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Thread: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

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    Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I can easily imagine that working with the Cube is a more appealing option and it is most likely a charm to work with. Is it however worth the extra $1200 more then the Arca Z1 double pan? Do you feel it helps you generate extra money? Is it really worth the investment? Are there some pictures the Cube would allow you to take that the Arca Z1 wouldn’t? I would love to buy the Cube but I find the price a little prohibitive and believe the Z1 would give me the same results. Am I wrong?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    What you lack with the Z1 and any ball solution is the geared precision for setting the camera up. If you need speed then that might not be important to you ...

    Arca also now have a new solution called the D4 / D4m that provide a slightly cheaper entry point than the cube and with geared/non-geared options.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I use a Z1 and have no desire for a cube at all. For me i shoot many different things including people and fashion so the cube for me is just to slow to work with. The Z1 on the other hand is very fast to work with and very very solid as well. Really a matter of preference. The cube is easier to get level and has great gearing on it the Z1 has no gears so everything you do it is up to you not the head.
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    If it's not a Cube, I would rather look at something like the Z2. IMHO, the big problem with classic ball heads is managing two ways at the same time. If you can adjust them separately (as with the Z2) things get much easier. But: this is still no substitute for geared movements.

    Chris

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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I have a cube, and both Arca Z1 and P0 ballheads. Because of the excess weight of the Z1, its bulk, and the amount of knob travel necessary to adjust the head position, I find myself almost always avoiding it.

    The Arca P0 is smaller, lighter, and a lot easier to work with. Adjustments are rapid and positive. The cube gets used the most tho, it's also very easy to handle and its bubble levels are easily read. Highly recommended!

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Geared and ball heads are like chalk and cheese. Completely different in every way and are suited to very different shooting styles. Not sure why wanting a Cube (geared head) would make you consider a Z1 (ball head) just to save money.

    Now, if you had said is a Cube worth the investment over a Manfrotto 405/410 then that would be a totally different.

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    Senior Member routlaw's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    You might also consider another couple of options, links below. The first I have had no experience with but understand its a nice leveling head. The second which I do own and use almost daily is the Linhof 3 way leveling head. Its very light weight, yet quite rigid even for 4x5 field cameras and a Betterlight scan back and once you get used to it, its very easy to use and level your camera with. Also if you can wait awhile Linhof is scheduled to come out with a very similar head to the Cube, but how much cheaper I have no idea.

    http://www.thelevelhead.com/

    http://www.linhof.de/levelling_heads.html

    Hope this helps.

    Rob

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    Cool Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Now, if you had said is a Cube worth the investment over a Manfrotto 405/410 then that would be a totally different.
    As another data point, I'm in the process of transitioning from a Manfrotto 405 to an Arca Cube and I have to say I'm not yet completely sold on it. For one thing, the 405 has geared movements on all three axes of rotation whereas the Cube has geared movements on only two, which is a bit less convenient for me given my method of working.

    I also find the Cube's geared movements aren't linear in terms of the effort required to turn the knobs; i.e., it takes more effort to turn them when they're close to the middle of their range than at the ends, which is sort of annoying, as fine movements around the midpoint require me to use two hands to turn the knobs on each side, rather than one hand to turn the knob on just one side (and this isn't related to the friction adjustments, either, as mine are set at the minimum). Of course, I bought my Cube used, so perhaps this idiosyncracy is unique to this particular unit and not representative of Cubes in general. (Rod Klukas has offered to check it out for me and get it fixed if necessary, so we'll see.)

    Overall, though, I suspect I will ultimately embrace it -- what it does well, it does very well indeed! -- but if mine is anything to go by, it's not without its quirks.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    What appeals to me with the Z1 is the speed of operation and precision. The Cube seams more precise but since I love to photograph different things I am worried the Cube would be slow to operate in certain cases. I feel the Z1 is more versatile.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    As another data point, I'm in the process of transitioning from a Manfrotto 405 to an Arca Cube and I have to say I'm not yet completely sold on it. For one thing, the 405 has geared movements on all three axes of rotation whereas the Cube has geared movements on only two, which is a bit less convenient for me given my method of working.

    I also find the Cube's geared movements aren't linear in terms of the effort required to turn the knobs; i.e., it takes more effort to turn them when they're close to the middle of their range than at the ends, which is sort of annoying, as fine movements around the midpoint require me to use two hands to turn the knobs on each side, rather than one hand to turn the knob on just one side (and this isn't related to the friction adjustments, either, as mine are set at the minimum). Of course, I bought my Cube used, so perhaps this idiosyncracy is unique to this particular unit and not representative of Cubes in general. (Rod Klukas has offered to check it out for me and get it fixed if necessary, so we'll see.)

