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Thread: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

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    Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Iíve spent most of my career on a 410, but as I run out of gear to buy, I see the D4 calling. Truly the only current reason Iím considering it, is the form factor. The 410 gets 95% of the shots done, and if it starts sticking or slipping - Getting another on eBay is dead cheap.

    But packing and traveling with the 410 is a nightmare(being hyperbolic of course). It fits well in approximately nothing, and airlines think itís a weapon if itís out of your bag.

    So Iím asking for any feedback you have on the D4, and which version you see as the best purchase. Rod Klukas is always fantastic with responding to emails, but Iíd love to hear all your unaffiliated thoughts.

    I recently picked up a p0 and am quite impressed. For context, Iím shooting on an Rm3di/XF/5d4

    Thanks

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Mansour View Post
    Iíve spent most of my career on a 410, but as I run out of gear to buy, I see the D4 calling. Truly the only current reason Iím considering it, is the form factor. The 410 gets 95% of the shots done, and if it starts sticking or slipping - Getting another on eBay is dead cheap.

    But packing and traveling with the 410 is a nightmare(being hyperbolic of course). It fits well in approximately nothing, and airlines think itís a weapon if itís out of your bag.

    So Iím asking for any feedback you have on the D4, and which version you see as the best purchase. Rod Klukas is always fantastic with responding to emails, but Iíd love to hear all your unaffiliated thoughts.

    I recently picked up a p0 and am quite impressed. For context, Iím shooting on an Rm3di/XF/5d4

    Thanks
    When I demoed the XT my dealer had it mounted in a D4 and I was impressed by its capabilities and ease of use. Iím certainly interested in hearing what other users have to say as Iíve been contemplating adding a cube to my kit, but the D4 may suit my needs just fine.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Iím not certain what kind of work you do, but I was talking to a repair specialist once upon a time who recommended the D4 over the cube if you do anything outside. He said he saw more cubes in for cleaning/service than any other item. Certainly something to consider.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mexecutioner View Post
    When I demoed the XT my dealer had it mounted in a D4 and I was impressed by its capabilities and ease of use. Iím certainly interested in hearing what other users have to say as Iíve been contemplating adding a cube to my kit, but the D4 may suit my needs just fine.
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    I have both CUBE and D4 heads. I would agree that the D4 is more robust in many ways than the CUBE and other than the vertical flip for extra movement, addresses everything I need in the field, plus you can disengage the lock for more rapid adjustments.

    A lot less susceptible to dust/gunk in the gear mechanism and lighter and smaller too. If I hadnít already had the CUBE, Iíd have bought the D4 instead vs adding it. Obviously using a Goniometer vs a multi-axis tilt head is a different experience but the end result is the same IMHO.

    Weíre talking Audi vs Mercedes Benz here, not Ford Fiesta vs Porsche.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I have both CUBE and D4 heads. I would agree that the D4 is more robust in many ways than the CUBE and other than the vertical flip for extra movement, addresses everything I need in the field, plus you can disengage the lock for more rapid adjustments.

    A lot less susceptible to dust/gunk in the gear mechanism and lighter and smaller too. If I hadnít already had the CUBE, Iíd have bought the D4 instead vs adding it. Obviously using a Goniometer vs a multi-axis tilt head is a different experience but the end result is the same IMHO.

    Weíre talking Audi vs Mercedes Benz here, not Ford Fiesta vs Porsche.
    Thanks for the information Graham, seems that the D4 is a better all-rounder and the robustness of it compared to the cube sets it ahead for filed use in dusty / dirty environments.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    The D4 is my go to gear head. Use it all the time - fast and accurate. A bit large, a bit heavy but works well. Also have a Linhof 3D, an alternate to the cube. It has finer gears, but use the D4 in the field.
    www.gigi-photos.com
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    I have the Arca-Swiss d4 with a Classic Knob Quick Release (Geared) and really like it, especially with a technical camera. For how I shoot it seemed like the best option and is what I would buy if buying again today.
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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    The D4 is my go to gear head. Use it all the time - fast and accurate. A bit large, a bit heavy but works well. Also have a Linhof 3D, an alternate to the cube. It has finer gears, but use the D4 in the field.

