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Thread: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

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    Talking Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Took delivery of my Cube yesterday and posting this during a lunch break following a mornings shoot.

    ...... why has it taken me so long to find you??

    Its hard to quantify what makes it so good to someone whos never touched or used one (I was never convinced all these years) but as soon as you do you quickly realise.

    I thought I'd miss geared pan off my 405 but its not needed as the pan on the Cube is so silky and easy to lock down. Forget the price, as far as I'm concerned no other head comes close.
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    In five years working with customers on selecting, purchasing, and learning many brands of very finely made equipment, I have never found another item which is met so consistently with absolute love after purchase.

    For clarity, I'm the first one to point out to someone that it is an incredibly expensive still-photography tripod head. For many (most) people it's crazy to spend that much money on a head (as compared to putting that money into lenses, bodies, travel, beer, family, etc).

    But for architectural, interior, landscape, product, and still life photographers that can afford it, an Arca Swiss Cube is the tripod head.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Senior Member RVB's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Took delivery of my Cube yesterday and posting this during a lunch break following a mornings shoot.

    ...... why has it taken me so long to find you??

    Its hard to quantify what makes it so good to someone whos never touched or used one (I was never convinced all these years) but as soon as you do you quickly realise.

    I thought I'd miss geared pan off my 405 but its not needed as the pan on the Cube is so silky and easy to lock down. Forget the price, as far as I'm concerned no other head comes close.
    I broke out the plastic for one two years ago,one of the best purchases I have made.. superb quality and excellent to use... enjoy it..

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I just thought a tripod head is probably the most used piece of equipment (without realising it) we own so why not spend on it. I have lenses I rarely use that I paid a lot more for and in the grand scheme of things that made the Cube an easier decision.

    Just a bit shocked how a humble tripod head can be this good to use. Sure makes working with the Rm3di easier. The sun is shining in the right places on the buildings I'm photographing and the head is a joy to use..... I'm one happy Arca customer today.

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Is it still not possible to replace the clamp with a RRS clamp?

    Peter

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    +1 Gareth. I practically sleep with mine I love it so much. It's not just that it does its job so utterly gorgeously but it feels so damned good, like a craftsman's tool, and that makes me feel like the process is more of a craft.

    Only thing to watch: you can't trust the spirit levels on all of them.
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I really don't see the need to swap the quickset.

    I got the classic quickset clamp version and unlike what I've read the chuck adjustment screw is captive and doesn't fall out if slackened too much. Perfect setup IMO as it locks down very tight and couldn't be happier.

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    Senior Member RVB's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pemihan View Post
    Is it still not possible to replace the clamp with a RRS clamp?

    Peter
    With RRS clamp..

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Only thing to watch: you can't trust the spirit levels on all of them.
    Thanks Tim.

    Levels look pretty good but we'll see when I get back tonight on the big screen.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Arca classic clamp.
    Last edited by gazwas; 4th June 2013 at 13:02.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    WE TOLD YOU SO YEARS AGO!

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I know it was possible before but I have read that not so anymore...
    Your setup is exactly what I'm aiming at :-)

    Peter

    Quote Originally Posted by RVB View Post
    With RRS clamp..

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Peter, I think I see red gunk on the screw that holds the clamp to the head so probably locktite but there really is no need to worry about changing it. Not sure what the RSS could offer over the Arca to warrant a change?

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I read that Arca improved the clamp compared to the older models, so maybe no need to change it now...

    Peter
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    When changing the newer heads you'll need to be prepared to heat the area around the mounting bolt a lot in order to loosen the lock tight; this isn't a problem with the older heads from a couple years ago. (A hairdryer won't work - it needs to be a heat gun.) I had no problem with my Cube however I did when attempting to change out the D4.

    The only thing I've owned longer than my Cube is my WRS by just a couple months.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Imagine what Ansel Adams could've accomplished if he had a Cube.
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Imagine what Ansel Adams could've accomplished if he had a Cube.
    He might have rivalled Pablo Picasso as a master of geometry.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    issues I have with the cube: (I can still love it)

    levels suck
    O-rings on the knobs seem to disappear
    knobs are too small (clearance to body of cube does this)
    same for pan lock levers
    I use the RRS screw clamp
    i get a bit of excessive looseness at the bottom panning joint until I tighten the lock lever. (haven't been able to solve this yet)
    it identifies me as a GETdpi member

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    In five years working with customers on selecting, purchasing, and learning many brands of very finely made equipment, I have never found another item which is met so consistently with absolute love after purchase.

    For clarity, I'm the first one to point out to someone that it is an incredibly expensive still-photography tripod head. For many (most) people it's crazy to spend that much money on a head (as compared to putting that money into lenses, bodies, travel, beer, family, etc).

