quick Release clamp, friction control, Locking and Panning knobs should be loosened before long storage of the ball head.|
Except for the above, there are not much to say about this ball head, than that during this period did not have to lubricate it at all and that I saw a little bit loss of locking force at high summer temperatures, but could not measure how much at that time. (My priority was not to get burned by sun myself).
Didn't have the chance to operate it in freezing conditions yet, but if I do I'll post an update.
Keeping in mind the price range, I still consider the B-2 ball head a good value for money, for a combination of operation smoothness, firm locking and quality of manufacture. However, if it also had an elliptical ball, then it would be perfect.
This article was based on the Benro B-2 ball head, but as almost all Benro B-series ball heads are identical in design (with the exception of B-00) differing only in the knob positioning, the above tips may be applied to all the B-Series ball heads.
I hope you found the article useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: © 2010-2011 S.C.Vlachos
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Benro B-2 Ball Head Review
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