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Thread: Save $

  1. #151
    ddk
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by FromJapan View Post
    Unless each Cube was flying from France to the US and other countries in its own, individual first-class seat on Air France or SwissAir, I doubt it would add up to that much

    And $2,400 isn't MSRP. It's the selling price at B&H
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ared_Head.html

    And who's stopping A/S from selling on eBay?? At least then they might get a web presence!!

    Cheers,
    Kumar
    Run a business then you might get it, obviously you have no idea about the costs of a distribution network, otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant remarks!

  2. #152
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    My final two cents: whatever AS is charging is irrelevant to the issue of whether there's an ethical problem with copying or piracy. I guess you can justify buying the clone (many here have, in what seem to me to be legalistic arguments, something we hate in lawyers but seem willing to use ourselves), but don't blame AS's lack of business sense or "greed." I was taught that two wrongs don't make a right.
    No, I am saying there's more than one way to skin a cat. It's not about two wrongs making a right. It's about being trying to solve a problem in the most effective way. There's nothing wrong with A/S charging whatever the market will bear. No morals or ethics involved here.

    And as I said earlier, my Manfrotto 405 serves my needs, I expect it to last for a long time despite my not-so-gentle handling, and I'm not about to buy a Cube or a MultiFlex any time soon.

    Kumar

  3. #153
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Run a business then you might get it, obviously you have no idea about the costs of a distribution network, otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant remarks!
    Uh, I do run a small business - I'm a photographer. It's small enough that I have to think carefully about every purchase, but it's big enough that we live in reasonable comfort here in Japan. With this income we could live like kings in our home country.

    And long, long ago, I trained as an accountant, and worked with a management consultancy, where we developed distribution models for clients. I certainly understand the difference in selling something in the Leica showroom in Ginza, and in a box-pusher like B&H.

    Cheers,
    Kumar

  4. #154
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by FromJapan View Post
    Uh, I do run a small business - I'm a photographer. It's small enough that I have to think carefully about every purchase, but it's big enough that we live in reasonable comfort here in Japan. With this income we could live like kings in our home country.

    And long, long ago, I trained as an accountant, and worked with a management consultancy, where we developed distribution models for clients. I certainly understand the difference in selling something in the Leica showroom in Ginza, and in a box-pusher like B&H.

    Cheers,
    Kumar
    As I mentioned above, you don't get it my friend!

  5. #155
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    As I mentioned above, you don't get it my friend!
    David - there's a difference in opinion and experiences, please leave it at that.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

  6. #156
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    David - there's a difference in opinion and experiences, please leave it at that.
    And that's why we share here.

  7. #157
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    Re: Save $

    Saying "you don't get it" is not sharing.
    Carsten - Website

  8. #158
    ddk
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Saying "you don't get it" is not sharing.
    Read above, its explained.

  9. #159
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    Re: Save $

    Sorry, David, but even to my read, you first posited your thoughts, then you "explained" your views of how business works. When Kumar offered his perspectives, you snapped back with a somewhat didactic response suggesting Kumar's perspectives have little value. That did not feel good, and I was only reading it.

    At this point, I think this lifeless horse has been flogged enough. Until there is some new information that changes the scenery, nobody is "right" or "wrong", but as consumers, we are free to support whomever offers us the deals that we prefer.

    LJ

  10. #160
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    Re: Save $

    Putting a smiley on after calling someone ignorant doesn't make it okay, IMO.

    Anyway, I find it a bit sad that a thread about saving a few bucks is much longer than most technical or photography threads here.
    Carsten - Website

  11. #161
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Sorry, David, but even to my read, you first posited your thoughts, then you "explained" your views of how business works. When Kumar offered his perspectives, you snapped back with a somewhat didactic response suggesting Kumar's perspectives have little value. That did not feel good, and I was only reading it.
    If you read my post you'll see that I only explained why the Cube costs what it does for those who think that AS is simply greedy. This was not a view point nor a discussion about anyone's theoretical business model. His jumbo jet response tells me that he didn't get the point that I raised and that's why I snapped back as you said, his perspective has nothing to with with the content of my post and that's why I called it ignorant.

