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Gear Talk => Software & Accessories => Topic started by: sagittariansrock on December 03, 2013, 07:10:33 PM

Title: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 03, 2013, 07:10:33 PM
Hi all
I have a favor to ask anyone who owns an Arca Swiss Z with the double decker clamp and a Wimberley lens plate. Wimberley states that their safety stop feature doesn't work for these clamps because the groove is too deep. However, mine has two stops in the clamp itself, likely because of the compact system. Now, will these pins be high enough to come in contact with the lens plate safety stop and allow the safety feature to be functional?
If not, is there any other lens plate that allows the safety feature to work with the Z?
Thanks!
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 03, 2013, 08:56:05 PM
I don't know if I'm totally following what you're saying, but the safety pins on the Wimberley plates are supposed to work on the grooves of the Wimberley clamp itself (I suppose that a clamp with similar grooves would work just as well). The Arca-Swiss plates work in the opposite direction, by having the pins in the clamp and the grooves in the plates (and I think that's just for their new plate system).

In my case, I ended up going in the opposite direction of what I think you're suggesting, which was replacing the clamp on my Monoball with the Wimberley C-12 clamp. That was an easy job and it had the added benefit of increasing compatibility with the broad range of Arca-geometry plates that have safety pins on them (if you really care about that feature).
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 12:13:20 AM
The double Decker clamp confuses me too .  Unless you plan to use the arca only new geometries i think I would put a rrs clamp on the z
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 04, 2013, 02:48:08 AM
I don't know if I'm totally following what you're saying, but the safety pins on the Wimberley plates are supposed to work on the grooves of the Wimberley clamp itself (I suppose that a clamp with similar grooves would work just as well). The Arca-Swiss plates work in the opposite direction, by having the pins in the clamp and the grooves in the plates (and I think that's just for their new plate system).

In my case, I ended up going in the opposite direction of what I think you're suggesting, which was replacing the clamp on my Monoball with the Wimberley C-12 clamp. That was an easy job and it had the added benefit of increasing compatibility with the broad range of Arca-geometry plates that have safety pins on them (if you really care about that feature).

I'm not sure mine is user-removable. Did you have to send yours in to their US service center or can it undone using a torx wrench. I remember Arca Swiss announcing they will (semi)permanently lock down the clamp.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 04, 2013, 09:25:39 AM
I'm not sure mine is user-removable. Did you have to send yours in to their US service center or can it undone using a torx wrench. I remember Arca Swiss announcing they will (semi)permanently lock down the clamp.

Nope, I remove the clamp myself. I remembered it being a bit tight, but I just applied torque with my own hands. You can always contact them and ask. I don't remember if Arca Swiss applied some blue loctite or similar to the screw (which still can be removed by hand), but I did do that when I put in the new clamp.

I forgot to say, if you just bought the Monoball, you could just return it and consider options such as the RRS BH-55, which gives you similar quality and there's no need to mess around with the clamp.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 09:54:26 AM


I've read that AS started using locktite red or something stronger , making it difficult to remove the double Decker clamp.   I'm not sure I see the value in that clamp either, and from my reading folks tend to prefer the rrs or Wimberley clamps on the z.  Good luck I hope u get yours off.  My plans at this point when I upgrade my ball head is to purchase the z1 with the 3/8 screw and platform and mount up an rrs clamp .  I'd just go for the rrs ball head but it's base is too big for my tripod.     Even the dp version of the z1 ,  while compelling,  is not as attractive to me as the rrs panning clamp which can mount part time to a std clamp.  So bottom line for me is put a std clamp on the z unless you will benefit from arca swiss 's new geometry products.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 04, 2013, 10:51:58 AM
I totally agree. The new double dovetail raises the CG and doesn't serve any useful purpose as far as I am concerned. However, I prefer the Z far more than the BH-55 or BH-40. So I guess I'll have to contend with switching. Hopefully they used blue :)
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 04, 2013, 11:13:09 AM
Best of luck with the conversion! Let us know how it goes. You should have good options for the clamp once you get the AS one out. I used the Wimberley as I could readily get it at a local store instead of ordering from RRS (the Z1 is not my primary head, so I wasn't as picky).

RRS does provide options to your heart's content. dlleno, RRS' panning clamp does look attractive. I just keep telling myself that I'm doing fine with my geared head and leveling base, although a compact top panning solution has been tempting me for over a year  ;D
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 11:23:58 AM
Best of luck with the conversion! Let us know how it goes. You should have good options for the clamp once you get the AS one out. I used the Wimberley as I could readily get it at a local store instead of ordering from RRS (the Z1 is not my primary head, so I wasn't as picky).

