View Full Version : Does anyone make a pan/tilt head with an Arca-type QR?

David R Munson
17-Oct-2007, 22:55
...or do I need to make/adapt my own?

Ideally, I'm looking for something compact, low-profile, and sturdy, like the Foba ASMIA, but with an Arca-type QR head. From what I can tell, no such animal exists. There's the NPC Prohead and the Arca Swiss B2, but neither is quite what I'm looking for. If need be, I will find an appropriate head and semi-permanently mount an Arca-type clamp on it with the help of some screws and red Loctite.

Anybody know if such a thing exists?
If not, any suggested heads to adapt to this purpose?

It seems like new pan/tilt heads are becoming fewer and fewer in number, and the remaining choices aren't particularly thrilling to me.

Greg Lockrey
17-Oct-2007, 23:23
In making your own, could you get a Arca type QR clamp and put it on a pan/tilt head?
I know for sure that I can get RRS clamps and put them on any Pan/tilt, but I'm not familiar with Arca type to know for sure. For example, I have a RSS clamp on an old Gitzo pan/tilt. But it seems plausable to me since they are similar.

David R Munson
17-Oct-2007, 23:47
Arca-type QR systems and the RRS clamps are the same system. It would be quite feasible to very securely mount one on a pan/tilt head, which is probably what I'll end up doing. The bigger challenge will likely be finding a head that fits my specifications. I find most pan/tilt heads to be too tall (center of gravity is too high) and with handles that protrude too far from the head (tend to snag, get in the way, impede packing, etc).

Brian Ellis
17-Oct-2007, 23:52
Kirk Enterprises makes Arca style clamps that attach to some tripod heads, I have one on my Bogen 410. You might check their web site and see if they make one for a pan tilt head.

Greg Lockrey
17-Oct-2007, 23:54
Why not go with the ball type head? They are lower profile and pack more neatly. Not to push one brand over another, my RRS has a tension adjustment screw that allows me to loosen the tilt without the camera floppng down until I'm ready to make the adjustment myself. Mine also has the pan on top of the head w/level and a pan at the base. Very smooth action in both places.

David R Munson
18-Oct-2007, 00:08
I have a ballhead and love it for my 35mm and 645, but for the RZ I want finer control over single-axis adjustment. It's dead easy to do so with the pan/tilt head, and more problematic with the ballhead.

Struan Gray
18-Oct-2007, 00:11
I love my Sinar pan-tilt head: low profile, robust, simple, field-strippable with no tools, and very, very stable. Put something like the Novoflex Q-base on it and you'd have a very usable head.

The design automatically compensates for any wear, so the green Norma era heads give nothing away in stability or ease of use to the more modern or new heads.

Plaubel also made a similar pan-tilt head which is available used (although mostly in Europe). I have never worked with one, but Plaubel's engineering was usually up to scratch. If price is an issue they are usually cheaper than the Sinar heads.

Greg Lockrey
18-Oct-2007, 00:25
I just looked over at B&H and there is no pan/tilt with an Arca type clamp. There are plenty pan/tilts with their own clamps. Gitzo, Velbon and Novoflex to name a few. What is your intended price range? I use my RRS on a SV45TE btw. Do you want a two way or three way? I also have one of those Bogen-Manfrotto squeeze type ball head that has the arm coming out to the side that's like a pan/tilt but I don't know if it would be strong enough for your RZ. I think it's rated for 5 lbs.

Jack Flesher
18-Oct-2007, 04:28
Arca CUBE ?


David R Munson
18-Oct-2007, 04:29
Well yes, but at something like $1,700 it's not in the cards just yet. :)

evan clarke
18-Oct-2007, 06:49
Well yes, but at something like $1,700 it's not in the cards just yet. :)

It's expensive, but I use an Arca camera and this head may be the best photo thing I have ever bought. Enough of that. Bogen makes a universal plate which fastens rigidly. I attached an Arca QR to it to convert from the universal to Arca and it works fabulously. I have one mounted on my tripod and on the bottom of all my tripod heads so I can just snap whichever one I want in place and go. It lets me store my Cube in my pack.

Here's a link to it at B&H (Bogen's site was like molasses).

Evan Clarke

David A. Goldfarb
18-Oct-2007, 08:47
If you don't need a wide range of movement, the Levelhead has a built-in Arca-Swiss style clamp. Photogizzmo usually has them.

Otherwise, I suspect you'll end up with a normal pan-tilt head and a separate A-S style clamp.

I just got a second-hand B2, and I think it's more solid and offers more control with a wider range of cameras than my Majestic, which I just sold, or my Gitzo G1570M, which I'm selling. It also pans as smooth as a fluid head, so I might be tempted to sell that one too. If you can find one, it's hard to do better.

I generally kept a RRS clamp on my G1570M to use it with A-S style plates. No need for Loctite. Most longer plates have more than one screw hole, so I fastened it with two screws, and it stayed put.

One issue is that with the large platform on the 1570 and some other big heads, most of the screw-lock clamps can't clear the platform. I think the Arca-Swiss Quick Set clamp might actually have a long enough screw shaft, but I didn't realize it at the time, so I used a lever-lock clamp, which is quicker but not as strong as a screw-lock.

18-Oct-2007, 09:56
...I'm looking for something compact, low-profile, and sturdy, like the Foba ASMIA, but with an Arca-type QR head.


I had the top plate of my Ries J250 milled so that it's narrow enough to accommodate a RRS Arca QR clamp. I've attached a couple of photos. As I've done with my other Ries heads to protect the camera attached to it, I covered the top plate with leather (which unfortunately came out as textureless white in the photo). The RRS clamp is shown in the second photo. It was necessary to mill the top plate of the head to allow room for the clamp knob. I milled both sides to keep it symmetrical, although it wasn't really necessary. It's worked very well; I have no complaints. The camera I primarily intended this for, however, is long gone. I would consider trading for an unmodified J250 if you think this might work for your needs.

Frank Petronio
18-Oct-2007, 09:57
Be careful with the lever-type clamps as they do not play well with some of the third party plates. The knob clamps are more universial.

I had to get use an extended knob arm to clear the tripod head platform, along with a riser plate. I suppose I could have had the platform machined away but this wasn't much heavier and having a large platform head is handly if you ever get an ULF beast. As well as easier resale.

Frankly I think the whole Arca plate system is more about trendy peer pressure but I guess it has it merits if you use a lot of different cameras or telephoto wildlife lenses during your shoots. Otherwise I don't see the 10 seconds spent using a high quality screw, as used on a Gitzo or Linhof head, as being a huge detriment. If the head is matched to the camera, the worries about rotation or slippage are next to nil.

Take the money saved from the Cube and get a Ken Lab Gyro so you can shoot that RZ handheld @ one-second exposures ;-)

v gese
18-Oct-2007, 23:24
The Arca Swiss B2, as mentioned above by David, is a great, silky smooth 3-way pan-tilt head that looks like a ball head. Has the Arca Swiss quick release (I prefer the screw type release over the lever). Best tripod head I've ever used. A bit heavy but worth it for me. Less than half the price of an AS cube (650.00 through Badger last I looked).
Vance Gese