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    At this point, I think this lifeless horse has been flogged enough. Until there is some new information that changes the scenery, nobody is "right" or "wrong", but as consumers, we are free to support whomever offers us the deals that we prefer.

    LJ
    I fully agree with you, one is free to buy what one wishes, there is no right or wrong here.

  12. #162
    ddk
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Putting a smiley on after calling someone ignorant doesn't make it okay, IMO.
    (Edited) It was a response to what I felt was a wise a$$ and ignorant reply to my post (end of edit), it might not suit your sensibilities but we all have different ways of communicating, sorry if I offended yours.


    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Anyway, I find it a bit sad that a thread about saving a few bucks is much longer than most technical or photography threads here.
    What do you expect Carsten, its a holiday week with most people's kids at home driving parents crazy!
    Last edited by ddk; 17th April 2009 at 12:45.

  13. #163
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Lots of assumptions here regarding relative pricing of the Cube vs. Multiflex, some unfairly calling AS greedy, others think that Koreans are happier with less profit, etc., etc., but what everyone is ignoring is the difference of the distribution channels. I'll bet you AS ex-factory price is less than what PhotoClam is charging for their product, selling them direct on e-bay. The Cubes $2400 retail price includes, the cost of the item + shipping and import duties to the distributor + distributor markup = new cost + shipping to dealer + dealer markup = MSRP. I bet you that Cube's ex-factory price is in the $800-$900 range and that is more than fair! At this price they probably make around $300 gross per head and how many cubes do you think that they can sell a year? AS is anything but greedy. In reality PotoClamp is the greedy party here selling their product @ $1200 a pop, a good deal would be $600-$700 considering their direct sales policy.
    Hey guys,

    I'm not offended - here's a smiley!
    David may have definitive knowledge of A/S distribution channels, costs, etc.
    The following are all his figures. He says the Cube's ex-factory price is $900, and their gross margin is $300. So A/S makes a reasonable return, given that they have invested substantially in engineering the product. So, the distribution channel eats up $2400 - $900 i.e. $1500. Shipping a single Cube, assuming a shipping weight of 1.5kg by Fedex from France to New York is $185. That leaves $1315 for customs, the distributor and the dealer. AFAIK, customs duties in the US are very low, unlike in the EU. But, assuming EU rates at roughly 25% of landed cost, the duty on $1085 is $271, pushing up the distributor's cost to $1356. The distributor and dealer then divvy up the remaining $1044.

    If someone could corroborate these figures?

    Cheers,
    Kumar

    PS: PhotoClam isn't charging $1200. I believe their price is $985 plus shipping. And like A/S, they're free to set their prices, whether they're fair or not.

    EDIT: And if someone could post the price of the Cube in the EU or even in France itself, where shipping would be much lower, and I believe there would be no customs duties, but of course there's VAT.

    In the UK, at RobertWhite, the price is 1455 GBPounds, ~$2153 plus 15% UK sales tax = surprise! $2476, pretty close to B&H's price of $2399.95!

    Does anyone know who is A/S' US distributor? I did a google search but found no precise information.
    Last edited by FromJapan; 17th April 2009 at 17:19.

  14. #164
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    Re: Save $

    All's fair in discussion exercises I suppose, but lots of assumptions being made here by most of us. My primary business is specifically import/export of products within a narrow field. I deal with shipping by various carriers, duties, customs brokerage costs, bonds, etc. It all adds up. A-S is not receiving $2400 for the cube. Their retailers need to make money (as acknowledged).

    I don't think that anyone suggests that labor in the E.U. is cost-comparable to South Korean labor costs. It has also been suggested that the A-S design is not entirely unique to them, but in fact they have cleverly adapted a pre-existing goniometer to be used as a tripod head. I say "kudos" to A-S for doing so.

