Indeed it is quite progressive but disingenuous when one is a little harder. With a 40D and 70-200 F4L brake is tight. Forced to loosen it a bit to keep fluid movement smoothly but had to tighten it if we want to avoid that the ball is free to move.
It is therefore quite difficult with the weight but to have a restricted fluid movement in latitude.
For the rest it is a real pleasure to be passed to a ball, use the tripod takes another dimension and quality workmanship is really felt.
The quick release plate it's just happiness. I absolutely love the fact that it is automatically locked as soon as you've placed the tray on the kneecap. The fixing screw for the device is a little hard but it is brand new, it certainly soften with time (that said in the meantime I am afraid for my fingertips in very cold outside as it is while metal and when the fingers ripent on that ...).
Safety quick release plate is fine and there is no risk of the device released against his will.
Noted, once the ball tight on the column of the tripod, it pivots on it while it is not locked, convenient for panoramic, as the brake is sufficient not to move too much.
A good buy but I think twice 496RC2 with a little more robust because the brake (hence the star less).