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Thread: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

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    Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Finally succumb to the temptation of going the cube way , especially now that I enjoy doing more multi-row panos. I have done my due diligent of going through the obscene amount of posts here on the Arca Cube and its "cheaper" sibling D4. It was the D4 that got me excited about the prospect of having a hybrid of geared/ball in one. But the more I read and looked at my current pano set-up, the cube shape would make more sense to dampen any possible source of vibration. So I was so sure that the Cube would be my next big thing until... this little bugger Linhof Cube.

    It is a tiny bit heavier than the D4, a tiny bit more expensive than the D4. But it has arguably the nicest/smoothest gear action, more precise control and just as beautiful as the Arca Cube. And I'm all anal about smooth action; just for reference, I found the focus feel on the Voigtlander 35/1.2 and 50/1.1 all rubbish and jerky.

    What stopped me from ordering it right away is the limited tilt range. On that rare occasion that I want to use it as a wedge for astro shot, 12 degrees would not cut it. But I would say, that might be about 5% of what I usually shoot.

    So I would appreciate you guys feedback on this and nudge me into the right direction. Much appreciated

    By the way, this is my previous, world's smallest/lightest geared head, Contessa Nettle Duotar



    Edit: Can anyone comment on the accuracy of the Linhof bubble level? I am under the impression that the Arca one is not very precise. I do carry a pocket digital leveler with me, but one less item is always better for a long hike.

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Interesting find, it looks smaller than the Arca Cube. Going to see if I can't find more information on it.

    Regarding the level - just me however I don't worry about leveling until after I have my WRS on board then I use the Cambo levels. Might not work for most however it works for me. I also use the onboard level with the IQ when I really really need to be level.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Just checked B&H and found the Linhof listed at $2069.95 vs $1699 for the Arca Swiss Cube. I haven't checked the specs on both however it looks like the Linhof is slightly smaller. Wait - I just did a quick double check on weights, the Linhof is listed at 2.17 pounds without the adaptor plate to the Cube at 2.3 pounds. Looking more like once again the Cube wins out.....
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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I have both Arca and Linhof cubes but have abandoned the Linhof. It's smaller and maybe better-looking but the Linhof plates are a problem -- they come in only two sizes, neither size optimal for a tech cam. I've found the knobs to be non-intuitive and the super-fine adjustments slower to use. It seems pretty hard to better the Arca... with the Linhof you'd be sacrificing flexibility.

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I'm a happy camper with the Linhof. It's designed to level the camera and not made for creative angles (then I use a ballhead). With this in mind the movement is adequate. It is rather compact in size, smooth movements and ok in weight.
    The single thing where I could see an improvement is the smallish knobs/screwsize. I would prefer slightly bigger ones so it tightens up easier.
    All in all a great head
    Alpa FPS • MAX • TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 • Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Am very happy with the Linhof. I use all RRS plates without a problem. Its a bit heavy, as noted above, but it works very well. THe knobs are a bit small, but more importantly, you don't want to pull on the knob to tighten its fitting ontop of the tripod (not that it would be a good idea even with bigger knobs). BTW, cost much less than the price listed above. See Linhof & Studio (Paula).

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Just for curiosity sake I went back into B&H to check the specs out again.

    "Linhof 3D" (I've never seen let alone touched this guy)

    B&H Price - $2,069.95
    Load Capacity - 22 lbs (10kg)
    Height - w/o adapter plate - 3.49" (88.8 mm)
    with adaptor plate - 3.73" (94.8 mm)
    Weight - w/o adaptor plate - 2.17 lbs (985 g)
    with adaptor plate - 2.31 lbs (1048 g)
    Adaptor plate with centered 3/8 screw (plate with 1/4" screw available separately)

    There's also a head with dovetail track available listed for $2,159.95 which is the one that I feel is closer to the Arca Cube; appears no adaptor plate is necessary.


    Arca Cube (I've owed mine now for about 5 years)

    B&H Price - $1,699 (free shipping within the US)
    Load Capacity - large format up to 8x10
    Height - 4.25 (108mm)
    Weight - 2.03 lbs (925 g)

    I also double checked the Arca D4 lineup just for kicks and gags...

    (I've owned and used both the geared and non-geared versions of the D4 in hope of finding a head that was lighter yet gave me the same level of confidence as the Cube; sadly neither did and I no longer own them.)

    B&H Price - $1,142 (geared) classic $767 for the manual
    Height - 4.3" (11 cm) (same geared or manual)
    Weight - 31.9 oz (905 g) (same geared or manual)

    While I wouldn't mind trying out the Linhof I don't see it replacing the Arca Cube.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Thank you all for the input.

    @David: I guess you're talking about the Quickfix release. They have the Dovetail/Arca QR now. Definitely the lesser flexibility of the Linhof seems to crop up from time to time. Would you elaborate on the non-intuitiveness of the knobs? Is it because the knob positioned in the same direction of the moving plate instead of perpendicular to as the Arca? Also do you feel that the Linhof is significantly lighter? Greatly appreciate your perspective.