    Overall, though, I suspect I will ultimately embrace it -- what it does well, it does very well indeed! -- but if mine is anything to go by, it's not without its quirks.
    I have the Arca Swiss Cube and love it. The only drawback is the weight. If you use it with a rigid systematic tripod e.g. Gitzo 5541 the combination of the two is very heavy indeed (or at least for a 74 year old like me)

    I have started to use a new option for me............the Gitzo 3780. This is a lightweight magnesium head and it has a stud for connection to the camera. Of course this means no QR capability but the stability is terrific and the ball head is extremely easy to use. In order to use in the portrait orientation you must set the ball head to go into the slot which means of course a few minor adjustments to get the same view as the landscape mode. I will know in a few weeks of shooting whether this a minor problem or gives me fits. The Gitzo head is about $350 so not a bank breaker like the new Arca/Swiss D4 and D5 models which can set you back over a grand!

    Just another option to consider.

    Woody

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    If landscape is the only calling, then the Cube is a great head to have albeit at a premium price. It makes things so easy---in contrast think about leveling with a ballhead, wearing gloves, and shivering uncontrollably in the early hours....

    I photograph a lot of other things, so three other ballheads are in use in various capacities---and much faster than the Cube.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    The situation seems pretty simple to me.

    If you want a geared head then you'll have the advantages of precision and hold with micro-adjustment such as is provided by the Cube (& variants) or something like the Manfrotto 405/410. However, this isn't ideal if you want speed and flexibility to move the camera around quickly.

    If you want a super stable and smooth ballhead solution, such as the Z1 or lot's of other competitive heads, then you'll have the advantages of speed of movement by hand without having to turn dials etc etc. Personally, I still have an Arca B1G & B1 and they are the smoothest ballheads I've ever owned. I'm sure that the Z1 is probably the latest greatest incarnation of these heads although I'm not sure what the differences really are.

    So, as mentioned earlier in the thread, these are really chalk & cheese comparisons. You can certainly do everything with a ballhead that you can do with the geared head, but the problem is with precise movements and potential shift in position when you lock it down. For landscape & still life kind of work the geared head advantages can be significant. For situations where you want to be able to move the head quickly and smoothly and adjust on the fly, the geared head isn't the best choice and a ballhead works very well.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    If you want a geared head then you'll have the advantages of precision and hold with micro-adjustment such as is provided by the Cube (& variants) or something like the Manfrotto 405/410. However, this isn't ideal if you want speed and flexibility to move the camera around quickly.
    One nice thing about the Manfrotto 405/410 that I do miss with the Cube is the ability to disengage the geared knobs from the geared tracks by turning large, spring-loaded collars that are coaxial with each knob. In turn, this allows you to then make large movements with the head quickly and when you release the collar(s), the gears re-engage and you can then make fine adjustments. Depending upon how much movement you need to make, this potentially can speed up their operation considerably as compared to the Cube...
    Last edited by Audii-Dudii; 14th March 2011 at 16:21.

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I agree with comments on the 405. The downside on the 405 is it uses a non-standard plate and cannot easily be retrofitted with one. It is also much larger than a cube and does not pan once leveled with another component.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    One nice thing about the Manfrotto 405/410 that I do miss with the Cube is the ability to disengage the geared knobs...

    for that reason, i will buy an arca D4 when it will be available !


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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    what would be interesting X-breeding of the two above is Z1 (or any lightweight ball heads) on top of a leveller ie Nodal Ninja EZ-Leveler II (1/2 the weight of the Manfrotto 338) different to Acratech leveler!

    You get quick action from the ball head and allowing fine adjustment.

    I was seriously considering the Cube (or the Korean look alike) and then Linhof 3D (still not released yet). I too needed a quick action and then find tuning and also very LIGHT weight for trekking up mountains!

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I haven't used, or even seen a cube, so I can't comment on that; but I must say it reminds me of a large variation of a gionometer used to position a crystal in x-ray diffraction. I do use a Z1 and can't praise it highly enough. I got it for use with a Pentax 67 and lenses up to 500mm. I can adjust the tension such that I can reposition the camera without any creep or flop. My only regret is that I didn't get the double pan version.

    Tom
    Last edited by tsjanik; 20th March 2011 at 12:37.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Tom you just missed I had the TopPan for sale too. Bummer

    The DP is really nice. I agree I have no creep or anything associated with ball heads on the Z1. I have tried them all and like this the best for a ball head. Maybe someday i will get a D4 as a compliment head to have but the Z1 works for me.
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I'm curious to find out how the D4 comapring to the Linhof 3D Micro. I have the 3D micro on order.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Looking at the Z1 Double Pan I am confused as to what plate would be good with my H4D-40. Could someone help me a bit on that? Also would the same plate work with a D2X?

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I'm curious to find out how the D4 comapring to the Linhof 3D Micro

    the linhof is just a levelling head... you can't use the camera at 90°... still a nice head, but not universal !