    What I like about the D4 is that you have 2 heads in 1 (geared and ball head), which is nice.

    I also like the Linhof (or Alpa version) of the 3D Geared Head, in fact I think of the dedicated geared heads this way:

    Cube - at the top, with the most expansive gearing, and best ability to maintain camera position when gearing (but largest/heaviest).

    Arca Swiss Cube Classic

    Linhof/Alpa 3D - very similar to Cube, finer gearing, and a bit more compact in size (less movement than Cube)

    Alpa 3D Leveler/

    Arca Swiss L60 Leveler - amazing size and density for a finely geared head (less movement than Cube)

    Arca Swiss L60 Leveler


    Some think of tripod heads as expensive, but considering that a really, really good head is something you will use for a decade or more, without the need to view new models every 18 months and agonize over the upgrade equation, IMO they're a bargain.


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    Senior Member JohnBrew's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    I used one for several years. Fantastic piece of kit. When weight became my enemy it had to go. Now using the pO.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Thanks for all the input folks, glad I can get honest feedback on the device. Interesting that 2 people have mentioned size and weight - the two things I thought would be an improvement over the 410. Lots to consider...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrew View Post
    I used one for several years. Fantastic piece of kit. When weight became my enemy it had to go. Now using the pO.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Mansour View Post
    Thanks for all the input folks, glad I can get honest feedback on the device. Interesting that 2 people have mentioned size and weight - the two things I thought would be an improvement over the 410. Lots to consider...
    I have used a d4 for years. I love it.

    I recently got that p0 hybrid ball head with the gniometer on top. Its a nice blend between weight and function.

    The d4 is 2lbs the p0 hybrid is 1lb.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Mansour View Post
    Thanks for all the input folks, glad I can get honest feedback on the device. Interesting that 2 people have mentioned size and weight - the two things I thought would be an improvement over the 410. Lots to consider...

    While it is not a small, light head, the way it is constructed makes it feel relatively compact, and it certainly packs more easily than a 410.


    Steve Hendrix/CI
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    Authorized Reseller Digital Cam: ē Phase One | Fuji | Leica | Hasselblad ē
    Authorized Reseller TechCam: ē Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar ē

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    So many choices. Another +1 as Steve mentioned for the L60 + leveling base if you use a technical camera and donít need all the extreme angles.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    The World is a book, and those that do not travel read only one page ...
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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    I have the non geared D4 but now that I'm shooting the D850 I hardly ever use a tripod. Its a good head though and I like it better than the Cube I had.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    I was using a RRS BH-55 until I saw a video of Charlie Cramer using a D4 Geared head. I was immediately a goner. When I received it I loved all of it.... EXCEPT the incredibly weird Arca-Swiss clamp. Iím sure there are advantages I never explored, but the two-tiered jaws were fiddly, and I just couldnít get used to it.

    So, after seeing a fellow on YouTube who had sent his D4 to Precision Camera in Illinois, for a clamp swap out with a RRS lever clamp, I promptly sent my brand new head to them for the conversion. (CAVEAT: Thereís lots of speculation on when Arca started-stopped using the industrial strength thread locker on their clamps. Not wanting to risk damaging the head, and too chicken to take a heat gun to my brand new head, I decided to let the pros do it. YMMV).

    I also didnít care for how ďlowĒ on the base the rotation lock lever sat on my RRS tripod platform (it would not rotate below horizontal making locking/unlocking fiddly), so I added a Wimberly 1Ē riser that is exactly the same diameter as the D4ís base.







    This head is a game changer for me. As much as I appreciated the build quality and beauty of the BH-55, and even with the ďdragĒ set perfectly, maneuvering the the camera for composition and not having ďpost lock-down droopĒ proved both difficult and not at all precise. The D4 solves that. It is a joy to use and handles my medium format gear with ease. Spendy, but now that Iíve had it for a year, the price seems insignificant compared to my pleasure in using it.

