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Equipment Etc

Arca-Swiss Cube C1

I use an unusual tripod head called the Cube C1. The manufacturer Arca-Swiss also makes large format and technical cameras, as well as a range of general tripod heads. In fact, it is probably better known for its ball heads which were always considered a marvel of engineering.

The Cube is definitely quite different from your average tripod head. It looks and is rather heavy. It's a big lump of metal. I stick it on top of one of my carbon fibre tripods and it is usually a tad heavier than the legs! It is also quite slow to operate because the main movements are geared, meaning I turn one of its dials to get my camera into position, but it is the fastest head I have ever used!


Most tripod heads, whether tilt shift or ball, operate on the basis that you loosen the control, move the camera into position, and then tighten the control. This is much quicker than driving your camera into position using the knobs on the C1, but it is also much less accurate. Let's say you have your camera roughly in the right position, but you just want to move it fractionally one way or the other, to make it perfectly level, for example. I find that when I loosen the knobs or handles on most tripod heads that fine adjustments are difficult. Invariably once released, I move the head too far and I tend to spend quite a bit of time refining the position. Even worse, when I tighten the knob or handle down, the camera seems to move a fraction when I let go. In other words, it's really quick to get the camera roughly into position, but to get it PRECISELY into position can be a whole lot harder.

This is why I like using the Cube C1. Once I have finished moving the camera into position, it doesn't move one iota. And if I want to make a small adjustment, then the microdrive lets me do just that. So while it might take a little longer to get the camera roughly into position, it ends up being much quicker to get it precisely into position.

The Cube tilts forwards and backwards, and from side to side. You can use both axes at the same time. On top, the quick release sits on top of a turning (panorama) plate, and the entire head also rotates down the bottom on the top of the tripod.

You'll need a quick release plate for your camera, but once you have it screwed on, attaching and detaching your camera from the Cube is quick and easy. I have plates for all my cameras, whether medium format or DSLRs. I even put my compact cameras on it from time to time - and that certainly looks quite odd. I'll have to see if I can find an adapter for my iPhone!

The Arca-Swiss is distributed in Australia by Camera Electronic in Perth, although eastern staters to acquire it through L&P Photographics in Sydney. Price? Not cheap! Camera Electonic's website has the C1 at AUS $1895, or from the online Arca Shop in Europe at 1200 Euro. But once you've played with one, it's hard to give it back!

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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