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Thread: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

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    What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I probably missed the start of the Cube reverence and my only experience with geared heads was an old Manfrotto which I was happy to dump in favour of a B1. This leave me wondering what is so great about it compared to any ballhead. Is it usability? Is it able to be moved with the ease and speed of a ballhead?

    I am asking here because I doubt that I could see one in Australia. In all that I have read, I am yet to see what makes them so great which makes me nervous about shelling out all that cash without ever seeing one. A Utube video of one in use would be great.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Hi Jeff - I have had one and used it for some time down here in Melbourne - the best thing about it is the ease in which one can achieve a level level - and the solidity of it as a base for heavier gear - matched to a suitably strong load bearing tripod - it is a great combination..



    you can buy a knock off that is probably just as good - and there is a thread about same called "saving money" in the forum...

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Be careful you could get assimilated here just by asking the question. I consider myself a loser here and don't have one.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Thanks Folks, It's not how stable or whatever, I take that as a given with an AS product.

    What I don't understand is how do you go about composing with it? With a ballhead, I can go left /right and up/down simply by moving the ball around. With the Cube, I can see the left/right bit but how do I get the up/down with the easy fluid motion of a ballhead? It's that fluid ease of movement that I don't understand.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    You have two sets of goniometers left right and up down as well as two rotations and a fore/back or left/right "rapid" adjustment that gives you 60 degrees more.
    YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED
    ASSIMILATE ASSIMILATE...

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Peter, that could be a product shot for any of the items shown there... beautiful.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Strong and sturdy with ease of movements. Extremely easy to level off surface. Very easy to work both in the heat of the desert and the cold of a winter storm while wearing gloves.

    Besides all that it just looks kick ***! It’s also a chick magnet.

    Don

    Guy – I noticed you were eyeing Jack’s and my Cube last week!
    Don Libby
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Just checking to see if you guys are working them correctly. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Just checking to see if you guys are working them correctly. LOL

    Guy,

    Don's talents as the Master-Assimulator are usually strongest in person, so after meeting him I expected you to finally succomb! I made the mistake of touching the Cube...

    You must have an unusually strong resistance to abstain from the Cube---it obviously hasn't worked on your other purchases! And congrats again on the new Phase DF and P40+----it had your name all over it!


    Jeff---The ease to which you can level your camera platform with the Cube is magnified exponentially in the cold. Pretty chilly here in the Central Sierra's right now in the early hours---shivering with gloves, the Cube made leveling an exercise done in seconds.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Only part way I bought a Arca P1 this morning. I'm taking baby steps so i can fully appreciate the assimilation to the cube. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Guy,

    I was reading about the P1 the other day. Maybe you could PM me you impressions. You wouldn't want to talk about the P1 here in Cubeland; you know how the assimilated can get when you talk about other gear.

    Steve

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I will give a full report Stephen looks interesting and worth a try. Several things I like and one is the lever release has a safety on it and the lock down does not matter which way the ball head is turned.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    It's biggest features IMO are it is "Omni-directional" -- doesn't matter which way your pod is pointed, you have full access to the lock ring -- and has a built-in panning head.
    Jack
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Whoa whoa, Guy, you have been promoting the Gitzo ballhead until... today. What made you switch?
    Carsten - Website

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Exactly what Jack said right here" It's biggest features IMO are it is "Omni-directional" -- doesn't matter which way your pod is pointed, you have full access to the lock ring -- and has a built-in panning head."

    The other is real simple I want that double safety release on the mount. I almost lost it 3 times now with a screw down on the panning head. That is not a Gitzo issue but with the weight of this system it gets a little more a critical part. I get absent minded sometimes or in a hurry and don't lock down good enough.