    All that being said, even if Photoclam stopped making the "knock-off" (if that's what it is) Arca-Swiss will still need to consider that any company can also work with goniometer designs to develop a similar but different tripod head. My point is that A-S will need to maneuver by means of design, quality, price, service, loyalty, etc. if they want to remain relevant in what could become the "goniometer-style head sector". Being first doesn't assure one permanent positioning.

    And to be clear, I am very much against any form of IP infringement. I'm just not sure at this stage who should be most credited with design rights for these products. I'm not in a position to know with the information which is currently available.

  15. #165
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    Re: Save $

    O.K guys,
    here is my review of the Multiflex from PhotoClam.
    I know that I'm stepping on a few toes here,but so be it.

    From what I can tell,it operates like it should.
    No play and the built quality is excellent.
    Extremely well finished.
    The waterproof cover is handy as well.
    The unit also has a spring loaded large knob,that can be switched around.
    How it compares to the Cube,I can't tell as I don't have one.
    Best,
    Willem.

  16. #166
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    Re: Save $

    More pics:

  17. #167
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Have to admit it looks nice. Cube owners your take. I'm being political correct not buying either one . Oh wait that maybe political broke and still not buying either one. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  18. #168
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    Re: Save $

    Jack,you better sell your P25+ first.

  19. #169
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    Re: Save $

    Guy and yes I need to sell my P25 plus first before even thinking about this stuff. I am in buying shutdown mode for now. Thank god a couple jobs came in today it was looking very scary and still is.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  20. #170
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    Re: Save $

    Sorry Guy,I always get you guys mixed up!

  21. #171
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    Re: Save $

    Thanks, Willem. I appreciate you posting these photos. I'm not sure how all of this will shake out, but it was kind of you to share your experience with us. I hope you enjoy your head, and will post future observations regarding it as well.

    Regards,

    Dale

  22. #172
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    Re: Save $

    No problems Dale!
    I'll probably will be banned from this forum and the LL forum as well.
    Best,
    Willem.

  23. #173
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Rethmeier View Post
    No problems Dale!
    I'll probably will be banned from this forum and the LL forum as well.
    Best,
    Willem.
    I doubt it!


  24. #174
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    Re: Save $

    O.K!

  25. #175
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    Re: Save $

    how's the stability of it when extending the head all the way like this, with a camera attached?

  26. #176
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    Re: Save $

    Looks good, but as jingq suggested, put your camera with a long lens on it in that position and see how it moves.

    Kumar

  27. #177
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    Re: Save $

    Please guys,
    this thing was designed for 10x8 cameras.
    I could not find any movement or play.
    It's build quality is perfect.
    I only have a measly D3x and my longest lens is a ZF100 Makro
    Used to have a Hy6/75LV,however sold my MFDB gear.


    Best Willem.
    Last edited by Rethmeier; 17th April 2009 at 23:36.

  28. #178
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    Re: Save $

    Willem:

    Certainly looks and sounds like it is an excellent alternative. Now we just need to get you near a Cube so you can compare smoothness and overal operations directly.

    Thanks for posting this!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  29. #179
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    Re: Save $

    a few small things:
    the cube uses tiny lever-locks for the pans, the clam small knobs
    the cube has rubber o-rings on the knobs for added friction/grip, the clam uses knurls
    looks like the clam has the one moveable large knob that appears to fit one of the knobs for each tilt axis, but not both.
    my cube had clear bubble levels, clam's are green
    looks like the clam is using stainless steel screws, i think the cube used steel?
    lever-lock on the cube (for the camera), screw clamp on the clam

  30. #180
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    Re: Save $

    One problem that I have experienced with the rubber o-rings used on some tripod head knobs is that in cold weather they slip and that can be frustrating and disconcerting vis-a-vis security and precise placement. The o-ring "gripper" and the knob itself contract at different rates in the cold. IMO, this would be an area worthwhile to change.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 18th April 2009 at 08:11.

