The only professional ball heads we can recommend are: Markins Q3, Q10, Q20; Arca-Swiss Z1; Novoflex ClassicBall 5.
You may want to peak at this Others make look similar but have lesser qualities. We continue to test new ones coming to market, however most are Chinese badly made copies.
As for tripods, Manfrotto and Gitzo are the preferences of advanced amateur and profesional Nikonians because of their long standing indisputable quality, with offerings in at least two materials and budget levels.
Carbon fiber Induro, Yongnuo, Geomaster, THEI, Giotto's, Didea, WAKO, Pachom, Flashpoint, Benro and several others are all made in the same factory with not the best materials, processes and results, to be kind. They have to cut corners to offer their products at a lower price, abusing the ignorance of the beginners market (me included - I had 11 or 12 tripods before settling on Gitzo).
In both tripods and ball heads you need sturdiness and vibration absorption, according to the magnification in use and weight of your load.
In ball heads only Markins is built with vibration absorption qualities (with floating elements); the old school preaches rigidity and work as a vise.
The same is true for Gitzo CF tripods that only flex what is needed to dampen vibration -in all directions- and not uneven and excessive -due to cheap materials and defective manufacturing. Of course the sturdiness part of the equation can be achieved by aluminum tripods but only at the expense of much weight.
As amateurs, we want our hard earned dollars to give us the most pleasure and many keepers. Our work is most serious because we cannot dedicate much time to it and we can hardly come back to that idilic scenery, so our images there and then must count. When we start out, we may not notice much; however, once we know better and move closer (into macro) or longer (than 135mm) it becomes very obvious.
Sorry for the lengthy piece. There is so much to say on the subject. It is a personal choice to achieve bliss in one step or on a series, or never.