    So I want to try it. I do like the Gitzo very much though the gearing on it is very nice and that has never been a issue. But the only safety quick lever release is made by Arca. It's on the cube and the P1. Honestly that is what I am really after is that. And hard to get just the plate with the proper mounting on a 3/8 thread, I don't think it is made actually
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    It seems like you have gone through a very long sequence of expensive heads, including the RRS BH-55 (IIRC, ~$400), Gitzo 3870 ($325), and now an Arca P1 ($450). Those three heads plus one more similar head and you are within a small amount of a Cube. Isn't it time to cut to the chase?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I may be thick but I'm still wrestling with this. With a B!, I plonk it down loosen the ball and compose by moving the ball around. If I can't level it that way, I can use my levelling base to fix it. Getting very fine adjustments with a B1 can be tricky. If I want to do the same with a Cube, can I loosen it move it around and then lock it as easily, or am I using multiple locks to achieve it. I hated teh Manfrotto thing that I had because I had to make adjustments one at a time.

    As an aside, I am using and H3D with L bracket so I have no interest in the standard weird extreme things that it can do. I also have no taste apparently as I don't mind it being grey so chick magnet isn't a criteria.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    It seems like you have gone through a very long sequence of expensive heads, including the RRS BH-55 (IIRC, ~$400), Gitzo 3870 ($325), and now an Arca P1 ($450). Those three heads plus one more similar head and you are within a small amount of a Cube. Isn't it time to cut to the chase?
    Cube simply won't work for my style of shooting I need a head that is fluid and not tightened down. It needs to move with friction. The cube will not do that
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Aaaaahhh, it all comes together. I thought you weren't getting one because of the price. Yes, my 405 also cannot move with friction, and this doesn't bother me, so I guess I am a potential Cube victim.
    Carsten - Website

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Your a cube victim. I think they are great just won't work as well for me.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I am not a Cube victim *yet*. I still have that to look forward to
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I've long been assimilated but I still use my Acratech for wildlife - can't follow motion with the The Cube.
    Bill

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I guess the bulk of work with tripods here is with short lenses.
    For [long] lens, rather than body mounting, a gimbal mount has many advantages.
    The biggest advantage seems to be in leveling. For 'scanning the horizon to see the best composition a ballhead just seems so much faster.

    Under what circumstances are people finding the Cube so useful (other than just gawking at it! :-)

    Victor

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    I may be thick but I'm still wrestling with this. With a B!, I plonk it down loosen the ball and compose by moving the ball around. If I can't level it that way, I can use my levelling base to fix it. Getting very fine adjustments with a B1 can be tricky. If I want to do the same with a Cube, can I loosen it move it around and then lock it as easily, or am I using multiple locks to achieve it. I hated teh Manfrotto thing that I had because I had to make adjustments one at a time.
    There are no free movement controls - you need to adjust the different axis (i.e. two) but it's very very easy and quick to do. The gearing is smooth with no play so it's easy to adjust correctly the first time. Sure you need to do some spatial calculations in your head as you adjust the controls but you get the hang of it very quickly. If you want precise control of the camera and leveling then the Cube works wonders. I've never found the need to use the sliding base adjustment, primarily because I use an L bracket anyway. The only locks necessary are on the base & rotating clamp.

    For nature I use the B1 & B1G heads because they are much simpler and faster to adjust. However, they are very crude by comparison to using the Cube if I want to precisely adjust the rotation or pitch of the camera - even with the B1s it's a loosen & slide & counter slide etc until you get it right.

    I ditched my BH-55 long ago because it was so rough compared to the Arca heads and never achieved anything like the smoothness that the B1's have.

    Guy: I'd VERY interested to hear how the new design Arca P heads perform. They look like they may be even easier and smoother to control given the flipped design.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Graham, thanks. I can understand that, and see why it is a good thing. I agree about the B1, precise composition is certainly problematic. My previous experience with geared heads was not good so I was missing the benefits that you have explained.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    There are no free movement controls - you need to adjust the different axis (i.e. two) but it's very very easy and quick to do. The gearing is smooth with no play so it's easy to adjust correctly the first time. Sure you need to do some spatial calculations in your head as you adjust the controls but you get the hang of it very quickly. If you want precise control of the camera and leveling then the Cube works wonders. I've never found the need to use the sliding base adjustment, primarily because I use an L bracket anyway. The only locks necessary are on the base & rotating clamp.