    Rand
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Mansour View Post
    .... but as I run out of gear to buy, ....
    Blasphemy!

    Step up your game!

    Dante
    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

    Coming soon: "The Devil's Workshop"--medium format digital photography workshop
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    The geared D4 is the best tripod head I have ever used. I used to have a 410 before switching to the D4.
    It's fantastic!
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Dante Alighieri View Post
    Blasphemy!

    Step up your game!

    Dante


    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    The World is a book, and those that do not travel read only one page ...
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Best tripod head I ever have used, even better that the ArcaSwiss Cube.
    It is rock solid, very good to adjust, still lightweight in my opinion and the monoballFix plates are very small.
    Ideal for all purposes - I like to work with the Arca Swiss L-Bracket for portrait format - you don't have to leave it on the camera (what I prefer) and with the additional Nodal Set you have a very compact stitching possibility.
    Highly recommened, NOT cheap but much easier to work with than the Manfrotto 3D heads (I have used them before) - you're going to appreciate to work with the D4.
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand47 View Post
    As much as I appreciated the build quality and beauty of the BH-55, and even with the “drag” set perfectly, maneuvering the the camera for composition and not having “post lock-down droop” proved both difficult and not at all precise. The D4 solves that. It is a joy to use and handles my medium format gear with ease. Spendy, but now that I’ve had it for a year, the price seems insignificant compared to my pleasure in using it.

    Rand
    Thats why I originally bought the Cube, and subsequently the D4 and L60 (and ALPA )
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    The World is a book, and those that do not travel read only one page ...

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Thats why I originally bought the Cube, and subsequently the D4 and L60 (and ALPA )
    Graham,

    If you were to keep just one from all of those, which one would it be?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Mexecutioner View Post
    Graham,

    If you were to keep just one from all of those, which one would it be?
    The D4 is the most versatile and trade off between size & weight on a RRS 3 series tripod.

    I can move the heads between tripods but the Cube is on my Gitzo 5 series, L60 with level head on a RRS series 2.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    The World is a book, and those that do not travel read only one page ...
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Dante Alighieri
    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Mansour View Post
    .... but as I run out of gear to buy, ....
    Blasphemy!

    Step up your game!

    Dante
    I thought that might get the Devil's attention. Don't worry, somehow I always find a way to get rid of zeroes on my bank account...


    Quote Originally Posted by Rand47 View Post
    I was using a RRS BH-55 until I saw a video of Charlie Cramer using a D4 Geared head. I was immediately a goner. When I received it I loved all of it.... EXCEPT the incredibly weird Arca-Swiss clamp. Iím sure there are advantages I never explored, but the two-tiered jaws were fiddly, and I just couldnít get used to it.

    So, after seeing a fellow on YouTube who had sent his D4 to Precision Camera in Illinois, for a clamp swap out with a RRS lever clamp, I promptly sent my brand new head to them for the conversion. (CAVEAT: Thereís lots of speculation on when Arca started-stopped using the industrial strength thread locker on their clamps. Not wanting to risk damaging the head, and too chicken to take a heat gun to my brand new head, I decided to let the pros do it. YMMV).

    I also didnít care for how ďlowĒ on the base the rotation lock lever sat on my RRS tripod platform (it would not rotate below horizontal making locking/unlocking fiddly), so I added a Wimberly 1Ē riser that is exactly the same diameter as the D4ís base.







    This head is a game changer for me. As much as I appreciated the build quality and beauty of the BH-55, and even with the ďdragĒ set perfectly, maneuvering the the camera for composition and not having ďpost lock-down droopĒ proved both difficult and not at all precise. The D4 solves that. It is a joy to use and handles my medium format gear with ease. Spendy, but now that Iíve had it for a year, the price seems insignificant compared to my pleasure in using it.

    Rand
    Thanks so much for posting the thoughts with pictures, gives me such a clear view just how big it is. I've been lucky to get used to the Arca classic clamp over the years, but really interesting to know Bob is doing mods over there at precision! Though I suppose having movable parts that require locking (rm3di foot to body, and foot to clamp) can make for some errors. Especially since the locking wheel on the bottom of the rm3di can be difficult to deal with.