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    So the D4 is not yet available?

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    I took delivery of a Linhof 3D Micro. It's nicely built and solid as expected. Having used RRS before the Linhof, I really like how the plate snap into the head. It feels like a magnet was in place. Once attached, there is zero play!

    It a lot heavier than the RRS (40) and the Markins head I used before, but a lot more portable than the cube I previously tried. I didn't order the angle attachment, but will probably do at a later time. The movement is very similiar to the cube without the 90 degree.

    I'm happy to answer any question or post picture on request.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    So the D4 is not yet available?
    no !

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Does anyone know how much the D4 is going to cost?

    I'm considering one so I can attach my Arca monorail straight to the head rather than the multiple adapter way presently on my Manfrotto 405. The 405 is a wonderful head apart from being less than ideal with my M2 but if its priced anything like the cube then forget it for me.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    As others said, it's a bit like "better a Ferrari or a Hummer?" They both are great, choosing one or the other would depend on what you are shooting. If your main use for a head is landscapes/architectural/product and the like, then there is nothing that beats the Cube IMHO. As Guy, I shoot a lot of different stuff, but I only use tripod and a head for landscapes & architectural: since getting the Cube I never looked back, nothing touches it for ease of use, flexibility and precision of alignment. If you need support but speed as well, then the Cube is most definitely not the best way to go... if you shoot wildlife, then you'd need a gimbal head, for sports a monopod would probably be your best bet, and so on.

    Bottom line with tools is: up to a point of involvement in something, you can adapt general purpose tools to various situation and be more than happy with the results. Once you get past that point, and you aim for the best results you can get, then your need for better tools starts to multiply at a scary, impressive rate and so does the amount of money you need to spend to get there

    This thread is about tripod heads, but it's the same thing in any field, from the most sophisticated crazy technological things you can think of to the most daily items (try buy a set of REAL good kitchen knife and compare prices with the same set from Ikea...). Take cameras: a Nikon D3/D3x would be providing enough or even too much quality for most shooters shooting anything; however, once you get into trying and squeezing the best IQ you can get out of your gear, then even the new IQ180 would soon start being not enough and you'll want to be able to stitch to get even more resolution in that landscape... hence, this forum's motto "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here." I am starting to think that my old countryman Dante knew about MF gear when he wrote this!!
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    As others said, it's a bit like "better a Ferrari or a Hummer?" They both are great, choosing one or the other would depend on what you are shooting. If your main use for a head is landscapes/architectural/product and the like, then there is nothing that beats the Cube IMHO.
    Don't really follow you?

    I fully appreciate, actually owning Arca gear, they make beautifully equipment but we are talking about a tripod head here aren't we?

    Speaking from a practical and realist point of view, apart from the mounting plate situation I really don't see what for three times the cost of a 405 the cube could offer apart from that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you own the best.

    Without being rude but perfectly honest, I'd never heard of the cube until I started contributing to this forum and have always associated it with one's level of income rather than its status as the ultimate head.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Speaking from a practical and realist point of view, apart from the mounting plate situation I really don't see what for three times the cost of a 405 the cube could offer apart from that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you own the best.
    As it happens, I came to the Cube from a 405 and while I find it's definitely "better" -- i.e., more precise -- I wouldn't disagree with your conclusion as to its value. I sometimes think those who are the most enthusiastic about it are those who came to it from a ballhead, which I abandoned more than a decade ago. Yes, it's an incremental improvement, but it certainly didn't change my life or improve my photographs in any noticeable way and the only reason I was willing to pay the price for it is because I bought mine used. <shrugs>

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Don't really follow you?

    I fully appreciate, actually owning Arca gear, they make beautifully equipment but we are talking about a tripod head here aren't we?

    Speaking from a practical and realist point of view, apart from the mounting plate situation I really don't see what for three times the cost of a 405 the cube could offer apart from that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you own the best.

    Without being rude but perfectly honest, I'd never heard of the cube until I started contributing to this forum and have always associated it with one's level of income rather than its status as the ultimate head.
    I can see that you didn't follow me The OP asked to compare the Cube to the Z1, not the 405, and this is what I did. Two top line heads, of two different genre: a geared one vs a non-geared one. Among these two, I said that for landscape & architecture the Cube wins hands down. Comparing the Cube with the 405 is a different thing; I'd still take the Cube personally, I think it's better & works better, but is it so much better as the price difference between the two? That's up to you, the buyer, to decide according to your need & wallet, of course. I hope this helps making my previous post clearer