    For nature I use the B1 & B1G heads because they are much simpler and faster to adjust. However, they are very crude by comparison to using the Cube if I want to precisely adjust the rotation or pitch of the camera - even with the B1s it's a loosen & slide & counter slide etc until you get it right.

    I ditched my BH-55 long ago because it was so rough compared to the Arca heads and never achieved anything like the smoothness that the B1's have.

    Guy: I'd VERY interested to hear how the new design Arca P heads perform. They look like they may be even easier and smoother to control given the flipped design.
    I will certainly report on the P1. It looks very interesting for sure. Love the idea of no matter where the tripod head is i can lock down. I always had to spin the knob to my left side for that hand, here it won't matter with this head. Like that idea. It comes tomorrow
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Or wait just a few weeks, you will be able to buy the Photoclam MultiPeeOne for just $220 in a 7-11 near you!
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Honestly not interested in Photclam products.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I *was* joking
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I know you where I was not. Won't buy there products. I have a issue with copyright, trademark and intellectual property and such. As a working image maker you could understand why.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I agree, although being an image maker is not sufficient, clearly. There are other factors at play.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Under what circumstances are people finding the Cube so useful (other than just gawking at it! :-)
    I've written about it several times - a google will turn up a couple for sure. The main points are 1) you can level your camera instantly and EXACTLY and 2) you can tweak side-side (roll) and fore-aft (pitch) independently while the other remains perfectly fixed. When you try adjusting say roll with a regular ballhead, invariably pitch will change a bit at the same time, requiring multiple iterations of taps and nudges to get both axis to the "perfect" set at the same time. (FWIW, the newest Gitzos have solved this by making the pitch axis on thier ball looser than all the others, so when you set roll, it stays pretty much set as you tweak pitch.) The next benefit is the Cube pans normally at the base to set yaw just as in conventional ballhead, but also pans independently at the clamp so you can also do a dead level yaw adjustment -- which is what we want to do when making cylindrical pano captures.

    So the net is if you're the type of shooter who is satisfied with "close enough to level" then a regular ballhead is fine, but if you like a truly level platform for your camera, the Cube is a godsend in ease of setting that.
    Jack
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Jack
    Thank you for a real answer. Sounds like you get a lot of use.

    One of the reasons I have considered the Cube is that I have some pretty heavy lenses for wildlife and birds. For ground subjects it may be the cube's pan capability would be fine, but for others, really need free movements. The ball heads are just scary!! With a 8# lense and 4 # budy/back even balanced it is tough to handle, thus I go gimbal mount.

    It appreas there is no 'clutch' that is, a way to disengage, move fast and re-engage. Is that right (from the post above.) THAT would be something for ARCA to consider, but a lot trickier to design and build.

    One of the things that I have found and others as well, is how critical the damping and stability is in the world of 40-60 MP backs. The gimbal mounts SEEM fine, but the cube has a bigger base (while the gimbal suspends well, and is balanced it also creates a long lever arm for vibrations.)
    I would love to see a ballhead vs cube damping test.

    Now, the last question; how fast CAN you move in the vertical. With the bottom goni set for level, it only leaves the vertical to follow a subject with the knob turning. Given that the gimbal and ballhead need to be moved, then tightened down, I am wondering if just using the movement of the cube and shooting would be as quick. Maybe more stable.

    I am NOT talking about following bird flight-i am talking about wildlife moving or birds flitting around perch to perch or people moving. Do you think the Cube would work?

    Thanks again for the input

    regards
    Victor

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Jack
    Thank you for a real answer. Sounds like you get a lot of use.

