The ball heads under review, from left to right: FLM Centerball 43 FT, KPS GimBall G5D, Markins Q10i, UniqBall UBH 35, Acratech GP, Vanguard BBH-300.

When using a tripod to improve some types of photography, one of the most important parts is the head that connects the camera to the legs. Along with providing flexibility for positioning and controlling the camera and lens, the head is where much of the ease, or difficulty, of using a tripod comes from.

Continuing where our previous ball head roundup left off, we've collected six ball-type heads for review that are in the medium-to-large size class, having a ball diameter between 38 and 48mm. These heads are suitable for most large cameras and lenses, with only the truly gigantic or heavy devices requiring something larger. Therefore, this is a very popular head size among most manufacturers. To narrow the field, we've focused on heads that offer some new or interesting way to manipulate the ball. This group adds some of the most requested brands excluded from our earlier group review, along with some interesting newcomers.

The extra features of these heads include integrated leveling, gimbal, and panoramic functions, in addition to the typical friction, locking and panning controls. Some of these heads even blur the lines between a ball head and other types of tripod heads. A chance to put these to practical use, and compare them to their contemporaries, illustrates some interesting options in camera support.

Use the arrows or table of contents below to read each ball head review. On the last page, we make some comparative recommendations.