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GiottosMH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release
 
4.3

(based on 34 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Large range of motion (24)
  • Stable (24)
  • Attaches firmly (23)
  • Strong clamp (20)
  • Compact (5)

Cons

  • Weak clamp (3)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (21)
  • Night shots (17)
  • Portraits (16)
  • Travel (12)
  • Wildlife (11)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (13), Semi-pro photographer (11), Enthusiast (3), Pro photographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (10)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Totally Solid and Rugged

I had a tough choice deciding between a 3-axis style head and a ball and socket joint, but I'm glad I chose this one. The range of motion is indisputable especially since I...Read complete review

I had a tough choice deciding between a 3-axis style head and a ball and socket joint, but I'm glad I chose this one. The range of motion is indisputable especially since I can lock everything down and pivot just on the x-axis (this is really the only axis I ever need to isolate).

I can't stress how important it is to have a sturdy feeling when handling a tripod and actually having a solid construction. It is very "industrial" in the sense that I feel I am handling a "laboratory-grade" product. However, this means that I can't keep the plate attached to my camera at all times since it has very sharp edges and can get easily damaged (or damage surfaces that it makes contact with).

I needed "MH-656 Quick Release System" to allow sliding the camera closer or further away from the subject. (I need this ability to focus with my "Nikon BR-2A Lens Reversing Ring" when doing Macro photography. Otherwise, I would have gone with a simpler MH-300C style plate.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Solid but clumsy

I purchased this head to use in conjunction with a kirk Bl-90 L plate for my D80. This QR system is quite clumsy to use with that format. I have to place the...Read complete review

I purchased this head to use in conjunction with a kirk Bl-90 L plate for my D80. This QR system is quite clumsy to use with that format. I have to place the L bracket in sidewise in the landscape position because of the little safety screw. Holding the camera in my left hand, the loosening knob has to be turned a full two turns to open fully, then I have swith hands to press the little red button with my left hand to to allow the bracket to insert, then switch again to the left hand to hold the camera while I turn the knob two full turns to tighten, and it does not turn easily. It takes as long to do all that as it is taking to write this review. Hopefully, the knob will loosen up, and I will learn to overlook that part. And it may be no problem at all with the QR plate attached to a camera.

Having said all that, it does appear to be built solidly, and doesn't slip after I set the locking knob. That is the biggest pro of all. All three knobs work fine, and hold fast. Only one other head in the price range, also a Giottos, has a lever type QR device, and apparenty it has some slippage problem, so I will just get used to my thing here and learn to love it...

Reviewed by 34 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-20

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4.0

Great for the price

By Brian

from Lake Stevens, WA

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Pros

  • Attaches Firmly
  • Good Stability
  • Large Range of Motion
  • Strong Clamp

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Night Shots
    • Portraits
    • Sports/Action
    • Travel
    • Weddings/Events
    • Wildlife

    Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

    I've had this head for almost 2 years now and I love it. It's solid, works great with my D800/70-200 combo. The friction control works nice and is easy to use especially when using a monopod and shooting birds in flight. The one gripe I have, as do others, is the safety screw feature. For me it's more of a hinderance than anything so I simply removed the screw (just make sure your plate is in nice and tight as it WILL fall out if you remove the safety screw) The safety screw headaches are not gone.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

     
    4.0

    Very Good Basic Head

    By bsandoe

    from Lancaster, PA

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Attaches Firmly
    • Good Stability
    • Large Range of Motion
    • Strong Clamp

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Shots
      • Portraits
      • Sports/Action
      • Travel
      • Wildlife

      Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

      Great Value - does everything it needs to do.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

       
      4.0

      Nice upgrade

      By Curtis

      from Central Texas

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Large Range of Motion
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

          The Giottos MH-1301 Pro II ballhead is a welcome upgrade from my old inexpensive ballhead. This ballhead is well made with smooth action. Everything about this item feels more secure than my old ballhead. I have not had this item very long. So, I am still learning how to quickly manipulate the controls. I am happy with this purchase.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Decieved, I return it.