    One of the reasons I have considered the Cube is that I have some pretty heavy lenses for wildlife and birds.
    Hi Victor:

    I used to shoot a LOT of wildlife from big game to birds in flight to small birds and mammals flittering about. For that application my hands-down favorite head remains the Wimberley -- simply THE fastest and most stable solution for that application, regardless of camera size and weight. A really good professional video fluid head would be another good choice here, but now you're talking serious dollars (probably over $5K for one you'd be happy with.) I would add that the Cube would be one of my last choices for this application.

    However, for landscape, studio, product and architecture, things are different, and here the Cube shines for the reasons previously mentioned.

    For occasional, non-specific use like travel, I prefer the lightest-weight and less expensive solution of a basic ballhead. Here take your own personal pick as they all get the job done, but my favorite remains the new style Gitzo, though the new one-handed Arcas look compelling too. Secret to using any of these is to not lock them up fully tight, just tight enough that it stays put but you can still nudge to adjust.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    .... The main points are 1) you can level your camera instantly and EXACTLY and 2) you can tweak side-side (roll) and fore-aft (pitch) independently while the other remains perfectly fixed. When you try adjusting say roll with a regular ballhead, invariably pitch will change a bit at the same time, requiring multiple iterations of taps and nudges to get both axis to the "perfect" set at the same time. ....
    Great description in a nutshell--- for me, I realized the true value of the Cube in sub-freezing weather in Death Valley last year (so cold my knees started locking up), shivering and trying to level my tripod quickly with an attached ballhead as jack describes above. The cold made this an extremely difficult exercise for me.

    Saw Don's Cube last February, and I was fully assimulated (I tried not to touch it!). I bought the Cube.

    The Cube makes leveling so fast and easy. (also makes emptying your wallet fast and easy).

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Looking at the setup of the Alpa with the Cube, two thoughts occurred to me. First, there is a lot of "stuff" between the platform of the tripod itself and the base of the camera. I would expect that the best solution in terms of rigidity would be to attach the camera directly to the platform. That's obviously not practical. However, you would generally not want to use a center column to raise the camera above the tripod platform. The Cube at least appears to violate that principle by putting the camera up there on a perch with lots of "stuff" to vibrate. Second, one of the major advantages cited for the Cube is the ability to precisely compose your photograph. With a tech camera, you have no ability to compose accurately anyway, unless you remove your digital back each time you frame a shot.
    It would be interesting to see some careful comparisons of 60mp shots with longer lenses(200mm or 300mm) using the Cube v. a regular RRS ballhead.

  38. #38
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Taking a break from stretching canvas and wanted to jump in with a couple thoughts…

    I like taking multiple images with my Cambo WRS1000\P45+ and have found the Cube to be the very best there is for this type of application. The Cube allows me not only to achieve a fast level it also allows me to achieve a near perfect level. As many know it’s very important to achieve as near perfect level as possible when doing panoramas. The combination of the near perfect level and flat stitching of the Cambo gives me a finished product that in many cases has less than one pixel missing in the completed stitch. I will often times achieve perfect lines on the bottom and one side and will only have spots on the other two sides where I missed. These spots are so minute that I can either clone them in or crop as desired. I never achieved that level of preciseness with any other head; of course it also helps doing flat stitching.

    The ease of use of the Cube is amazing as well. Set the tripod on the ground and level in seconds it’s that easy! Doesn’t matter the terrain, I’ve been able to achieve level in 99.99% without the need of touching the legs.

    The Cube has been my primary (actually only) head on my tripod since I got it and the only thing I use for the Cambo. I used it last week in the South Rim for my 1DsII IR and found I also achieved the same results as with the Cambo.

    Am I spokesman for the Cube? No, but if they ever ask I would be.

    Cheers

    Don
    Don Libby
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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    ... With a tech camera, you have no ability to compose accurately anyway, unless you remove your digital back each time you frame a shot
    ...
    You can if you have a sliding back adapter. Cambo doesn't, as far as I know, but Silvestri does, and so does Linhof for some model (if I am not wrong).

