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Recommended tripod head — Arca Swiss Cube geared head

Looking for a precision tripod head? Look no further than the Arca Swiss Cube, available at B&H Photo. It used to be special order, but it’s now in stock.

The Arca Swiss Cube is not small, not inexpensive and it’s not a ballhead. Rather, it’s precision equipment that allows geared leveling in two directions, rotation top and bottom and all sorts of orientations. Invest in it, and you won’t regret it.

Arca Swiss Cube w/ Really Right Stuff B2-Pro-II-M6

While at first The Cube seems slower-working than a ballhead, such as my favored Burzynski, in fact it becomes very efficient to use in terms of precise framing and leveling: I love the ability to get the frame “just so” with no frustrating ballhead try-and-try-again-oops-it-moved-slightly nonsense. The cube is also fantastic for making rotational panoramas, because it is so conveniently leveled left/right and up/down.

One gotcha: the Arca-supplied clamp is too small, with a tiny lever, and definitely incompatible with the L-brackets from Really Right Stuff. Worse, it is not captive, and can literally fall off if loosened a bit too far, and “boing!” there goes the spring with it. The shittiest design I’ve yet seen for a clamp, really bizarre given the quality of the rest of the head. You have been warned!

Remove the asinine Arca-supplied clamp and install a Really Right Stuff B2-Pro II with Metric 6 Screw with a screw knob. Avoid the lever clamps from RRS (or anyone), they are incompatible with some L-brackets and bottom plates. The big knob is super easy to use, especially with gloves. And it won’t snap your half-frozen fingers, like the lever clamps can.

Update Jan 12, 2010: the Cube has been revised and one reader reports that the new model might have a clamp that works well.

Below is what I ordered from Really Right Stuff, the B2-Pro II with Metric 6 Screw. If in doubt ask for Carla, and tell her you want what Lloyd Chambers of ordered in Feb 2008. And be sure you have the tool to remove the existing Arca Swiss plate (an 11mm box socket 1/4" drive, according to Carla Geyer of Really Right Stuff).

The replacement clamp order for RRS B2-Pro-II

I use The Cube in preference to all other tripod heads now (and I have the wondrous Burzynski, the RRS BH-55, the Arca Swiss B1 and more). I got my Cube after the price went up, but before it went up even more. Get yours at B&H Photo.

Arca Swiss Cube w/ Really Right Stuff B2-Pro-II-M6
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