    But for architectural, interior, landscape, product, and still life photographers that can afford it, an Arca Swiss Cube is the tripod head.
    after 2 years almost only shooting with my tech cam last year I've used the Contax somewhat more often. Since I really enjoy to use the leveling base for the Cambo WRS I was a bit annoyed by the handling of my tripod heads I could chose from to shoot the Contax. And so I decided to invest in a new tripod head. Of course I've looked at the Cube (again) ... but finally decided to go with the Arca D4 (the geared model). It was absolutely not a question of price (also the D4 is not exactly a steal)... but I am finding the handling and the "feel" of the D4 much better. In fact I prefer the large knobs on the D4.
    And BTW the levels are accurate ...
    Of course I am not saying you are wrong... but IMO there are at least 2 tripod heads for "architectural, interior, landscape, product, and still life photographers" ;-)

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    issues I have with the cube: (I can still love it)

    levels suck
    O-rings on the knobs seem to disappear
    knobs are too small (clearance to body of cube does this)
    same for pan lock levers
    I use the RRS screw clamp
    i get a bit of excessive looseness at the bottom panning joint until I tighten the lock lever. (haven't been able to solve this yet)
    it identifies me as a GETdpi member
    you might be a candidate for a photoclam multiflex:
    - no o-rings to loose
    - there are add on knobs that are removable should they get in the way
    - levels are better, but still not 100%
    - rrs clamp fits easily
    - they have a website (sort of)
    - service is exceptional (they repaired mine for free three years after purchase within 4 days sent to korea and back to germany)

    you have to make good with your conscience, whether you want invest in a copycat product, though.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Of course I am not saying you are wrong... but IMO there are at least 2 tripod heads for "architectural, interior, landscape, product, and still life photographers" ;-)
    Blasphemy!
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    ... but IMO there are at least 2 tripod heads for "architectural, interior, landscape, product, and still life photographers" ;-)
    Thomas, I so very nearly went for the D4 as it looks a wonderful head and up until very recently was always going to be the head I would purchase. That was until I discovered such things as L-brackets (totally overlooked their existence? ) which overcomes the weird offset portrait shooting on the Cube with my Canons. I'd still like to try the D4 but the sole thing that put me off in the end was the release knobs that send the head floppy for quick adjustments. While they seem like a great idea I just know I'd be clumsy and forget to tighten one while out on a shoot and my camera would end up on the floor.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Gareth, I tried both D4's and as good as they are they still don't beat the Cube and that's why I sold them and still have the Cube I bought back in 2009.
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    To my eyes the levels look spot on. In fact I'd say they are the most accurate levels I've experienced on any tripod head or camera I've ever used.

    Can this head impress me any more!!


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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    The cube is one of the rare , really professional items that came out the last years. We used it for most of the HCam demo stuff and have initiated several of our customers to buy one.
    The 17mm TS-E is probably impossible (or really painful) to get straigt without it, nearly the same is valid for the 24mm TS-E.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I think hardest thing to overcome is the initial price (shock). But once you see how easy the Cube makes photography, the shock becomes more of a realization of a long-term investment. RRS clamp, AS Clamp? Doesn't matter. Both work well; it's really a matter of personal preference.

    The D4 doesn't really count as being much different from the Cube, since she is a lighter cousin of the Cube. (yes, Thomas, I see you as still being related to the Cube love-fest ) I'd love to have one (in addition to the Cube) but would prefer the profile of the D4 to be slimmer yet. I love the RRS tripod quick release dovetail plates which makes it so easy to swap out different tripod heads.

    ken
    Last edited by kdphotography; 4th June 2013 at 15:44.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I hardest thing to overcome is the initial price (shock). But once you see how easy the Cube makes photography, the shock becomes more of a realization of a long-term investment.
    Just knowing I can trust the levels has saved me hours of checking and making slight keystone corrections as I was constantly doing with the 405. That alone has more than made up for any money paid.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    i haven't gotten around to it, but has anyone compared the cube bubble level accuracy/sensitivity to the IQ back built-in levels?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Gareth, you are lucky - a number of people have levels that are slightly off (mine included) - not by a lot but as you know, any miss means a later correction. I think it comes down to how accurately the levels themselves are glued into place because clearly a lot of them are good. All that said, when levelling really matters I use the one built into my IQ... and I'm not even sure that that is 100%. In any event, for so many shots where levelling matters, the really tricky part is getting the camera square to the subject and ain't no level can do that...

