For my astro-holiday to Namibia I wanted to have an extra ball head. Preferably something small and light for traveling and keeping the weight down on the mount. However, it needed to be capable of handing the Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 which weighs around 1.8kg. So, the ball head should be capable of carrying 4kg easily without any slippage. That is of course vital when using this ball head for 5 or even 10 minute exposures. Oh, and did I mention yet that it should be affordable?
After some searching I stumbled on the Redged RNB-1N, which was listed at 70 euro’s and seemed a great ball head.
Update: The Redged RNB-1n is available for only $39.95 through Amazon.
Redged RNB-1n ball head specifications
Load capacity: 8 kg
Weight: 340 grams
Height: 90 mm
Summary: This is a very light and small ball head while still being able to carry quite a load.
Using the Redged RNB-1n ball head out in the field
When the package arrived I had mixed feelings, because.. damn this thing is small! I must add that it does feel like a very decent and sturdy ball head, but very small! So this is of course a good thing for carrying it with you, but I had my doubts about the capability of this ball head to carry a Nikon D600 + Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 in any position and without slippage.
When I arrived in Namibia and knew that the telescope mount would be fully capable of carrying my regular (big) Manfrotto ball head, I decided to use that one instead. This left the Redged RNB-1n to be used on the tripod and time lapse gear for scenic photography and time lapses.
On the tripod it just looks silly, as it is so small. But for the very small/low tripod I had with me for the timelapses it was just perfect! Especially to use it on the motorized Cinetics AXIS360 seems ideal. Here the fact that it is small and light works really well.
The tension knob is good and very decent. There is a smooth change from having the ball 100% fixed to completely loose. You can really do small adjustments very precisely with this. There is no friction knob, but I didn’t miss that to be honest.
The panning adjustment worked really well too. The knob operates nicely and the rotation is smooth and precise. It is a small knob however, and due to the fact that the ball head is so small, it can be really ‘under’ your camera. This is not ideal.
As for the mounting of the camera on the ball head, this was really a disappointment for me. The so called ‘quick release plate’ is anything but quick. It is a sort of ‘dovetail’ like connection between the plate and the ball head, where you have to fasten the connection by tightening a knob. This knob however will be directly under your DSLR, which makes it not convenient to reach and use. Furthermore there is a protection to prevent your camera from sliding out and falling (which is good of course!) that doesn’t always work that well when the camera is mounted. Lastly, and this was the greatest annoyance, the quick release plate connects to the camera with an Alan (hex) Key. There is a small handle on it to be able to loosen or fasten it just by hand, but you’ll need something small to get it out in the first place. Why not just a simple screw which you can loosen and fasten with a coin? I might be biased because of the Manfrotto, but loosening and fastening the connector plate was just an annoying hassle.
All-in-all it’s just not that fast to mount and dismount your camera as with a quick release plate that just clicks in, like I have with the Manfrotto.
Other than that the Redged RNB-1n did it’s job and did it flawlessly.
Redged RNB-1n review: conclusion
The Redged RNB-1n is very good value for money. If you want a small and light ball head that is able to carry a dslr + long lens (up to 200mm I would say) and operate very smoothly, than this is your guy.
If you are going to use multiple camera’s with this ball head frequently, and/or you need to be able to mount/dismount it fast than I suggest you look for a ball head that has a real ‘quick’ release plate. I wouldn’t use this one on my monopod for shooting wildlife for instance.