At the Photokina show Uniqball were showing their ball and socket tripod heads designed for photo and video use, as well as their new tripod with integrated leveling base. Unlike other ballheads the Uniqball has a special feature that allows the horizon level to be locked, while leaving the pan and tilt axes to be free. It is essentially two ballheads in one with a special locking mechanism. You can also attach a small pan bar to the head to help with moves. The result is a super compact head that essentially does away with the need for a leveling base on your tripod.
For small cameras the movements are smooth enough to attempt the odd pan or tilt shot. I wouldn’t really want to do the same with a bigger camera though. Although the head is strong enough to carry larger cameras, the movements clearly aren’t going to be anywhere near as smooth as a real video head from Sachtler or Miller.
Where I can see this head being really useful for video shooters is as a lightweight option for travel, or for use on an unmanned B-camera during shoots. It has the advantages of a ball head size, while re-framing shots is just as easy as with a regular video head.
New for the show was a prototype tripod with clever integrated leveling base. Instead of having the usual handle and clamp arrangement seen on video tripods, the Uniqball has a freely moving ball built into the centre of the tripod, which is then locked with a knob on the side. This means the tripod can go right down to ground level without being obstructed by head clamp.
For more details visit the Uniqball website.