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Thread: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

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    Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Hi all,
    After many months of deliberation, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to buy an Arca D4 geared head (if I can find one!)...
    Anyway, I'm wondering which fitting people here opt for and the pros and cons of either the flip lock or classic fitting. I understand that they both accommodate the standard Arca plates, but which one is more convenient to use in practice? I've used the classic in the past, and I guess it comes down to wether or not you can be bothered manually tightening the lock? Is the flip lock mechanism easy to operate in a hurry and does it have a safety lock? I'm going to use it with my Linhof Techno and Technorama cameras.
    Thanks in advance!
    TJV

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Hi all,
    After many months of deliberation, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to buy an Arca D4 geared head (if I can find one!)...
    Anyway, I'm wondering which fitting people here opt for and the pros and cons of either the flip lock or classic fitting. I understand that they both accommodate the standard Arca plates, but which one is more convenient to use in practice? I've used the classic in the past, and I guess it comes down to wether or not you can be bothered manually tightening the lock? Is the flip lock mechanism easy to operate in a hurry and does it have a safety lock? I'm going to use it with my Linhof Techno and Technorama cameras.
    Thanks in advance!
    TJV
    The Classic knob is the most versatile, especially if you have mixed plates. If your plates are all the same brand the flip lock can be a bit quicker once you see how it works. But if you have mixed plates it may need adjustment as other manufacturers, while making 'Arca-Swiss style', QR's, choose to change the width of their plates and so adjustment may required for some plates with the fliplock. So my choice is classic type.
    As the knob is now captive, you won't have any knobs coming undone and lost in the back seat or trunk either.
    You will also have the choice of our new, smaller, monobalfix plates, should you so choose.
    Hope this helps,
    Rod
    US Representative, Arca-Swiss International
    R-Line Technical Cameras, Large Format View Cameras, Tripod Heads D4, D4m, P1, P0, Z1, Z2, C1 Cube.
    http://www.rodklukas.com/arca-swiss 480-755-3364
    Instagram @arcaswissusa Facebook @arcaswissusa
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Awesome, thanks Rod!
    Classic it is, I reckon.
    TJV

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I've used both the classic and fliplock and I really liked them both and don't understand the issue many have with the fliplock. The P1 with fliplock I had for a while was great and easy to adjust the chuck tension however I much prefer the standard classic version.

    As Rod said, the classic will take many different manufacturers size Arca style plates and will lock as tight as your fingers allow. For me turning the screw on the classic is about as quick release as any other quick released that usually have two stage actions so I never understood any benefit to anything else.

    I have the classic on my Cube and liked it enough to order the classic on my Z1g+ that just arrived on Friday.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I use the D4 geared with the arca flip lock head. So long as you have some semblance of finger nails it's a very secure locking clamp and you get used to the slightly fiddly but safe locking mechanism.

    If there's a complaint about the D4 it's that the release for the base can interfere with the top plate of the tripod.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Looking at screen shots of the D4, the bottom pan knob looks like it might get blocked by the top plate of the tripod as Graham mentioned.

    Anyone using this with a RRS style 3 leg large tripod, or Gitzo Series 3? Both of them have about the same diameter tops.

    Thanks
    Paul
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I use the flip lock. Twice I almost lost a whole system off a tripod with a RRS pano clamp. So never will I use a screw clamp again. I just try and use the same brand plates for different cams.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I have the Arca-Swiss D4 with classic screw clamp which I use with my Linhof Techno. My original intention was to replace it with a RRS flip-lock clamp, so I bought the classic because it was the cheapest (you couldn't buy without clamp) but that was before I knew Arca had replaced their loctite with a new one which is near impossible to remove. It's probably possible to remove if you got professional heating equipment and skill but it's not as easy as it was before.

    Of course disappointed that Arca had removed the possibility of user customization, but anyhow I ended up getting used to the classic clamp. I had a screw clamp on my previous head too, and actually I don't really see much use of a quick lock for this type of camera. It takes about 3 seconds to tighten, and seen to the workflow as a whole reducing that's not bad. The thing is that you don't loosen the clamp more than you need to remove the camera (you tilt it to the side the same time as you unscrew so it pops out just when open wide enough), and then it takes very few turns to tighten it again. Quick lock will probably save you only 1 or 2 seconds, if even that.

