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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support 
Thread started 10 May 2018 (Thursday) 16:22
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Why isn't the arca-swiss p0 more popular?

 
kaitlyn2004
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May 10, 2018 16:22 |  #1

I've used Manfrotto RC2 ballheads for years, but when I switched to Arca-swiss I went with the p0. I have bumped into a few photographers with it, but overwhelmingly everyone seems to shoot with variations of the ballhead with knobs. I hated the adjustments and would occasionally loosen the wrong knob. Is there a reason people seem to prefer the knobs so much more/they are better?

Relatedly - arca swiss (or any copy for that matter) hasn't seemed to come out with anything SINCE the p0...


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sawsedge
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May 10, 2018 19:01 |  #2

I've wondered the same thing, but I suspect it is because A-S isn't nice about allowing other clamps on their heads. At least, that is one of the reasons I don't have one (to be fair, I like the design and would get one if I did panos).


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peter_n
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May 11, 2018 11:34 |  #3

Arca-Swiss is a peculiar company. They make very good high-end equipment but it's very difficult to find information like specs about their products. My own singular experience with A-S was with their Z1 ballhead which I used for many years. I loved it but became concerned about its performance in certain weather conditions. I eventually replaced it with a RRS BH-55 which is apparently indestructible. The Arca-Swiss product page is listed here (external link) (in French).


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CyberDyneSystems
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Post edited 7 days ago by CyberDyneSystems. (3 edits in all)
     
May 11, 2018 13:43 |  #4

Kaitlyn, I think the Po is a fine innovative product, but you may be comparing it to some pretty average ballheads in the Manfrotto line up. Again, the Po does things differently and some things better than a more standard ballhead, no question, but compare it to another very good $350-$400.00 ballhead and it will not be so clear a story.

Also, the idea of an inverted ballhead actually dates back to at least the 1990's
Some current ones being made by Nova, and others, but there were some going way back. Also, though not very good, the old pistol grips heads were a modification of an inverted head design.

I've got a Gitzo ballhead that I like quite a bit that has similar controls to the p0. It takes things even further than the P0 by eliminating the need for a center column or plate on Systematic tripods. Sadly they never caught on and the price now is insane.
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …1IKgxBEAQYASABE​gIUyfD_BwE (external link)

A few of us got a great deal on them a few years back, about $150.00 on clearance. You can see a bit of similarity to the P0. I seriously can't believe I got it for $150.00 and now it's over $600.00!


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peter_n
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May 14, 2018 10:31 |  #5

Why isn't the P0 more popular? Well you could blame Arca-Swiss. They're not exactly marketing oriented, they have a very low-key web presence in a foreign language, product specs are difficult to come by, and they insist on using an over-complicated clamp on their ballheads. No-one denies that they make quality products from the MF cameras to the geared heads but they are quirky.

Turning to the P0 it's not just quirky it's seriously different. It's a ballhead and it doesn't have any knobs, how do you use it? Most heads have just three controls that are more-or-less in the same place across most manufacturers. There is good transfer of learning in conventional ballhead designs, but the PO is unique. You have to learn anew how to use it. I use conventional but very awkward looking ballheads that also provide leveling capability and in addition they are impervious to extreme environments.

IMAGE: https://nolan.com/forum_imgs/DSCN4338PP.jpg
I personally have nothing against A-S, I used a Z1 for many years and I have a geared head on order. But the P0 is just too different. It's a one-off design competing in a vast sea of heads that more or less work the same way so if you decide to change your head you can use the new one pretty much right away.

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johnf3f
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May 14, 2018 17:35 |  #6

Price?


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peter_n
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May 15, 2018 18:03 |  #7

johnf3f wrote in post #18625756 (external link)
Price?

Maybe, but most of their products are at the high end of the scale and the P0 is an outlier. Here in the US you can buy a P0 with their "classic" clamp for $348.00 which is not outrageous. Markins heads are popular on this board and their mid-size Q10 costs $370.00.

The Arca-Swiss Z1 and C1 Cube sell really well and so does the D4 and they're all pricey. A-S are innovative and known for their engineering design prowess, when I sold my Z1 locally it was gone two days after it went on sale. The progenitor of the Z1 - the B1 has spawned a number of well-known brand copies like Markins (all minus the elliptical ball), so has the Cube with the Alpa GON, Linhof 3D Micro, Photo Clam Multiflex and the D4 with the Sunwayfoto GH-Pro. The geared heads are precision devices and can cost up to $2K.

My understanding is that the P0 has very strong locking strength and no play. It uses planetary gears on the ball so it can hold a lot of weight at an angle. It might be more popular with MF users. It's probably ideal on a travel tripod with a digital MF camera like an Alpa, Arca-Swiss, Leica S, etc.


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johnf3f
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May 15, 2018 18:40 |  #8

peter_n wrote in post #18626368 (external link)
Maybe, but most of their products are at the high end of the scale and the P0 is an outlier. Here in the US you can buy a P0 with their "classic" clamp for $348.00 which is not outrageous. Markins heads are popular on this board and their mid-size Q10 costs $370.00.