          By Gilles Legare

          from Rimouski, QC

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

            Cons

            • Weak Clamp

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Shots
            • Travel

            Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

            Precise construction and lightweight but the fixing plate isn't do the job is made for.If you loosen to much the vise of the camera plate, it just fell out. So, I don't know why they put a red button as a security from falling off the camera.Also, the second level is under the fixing plate, you have to level before attaching the camera, not very practical for a ballhead support.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            great ball head

            By christiankutz.

            from toulouse, fr

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Good Stability
            • Large Range of Motion
            • Strong Clamp

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Shots
              • Travel

              Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

              The best deal I found yet for a reliable bal head , not too heavy.
              Perfect for traveller photograph

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              5.0

              Great buy

              By Dr. Sailmaker

              from Va. Beach, VA

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Attaches Firmly
              • Easy to setup
              • Good investment
              • Good Stability
              • Large Range of Motion
              • Strong Clamp

              Cons

              • None Yet

              Best Uses

              • Home
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Shots
              • Portraits
              • Sports/Action
              • Travel
              • Weddings/Events
              • Wildlife

              Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

              Photo shoots
              Great flexibility
              None as of yet

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

               
              5.0

              This ball head rocks!

              By Carl the Photographer

              from Durango, CO

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Attaches Firmly
              • Good Stability
              • Large Range of Motion
              • Strong Clamp

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Home
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Night Shots
                • Portraits
                • Sports/Action
                • Travel
                • Wildlife

                Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                This is a very intuitive machine. The adjustments are very solid and secure. I don't worry about drift at all.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Revised review

                By Brett

                from Ipswich, MA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Pros

                • Good Stability
                • Strong Clamp

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Home
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Night Shots
                  • Portraits

                  Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                  I haven't used this head much and the rubber grips wrapped around the knobs are splitting and falling off. 8 months old. Surprising due to the lack of use and gentle care. Wrote to Giottos about it. We'll see what they say. Good Head. It's strong and holds my 70-200 f/4 and my 7D no problem.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • Yes

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  smoother than ice

                  By Katawny

                  from ma

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Attaches Firmly
                  • Good Stability
                  • Large Range of Motion
                  • Strong Clamp

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Night Shots
                    • Portraits
                    • Sports/Action
                    • Wildlife

                    Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                    Best head I have ever used, very smooth,easy lock and doesn't creep with heavier lenses and speedflash attached...I would highly recommend

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Good product

                    By Jim

                    from Washuington, DC

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Firmly
                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion
                    • Strong Clamp

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Home
                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Night Shots
                      • Portraits
                      • Travel
                      • Video

                      Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                      Great ballhead and the quick release is great. I love the levels included that allows for leveling the tripod.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      Great Professional Ballhead

                      By Ben

                      from Cupertino, CA

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Attaches Firmly
                      • Good Stability
                      • Heavy
                      • Large Range of Motion
                      • Strong Clamp

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Night Shots
                        • Portraits
                        • Sports/Action

                        Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                        It is a very sturdy ballhead. I use it on my monopod, and because of it's size and weight rating, I'm able to support heavy glass without the floppy feeling of other monopods. It also gives me quite a bit of room to maneuver. I chose this head because I could also use it on a tripod, as opposed to buying a simple tilt head for my monopod.

                        The arca type release system is great, but it does take a bit of getting used to. My only gripe is that the plate is a bit short, but you can always get the MH-657 for a longer plate.

                        It is extremely sturdy, and consequently a bit heavy but I have much more confidence in the head when I put my equipment on it.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                        (2 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        1.0

                        fasten handle breaks

                        By david

                        from Madison, WI

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Pros

                        • Attaches Firmly

                        Cons

                        • Poor quality

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                        terrible product, the fasten handle breaks!!!
                        I have never met such a problem before.
                        Cheap made product. keep away.

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                        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Great Ballhead for the price

                        By KingLing

                        from Eastsound Wa

                        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Attaches Firmly
                        • Good Stability
                        • Large Range of Motion
                        • Strong Clamp

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Shots
                          • Portraits
                          • Sports/Action

                          Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                          Primarily for my 150-500MM Lens I like how well the Lock and Friction control work. The quick release is great. The only con is the plate can be somewhat tricky to attach to the ballhead.

