Novoflex MagicBall review: a precision-engineered German twist on tripod ball heads

The Novoflex MagicBall looks, feels and works in a whole different way to conventional ball heads.

Novoflex MagicBall
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

I love the speed and ease of using a ball head and this Novoflex MagicBall is a lot quicker and simpler to use than most. I really like its unique design concept and that its so well-engineered. It’s super-sturdy and highly resistant to vibrations but lacks some of the features I sometimes find useful.


  • +

    Quick and easy operation

  • +

    Strong 10kg / 22lbs load rating

  • +

    Very resistant to sagging and vibration


  • -

    No quick-release plate

  • -

    No separate panning lock

  • -

    Expensive to buy

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Novoflex has a history of making unusual photographic and cinematic accessories that stretches back over 70 years, predating most of us, myself included. Nowadays, the vast majority of camera kit is made in the Far East, often made in countries where manufacturing costs are relatively inexpensive (or downright cheap). By contrast, Novoflex kit is still made in Germany and is renowned for being precision-engineered. That certainly applies to this tripod head, which is immaculately crafted, as well as being somewhat unique in its design. It’s certainly like no other ball head that I’ve ever used. Even so, it’s not exactly new, being a Design Award Winner all the way back in 1998.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Maximum load10kg / 22lbs
Base diameter50mm
Plate typeNo quick-release plate
Pan lockNo separate pan lock
Friction controlYes
Bubble/spirit levelsNone
Width/height160x105mm / 6.3x4.13"
Weight920g / 2.0lbs
Swipe to scroll horizontally
FeaturesIt’s mostly excellent but lacks an included quick-release system, or panning lock.★★★★
DesignIt literally turns ball head design on its head, with an imaginative and innovative design.★★★★★
PerformanceIt locks in place with superb resistance to any sagging, vibration or flexing.★★★★★
ValueIt’s not the best value in most world region and is particularly pricey in the USA.★★★★
Manfrotto XPRO Ball Head

The Manfrotto XPRO Ball Head is one of my personal favorite ball heads. It’s really well engineered and, like the MagicBall, suffers from minimal sag after clamping. It’s available in two options, with Manfrotto’s usual quick-release plate or an Arca-Swiss compatible plate.

Vanguard VEO BH-250S

The Vanguard VEO BH-250S is a highly sophisticated ball head with a dual-axis panning mechanism, the upper of which enables level panning even if the tripod legs aren’t leveled. It has a very weighty 25kg / 55lbs maximum load rating and is excellent value.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.