  31. #181
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    Re: Save $

    one thing that occurred to me is that both AS and Clam could be sourcing the stacked goniometer sections (these are the trickiest parts to make) from the same supplier (like Spectra Physics/Newport for example) and adding their own forward tilt and pan stages and knobs

  32. #182
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    one thing that occurred to me is that both AS and Clam could be sourcing the stacked goniometer sections (these are the trickiest parts to make) from the same supplier (like Spectra Physics/Newport for example) and adding their own forward tilt and pan stages and knobs
    I wondered about this too, especially with regard to A-S. I wasn't sure if Clam would do so, as in other parts of Asia it is quite common to machine something locally. But this is also where I would expect to see any differences in precision, if present, as is often the case with machined parts in Asia if they don't have very good shop management. With good management though, very precise machining can be arranged. It all boils down to meticulous direction.

  33. #183
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Anders has an interesting point here - the new Ebony 6x17 model sells for 7175 pounds at Robert White. The corresponding Shen Hao sells at the same dealer for 1350 pounds. Though I really appreciate the build quality of my Ebony cameras, this price difference is too large to ignore. It's easy to dismiss the Shen Hao by assuming that the price difference is related to quality - Anders' statement about Shen Hao tells otherwise.
    Lars,

    Let me clarify;

    I have seen an Ebony 23S in a used shop in Shanghai. Its rails were misaligned. Yup the surface treatment of the wood was better than Shen-Hao, as in fine veneer ebony furniture like. When using a camera for actual photography, does that matter? To me, not. I do not know if some of detailed work or control mechanisms on an Ebony can be better. Lets face it, the cameras are for photography (well some buy for display also...). The Shen-Hao camera looks more beautiful to me because of the color of the wood. The Ebony looks dark and murky. After all a large format camera is a simple device. If mine breaks on travels I might simply replace it with a new one for fraction of the probable price that sending an Ebony to Japan and back for repair and their repair cost could be. Replacing is also simpler, but I also travel many times to Shanghai each year. Mine is the Shen-Hao TFC45-IIB non folding 4x5, a competitor to Ebony SW45. If you feel a yearn to visit China, perhaps buy a 617 in their shop in Shanghai? They have a 617 adapter also. I have it but will soon sell it because too much gear. I am working on a custom made digital adapter instead.

    South Korea? I lived and worked there over three years until early last year. I was supervising a major engineering construction project. Koreans are in general good to quality up to a certain point. Some companies are capable of exceptional quality. Markins is one such. I would not trade my Markins for anything, and I have been through a number of ballheads last six years. When writing emails they can sound like young people, but it is in a friendly way .


    Willem,

    Good luck on your cube! It indeed looks very good on the photos. Do check so there is not play at different adjustment positions or have them rectify. Should work fine hopefully. After all gear is just tools. A/S cube is 2400 USD on B&H??? Yikes... why? Transport is cheap these days, must be labor etc.

    Regards
    Anders
    Last edited by Anders_HK; 18th April 2009 at 19:05.

  34. #184
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    Re: Save $

    Hi Anders,
    I tried the Multiflex in every possible position and it's rock-solid.
    Best,
    Willem.

  35. #185
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Rethmeier View Post
    Hi Anders,
    I tried the Multiflex in every possible position and it's rock-solid.
    Best,
    Willem.
    Hi Willem,

    The Multiflex then sounds as good quality as my Markins ballhead. Perhaps they have some kind of relation??

    Anders

  36. #186
    carbonmetrictree
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    Re: Save $

    I'm really glad that you received a great product after all of the commotion that occurred!

    My only question is:

    Are the bubble levels and rotating platform accurate out of the box?

  37. #187
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    Re: Save $

    Very cool looking images, I've never seen one - Cube or otherwise - close up before. I'm impressed. Seeing the photos, I have to admit I want one.