    The strong points of the screw clamp is that you get more pressure than flip locks, and that it's not sensitive on the exact plate size so you can use third-party plates without issues. It's also more easily operated with gloves which is a plus for me that shoot in cold weather during winter.

    If I would buy again I would get the classic clamp again. None of Arca's clamps have the same good look and feel of the competitors like RRS. Arcas are smaller and look a bit cluttered, but anyway it's not much one can do as these are more or less permanently fastened these days. And then I prefer the classic clamp. If I could get one of those huge flip lock clamps like RRS I might have got that one instead, but I kind of like the screw clamp.

    The D4 head itself is great and works nicely with the Techno, despite the Techno is one of the heavier tech cams out there (at least when the sliding back is attached). If used to locked gear heads one have to get used to the unlocking knobs which can feel bit insecure, I actually did a classic finger squeeze the first day with the D4 (ouch!). Not used to ball heads or anything like that I thought those locking knobs would sit securely if just casually tightened, but of course one needs to tighten them hard. Learning the hard way I know always tighten them hard and have never had problem since. Actually it's quite nice to be able to unlock when working with vertical positions or other extreme angles which I sometimes do. When working in extreme angles the pano needs to be tightened hard too as otherwise the camera may turn.

    About losing the system off the head with a screw clamp, I have no worries. You should make sure that your plate has pegs just as the clamp so that it cannot slide off when loosened, that's an important feature. What then happens if you have your head tilted and you by confusion loosen the clamp instead of say the pano it will slide and stop against the pegs, or more likely it will stop earlier due to the camera tilts and creates friction. I have actually tried this. One disadvantage of the screw clamp is that you have screwing motion both on the clamp and on the top pano, to very different screw motions though but still my brain sent my hand to the wrong knob when I had my eyes on the ground glass of my tilted camera and then I unscrewed the clamp instead of the pano. I became a bit surprised when the camera slided a few centimeters, but there was no risk of falling off due to the pegs. It had stopped due to friction before the safety pegs was used though.

    With the Techno I use a really long plate with two screw fastenings, I recommend that.
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    If there's a complaint about the D4 it's that the release for the base can interfere with the top plate of the tripod.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Looking at screen shots of the D4, the bottom pan knob looks like it might get blocked by the top plate of the tripod as Graham mentioned.

    Anyone using this with a RRS style 3 leg large tripod, or Gitzo Series 3? Both of them have about the same diameter tops.
    This came to light when the new Gitzo (triangular tops) Systematics were released as I think I started a thread on it after reading a review I found online but it was all over exaggerated by the original source IMO.

    The D4 has an almost identical bottom as the Cube and pretty much all Arca heads have the base pan in a very similar position. What the clever clogs at Arca have done is design the base pan knob to operate anticlockwise so at 11 o'clock its locked and an anticlockwise turn to 9 o'clock unlocks meaning at no time does the knob get blocked by the top plate of the tripod and prevent locking or unlocking.

    I use my Arca heads on the new triangular style series 3 and 5 Gitzo Systematics and never had an issue with them blocking the pan.
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Same here, I have Gitzo systematic tripod with the huge platform, and the bottom pan is no problem. You can turn the knob into a position so it does block, but you don't need to. When locked tight it's out of the way, and when open it's also out of the way. If you open it up more than you need you can make the knob point down and block rotation but as said you don't need to. I'm assuming that when the Arca heads are mounted they make sure that the bottom pan knob is put in a position so it can be locked and unlocked without pointing the knob downwards.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Thanks for all your help, guys!
    Good advise from all re. the pros and cons of each head. I'm still a bit undecided, but the classic lock seems to be swaying me.
    In terms of plates, which ones do people here use? I see Arca make them in different sizes and configurations, and Torger has mentioned he uses the longer plate with his Techno, which I think I'll go for too.

    Serie classic + Flip-lock

    Torger: Which plate are you using with your Techno? The 150mm long plate? I'd like to get one that I can screw to the camera permanently, and the duel, variable position screws on this look great. Camera plate long, 150mm, 2x 1/4, variabel

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Thanks for all your help, guys!
    Torger: Which plate are you using with your Techno? The 150mm long plate? I'd like to get one that I can screw to the camera permanently, and the duel, variable position screws on this look great. Camera plate long, 150mm, 2x 1/4, variabel
    I got it with the camera when I bought it second hand, so I don't know exactly which it is. It's an RRS plate though, not Arca-Swiss. It looks very similar to that Arca-Swiss one though, and you have the measurements there so if it fits the Techno's screw hole (which I think it does) it should work out perfectly.