    @Geoff and Dan: Would either of you mind weighing the Linhof head, especially if you have the Dovetail version? The official weight is definitely not consistent. The brochure said it is 1010g while on Linhofstudio they said it's around 850g. Thank you.

    @Don: It was you that got me interested in the D4 and eventually disinterested in the D4 (and also all the talk about torque and CoG).

    For future cube (any variation of) owner, indeed you can get a much cheaper (around $1350 shipped to the US for both versions) Linhof from Paula at Linhofstudio. I have been trading emails with her the past couple of days and it is a pleasant exchange. If I go the Linhof way, I would no doubt recommend her store.

    Only if I can rent both and try them out myself... A HyperCube war

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I'd like to see a side by side "head to head" of these 2
    Don Libby
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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Aha! I was unaware that an Arca-compatible plate can be used with the Linhof cube. Yes, I have the model with the QuickFix release, I believe the equivalent model to the one marketed by Alpa:

    ALPA of Switzerland - Manufacturers of remarkable cameras - ALPA/Linhof 3D Micro levelling head

    The head I have is smaller but nevertheless very slightly heavier than the Arca. And you're right, one reason I prefer the Arca is that the direction the knob is turned to level the head horizontally from side to side is intuitive because it's just rotated in the direction you'd like the levelling bubble to move. Easy and quick.

    For me, when composing a photo the side-to-side levelling isn't used as much as the vertical tilt. With the Linhof, counterclockwise rotation of the tilt knob is equivalent to rise, and I continually found myself turning it the wrong way. This rise/fall adjustment must be done with the knob on the front or back of the Linhof rather than with one of the knobs on the side. IMO, not handy - the camera body or lens often interfered with access to the knob.

    The Arca has knobs on each side of the head for each adjustment direction rather than just on the one side. I use this feature a lot.

    Also the thread pitch on the Linhof is annoyingly fine, requiring about twice the amount of knob rotation to adjust composition to the way I'd like it to be.

    Hope this helps,
    David
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I have the Linhof and tried the Cube. Kept the Linhof.
    Get the earlier version I (without the quickfix), so you can use arca plates which will help since they come in different shapes and sizes, and are cheaper. You should be able to grab one used for around $1000.

    The limit to tilt is not important to me. With a Tech cam if you need more than 30 degrees then there probably would be a better way to set up the shot. The cube can tilt to perpendicular but that'll require a much bigger tripod to keep it steady. (in that case, get the Manfroto 405, cheap, and super easy to use, also geared movement)

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    David, that's extremely helpful. I can imagine myself fiddling with the Linhof knobs as well. I don't think anyone brought this up before. Something to mull over until I decide which head I want to go with.

    @mmbma: Would you elaborate more on which features you like more on the Linhof? Or what you didn't like about the Cube. Thank you.

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    THe cube is bigger and heavier, and when I bought them, $600 bucks more expensive than the Linhof. (if the new linhof is more than the Cube now then obviously that point is moot).

    They are equally well built, linhof might even have a slight edge. The knobs are slightly smaller but I have no issues with them with my above average sized hands. I never found myself needing more than 30 degree tilt.

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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I personally like the size of the knobs on the Cube; easier to use when hands are sweaty or when I have gloves on and shooting below zero. Actually that's one of the first things I look at whenever I look at new gear - how is it going to fit into the environment I find myself shooting in. I've never gone for the "one size fits everything" however the Cube is very close to fitting that for me.
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    The Cube: "No matter how big and clumsy you are, it still works!"
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    The Cube: "No matter how big and clumsy you are, it still works!"
    Hey - I resemble that remark
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    one of my cube complaints is the small knobs; typically i turn both knobs for an axis to get sufficient grip. knob size being limited by the clearance around the gear track. as i recall the Clam offered a larger, loose "knob" with an allen drive?

    other cube complaint is the crappy levels; out of whack and imprecise

    still like it

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    Member Chris Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    I love my Arca Cube. Personally, I've always found Linhof's camera designs to be counterintuitive and don't even look at their products anymore. Being able to tilt the Cube perpendicular has been a godsend, especially for architecture (doing up and down shots). I also use it on film shoots with a fairly heavy camera on jibs and sliders. Awesome.


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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Quote Originally Posted by David Duffin View Post
    ...one reason I prefer the Arca is that the direction the knob is turned to level the head horizontally from side to side is intuitive because it's just rotated in the direction you'd like the levelling bubble to move.

    Also the thread pitch on the Linhof is annoyingly fine...
    Totally agree. I tried the Linhof but ultimately returned it for exactly the reasons quoted above. Cube for me.
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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Arca vs. Linhof "Cubes"

    Quote Originally Posted by hiepphotog View Post
    @Geoff and Dan: Would either of you mind weighing the Linhof head, especially if you have the Dovetail version? The official weight is definitely not consistent. The brochure said it is 1010g while on Linhofstudio they said it's around 850g. Thank you.
    Sorry, took a while but I had to go out and buy a scale………..

    Alpa FPS • MAX • TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 • Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com
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