Problem with Tripod Ball Head
Steve: #1 Call Manfrotto and discuss this problem, their Cust Srvc group has been quite responsive to me over the last few decades.
I have 2 Manfrotto midi ball heads, experienced this problem during my first visits to 'fine' sand country. Monument Valley, Arches NP, White Sands, ...etc or the beach on windy days.
You need (unless there is some real internal damage) to flush clean your ball head. WD40 is an excellent choice, just pour it around the ball head interface, roll the ball around and wipe out the fine grit. Do this several times until it moves freely. continue rolling the ball and wipe off the excess fluid. During this cleaning process your cloth should show some fine 'dirt' and then none.
I find no real need to lubricate the ball head assy, but I do apply a minute dab of silicone agree/oil to the ball to lubricate the fine 'sand' particles. This permits the fine particles to slide between the ball and ball chamber instead of 'sandpapering that interface. It is imperative to loosen the clamp pressure when moving your camera--a 'floating' motion occurs, minimizing wear & tear on the interface, which itself can generate particles is the ball interface. I find that an 1/8 turn on the clamp sufficient, then a quick equal turn back to lock my position almost 2nd nature.
good luck irv weiner
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