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    In any event, for so many shots where levelling matters, the really tricky part is getting the camera square to the subject and ain't no level can do that...
    Indeed that is very difficult - trial and error is my only way currently. I was thinking a solution might be a Disto to measure each side of the camera to see if its square. Has your Disto arrived yet and if so what do you think so far?

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i haven't gotten around to it, but has anyone compared the cube bubble level accuracy/sensitivity to the IQ back built-in levels?
    Yes, Jim, I have. Neither was completely accurate! However, as I live on the shore of Georgian Bay, I have a truly flat horizon in front of me. As the levelling tool on the IQ180 is adjustable I was able to get it 100% accurate.

    I find the bubbles on the Cube (sorry, The Cube) very good as a starting point but they are often too high, with the camera at eye level, for me to see without a parallax error. So I use them to "rough in" then fine tune with the IQ180.

    Long live The Cube!

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    if i get a minute! i'll haul out the precision level (.005"/ft) and set up some tests tomorrow

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Indeed that is very difficult - trial and error is my only way currently. I was thinking a solution might be a Disto to measure each side of the camera to see if its square. Has your Disto arrived yet and if so what do you think so far?
    We use this sometimes in Art Reproduction in situ. It works brilliantly. In fact once you do it a few times you can get it in <3 total measurements (in theory the difference between the two legs of the tripod tell you exactly how far to moe the camera practicality and measurement error often require a second move followed by a third set of measurements to confirm.

    By far the most precise way to measure "squareness" at a distance assuming the object itself is in a plane.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i haven't gotten around to it, but has anyone compared the cube bubble level accuracy/sensitivity to the IQ back built-in levels?
    Yes, I have. The level in the IQ is ok but you need a good reference for it and set it once. My shooting with the IQ / Cube follows the same workflow as Bill - approximate set using the Cube levels and then fine tune using the IQ settings.

    When we visited RRS location I had them check and set my IQ 160 and also check my Alpa levels on their reference tables. The Alpa was perfect. The IQ was set to match and so these agree with each other and I can trust them.

    The levels on my Cube were obviously mounted between gaulois smoke breaks using ready reckoning because it doesn't match either. It's not wildly off but it's off enough to not be accurate. It's the one thing that I really wish Arca would pay more attention to.

    That foible aside, I have absolutely loved my Cube from the very first day I got it. It was insanely expensive but when I consider how much I use it and how much better it makes my shooting experience I think that it has been worth every single penny. It is a long term investment that genuinely does what people said it would. That said, it's totally inappropriate for action, wildlife, or other scenarios where you need the versatility of a ball head. However, it never claims to be the tool for that job.

    As much as I love using my Cube I can't justify getting a second one for my other tripod when I'm shooting two systems side by side. At least, not yet thankfully

    Btw Gareth you need to look after your new Cube as if it's your favourite prime lens. Always cover it when it's in the boot of the car (I have a neoprene lens pouch that fits mine) and whenever you travel. I remove mine and put it in my luggage inside a ThinkTank padded lens pouch so that it arrives in one piece.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    for squareness shooting flat art, i use a reflective glass across the lens front and a little laser enlarger aligner on the art. line up the reflecting dots

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    for squareness shooting flat art, i use a reflective glass across the lens front and a little laser enlarger aligner on the art. line up the reflecting dots
    You're thinking like a physicist!

    Ray

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I really shouldn't be reading this thread. Which level of Dante's Inferno is this?

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I've heard that the Cube is just sensational with the Pentax 645D...

    jus' sayin'.....


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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I've heard that the Cube is just sensational with the Pentax 645D...

    jus' sayin'.....

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I waited 5 years for a used cube to come on the market at a "reasonable" price. This year it happened for me and I couldn't be happier. When people find out how much I paid I literally see the fire of hell ignite in their eyes. My nitpicks..my tension adjustments seem to do very little if anything? they're basically on and off switches. ....and I love the flip clamp.. it works wonders for me despite everyone's hate on it.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Only thing to watch: you can't trust the spirit levels on all of them.
    I've had a Cube for a few years and love it. I couldn't imagine life without it. However, I agree - the spirit levels are terrible.

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Had you considered the Linhof 3D Micro before buying the Arca? Had you compared them? Or did you say "Arca-camera = Arca-cube!"

    I don't know why, but I saw them both and today, if I would buy one, I would prefer the Linhof. Can't explain excatly why - perhaps of the price...? ... perhaps because it's easier to find informations about the Linhof ( they have at least a website... ).

    Perhaps you can help me? For me it's not very urgent - but I would buy one of them 'the next time'.

