Manfrotto MH494-BH ball head review

Manfrotto’s 494 ball head is very attractively priced and impressively capable

Manfrotto MH494-BH review
(Image: © Angela Nicholson / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Lightweight and affordable, the Manfrotto MH494-BH Ball Head has just about everything you could hope for from a tripod head apart from a bubble level. It’s easy to attach the plate securely and there’s a catch to help keep your camera safe. Most importantly, it’s also capable of holding a balanced load still so you get sharp images.


  • +

    Separate ball lock and friction control

  • +

    Release lock

  • +

    Affordable price


  • -

    No bubble level

  • -

    Uncomfortable edges on lock knob

  • -

    Tricky to find a balance between the friction and lock

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The name of this tripod varies a little depending upon whether you look at the box it's supplied in or Manfrotto's website, on the packaging it's referred to as a Mini Ball Head but on the website it's called a Center Ball Head. So if you're searching to find it, it's probably best to use Manfrotto MH494-BH.

Manfrotto aims the MH494 at enthusiast photographers wanting a small yet capable ball head.  It's predominantly made from aluminum but a few parts such as the control knobs are made from plastic.

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Angela Nicholson

Angela has been testing camera gear from all the major manufacturers since January 2004 and has been Amateur Photographer’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio (Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoPractical PhotoshopPhotography Week and Professional Photography magazines, as well as the Digital Camera World and TechRadar websites). She is the founder of SheClicks - a community group that encourages and supports female photographers.