Bogen 3055 Ball Head

The Bogen 3055 (distributed by Manfrotto) is an inexpensive ball head that is capable of supporting 17.6lbs (7.9kg). Weighing in at 1.8lbs (0.8kg), it is no lightweight, but it does have a solid feel. The head mounts to a tripod via a 3/8" socket. My used head did not come with a 1/4" mounting adapter, but I suspect this is provided with a new one.

The camera or lens is attached to the head via a hex plate and 1/4" screw.  The hex plate is secured to the camera or lens and then this plate snaps into the head.  The process of snapping the hex plate into the head is usually pretty uneventful as long as everything lines up properly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so some attention must be paid to this process in order to avoid a catastrophe!

Once secured, it is time to position the camera. It is at this point that the inexpensive nature of the head makes itself known. The controls do not operate smoothly and locking down the head can cause a small change in the position of the camera, often requiring a subsequent adjustments to correct. When working with a wide angle lens, this might be acceptable, but when working with a telephoto lens, it most certainly is not worth the aggravation.

The ball head was tested with a Nikon F100 and 400mm f2.8 lens, a challenging combination for any head. Mating the hex plate to the head with this lens attached deserved one's attention to make sure everything was properly seated. Aiming the camera was very difficult and one had to be very concerned about camera flop while adjusting the head. Once locked down, the head was capable of holding the camera and lens securely.


An inexpensive ball head that offers solid support. The head controls do not operate smoothly, but this may be an acceptable trade off for less demanding situations.

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Posted 6/4/3, updated 6/6/3