    Just new to the Cube btw... I just received a few days ago, a real thing of beauty! Will report as soon as it will have seen enough use for me to have something meaningful to report
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Howard, the Cube sits no taller than any equivalent ballhead, so is NOTHING like extending the center column. Also, a tech camera with movements allows you to tweak composition while maintaining camera level through the rise/fall/shift adjustments.

    To add to Don's and my pano comments, here is my regular set-up with the Cube, complete with sliding RRS rail plate with SCREW down clamp, which I prefer to QR clamps. I simply slide to rail in or out to achieve the nodal or null parallax point point for the stitch:

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Am I spokesman for the Cube? No, but if they ever ask I would be
    I hear Arca-Swiss has a position open for AS Cube Master Assimulators....


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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    well, I guess I could 'gift myself' if it were my birthday (nah.. don't celebrate any more )

    or christmas.....

    ....say it IS CHRISTMAS!.....


    Dave/ Steve, any cube's in stock?


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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Heck, I'd volunteer to build them a website! It would take about thirty minutes to put up a simple site (OK, a little longer for styling it), and that's hand-coding (not using some WYSIWYG app.)! Or maybe they could get the folks at Photoclam to build them a simple site. (sorry )

    Doesn't seem like Don should have to rep. for them without a decent web presence.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Dave/ Steve, any cube's in stock?

    We have an order of four coming in a few weeks, three are spoken for.

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    I have been assimilated, and must admit my new cube totally rocks.

    mmmm, that doesn't sound right for something that supposed to not rock
    Last edited by Wayne Fox; 22nd December 2009 at 14:58. Reason: correction

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Howard, the Cube sits no taller than any equivalent ballhead, so is NOTHING like extending the center column. Also, a tech camera with movements allows you to tweak composition while maintaining camera level through the rise/fall/shift adjustments.

    To add to Don's and my pano comments, here is my regular set-up with the Cube, complete with sliding RRS rail plate with SCREW down clamp, which I prefer to QR clamps. I simply slide to rail in or out to achieve the nodal or null parallax point point for the stitch:

    Thanks. Your setup looks very solid to me, Jack. Have you ever tested the Cube against a really solid ball head to see if there is any difference in results with longer lenses? Also, do you use a levelling base for your tripod with the Cube?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    Thanks. Your setup looks very solid to me, Jack. Have you ever tested the Cube against a really solid ball head to see if there is any difference in results with longer lenses? Also, do you use a levelling base for your tripod with the Cube?
    Well, with up to 300's it's been fine. For big glass, as I said above, I generally prefer the Wimberley.

    I actually had a Gitzo leveling base on my tripod when I first bought the Cube. Figured it would be really cool to be able to level-level, but in reality I never needed or used the leveling feature of the base, so sold it to lighten and simplify the tripod. Bottom line is once the Cube is leveled, you can pan at the top which is of course also level...

    Here's another pic of it with my Phase and Mamiya Zoom mounted. This set-up is totally rock solid, and the sliding rail also lets you center the mass directly over the center of your pod, so it's not just there for panning convenience. Also makes tweaking focus and/or subject size for macros really easy

    Jack
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Oh good camera/cube porn! Here’s and example of the movements with a Cambo attached.



    Rock solid

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  49. #49
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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    Oh good camera/cube porn! Here’s and example of the movements with a Cambo attached.
    *********
    Are all movements geared and lockable??

    I know it's a long shot but is there an owner's manual on-line??

    Steve

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    Re: What makes the Cube so wonderful?

    NO user manual anywhere, Arca is pre-stone-age regarding websites -- they don't have one. The roll and pitch movements are geared, and have friction adjustments that will lock them, but it's not necessary --- the whole benefit to geared heads is they stay put WITHOUT being locked down. The pan movements are not geared, so friction and are lockable. There is also a gross angle track that you can see extended in Don's shot, and it is friction and lockable. End of the day, this design is also very light for what it is at just over 2 pounds.
    Jack
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