    However there is one thing I'd like to know about that Arca plate which I can't see on the images, if it has those pegs to protect from accidental sliding off. My RRS plate has it, and I think that is something you really should have.

    Can't find anything on RRS web site, but here's an image of the "pegs", actually screws on the sides that protect the camera from accidentally sliding off: http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/zoom...tom-8BIT-1.png

    My plate is longer than that on the image.
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Thanks, Anders. Much appreciated.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I exclusively use the smaller Monoball fix Arca Swiss plates and think they are amazing. The smaller plates have the pins in the base to allow them to slide but stop when they meet pins in the chuck.

    Very low profile and holds equally as good as the larger plates. Many of the smaller plate have pins to match up with the guide holes in the base of many cameras or some sort of camera specific lip that acts as an anti-twist feature. Addidtionall I've found the range of accessories in the Monoball Fix range to be vast - from L-Brackets to Nodal point/Panoramic solutions.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I also use the new MonoBall-Fix type plates and head on my D4, no problems mounting Alpa TC and STC. I use it on a RRS 3 series tripod, there are absolutely no problems with the D4 locks interfering with the base tripod plate.

    Cheers, -Peter
    Alpa TC • STC | IQ140 | 24XL • 35XL • 120N-ASPH
    www.peterlomdahl.com
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    The only interference I've had is due to mounting the head on a RRS plate on a RRS clamp on top of my tripod. I don't think that it would be a problem with a std head mounted directly on the tripod. In my case there's a groove that the base knob can drop down into - not the std situation for other folks I would think.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    It's a long shot, but does anyone here use the D4 with a Linhof Techorama 612PCII? I'm wanting to double check that the classic head is able to be mounted to the camera when in the upside down position, with viewfinder attached in the centre accessory shoe, and still allow some movements. The Linhof 3D Micro head with Arca-Swiss attachment is too big to mount in this way, but in Linhof Quickset configuration allows some small movements.

    I actually think the Linhof 3D looks like a really sweet head, it's just a pity it's limited to 12 degree movements. I know a few people here use the Linhof and reckon it compared well with the Cube, all be it with more limited features. Do any owners of this head have anything of worth to respond to this review I found: Linhof 3D Micro Review
    Some of the details he describes with regards to build quality surprise me, particularly because my Techno is so beautifully made and finished.

    Back to the D4, does anyone know how often they come into stock? It seems that no one ever has them on the shelf or can give an eta.

    Now... Just gotta get my 2013 tax refund credited to my account and the fun can start...

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    It's a long shot, but does anyone here use the D4 with a Linhof Techorama 612PCII? I'm wanting to double check that the classic head is able to be mounted to the camera when in the upside down position, with viewfinder attached in the centre accessory shoe, and still allow some movements.
    I'm not sure what fitting is on the Linhof but could you not use one of Arcas MonoballFix Variokit plates and hang the camera infront or to the side of the tripod head?

    Alternatively you could buy a section of Arca rail that will fit directly in the classic quickset and a MonoballFix Carrier (052010) and screw you camera on to that. This will also give you some extra geared movements.

    Additionally, you could try contacing Arca direct and I'm 100% Mr Vogt will have a perfect solution......... There will always be a way!
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I actually think the Linhof 3D looks like a really sweet head, it's just a pity it's limited to 12 degree movements. I know a few people here use the Linhof and reckon it compared well with the Cube, all be it with more limited features. Do any owners of this head have anything of worth to respond to this review I found: Linhof 3D Micro Review
    Some of the details he describes with regards to build quality surprise me, particularly because my Techno is so beautifully made and finished.
    As much as I like Linhof I have my doubts about their quality assurance and attention to detail. The poor finishing of the Linhof head in that review is most certainly a bad sample, the exact same type of rubber knobs is very well finished on my Linhof Techno. There are other details that I'm not so impressed with though as I cover in my Linhof Techno review (poorly tilt scale, poorly made infinity stops and a few other issues), which does indicate that Linhof has some issues. The competition is tough from companies like Arca-Swiss and Alpa so I really hope Linhof try to improve their game as they make some truly unique products.

