Currently considering bying my 1st ball head (Manfrotto 486). Would like to hear from you all regarding your experiences with this product. I also look forward to suggestions on alternate products that I can consider with a S$120 budget.
The 486 is one of the most popular around becos it is big enough for most amateurs, and pretty affordable. Big enough for the 80-200 F2.8 kind of lens. It all depends on whether you're using it with those lenses with tripod collar or not.
If you are using exclusively with lenses with tripod collars, that is to say, those bigger and heavier and longer lenses, then, there is a Video head, Manfrotto 700RC2, which is very, very smooth becos of the fluid movements. Only 2 degrees of freedom - panning and tilting. The third movement is by turning the lens on its axis round the tripod collar.
Bring your camera and lenses to try them out at CP and see for yourself what suits you best. Do not forget to get a good sturdy tripod legs that is equally important. If you're tall, go for the 055, if not the 190 would do well.