Sagging balls are a perennial problem for the photographer. I've recently acquired some support in an attempt to solve this problem and, since some of the solutions are a little uncommon, I thought sharing my limited experience. (I mentioned a while ago in other threads that I'd do this, so here goes. Apologies if this is not the preferred way to do this kind of thing...) By way of background, my historical set-up has been a D700, a Manfrotto 055CXPro3 and - except when my Manfrotto 393 is supporting 500 f/4 - a Giottos 1301-652. That's a medium-range carbon fibre tripod (maybe like a poor man's Gitzo 3-series) and a pretty low-end but otherwise competent ball head with a proprietary quick lever-release plate. I've been happy with both as far as they went, but plans to acquire a 5x4 and my lens calibration stint with my D800E persuaded me that I was due an upgrade. Please take my previous item ownership into account when reading this - I can't claim to have spent the last few years trying the best that Arca-Swiss, Really Right Stuff and Markins have to offer. Rather than going for more system-specific mounting solutions, I decided it was time to buy into the Arca-Swiss system, and picked up a Really Right Stuff L-plate for my camera. (Note: "Made in America" is not much of a selling point for me because I'm in the UK, making RRS products only slightly easier to acquire than Arca-Swiss's own.) Other than being a little heavy and pushing my nose a bit to the side when I use the camera hand-held, this is a well-built piece of kit, and I have no complaints about it. I considered the Kirk option - slightly easier to source in the UK - but while I like the fact that it has a lip that embraces the front of the camera to hold it steady (in addition to the lip at the back which both have), I was concerned that it had less contact area than the RRS version when slid to allow cable access. I've not actually tried the Kirk design so I can't vouch for the superiority of either solution. I had resolved to get myself a good ball head and a good geared head, since both have their uses on different occasions. My preferred choice of ball head would probably be a Burzynski Pro-Tec, but these have been out of stock at both the French and German suppliers for several months. In the meantime, I heard about the Triopo RS-3 as a very cheap option, lauded for its weight-bearing ability. I wasn't expecting much, but for less than the cost than some Arca-style lens plates (from EBay) I figured it was worth a trial run. My RS-3 turned up with a nice velvet bag (given to my wife for jewellery). It's chubbier than my Giottos head, but impressively light - I measured 310g, which is a bit more than claimed but still dinky - and, as default, has no quick release. The ball is an attractive champagne colour, presumably due to telfon coating or something similar.