I recently got my first ballhead ever, a Sirui K-20X. I've always used Pan & Tilt, but with my new legs, I decided to give a ballhead a try.
The instructions are less than perfect, so I want to confirm that my understanding of how to use these knobs correctly is accurate. The panning base locking knob, and quick release clamp knob are straightforward. What I have a question about are the main locking knob and friction adjuster dial. The main locking knob (MLK) is the largest knob on the side, with the friction adjuster dial (FAD) inset on the MLK. There is also a calibration ring around the MLK.
What I think is the correct way to use these controls is this... the MLK is used to adjust how much tension is on the ball, as well as lock it. The FAD can be used to control how far the MLK is able to turn. So when I have figured out how much tension I want on the ball when I unlock it (the loosest I want it to be), to move my camera around, I can adjust the FAD such that the MLK will not be able to open up any further than that point. Once the FAD is set, I only use the MLK when in the field to loosen or lock the ball. If I switch gear to a different body & lens combination, I may want to have a different amount of tension on the ball when I unlock it. That is when I would again adjust the FAD. Using it this way, I'll never accidentally unlock the ball and have it so loose that the camera just flops over. Also, once I've set the FAD, I can spin the calibration dial such that the zero mark is wherever the MLK is when fully opened. Lastly, I could use the FAD to lock the MLK completely so it is unable to turn. Like if I have it locked for very long exposures and don't want it to move, or am shooting an event and want to maintain that exact amount of tension on the ball.
Is this how other people are using the controls on their ballhead? Is there a different or perhaps better approach? Am I misunderstanding the use of the knobs in some way? Am I doing everything right, but there are also other use cases I'm not thinking about?
Thanks. I'm doing a bunch of testing and getting comfortable with my new gear this weekend before taking it out. I'd hate to make mistake, and have several grand worth of camera and lens smash on the pavement.