For my birthday I ordered a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head (you can order yours at www.reallyrightstuff.com) . I have had the ball head for a little over a month now. I can safley say that it is the best ball head that I have ever used.
Fit and Finish:
The fit and finish of the BH-55 is absolutely stunning. The BH-55 is made with very high quality parts. The BH-55 has a nice heft to it when you hold it in you hand. Despite being mass manufactured the BH-55 is artfully crafted. All of the knobs have a nice drag to them and an excellent feel. The quick release is well made and has a smooth and quick operation.
The BH-55 ball head shines above all others in usage. It makes using a tripod a dream. Before using the BH-55 I did not like using tripods. The main reason for my dislike of tripods was that the ball heads that I have used in the past sagged and were hard to operate. The BH-55 has absolutely no sag even with my heaviest combo of a Canon 1DMKIII and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS. The thing that makes the BH-55 shine is that it allows you to have a set tension on the ball that allows for a nice drag. You can move the camera around with the drag set properly and then release the camera and it will not sag or droop. It also is an extremely smooth ball because of the size.
I would recommend this ball head to anyone that can afford the price. The price is hefty, but this ball head is worth every penny. I will primarily be using this ball head in the studio. If you need a travel ball head I would look to one of the other Really Right Stuff designs that is smaller and lighter.