    And don't forget: congratulations! It seems, that it's a very well tool and it works perfect. Nice, perfect picture you have shown!
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I've looked at and used the Linhof a few times myself plus tried a couple of friend's Linhofs. I think it is an excellent head and definitely a Cube alternative. I like the smaller size and I doubt that I'd miss the ability to shift it out to 45 degrees to then adjust for verticals which I can do with the Cube. I do use this on the Cube at times when I need to shoot verticals with a body without L adapter or at a steep upwards angle. The build quality of the Linhof, at least over the very short times that I've used it, seems to be exquisite.

    I'd definitely consider one today and may do so for a smaller travel solution. It's certainly smaller and lighter which can be more appropriate when using smaller travel gear such as my Fujis and XPan. Don't misunderstand me though as it seems as every bit as good for larger gear but is just smaller.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I doubt that I'd miss the ability to shift it out to 45 degrees to then adjust for verticals which I can do with the Cube. I do use this on the Cube at times when I need to shoot verticals with a body without L adapter or at a steep upwards angle.
    There is a special L-adapter for the Linhof head shown on page 4 of the following pdf:

    http://www.linhofstudio.com/products...ROBROCHURE.pdf

    If I was thinking about a Cube today, I'd probably go for the Linhof. I use the Cube's 45 degree from time to time but it's hardly as vibration free as I'd like it to be. I suppose in this situation the Linhof L-adapter is a far better solution.

    Chris

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    i agree! can't imagine how anyone could resist to love this wonderful peace of mechanic.

    bubbles are slightly of in one direction at least a littlebit different to the ones on my rm3di. but can't say if the camera levels are 100% accurate.

    it's all relative. i purchased mine together with the rm3di, sk43, hr-s28, rotaslide and viewer, so the costs for the cube where infinitesimal
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    I only realized what I was missing until I purchased this year.

    Now I want to replace AS clamp with RRS clamp since my DF & Canon 5D MKIII has RRS L Plate.

    How can I modify the Arca Swiss RM3Di to mount on RRS, as RRS clamp are slightly wider than Arca?

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    Member weinlamm's Avatar
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    There is a special L-adapter for the Linhof head shown on page 4 of the following pdf:

    http://www.linhofstudio.com/products...ROBROCHURE.pdf
    But one note for this:
    Linhof has a Angled device for the 3D Micro - but only if you use Linhof Quickfix. I want to have the 3D Micro with Arca clamp - and with this you can't use this ( or need additional adapter ).
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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Indeed that is very difficult - trial and error is my only way currently. I was thinking a solution might be a Disto to measure each side of the camera to see if its square. Has your Disto arrived yet and if so what do you think so far?
    Hi Gareth - I have thought the same thing but it will be very fiddly I think, though I will try it and report back.

    I love the disto, it is a marvel. But (you know me) it's not quite useful enough in that it really tops out when used outside in sunlight at a lot less than 100 metres, with the exact distance depending on whether you use tripod and on the sort of surface. However, with the Rodie 40 it is enough. We're I to get a 90, 120 or 150 though, I would need something that does longer like one of the Nikons...

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    'Just received a Manfrotto 405 head (bd present!), in what an arca-cube is "better": More compact? precise? lighter?

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    Re: Arca Swiss Cube........ OMG!!

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I've looked at and used the Linhof a few times myself plus tried a couple of friend's Linhofs. I think it is an excellent head and definitely a Cube alternative. I like the smaller size and I doubt that I'd miss the ability to shift it out to 45 degrees to then adjust for verticals which I can do with the Cube. I do use this on the Cube at times when I need to shoot verticals with a body without L adapter or at a steep upwards angle. The build quality of the Linhof, at least over the very short times that I've used it, seems to be exquisite.

    I'd definitely consider one today and may do so for a smaller travel solution. It's certainly smaller and lighter which can be more appropriate when using smaller travel gear such as my Fujis and XPan. Don't misunderstand me though as it seems as every bit as good for larger gear but is just smaller.
    Not to interfere with the Cube love-fest, but only to share: I'm using the Linhof 3d, as the Cube seemed a bit over-the-top. A bit of savings, a smaller size, a bit simpler. And like our cube-friends, couldn't be happier. Its the most exciting addition to the photo kit in years: instant levelling, pleasurable to use, and just gives you a kick every time. There is something sublime about having all those fiddly issues of levelling resolved so easily. Most of my shooting is done without angling, so this works out well.

    Nits? the knobs are a bit exposed, and one of the more critical ones (bottom pan or lock) is quite small, and can be subject to some bending if not careful. The adjustable lock for the top plate mounting works well, panning on the top and bottom good, and the feel of the gear mechanism is very nice.

    If I had to make a choice of the Linhof or the camera, I'd probably choose the Linhof, although it probably doesn't take very good pictures.
    Last edited by Geoff; 5th June 2013 at 04:24.
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