    It's not really acceptable that a product at this price level should have this sample variation, but well, it seems to have. What you do is that you order the gear, verify it carefully and send it back if it's not good. I'm sure that if it looks good and feels good it will be good, it's just that they let some samples slip through quality assurance that should not. Truly devastating to send one of those for a review...
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Back to the D4, does anyone know how often they come into stock? It seems that no one ever has them on the shelf or can give an eta.
    Now that is not so easy to answer as they (and all Arca's heads) are so in demand (I'm in the UK) that as soon as a shop gets stock its gets sold within a few days. Testament to them IMO and very much worth the wait.

    Robert White Photographic usually get stock regularly from Arca so might be worth contacting them. They did have a D4 Classic last week but looking at their site today its now sold.
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I actually think the Linhof 3D looks like a really sweet head, it's just a pity it's limited to 12 degree movements. I know a few people here use the Linhof and reckon it compared well with the Cube, all be it with more limited features. Do any owners of this head have anything of worth to respond to this review I found: Linhof 3D Micro Review
    Some of the details he describes with regards to build quality surprise me, particularly because my Techno is so beautifully made and finished.
    I don't know if its of worth, but would like to chip in on the review of the Linhof 3D. The facts (as presented in the review) are all correct, but IMHO the emphasis is incorrect.

    First, the Linhof is not comparable to the Cube in versatility. Its not meant to be - its a leveling head, with some modest tilt ability. The Cube is an "all angles " solution. So to ding the Linhof for what it isn't doesn't seem fair. If you need full movements, the Linhof shouldn't be on your list. If not, then its not an issue.

    Second, price. B&H has a high price on this head. Linhof & Studio has it for £800, or $1300. So its less than the Cube or at least the excessive cost issue should be off the table. Regardless, it isn't cheap to be sure.

    Build quality - I know Torger has issues with the Techno with some things that aren't quite right. For example, quality control on labels for these small volume manufacturers (Linhof, DHW, for example) seems to be a bit off, not just on the Techno but elsewhere as well. Frustrating, ridiculous, but not critical.

    On the other hand, there is a real issue on the Techno with the 0 detents for tilt and swing, as they seem a bit too generous, probably not precise enough. I suspect they would improve this but keep in mind this product is made in less than 1,000 units (probably <500), and so we pay for the "form factor" and some of these other things… well you work with them. Perhaps this isn't acceptable to some, but spend more time in the corridors of small European manufacturers and this will be more commonly seen. Not an issue with mass produced gear, but is an issue with limited production.

    On the 3D - my complaints are limited to the bottom panning knob being too small and on too small a spindle. This is the main place to turn and tighten the head on a tripod, and its just not strong enough. You can work around it, but there it is. Haven't seen much of the grease problem (wipe it off), and a bit of rubber on the knobs, well…there are exacto knives if this is a real issue. C'mon now.

    The other issue is that the darn thing is heavy. And this is a problem because of all the gear in house, this little leveler is my favorite piece of kit, and I want to take it everywhere. And can you really walk around town with it? Can you travel overseas without the ability to shoot at greater angles? Well, you can tilt the tripod, but its 2# anyway to haul around on the plane along with all the other gear… Its hard to take with everywhere, and hard to leave at home.

    Its a real treat of a device. Rock steady, love the fine gearing (steady and easy to get precise settings), and with the above caveats, its very good.
    www.gigi-photos.com
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Thanks all, very good info.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Some weight stats:

    Arca-Swiss D4: 960 grams with classic clamp
    Arca-Swiss Cube: 1100 grams (with classic clamp?)
    Linhof 3D Micro: 1074 grams with clamp
    Manfrotto 410: 1220 grams with clamp

    The differences in weight are not huge, but for me that changed from Manfrotto + Hejnar clamp + leveling head (to make it work with gitzo large base) I went from something like 1400 down to 960 grams and that was a big difference.

    I think the relatively small difference between the cubes and the D4 can still have some meaning when you carry around the tripod in your hand or attached to a backpack. A heavy head can make the balance a bit strange.

    In this thread you can find a "home-made" cube (made from ready parts):
    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...-head-%3B.html
    that weighs 750 grams, probably hard to find any lighter geared solution than that, not sure how well it carries weight though.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Some weight stats:

    Arca-Swiss D4: 960 grams with classic clamp
    Arca-Swiss Cube: 1100 grams (with classic clamp?)
    Linhof 3D Micro: 1074 grams with clamp
    Manfrotto 410: 1220 grams with clamp

    The differences in weight are not huge, but for me that changed from Manfrotto + Hejnar clamp + leveling head (to make it work with gitzo large base) I went from something like 1400 down to 960 grams and that was a big difference.

