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Review: Universal Ballhead 1
Linhof's Small light-weight tripod head reviewed.

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Ballhead Review: Linhof Universal Ballhead 1

linhof ballhead

The marketing people at Linhof are a creative bunch. They spared no effort comming up with the catchy and original name for this product, the Universal Ballhead 1 (there is also a Universal Ballhead 01. I can’t wait to learn what the next in the series will be called).

The UB1 is the second smallest ballhead that Linhof makes, but is probably about the smallest sized head that can be used for any serious photography with an SLR. Keep in mind that this is a very compact head, and was never intended to support heavy equipment. It is suitable for a mid to lightweight SLR body with a light lens such as a wide angle or normal prime lens. I often use this head in combination with a light hiking tripod to support an SLR body with either a 20 mm F2.8 lens or an even lighter 50 mm F1.8. In situations where traveling light is the first priority, these combinations work very well; remember, ANY tripod is better that the one which gets left at home because it is too heavy.

The UB1 has a claimed carrying capacity or 3.5kg (7.7 lb) but I certainly would not recommend mounting anything close to that weight on it. If used within realistic limits, the head operates smoothly and locks down tightly.

closeup of linhof ballhead

The UB1 has only two control knobs, a large round ball release which is quite easy to grip, and a small release knob for the built-in rotating panoramic base–a very useful feature which is not always included on a ballhead of this size. What is not included however, is a ball tension control system or a quick release mechanism. For this size of head, I can live without the tension control, but not the quick release. I added my own which I obtained from Kirk Enterprises. The UB1’s camera mounting top plate screws off to allow the addition of a quick release mechanism. I selected the Arca Swiss-style release.

The only really complaint I have about the UB1 is that grease is used as a lubricant for the ball. This is somewhat messy as the grease can rub off on things, and also allows dust and grim to stick to the ball more readily. This annoyance aside, the UB1 is a very high quality product, though it is a big expensive for its size.

This head works great as long as you restrict yourself to using a relatively light load. Weighing in at only 0.28 Kg (0.63 lb), the UB1 would be a good choice for use with a light tripod on extended hikes where saving weight is critical.

All text and images © Copyright Alex Leveson. All rights reserved.
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