    Post lockdown droop is real, and I had forgotten about it while a geared head for so long. The 410 issue I had actually was play in one or more of the axes - so on occasion if I hadn't tightened the hardware in a while, and was cocking the shutter or shouldering the tripod, there'd be movement. Could ruin a comp.



    And to everyone else who has been posting, thank you so much for your thoughts. It sounds like when I have $1400 that I need to get rid of, this is going to be how.

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Note that the D4 Geared can be ordered with the classic ("tricky") clamp or with a more-industry-standard knob-clamp.

    As one of the largest Arca Swiss dealers in the world we are glad to assist with any such purchases or purchase explorations.

    We've been meaning to get Arca tripod heads up on our online eStore for "convenient" purchase for some years now. But many of these heads can be ordered with different clamps and with different detents (or no detents at all), and even if we add those options to an eStore item many people will not know they actually want them or may order something like a Cube rather than a Cube GP because they don't know the latter exists (an expensive mistake that is easy to prevent with a single question when on the phone), so it's been easier for us to handle them by phone/email where we can ask about what the person wants and make sure the head is delivered accordingly. But maybe I'll take another crack at trying to make these options clear enough on an eStore listing; I know some people really hate to talk to a real (knowledgable) person and just want a click-and-buy scenario.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Thanks so much for posting the thoughts with pictures, gives me such a clear view just how big it is.
    Youíre welcome. Remember, what youíre seeing in my photos ďat the bottomĒ (with my name tape on it) is the Wimberly riser and not part of the D4 itself. So, in reality, the Dr is 1Ē shorter/lower on the tripod legs. The riser is machined aluminum and VERY rigid, has 3/8 -16 threads top and bottom, so thereís no loss of mass coupling using it. The enhanced ease of using the lower pan lock lever made it an ideal modification for my use.

    Rand

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Note that the D4 Geared can be ordered with the classic ("tricky") clamp or with a more-industry-standard knob-clamp.
    OP's probably already using his new head but just in case, I thought I'd clarify that the "tricky" clamp isn't the classic. It's the FlipLock. And the knob clamp is called the Classic :)

    That said, I have the D4 GP, Cube GP, L60 & some ball heads. My hangup with the D4 is that it's floppy. I think after spending so many years with the Cube, I expect that type of movement. I can never get used to that floppy head... shame...

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Confusion for me over the term floppy?

    I have used a D4 geared now for 4 years and don’t find it loose or floppy. It’s very precise in the geared movement. Never had any issues with slipping or need to tightening problems. It easily handle the weight of a XF and 40-80 or RM3DI and Rodenstock 32.

    Easily gave up using my BH-55 as I love geared movement.

    Paul C
    Paul Caldwell
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Confusion for me over the term floppy?

    I have used a D4 geared now for 4 years and donít find it loose or floppy. Itís very precise in the geared movement. Never had any issues with slipping or need to tightening problems. It easily handle the weight of a XF and 40-80 or RM3DI and Rodenstock 32.

    Easily gave up using my BH-55 as I love geared movement.

    Paul C
    I think what he means is it flops to the side vs a orbital movement like the cube.
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Thanks. I see where floppy came from.

    I always have an L bracket on my camera so I have never noticed.

    Paul C

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Boinger View Post
    I think what he means is it flops to the side vs a orbital movement like the cube.
    So, the user's technique is "floppy" and not the head itself. Got it!
    Sorry, couldn't resist. "L-Plates Forever!"

    Rand

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand47 View Post
    So, the user's technique is "floppy" and not the head itself. Got it! :toocool:
    Sorry, couldn't resist. "L-Plates Forever!"

    Rand

    My technique isn't floppy. Boinger was correct. I was referring to the design of the D4 which moves the head along the outside of an arc, altering the camera position relative to the central axis. This, as opposed to a goniometer head which moves within an arc, keeping the camera centered.

