Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of the Platypod Platyball. I was able to give Dr. Larry T (the company’s founder and owner) feedback over a two year period as he developed the Platyball so it’s my favorite ball head. I love it and use it daily.
There are times when I need more than one ball head or need something that can hold a little more weight. So I tried a bunch of ballheads from the usual suspects – Manfrotto, RRS, Benro, and 3-Legged Thing, etc.
Then I got my hands on a Robus RTH-1030 Triple Action Ball Head (https://bhpho.to/3LjtxRx) It’s cheaper than most the other ball heads I tried…holds more weight than most the other ball heads I tried…is easier to use than most of the other ball heads I tried.
Lately, ball heads have become complicated. . . and expensive. If you use an Arca-Swiss style mounting system they make moving your camera/lens/lights on and off camera supports a breeze and are must have items for anyone who uses a tripod. So which do you pick?
It’s harder than ever to know which one to pick. As I said earlier, my first choice for lighter-weight stuff is the Platyball Ergo (https://bhpho.to/3Agde4u) but next in line – out of all those I tried, is the Robus. Here’s why…
(I won’t tell you specifically what I didn’t like about all the others because there’s no real reason to. I think it’s more helpful to tell you what I like and why. Also please note this mini review is based on a month of real studio use on an almost daily basis.)
I like the fact that the Robus is built like a tank. Believe me when I tell you that the old saying is true – fences are only as strong as their weakest link. And the same holds true for camera support systems.
In all of the details, Robus made sure to reinforce stability. The mounting socket is made from reinforced brass to resist wear and offer secure tightening. They could have cheapened out here but they didn’t. Small things like this impress me. If they pay attention to small details, it means they pay attention to the big ones too.
Most photographers try to save money on the ball head, spending most of their wad on the sticks. That’s not a bad strategy as long as you don’t pair the sticks with a ball head that will let you down. There is a certain price point/quality point that I consider a bare minimum.
Any ball head under $200 is automatically suspect with me so the Robus is priced right at around $250.
For me, I was looking for more load capacity – not because I am using big heavy rigs these days, but because I am using gear that I mount at odd angles and the ball head gets stressed in those situations as if there were a big camera and lens onboard.
I also wanted a head that is a little shorter than the Platyball because most of the time I am mounting these heads on a Platypod and need to get a horizontal shot that is low to the ground.
For you? Who knows? We each have our needs but this is why I wanted this particular head.
Here are the basic specs and they are comparable to other heads in this range:
Load Capacity: 35 lb
Weight: 14.1 oz
Arca-Type Compatible Quick Release Clamp
Includes AQR-60 Quick Release Plate
360° Pan with Independent Pan Lock
Lateral Tilt: -45 to +45°
Integrated Bubble Level
Portrait Angle Selector
In daily use I found that I liked the ergonomics of this head. It’s got a notch to make it easy to switch between vertical and horizontal orientation. All of the control knobs are cross-hatch knurled for easy gripping. It doesn’t try anything fancy. It is simple and uses the kinds of controls we’re all used to. But there is some fancy stuff INSIDE.
When you loosen the main locking knob, there is still some friction. This helps me reposition the head quickly and still offers a modicum of protection against camera flop.
It comes with a plate but I use the Platypod Disc so I can’t attest to the quality of the plate but it looks like it does what it is supposed to do.
If you’ve followed me any length of time, you know that I use a great many products from B&H’s various house brands. I have never been unhappy with anything I received from them and I know they work hard to deliver quality that matches the name brands without attaching the high price tag that usually goes with those brands.
After a month of use I can safely say this ball head is highly recommended. You can spend more for a ball head but if it’s in a similar size and spec range, you won’t get much if anything more for your money.