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FAQs - What ball head do you recommend?

Arca Swiss B-1

This ball head is considered by many to be the best ball head on the market. It is relatively light-weight (1.7 lbs) and it will hold a tremendous amount of weight for its size. You can use this head for lenses as large as 600mm f/4 (some people do not recommend using a lens as large as a 600mm f/4 on the B-1, but it will hold the weight). The smooth action of the ball is also quite remarkable. It exhibits almost no “stick-slip” or jerky action when tension is applied to the ball. This makes for easy framing adjustments. The action of the panning base is also quite smooth. The distance between the center of the ball and the plate-support surface of the clamp is 1.72”.

Problems with the Arca-Swiss B-1:

Before you buy one of these ball heads, you should be aware of some problems with this ball head that have arisen over the years. There are two problems that have since been rectified. The first was that the heads produced during a particular time did not operate as smoothly as others do. The second problem was that during a certain period of production the quick-release clamp, when dropped into the notch, would not go down a full 90° from horizontal. These are not current problems, and we do not expect them to recur.

Lockup problem:

To avoid this problem, thoroughly read, and abide by the instructions that come with your Arca-Swiss ball head. We believe the lockup problem discussed below is not as serious as it once was, although it can still occur with currently produced Arca-Swiss ball heads.

• If the ball is frozen and will not move:

 If this happens, this is what Bryan Geyer of Really Right Stuff suggests: “The fix is quite easy, and can be administered safely, with no risk of any damage to the B-1 ball head. Here’s what you do: check the small thumbscrew located on the main knob to confirm that it is indeed jammed, and not free to rotate counterclockwise. Then, get a firm grasp on the main locking control knob (you may want to use a piece of cloth to help get a good grip), and force-rotate that main knob clockwise (clockwise only—as if trying to lock the ball). You will need to rotate this knob clockwise by about 1/8 inch of movement in order to free the internal lockup. When this is done, normal operation is restored. Full hand force is quite sufficient to accomplish this fix; no tools are required unless grip is physically impaired.”

• If the knob is frozen, but the ball is free to move:

This happened to a customer (Trent Robeson). He was able to fix the problem by heating the ball head up with a hair dryer for about 5 minutes. He then forced the locking knob clockwise. This broke it loose.

• How to prevent your ball from locking up:

Arca-Swiss suggests that you leave your ball head loose while transporting it in a car or airplane. In general it is best to leave the head loose when not in use. Also, it is best not to over tighten the head; use only as much force as needed.






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