    Having an L-Plate on your camera makes no difference whatsoever when it comes to this design difference. But FWIW, I do not keep an L-Plate on any of my cameras. I keep my L-Plate in my main camera case and use it with whichever camera I'm using, be it the XF, GFX or 1DxII...but obviously not with the view camera.

    The D4 is a remarkably well made head. And if you don't mind having the camera move off axis so much, it could be the perfect head for you. I do mind, that's why the D4 sits on the shelf looking pretty while the Cube & L60 get most of the action...;)

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Well, I replied to this last night and got a message saying that my comment needed to be approved by an admin. Perhaps because I'm a N00B... :shocked: It still isn't posted, so I'll try again :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand47 View Post
    So, the user's technique is "floppy" and not the head itself. Got it! :toocool:
    Sorry, couldn't resist. "L-Plates Forever!"

    Rand
    Well, I sure do hope my technique isn't floppy... I feel pretty confident in my techniques and abilities. Perhaps that confidence is misguided. Who knows...

    Regardless, the D4 is floppy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boinger View Post
    I think what he means is it flops to the side vs a orbital movement like the cube.
    And Boinger is correct. I was referring to the design of the D4, not the build quality (which is excellent). It's pretty simple. The D4 design places the point of rotation below the platform which causes the camera (more importantly, entrance pupil) to deviate from the center point when adjusting for angle along the X or Y axis. This affects perspective. In optics, we like to call this a "big no-no".

    By contrast, a goniometric stage places the point of rotation above the platform. Stacked goniometric stages can be matched with varying radial distances to ensure a common rotational point for each axis. By ensuring that the radial distance from a goniometer stack is adequate to place the point of rotation at the center of the entrance pupil, a camera can be adjusted for angle on the X or Y axis with no deviation from the center point. In optics, we like to call this a "great success!"

    So there you have it...

    One more thing. L-Plates. An L-Plate will actually exacerbate the problem of the camera position deviation from the center point because it increases the radial distance. That's not to say I don't love L-Plates. I do love them. I love them long time. I can't say that I always have an L-Plate on my camera, though. I keep mine in the camera case since I use it with multiple cameras. :thumbs:

    Happy Monday!

    Mike

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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Well, I sure do hope my technique isn't floppy... I feel pretty confident in my techniques and abilities. Perhaps that confidence is misguided. Who knows...
    Mike,

    Wow, you’re certainly NOT floppy! But “way” sophisticated!

    Rand

  34. #34
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand47 View Post
    Mike,

    Wow, youíre certainly NOT floppy! But ďwayĒ sophisticated!

    Rand
    You wouldn't say that if you saw my bedside manners I'm just a long winded nerd...

  35. #35
    Senior Member Abstraction's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    It is my understanding that the D4's lateral movements aren't geared. Is that correct? If it is, it would be a major negative, if not a deal breaker for me.

    Do you find that you're missing the lateral gears or is that not important enough to you?

  36. #36
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Abstraction View Post
    It is my understanding that the D4's lateral movements aren't geared. Is that correct? If it is, it would be a major negative, if not a deal breaker for me.

    Do you find that you're missing the lateral gears or is that not important enough to you?
    Its geared in two axis - say front to back, side to side. What is not geared is rotation along the vertical axis, which would (say) follow the horizon. Don't miss that at all, and in fact, am glad its not geared on that - it would be ponderous if it were.

  37. #37
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Ordered the D4 based on the above discussion/comments, to be used on Phase One XF and Leica S.
    Arrives next week, looking forward to try it out.
    Was tempted by the cube, but prefer a lighter solution.
    - ErlingMM

  38. #38
    Senior Member Abstraction's Avatar
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Its geared in two axis - say front to back, side to side. What is not geared is rotation along the vertical axis, which would (say) follow the horizon. Don't miss that at all, and in fact, am glad its not geared on that - it would be ponderous if it were.
    Why would it be bad if it were geared on the horizontal rotation axis?

  39. #39
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    Re: Arca D4 Users, looking for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Abstraction View Post
    Why would it be bad if it were geared on the horizontal rotation axis?
    They already make it.

    https://www.arca-shop.de/en/tripod-h...d-pan-fliplock

    Ran

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