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    As it happens, I came to the Cube from a 405 and while I find it's definitely "better" -- i.e., more precise -- I wouldn't disagree with your conclusion as to its value. I sometimes think those who are the most enthusiastic about it are those who came to it from a ballhead, which I abandoned more than a decade ago. Yes, it's an incremental improvement, but it certainly didn't change my life or improve my photographs in any noticeable way and the only reason I was willing to pay the price for it is because I bought mine used. <shrugs>
    Agreed, I am pretty sure that coming to the Cube from a ball-head the difference would strike much stronger than coming from another geared head. I know I was coming from a BH but had a chance to try the Manfrotto & the Cube prior to buy, and I definitely liked the Cube better - and believe me, my wallet was very unhappy to hear that

    gazwas, I try to base my purchases on reason and needs rather than "fuzzy feelings" of sorts: like many here, I have to justify my purchases business-wise (at least to a point) and I would have loved to spend less, believe me. I checked out the almost-identical-but-cheaper Cube-clone but discarded it due to business ethics first and foremost, I don't like intellectual propriety theft much, and warranty-related reasons after (they have no distribution where I am based). So, it wasn't an easy purchase to justify for me: however, I thought the time I would save working with the Cube vs other heads, ball or geared, was worth the extra money. Sure, it was my decision, based on my needs - other people will decide differently according to their needs and experiences.
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    When thinking about the cost of the cube (or Z1) it's probably worth considering how much you use it, the importance of a rock solid tripod head for every single shot you take plus how much you've no doubt spent on the camera/back/lenses sitting on top. Also think about how long you are going to own and use this thing. These factors apply to your tripod too.

    When you go through this rationalization process it's not hard to justify the costs of a Cube sitting on top of a Gitzo GT5541SGT tripod at all IMHO.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Good point and the reality is the use versus cost over a long lifespan is actually pretty cheap . Let's face it how often do you sell a tripod and head compared to our cams and lenses . Not very often even for me and that's scary. The legs I had for 3 years but I did go through 3 heads before settling in on the Z1. Which I do really like a lot and now with the new IQ backs with auto corrections for vertical and horizontal corrections it becomes even better. I can cheat a little. LOL
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    LOL, you guys make the 405 head (or any non-Arca head for that matter) sound as if they're made of papier mâché and would crumble at a single touch.

    And Guy, have you noticed that for a little while now you've been referring to the IQ backs as if you already own one? Unless there's something you're not telling us. Or your wife.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by cng View Post
    LOL, you guys make the 405 head (or any non-Arca head for that matter) sound as if they're made of papier mâché and would crumble at a single touch.
    No, not at all. The Manfrotto is an excellent geared head too. In fact I used to use one and I'd no doubt still be using it were it not for that horrible plate assembly that doesn't fit Arca style camera specific mounts. Once you've gone down the route of RRS/Kirk custom camera L brackets you're never going to want to live with screw on plates again. Ever.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by cng View Post
    LOL, you guys make the 405 head (or any non-Arca head for that matter) sound as if they're made of papier mâché and would crumble at a single touch.

    And Guy, have you noticed that for a little while now you've been referring to the IQ backs as if you already own one? Unless there's something you're not telling us. Or your wife.
    Well spent a lot of time with the IQ already. Next week I get to play with a production unit but ownership will be out there a bit sine the 140 delivers last. Bummer
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Well spent a lot of time with the IQ already. Next week I get to play with a production unit but ownership will be out there a bit sine the 140 delivers last. Bummer
    I can't believe you going for the cross upgrade Guy. Extra expense for the same image quality but with a nice screen. P40+ to IQ160 I understand but considering your going to get the same IQ seems from the upgrade seems like a needless expense to me.

    You sure your thinking with your head on this purchase.

  36. #36
    Member Ebe's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    He might be looking at his check book, like me.

  37. #37
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Oh it's a checkbook issue no doubt about. I want the 160 for sure. But 18k right now is just not in the cards unless I sold something major to do it. Already sold the kids off. LOL

    My body parts ain't worth crap any more either. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  38. #38
    jeffacme
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    Re: Arca Cube Vs Z1?

    Quote Originally Posted by cng View Post
    LOL, you guys make the 405 head (or any non-Arca head for that matter) sound as if they're made of papier mâché and would crumble at a single touch.
    Shot with a 405 and 410 for many years and now use the cube. The Manfrotto heads are excellent but do have drawbacks.

    They are both larger and heavier. They lack stability when fully loaded and are prone to loosening with extended heavy use. So the user must send them in for service or pop the cover off the pan mechanism and tighten it themselves.

    The QR system is fine if you only use a single bottom plate. If one ventures into L plates or an Arca camera with a rail you need a dovetail clamp added to the plate which increases size, weight, cost, and reduces stability.

    I did recover nearly half of my original investment when I sold the 405 and 410 but have noticed that even older versions of the cube go for at least 70% of original cost when sold used.

    I feel the C1 is far more flexible and precise.

    As to the Z1 I did switch to the Arca P0 and really like it as a much lighter, compact, but still excellent alternative to the Z1.

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