    I've stayed away from geared heads in the past becasue they are too slow to operate. It does make sense to use a geared head on 8x10, but I have my doubts if it could really hold my Toyo - once you add rails, lens, film holder, shade it weighs in at 12-15 kgs distributed at both ends of an up to 1000 mm long rail. Those little brass or bronze gears might be fine for an SLR but with an 8x10 monorail the center of mass is 25 cm up from the mount. It would just break from the load if not properly balanced. And the camera itself is all geared once you level it, so there is no need for precision head movements, just a strong lockdown. As a contrast, my Burzynski ballhead has only five parts (plus four huge bolts) and they are all huge - it's virtually indestructible, handles field conditions like sand and mud with a stride.

    For smaller formats like 4x5 a cube is too heavy at 900 grams - a good small ballhead at 450 grams is sufficient for a wood 4x5 unless you have really bad technique. And for an SLR a ballhead makes much more sense - for me - unless I would do specialized work like macro and product shots.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

  38. #188
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    I have my doubts if it could really hold my Toyo - once you add rails, lens, film holder, shade it weighs in at 12-15 kgs distributed at both ends of an up to 1000 mm long rail.
    It will hold it, but not very well -- nowhere near as well as your Burzynski or an Arca B2.

    For smaller formats like 4x5 a cube is too heavy at 900 grams - a good small ballhead at 450 grams is sufficient for a wood 4x5 unless you have really bad technique. And for an SLR a ballhead makes much more sense - for me - unless I would do specialized work like macro and product shots.
    The advantage of the Cube is the speed and accuracy with which you can zero -- no fuddling around trying to align all axes at once -- combined with relatively light weight for its rigidity, which is more than adequate for 4x5 or MF systems with big glass attached...

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  39. #189
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    Re: Save $

    ...and there was Jack's (expected) reply. Like I said I have never used a Cube, your experience is of course more valid than my mere speculation.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

  40. #190
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    Re: Save $

    Levels are perfect as well.
    I'm so impressed I also ordered the PC-54NS ballhead.
    I sold my RRS BH-55 in the meanwhile.
    Best,
    Willem.

  41. #191
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    Re: Save $

    Great value at $235 USD for the PC-54NS

  42. #192
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    Re: Save $

    Guys!

    I've found the perfect accessory to complement your cube!

    Take a look at this...

    http://www.wista.co.jp/new/new_6way.html

  43. #193
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    Re: Save $

    Just to corroborate Willem's first use of the cube, I just got mine from Korea (USD $985 shipped to CA, with leather pouch ) and did a quick test this last weekend -- it's rock-solid, gearing is smooth, levels accurate -- I'm happy!

    John.

  44. #194
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    Re: Save $

    Their ball heads are also excellent!
    I prefer the Photo Clam PC-54NS to the RRS BH-55.
    And it's half the price!
    Best,
    Willem.

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    Re: Save $


    vs.


    Who now pays for the development of the Rm3d? Or will you just take the superior Rm3d from Photoclam which arrives next year? And you wondering about the economy (ok, just ONE important aspect)?

    I seriously hope you as photographers will never run into someone who operates like this with your work.
    Last edited by georgl; 28th April 2009 at 07:13.

  46. #196
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    Re: Save $

    One question on the photoclam ballhead -- On the A/S B1, the ball is actually egg-shaped to prevent a total flop-over when the friction is released, so as the camera moves off Top-Dead-Center on the B1, the amount of friction automatically increases. Is the PhotoClam the same?
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  47. #197
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Not to worry Jack, if your camera is damaged using their head, you can buy the PhotoClam knock-off camera next year.

  48. #198
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Not to worry Jack, if your camera is damaged using their head, you can buy the PhotoClam knock-off camera next year.
    Many a true word...

    I certainly would not like to see a complete Arca knock-off range produced; that would definitely "not be cricket".

  49. #199
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    Re: Save $

    Markins Q-Ball M10 for sale in the US.
    Doesn't that also look alike the AS Monoball#2?
    Who is nocking off who?

  50. #200
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    Re: Save $

    georgl,
    if you have been in photography as long as I have,I know that "styles" are borrowed
    from other photographers all the time.
    Nobody is original,maybe you?

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