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Home > Reviews > Bogen / Manfrotto 728B Digi Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head

Bogen / Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ballhead with Rapid Connect 2 (Quick Release) Review

After adding a ballhead (484RC2) to my Velbon UP-40 monopod, I decided to upgrade my 680B monopod with a ballhead. The Bogen / Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ballhead seem to be about the right size for Bogen / Manfrotto's 680B monopod. The unit, thankfully, arrived in a small box and not in one of those hermetically sealed, tamper-proof, un-openable plastic package. As much as I hate the plastic package, it does have one huge advantage... it keeps the product safe, in one piece and hopefully with all items included. I've experienced missing items in boxes, but none in plastic packages (so far).

What's Inside
1 - Bogen / Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ballhead with Rapid Connect 2 (Quick Release)
1 - 3157N Quick Release Plate
1 - Instructions guide
1 - General Instructions and Warning guide
1 - 2-Year Warranty + Additional 3-Years after Registering Online or by Mail

Bogen / Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ballhead Specifications
Maximum Load Capacity   SLR with medium size lens, light medium format camera
Load Capacity   13.2 lb (6 kg)
Height   3.75" (9.5 cm)
Base Diameter   1.9" (4.8 cm)
Quick Release   Yes
Spirit Level   No
Tension Control   No
Tripod Mount Thread Size   3/8"-16
Weight   1.00 lb (0.45 kg)

A look at Bogen / Manfrotto's 486RC2 Compact Ballhead with Rapid Connect 2 (Quick Release)
The complete ballhead unit 12 oz soda, 486RC2 and 484RC2 680B monopod in the background
Since my only experience with ballheads is the mini 484RC2, I find that Bogen / Manfrotto's 486RC2 Compact Ballhead is not all that compact. From the base to the surface of the mounting plate, it's about the same height as the 484RC2 (just short of 4").

The 486RC2 has a larger hard phenolic resin ball making the movement of the ball a bit more smoother than the smaller one in the 484RC2. Same as the 484RC2, the 486RC2 ball housing is die cast aluminum with a durable texture matte black finish. The interior of the housing is precision machined. The base is milled aluminum and it doesn't appear to have any finish on it. The center of the base is tapped for 3/8"-16 threads.

The die cast aluminum Rapid Connect (RC2) has the same finish as the housing and is mounted to the ball with 3/8"-16 threads which is locked in place with an allen screw. The 3157N quick release plate is die cast anodized aluminum with a non-slip rubber pad and even though it has holes for a VHS (camcorder locator/positioning) pin, the pin is not included. Probably because this product is targeted towards camera users (which I plan to use with my camcorder).

The ballhead can swing/tilt left to right about 30 degrees either way. However, there are slots on opposite sides that allow swinging/tilting the ballhead at over 90 degrees.

As with my previous experience with Bogen / Manfrotto's Mini Ballhead, the 486RC2 Compact Ballhead was also loaded with a lot of dark gray grease around the ball and stem which I wiped off with a clean rag.

Ball Lever
You can re-position the ball lever simply by pulling it out and rotating it. The spring loaded lever will lock in place in 30 degree increments. The pictures on the left shows the lever, in the locked position, pointing up. Personally I like to have it locked in the down position.

Quick Release
Safety lever locked Safety lever released Quick release open
Pop-up pin down Pop-up pin holds quick release lever open
To open the quick release lever, you'll need to rotate the safety lever away from the plate. Once you pull out the quick release lever fully, a pin pops up, lifting the quick release plate and locking the release lever open. The use of this pop-up pin is a nice feature and, unfortunately, is not incorporated in Bogen/Manfrotto's 728B tripod.

Replacing the 3157N quick release plate by engaging the front, then pushing down the back, will lower the pin and close the release lever.

The safety lever is an important feature of the RC2 mechanism because it will prevent accidental opening of the release lever.

Quick Release Plate
The 3157N quick release plate is solid and fairly light. It weighs just under an ounce, or about 4 quarters (US). There's a slight recess (or indentation) on one side indicating the front of the plate and there are two sets of recessed marks on the bottom pointing to the direction of the lens. Number 1 is for cameras and number 2 for camcorders.

As I mentioned before, the quick release plate did not come with a VHS (camcorder locator/positioning) pin. Luckily I kept pin that came with 728B tripod.

What I like about the 3157N quick release plate is the thumb screw. The thumb screw is steel with black chrome finish. The head of the screw has a flip out D-ring, so you don't have to worry about carrying around a screw driver, or making sure you have coins in your camera bag.

Using Bogen / Manfrotto's 486RC2 Compact Ballhead with Rapid Connect 2 (Quick Release)
Bogen / Manfrotto's 486RC2 Compact Ballhead is a perfect fit the 680B monopod. The pictures to the left shows Sony's DCR-TRV950 mounted on the ballhead.

It takes a little practice using the camcorder on a ballhead. You'll find that with the right amount of tension on the ballhead lever will give you just enough damping to allow smooth motion when swinging/tilting the camcorder.

Velbon VS-3
The ballhead adds a lot of versatility to the monopod. In other words, there are times when you want to tilt the camcorder to the left or right, up or down. The ballhead allows you to do that.


Gary Kawamura
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    Bogen 680B Monopod
    Velbon UP-40 Compact Monopod
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