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Archive 2012 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed
  
 
surf monkey
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


I just got the Arca-Swiss Z1sp ball head with the quick release FlipLock and can't figure out how to adjust the width of the rails. Can someone help with this?

The manual says:
"c. Coged wheel to adjust width (you must press the Flip-lock manually together to adjust the wheel."
I have no idea what this means.



Jan 10, 2012 at 12:05 AM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


the rails are spring loaded outward. in order to spin the wheel easily you squeeze the rails towards each other and adjust the wheel. it unloads the pressure on the wheel and threaded spindle. not my favorite design.


Jan 10, 2012 at 12:48 AM
mhayes5254
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


I have an A-S and a RRS quick release. The RRS seems easier to use but the A-S seems more fool proof. Even if the clamp is open, the camera will not fall out.


Jan 10, 2012 at 01:03 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


sjms wrote:
the rails are spring loaded outward. in order to spin the wheel easily you squeeze the rails towards each other and adjust the wheel. it unloads the pressure on the wheel and threaded spindle. not my favorite design.


Thanks for the explanation.
I think there is something wrong with the FlipLock. I tried squeezing the rails to "unload" the spring, but no matter what I do, the adjust wheel won't budge. It's a shame, because I thought that this would be the ballhead that would last forever, but it didn't last one day. So I'll return it and probably get a RRS BH-40. Too bad Arca-Swiss has such bad service and lack of online presence and no troubleshooting help. The ballhead seems well-made, but the quick release is overly complicated and poorly designed.

Review notes: Besides my bad experience with the quick release mechanism here are a few more observations. The ball itself has very smooth operation, but not quite as silky smooth as my Markins Q3 Traveler. The panning knob is easier to turn and is much easier to lockdown than on my Q3, which is the Q3's biggest weakness. The panning knob is a bit too close to the main tension knob for my liking.



Jan 10, 2012 at 02:02 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


After another attempt at loosening the stubborn adjustment wheel I finally got it to move. I think that it was initially far too tight and needed some heavy pressure to undo. Now everything is working great, so I'll be trying it out over the next few days.
Initial observations:
1) Once adjusted the quick release lever works well, but still seems too complicated.
2) My initial comparison with my Markins Q3 shows the superior operation of a larger, more expensive ballhead. The "bounce-back" when changing positions is noticeable on the Q3 and the Z1 is much better.
3) Both have very good hold with no "sagging" when released. The Z1 just feels much more solid overall. The aspherical ball seems to work as advertised.
4) Both are much more dampened and have smoother operation than my old Induro DM-02. In this case, you get what you pay for.
5) The panning lever is easy to use because it's not round like the typical knob and it's easy to increase the tension and fully lock it down. Much better than my Markins Q3 which is difficult to use.
Note: initial test done on an Induro 2-series tripod with a Canon 5D2 and 70-200f2.8 lens.

Now that my lever issues are done, I hope to do a thorough test. Thanks again to sjms and Mike for the advice.



Jan 10, 2012 at 02:36 AM
lukeb
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


mhayes5254 wrote:
I have an A-S and a RRS quick release. The RRS seems easier to use but the A-S seems more fool proof. Even if the clamp is open, the camera will not fall out.


+100 RRS ROCKS



Jan 10, 2012 at 02:59 AM
sjms
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


enjoy


Jan 10, 2012 at 04:07 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


@surf monkey: I have both of your ballheads and don't think they're particularly comparable, but that's just me. I bought my Z1 without a clamp; you can buy excellent quality Kirk, RRS or Wimberley clamps for the Z1 that are far better than the A-S clamps.

The panning knob on the Markins Q3T doesn't lock by design; it's function is to act as a brake, not a lock.




Jan 11, 2012 at 04:12 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


peter_n wrote:
@surf monkey: I have both of your ballheads and don't think they're particularly comparable, but that's just me.


I don't think that these ballheads are in the same price/size class nor will I use them for the same purpose. The Markins will be for traveling, hiking and other activities where the lightweight is a bonus. But for my evaluation, it makes sense to compare the two, because the Markins is my only reference for a quality ballhead and for others with this ballhead it also provides a reference point.

peter_n wrote
The panning knob on the Markins Q3T doesn't lock by design; it's function is to act as a brake, not a lock.


For me, a panning base that doesn't lock seems like a bad design. I like to have the ballhead fully locked when doing bracketed, long exposures. But I may be in the minority when it comes to this feature. I'm not saying that the Markins is not a good product, because I'll be using it for a very long time. These are just my observations and preferences.




Jan 11, 2012 at 03:14 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


peter_n wrote:
I bought my Z1 without a clamp; you can buy excellent quality Kirk, RRS or Wimberley clamps for the Z1 that are far better than the A-S clamps.


I probably should have gone this route. Before buying mine, I read the not-so-glowing comments on the Z1 FlipLock.
Which clamp did you get?
What is your evaluation of the other clamps?
Any specific problems?

The RRS seems like the best one. I'll probably switch the clamp if the Z1 becomes annoying.



Jan 11, 2012 at 03:21 PM
 

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sjms
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


i do advise when using adjustable width clamp that you stay with one plate maker who's tolerances are excellent. different makers may require you to adjust and that can become problematic as in a pain in the a..


