Performance

It's very quick and easy to adjust the Giottos MTL9361B to any shooting requirements. Even at its maximum height with the centre column fully extended, the level of stability is extremely good.

As well as the main locking clamp for the centre column of the tripod, there's a separate head rotation control, which comes into play when you pivot the centre column, enabling you to rotate the pivoted head through 360 degrees on a horizontal axis.

It's simple to set up your camera to any height or angle with this professional tripod, right down to ground level, so long as you don't mind shooting with the camera upside-down.

The Giottos MH1311652 ball head is a similarly strong performer. The main locking screw enables a full range of positional adjustment while also ensuring excellent firmness when clamped, even for heavy camera and lens combinations. The adjustable friction damper also works well, avoiding the potential for jarring accidents when using heavy camera kit.

The separate pan control is another neat addition, so you can pan the camera while keeping the tilt and swivel adjustments locked off. It's a bonus when taking a series of shots for subsequent stitching into a panoramic image.

The dual spirit levels on the camera plate also help with this, and the quick-release plate gives a good, firm fit between the camera and tripod head.

The only thing that's a bit of a chore is using the low-angle adaptor. This requires you to remove the platform from the top of the centre column and attach it to the adaptor, using the allen key provided. Even so, the task only takes a couple of minutes.

Verdict

Build quality is first-rate throughout the Giottos MTL9361B tripod, and pretty much every feature you could possibly want in a tripod is present, correct and well implemented. The same is true of the MH1311652 ball head, which includes an adjustable friction damper and pan control.

The combination of the Giottos MTL9361B and MH1311652 is cheaper to buy than most of the competition, including the Benro A-297EX and BH2-M ball head, Manfrotto 055XPROB and 496RC2 ball head, and the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH tripod and pistol grip kit.

We liked

The full range of basic and advanced features are quick and simple to use, backed up by excellent build quality throughout.

We disliked

To use the low-angle adaptor, you need to remove the platform from the centre column and fix it to the adaptor using the allen key provided.

Verdict

Solid and dependable, the Giottos MTL9361B tripod lives up to the 'professional' badge sported on one of its legs, while the MH1311652 ball head is a similarly high achiever. The Giottos combined kit is unbeatable value for money.