The Arca-Swiss Z1 and C1 Cube sell really well and so does the D4 and they're all pricey. A-S are innovative and known for their engineering design prowess, when I sold my Z1 locally it was gone two days after it went on sale. The progenitor of the Z1 - the B1 has spawned a number of well-known brand copies like Markins (all minus the elliptical ball), so has the Cube with the Alpa GON, Linhof 3D Micro, Photo Clam Multiflex and the D4 with the Sunwayfoto GH-Pro. The geared heads are precision devices and can cost up to $2K.

My understanding is that the P0 has very strong locking strength and no play. It uses planetary gears on the ball so it can hold a lot of weight at an angle. It might be more popular with MF users. It's probably ideal on a travel tripod with a digital MF camera like an Alpa, Arca-Swiss, Leica S, etc.

I am sure it is an excellent ball head.

I don't use heavy lenses with ball heads normally, however I have a Triopo RS3 with an Arca clamp replacing it's top plate. Lockup is far superior to anything I have tried and my Canon 800mm does not test it when set up way out of balance - cost £30 + £10 for the clamp. Not bad for a ball head weighing a little over 300 grams?

Hence my concern about the price.


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peter_n
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May 15, 2018 22:39 |  #9

I also have a Triopo RS-3 bought from Poland for next to nothing. Yes it has a very strong lock. :-)


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Charlie
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May 16, 2018 13:27 |  #10

the head is unconventional, however it's easily my favorite for landscapes, it's not even close. Ballheads will be ballheads, always feel a little finicky in use, but the Arca planetary gears..... simply amazing. I've only had two other ball heads comparable in price, RRS and Kirk..... the P0 stayed with me.

stuff I really hated about normal ballheads.....

tension for fine tuning, Always felt it was difficult to find the right amount of tension for precise movement, and this would vary with different lenses. I typically find tension very quickly with the p0. That aspherical ball helps against flop.

snag! just the extra protrusions here and there would snag on stuff occasionally, just annoying.

Weight, typical stuff in this class generally weighs a bit more.

Tightening, seems like the planetary gears win it again here, a tight grip is really tight and doesnt need much pressure. Typical ballheads need some tension on the knob and it can get uncomfortably tight since the knob is physically small compared to the ring. Larger diameter + gears = easy peasy.

panning on top, I dont need one on the bottom.

at one point I was running a leveling base + ballhead. Had to level twice way too often.

Biggest reason for not going with acratech in the past was due to the aspherical ball offered by Arca swiss. Minor details like this are kind of a big deal. On paper, the Acratech is more well versed, however well versed means that it's a better Jack of all trades, and I wasnt looking for a Jack, but a heavenly landscape head, and the p0 is just about there.

As for weather sealing, I think mine has held up well. I dropped it in a sandy puddle and was sure it would be toast...... good as new after the sand worked itself out. Not sure where the sand went, but it's gone. Might be that the inverted design just doesnt do well at holding sand, and that gravity just flushes it out of the system over time.


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May 16, 2018 18:01 |  #11

peter_n wrote in post #18626511 (external link)
I also have a Triopo RS-3 bought from Poland for next to nothing. Yes it has a very strong lock. :-)
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Hosted photo: posted by peter_n in
./showthread.php?p=186​26511&i=i259267025
forum: Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support

Very pretty! Mine is the older (I think) blue one. Coincidentally I use the same clamp!

Honestly I don't know if mine is typical but I have the longest lens Canon currently produce and it is too light to test mine and my Gitzo (GT4542LS) is a wee bit bendy to fully appreciate the lack of creep with my RS3 with the Canon 800mm. Let's just say that my example blew my socks off!

Not everyone likes the single control lever (I do) but this is, so far, the best locking head that I have tried regardless of ball size and price.

Old pic below with my (then) 600 F4 L IS - 5.4 kilos of lens + 1.5 kilos of camera.


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Colin ­ Glover
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May 20, 2018 11:00 |  #12

I think it's odd that you can get super cheapo ballheads with an Arca Swiss compatible plate, yet Manfrotto can't fit one. I Tues they think their system is better.


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May 20, 2018 18:15 as a reply to  @ Colin Glover's post |  #13

Some Manfrotto heads can be converted - though I am not certain of which ones.


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tomj
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23 hours ago as a reply to  @ johnf3f's post |  #14

"Some Manfrotto heads can be converted - though I am not certain of which ones."

I have a Manfrotto (a 488RC2 I believe, don't have it handy to verify) that I put a Desmond Arca-style clamp on, replacing the Manfrotto QR one. The clamp was on a post with a standard 1/4" thread. After heating it for a few seconds over a gas stove burner to loosen the Loctite, it easily unscrewed.


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Why isn't the arca-swiss p0 more popular?
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