Jan 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


sjms wrote:
i do advise when using adjustable width clamp that you stay with one plate maker who's tolerances are excellent. different makers may require you to adjust and that can become problematic as in a pain in the a..


Thanks for the tip. I never thought about a compatibility issue between the plates and the ballhead. I took a quick look at my RRS L-plates and Wimberley lens plates and they measure the same and fit my current setup for my new Z1 clamp. But it's good to check before hand. Thanks.



Jan 11, 2012 at 04:55 PM
peter_n
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


surf monkey wrote:
For me, a panning base that doesn't lock seems like a bad design. I like to have the ballhead fully locked when doing bracketed, long exposures.


You and many others. Markins state that the design helps reduce vibration. I'm not wild about it myself but the Q3T is a very good ballhead and I'm willing to put up with it.

surf monkey wrote:
I probably should have gone this route. Before buying mine, I read the not-so-glowing comments on the Z1 FlipLock. Which clamp did you get? What is your evaluation of the other clamps? Any specific problems?

The RRS seems like the best one. I'll probably switch the clamp if the Z1 becomes annoying.


You don't want to do what I did: I bought a Markins screw-knob clamp and had it custom machined to fit the boss on the top of the Z1 ball stem. Don't ask; it's a religion.

Any of those clamps are good; the Kirk I think is 80mm wide so particularly useful with rails or LF cameras. The Wimberley is a universal clamp that can be used on many ballhead stems. Both the Kirk and the Wimberley are screw knob, but RRS make both screw knob and lever release clamps for the Z1. Many users like the RRS lever clamp, see an additional comment about compatibility below.

surf monkey wrote:
Thanks for the tip. I never thought about a compatibility issue between the plates and the ballhead. I took a quick look at my RRS L-plates and Wimberley lens plates and they measure the same and fit my current setup for my new Z1 clamp. But it's good to check before hand. Thanks.


+1 for sjms's comment. There is no strict dimensional standard when it comes to the Arca-Swiss QR system. They all have the same dovetail design but there are subtle dimensional differences when it comes to manufacturers. Since you already have RRS and Wimberley plates, if you decide to replace the A-S clamp it would make sense to get a RRS clamp as their lever release clamp in particular dovetails solidly with RRS and Wimberley plates. Users report solid connections with other plates but the RRS web site specifies RRS and Wimberley plates for their lever release clamp in particular.




Jan 13, 2012 at 03:44 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


After using a bit, the Z1 clamp seems to be working well and is very secure. For now I can deal with its eccentricities, but I still may switch it out in the long term. The FlipLock just seems too fiddly and not built as solid as the rest of the head. My main concern is that the small parts of the FlipLock will eventually fail.

Has anyone used one for a long period? Just wondering how it has held up over time. Any malfunctions or breaks?



Jan 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
matt4626
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


I hope its been improved over the years. I had one of the A-S original flip locks explode when I "adjusted" the adjustment wheel a little too much
Sent it back to B&H in a baggie.....



Jan 14, 2012 at 12:04 AM
mhayes5254
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


I can give it a rather unusual testimonial
Picture this: Driving across the Brooklyn bridge on my motorcycle at about 50 MPH, full 4x5 LF format and 50% of my DSLR kit in a backpack in the passenger seat, Gitzo with A-S Z1 strapped to the outside, no cover, total weight about 35 pounds, forgot to strap it down

I heard a loud crash as I left the bridge and instantly knew that the bag was in the street behind me . Miraculously, the traffic was light (unusual for Manhattan at 8 PM) and no one ran over it.

The RPT/Kelty Photo Redwing backpack from Photo Backpacker got a bit scrapped up and the tripod and head were as seen below. The lip for the clamp was a bit folded over but after light work with a fine file, it functions perfectly. I was very worried about the damage by the slot for the ball but the action is still as smooth as before. I did not have to adjust either the clamp or the ball tension after this.

Of course I do not know if the damage on the head and tripod were from direct impact or from sliding along the street. In either case I was thrilled by the outcome. The only downside is I doubt I could sell them as "Like New" . I Also have high praise for the bag. The LF kit was unscathed.

I also had the clamp come apart one time due to over zealous adjustment as Matt described (my fault), but was able to get it back after a bit of fiddling. When adjusting, you do not have to turn it much. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was not overly thrilled by the ease of opening and closing the clamp compared to the RRS. However after some use it becomes second nature. On the plus side, the camera will not fall out if the clamp is open.

I think I can vouch for its durability.










Jan 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM
sjms
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


nice work


Jan 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM
sjms
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


matt4626 wrote:
I hope its been improved over the years. I had one of the A-S original flip locks explode when I "adjusted" the adjustment wheel a little too much
Sent it back to B&H in a baggie.....


oh yeah, by the way, none of the components are captive. so you don't want to over adjust it.



Jan 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


Motorcycles are dangerous! But the Z1 is one solidly built piece of gear.
The FlipLock, while not perfect, seems to work well and I'll be keeping it until there's a good reason to try something different. Thanks for the tips on over-adjusting. I have it pretty much working the way I want it to, so I doubt I'll be adjusting much.



Jan 14, 2012 at 01:09 AM
mhayes5254
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Arca-Swiss Z1 flip-lock help needed


SJMS:
Not my proudest moment! Fortunately I am one of those who is not overly concerned about scratches. This however is a bit over the top, even for me.



Jan 14, 2012 at 01:48 AM
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