Simple, inexpensive and highly reliable, Slik's Standard Ballhead II exhibits a high degree of precision craftsmanship and will yield years of trouble-free use.
The Standard Ballhead II's 2.2" (55mm) diameter camera mounting area has a free-turning anti-scratch plate surrounding the camera screw, to greatly reduce the chance of your camera becoming jammed upon the head. Weight was a continual concern in this ballhead's design; it is often said that upon a long journey even a straw weighs a ton, and to save every bit of a traveller's weight penalty the head is designed for use without a quick release plate. Even the best of magnesium quick release assemblies adds 100 grams or so of weight, and the philosophy here is to do without for the sake of lightness. Despite this, attaching and detaching of the head to the camera is pretty quick.
The Standard II's locking action is positive and the ball position does not move, even slightly, after it is locked. The Standard Ball Head II is only for light weight SLR/lens combinations: though the head's load rating is a robust 11 lb, it is generally looked upon as ideally suited for use with camera/lens/etc. combinations weighing not more than five pounds.
Slik's solution is slower than snap-in quick releases, and at least as fast as 'vise grip' quick release assemblies-but eliminates their size, weight and cost.