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                          5.0

                          Solid & Easy To Use

                          By dgsurfphoto

                          from east bay, CA

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Firmly
                          • Good Stability
                          • Large Range of Motion

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Night Shots

                            Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                            Perfect setup for what i got...5d with 24-70 and 70-200 lenses. Very stable as easy to use...even with extra long night exposures.

                            Share this review

                            (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            4.0

                            Great so far

                            By Flying Pigeon

                            from Portland, Oregon

                            About Me Pro Photographer

                            Verified Reviewer

                            Pros

                            • Attaches Firmly
                            • Good Stability
                            • Large Range of Motion
                            • Strong Clamp

                            Cons

                            • Heavy

                            Best Uses

                            • Macro Photography
                            • Travel

                            Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                            Got this head to use on a Gitzo carbon fiber monopod. My other head is an Acra Tech GV2 on Gitzo tripod. While not in the same class as the GV2, and who would expect it to be, the 1301 operates smoothly and locks tight. Thee have been some complaints about the Giottos mounting plate loosening. All of my cameras have Arca Tech plates attached which fit perfectly and lock tight on the 1301.

                            At a weight of a little over 1#, the 1301 plus camera and lens on the Gitzo monopod come out a little top heavy. This however, was no surprise and would hardly be a problem on a tripod.

                            One negative: The 1301 instructions warn that over loosening the friction control can cause a head failure, which will be something to think about when switching from the 1301 to the GV2 and back, as over loosening is not possible on latter. This issue alone, which I view as a design flaw gives the 1301 a 4-star instead of a 5-star.

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                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            good product well priced

                            By Surreal

                            from Manteca, CA

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Attaches Firmly
                            • Good Stability
                            • Large Range of Motion
                            • Strong Clamp

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Landscape/Scenery
                              • Travel
                              • Wildlife

                              Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                              Works well for outdoor shooting and is easy to set up and use. So far does what it needs to do and is priced well lower than many others that are similar.

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                              5.0

                              Worth Waiting For

                              By Paul

                              from Connecticut

                              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Attaches Firmly
                              • Good Stability
                              • Large Range of Motion
                              • Strong Clamp

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Home
                                • Landscape/Scenery
                                • Night Shots
                                • Portraits
                                • Wildlife

                                Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                                After searching for months I ended up purchasing the MH1301-656 and paired it with the MT-9360 Aluminum Tripod Legs by Giottos. The pair work fantastic together. The 656 is more than enough for what I need and the is smooth, quick, and very stable. It supports my D300 with out a wince. Very well made and built to last.

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                                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Good quality; excellent value!

                                By bwitt

                                from Milwaukee, WI

                                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Attaches Firmly
                                • Good Stability
                                • Large Range of Motion

                                Cons

                                • Heavy

                                Best Uses

                                • Home
                                • Landscape/Scenery
                                • Night Shots
                                • Travel
                                • Wildlife

                                Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                                For the price, this unit functions wonderfully and seems very well built. It's a little on the heavy side, but with the solid construction, that is to be expected. Currently mated to an Induro aluminum tripod and these two make a great pair.

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                                5.0

                                Great quality

                                By celsmk

                                from Sao Paulo, Brazil

                                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Attaches Firmly
                                • Good Stability
                                • Large Range of Motion

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Landscape/Scenery
                                  • Night Shots

                                  Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                                  Bought this with Giottos MT8350 - my first tripod - which is a bit small for this head.

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                                  4.0

                                  Good choice for the photo hobbyist

                                  By Phil the Phixel

                                  from Portland, Oregon

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                  • Attaches Firmly
                                  • Good Stability
                                  • Large Range of Motion

                                  Cons

                                  • Poor camera plate
                                  • Weak Clamp

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Home
                                  • Landscape/Scenery
                                  • Night Shots
                                  • Portraits
                                  • Wildlife

                                  Comments about Giottos MH-1301 Pro Series II Medium Ballhead with MH-656 Quick Release:

                                  This is probably all the ball head most photo hobbyists will need. Ball movement is smooth and the excellent control knobs are solid and lock down tight, even with a heavy set-up. The head itself deserves 4 stars, but the clamp is just adequate and the camera plate is useable but allows some twist. I found a Markins camera specific plate works much better.
                                  Yes, there are better ball heads out there, but I gave the MH-1301 four stars because you won't find a better ball head unless you pay at least twice as much.

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