Acratech Updates the GV2 Ball Head / Gimbal Head with a Quick Release Lever Clamp


Since introducing its Ultimate Ball Head in 2001, Acratech has continued to design innovative new ball heads that are lightweight, sturdy and ideal for hiking and travel. The updated Acratech GV2 replaces the quick-release knob of the original GV2 with a locking lever for securing Acra-Swiss type plates. This upgraded version continues to combine a ball head with a gimbal in a single, heavy-duty compact body that still weighs just around a pound, but can hold more than 25 pounds’ worth of camera and lens. It’s an ideal union of form and function, with precise machined parts that give you the freedom to shoot in any position you need. The elegant GV2 is easy to use and keep clean, as well.

First the Ball Head and the Gimbal

Building on the low maintenance ball-head design that made the original GV2 such a natural choice for hikers and travelers, this incarnation of the GV2 continues to feature the same non-lubricated, open ball head that you can easily clean with a cloth or a burst of air. It offers great range of motion, making it an ideal choice for photography that requires the ball to be dropped into the slot to enable you to get that ”impossible” angle for just the right shot.

As with the original GV2, this model lets you lock down the head when it’s in the 90-degree position, thereby turning the ball head into a gimbal. By pivoting around the center-point on your tripod, you’ll now be able to shoot with your camera leveled, gimbal-style, quickly and easily; just be sure that your tripod is set properly, since moving to gimbal style does shift the center of gravity atop your tripod.

With a fluid combination of ball head and gimbal functionality, you’ll be able to set up shots on all sorts of surfaces, from craggy rocks to ancient ruins, and you’ll also be able to track birds with ease and get the kinds of shots you could only hope to capture with under-performing ball heads.

The Quick Release

One of the smart features you’ll find on the GV2’s quick release clamp is a spring-loaded detent pin that will keep the Arca-Swiss type quick release plate for lens or camera—such as the Acratech Quick Release Plate for Lenses (Arca-Type) - 2.5" Long or Acratech Arca-Type Universal Quick Release Plate with Cork Top - With 1/4"-20 Screw—from accidentally sliding out if you forget to tighten the knob. The quick-release clamp also includes a convenient 15mm bulls-eye level.

When ordering your GV2, be sure to also grab the type of camera or lens plate you need, if you don’t already have it—keeping in mind that the GV2 can hold lenses up to a 400mm f/4.0. The GV2 is compatible with Arca-Swiss, Kirk and many more quick-release plates.

If you prefer the knob type quick release, that model is also still available. As with the updated GV2, this GV2’s knob-type quick release is also compatible with Arca-Swiss style plates. Just a couple of turns will lock or release your camera or lens, and since all the knobs are right-hand threaded, you’ll never have to guess which way to turn to lock or loosen your plate.  

The Right Knobs for the Job

If you’ve ever fumbled with a ball head in the field, or struggled to find a knob that might have fallen off during your trek to the top of a mountain, the GV2 could be the solution you’ve been hoping to find. Its main and pan rubber-coated knobs are set close to the head and can easily be tightened and loosened, even if you’re wearing gloves. They’re also distinct enough from one another that you don’t have to take your eyes off your shot to make an adjustment.  

Using the GV2 in the Field

The GV2 is lightweight, so it makes sense to use it with lightweight carbon fiber tripod legs. Once at your location, you’ll probably find that the GV2 didn’t add too much weight to your gear. It provides excellent stability and ease of operation. The open, lubricant-free ball design means that you can clean out any dust, sand or dirt that gets in there without having to worry that your ball head will get gritty or that you’ll lose that smooth operation you need for your work.

If you’re shooting in HD and with a zoom, you’ll definitely feel the difference of using the GV2. It’s quick to set up and adjust, and you’ll get the kind of steady shots and angles that might have eluded you in the past, because you would have had to spend time swapping out heads or because your ball head’s tolerances allowed for too much freefall of the ball.

Attaching the GV2 to your tripod is easy, though you may want to set it up at least once before heading out to the field. You’ll want to make sure that you have the right size and type of stud at the top of your tripod to insert into the base of the GV2. You have a choice of 1/4"-20 or 3/8-16" tripod mount threads, with a reducer bushing included. Ideally, you should use a step-type stud with the larger threads going into the ball head. If you don’t have a step stud, you can use the GV2 with the brass reducer bushing, and keep in mind that a stud with larger threads is stronger and might be a better option for heavier camera and lens setups.

Once you have the GV2 mounted on your tripod, attaching your camera or lens is as simple as tightening the pan and main knobs and then loosening the quick-release lever to insert your gear. Just make sure that you have the right plate for your equipment before you head out to shoot. Once the camera or lens is in place, just lock the quick release lever in place. You can now move the camera freely with confidence, zooming in quickly on a bear, following a bird in flight, or aiming it downward for a steady studio shot. Whether you’re shooting using the ball head or dropping the camera into the gimbal slot, the GV2 will maintain the tension you set and keep your camera where you want it. The GV2 is made in the USA and is backed by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Construction CNC machined; black anodized
Load Capacity 25 lb (11.3 kg)
Height 4.25" (10.8 cm)
Quick Release Yes, lever-operated; compatible with Arca-Swiss, Kirk and many more QR plates
Spirit Level Yes
Tension Control Yes
Separate Panning Lock Yes
Tripod Mount Thread Size 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 (reducer bushing included)
Weight 1.1 lb (0.48 kg)