    I think the relatively small difference between the cubes and the D4 can still have some meaning when you carry around the tripod in your hand or attached to a backpack. A heavy head can make the balance a bit strange.

    In this thread you can find a "home-made" cube (made from ready parts):
    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...-head-%3B.html
    that weighs 750 grams, probably hard to find any lighter geared solution than that, not sure how well it carries weight though.
    Anders

    The selfmade Cube with 750 grams has a load capacity of around 3kg .
    That little cube has a base of 40mm and is IMO too small in comparison to the cameras we would like to mount . It is also a question of handling .

    Has anyone ever removed the ARCA fliplock from the D4 ?
    Will one need a heat gun to remove the fliplock as is described in other threads
    for the removal from the Cube ?
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Anders

    The selfmade Cube with 750 grams has a load capacity of around 3kg .
    That little cube has a base of 40mm and is IMO too small in comparison to the cameras we would like to mount . It is also a question of handling .

    Has anyone ever removed the ARCA fliplock from the D4 ?
    Will one need a heat gun to remove the fliplock as is described in other threads
    for the removal from the Cube ?

    On the D4 geared head I have which has the traditional screw clamp, the bolt is seated with some form of loc-tight. I don't think it's a easy removal.

    Paul

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Anders

    The selfmade Cube with 750 grams has a load capacity of around 3kg .
    That little cube has a base of 40mm and is IMO too small in comparison to the cameras we would like to mount . It is also a question of handling .

    Has anyone ever removed the ARCA fliplock from the D4 ?
    Will one need a heat gun to remove the fliplock as is described in other threads
    for the removal from the Cube ?
    Since those threads were written Arca-Swiss has changed the glue to a type that is very hard to remove (although probably not impossible if you have the tools, but you need very high heat, not just a heat gun this time around, rather something like heating an irod rod to glowing with a blow torch, and then apply that rod on the bolt head to heat up the bolt to really high temperature so the loc-tite will release), this counts both for newly produced Cube heads and the D4.

    So the general saying is that it's no longer user-removable, not on the D4 and not on the Cube.

    The right way to do it would probably be to contact Arca-Swiss directly and try to buy one without any clamp attached. I don't know if they will comply though.

    If I remember correctly the official story from Arca-Swiss why they made it non-user removable is that users would often damage their heads when they changed clamp, so they simply got tired it.
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  27. #27
    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    My geared D4 is 2 1/2 years old . Will my D4 be affected ?
    I would like to replace the fliplock by an RRS long lever clamp , because I have increasing arthrosis in my fingers and therefore find a long lever easier to handle.
    Regards . Jürgen .
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  28. #28
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    My geared D4 is 2 1/2 years old . Will my D4 be affected ?
    I would like to replace the fliplock by an RRS long lever clamp , because I have increasing arthrosis in my fingers and therefore find a long lever easier to handle.
    Rod K would know, probably best to ask him. I don't know when they changed glue, but I think it's quite recent, like a year ago or something. So my guess is that your D4 is old enough to make it relatively easy to replace it, you still need some form of heating though.

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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Thanks Anders

    Yes , I think Rod K is the right person . Perhaps he has a look to this thread .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Rod is the best. I would reach out to him.

    Arca-Swiss Products & Company Information


    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
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  31. #31
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I managed to remove the fliplock , but I had to use my small heat gun .
    The screw is a countersunk M6 with a hexagon socket .
    No need for further investigation . Thanks guys .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Here the ARCA D4 with an RRS dovetail at the bottom and an RRS long lever clamp on the top . Weight is 1080 grams .
    I only had to buy the RRS items . The D4 was a promotion from HASSELBLAD when I bought my second CFV digital back .

    Attachment 81165
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Here the ARCA D4 with an RRS dovetail at the bottom
    What is the purpose on the dovetail (Arca mount?) at the base of the head?

  34. #34
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    I have a big RRS long lever clamp on each of my tripods .
    So I can swap heads which have the dovetail within seconds from one tripod to the other . I have a rather big LINHOF tripod , with center column , which I never use on location , but I can easily mount the D4 or CUBE .
    I got this idea from Graham Welland , where I saw the RRS clamp combination . And of course had to get it .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Arca-Swiss D4 geared head. Which one?

    +1 for The Classic knob by Arca !
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