RRS does provide options to your heart's content. dlleno, RRS' panning clamp does look attractive. I just keep telling myself that I'm doing fine with my geared head and leveling base, although a compact top panning solution has been tempting me for over a year  ;D

yea +1 on both counts.  RRS has TOO MANY nice things in their catalog, lol.  BTW I like the Z1 over the Markins mostly due to the size of the panning lock knob.  The Z1 is s more compact design.  So the best of both worlds to me is to put an RRS clamp on a z1.  If you can't get the AS clamp off, you might be able to send it in to an AS service center.  Some have tried heating with a soldering iron, but imho once you start playing with heat you're better off leaving that job to those who know the product.  fingers crossed the OP is succesful!

I'm still trying to find out why AS produced a whole line of new geometry stuff, and why one would want to live with the double-decker clamp unless there was a critical need to use the proprietary new geometry.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 04, 2013, 11:45:22 AM
I'm still trying to find out why AS produced a whole line of new geometry stuff, and why one would want to live with the double-decker clamp unless there was a critical need to use the proprietary new geometry.

That's beyond me as well. I read some place that the new system was supposed to provide AS with new possibilities, perhaps related to the rails for their view cameras?? Now I do find it funny that the company that produced a geometry standard emulated by others is moving in other directions.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 11:53:26 AM
could be.  maybe they are anticipating the smaller cameras and the associated need for smaller accessories.  Or maybe they trying to create a new standard and/or an exclusive product line.  not for me though.  my gripped 5D3 is quite happy with the existing standard and I'm not very keen on trying to insert a standard plate into the top portion of that double decker AS clamp. 
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 01:48:24 PM
I just had an oh duh moment.  Wimberley Sells the z1 with their clamp installed.   It's their bh-300.  I'd bet they would retrofit for a rework fee...

Nice
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 04, 2013, 04:10:10 PM
OP, that might indeed be the best bet!
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 04, 2013, 04:40:59 PM
Yes that is the best option in my opinion.  Call Wimberly and just see what they say.  they buy Z1s direct from AS, remove the platform/stud thingie and put their own clamp on there.  its the best z1 solution ever, imho -- no fussing around with the double decker clamp and if you stay with Wimberly or RRS plates,  your safety stops will work. 

it may be a long shot to see if they would retrofit, but its worth a try.  BTW, after talking with Wimberly I'm convinced more than ever that it is NOT the best solution to simply  screw an RRS or Wimberly clamp  directly onto the AS 3/8" stud/platform supplied on the Z1.  What wimberly does it take that OFF and put their clamp directly onto the stud, which takes advantage of the anti-twist nubs present in the AS stud.

Kudos to Wimberley keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 04, 2013, 07:09:18 PM
What wimberly does it take that OFF and put their clamp directly onto the stud, which takes advantage of the anti-twist nubs present in the AS stud.

Kudos to Wimberley keep up the good work!

That's exactly what I did when I fitted mine with their clamp. Wimberley includes instructions online to that effect too. Of course, that was an easy do-it-yourself job before AS decided -as reported- to use some strong glue.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 05, 2013, 02:27:35 AM
What wimberly does it take that OFF and put their clamp directly onto the stud, which takes advantage of the anti-twist nubs present in the AS stud.

Kudos to Wimberley keep up the good work!

That's exactly what I did when I fitted mine with their clamp. Wimberley includes instructions online to that effect too. Of course, that was an easy do-it-yourself job before AS decided -as reported- to use some strong glue.

I don't even have the platform to worry about that, and I believe even now the Z1 that comes with the circular platform isn't locked down.
So, I haven't actually used a pro (knob) system yet- always had a Manfrotto RC2 with flip lever. I do like the lever lock of the Z1 a lot, so I need to find out how much I like the pro system. I have a gently used C-10 on the way for my monopod (234) where I wouldn't want to use a lever system, and then I'll also find out whether I prefer the pro more than the lever. From what I've seen from the videos, the C-12 seems like a very versatile system and perfectly suited for the Z1 if one likes the pro system. And then I need to start worrying about getting the QR off... :-\
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 06, 2013, 02:50:40 PM
I just had an oh duh moment.  Wimberley Sells the z1 with their clamp installed.   It's their bh-300.  I'd bet they would retrofit for a rework fee...

Nice

So I contacted Wimberley regarding the retrofit, and they said they will do it for free: all I have to pay for is the clamp and the return shipping. That's pretty nice of them IMO. They also offered 20% discounts on their demo, blemished and last model, which are all perfectly acceptable to me functionally. I wonder which I should pick...

I also noticed that my new Kirk L-plate for 5DIII doesn't fit very nicely in the Arca Swiss clamp. The dovetail on the Kirk is quite blunt and the dovetail on the Arca Swiss is rather sharp. So I am just going to wait for my C-10 to arrive- then a quick check to see if I like the knob and then, off goes my Z1 for it's new clamp :)
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 06, 2013, 03:20:21 PM
So I contacted Wimberley regarding the retrofit, and they said they will do it for free: all I have to pay for is the clamp and the return shipping. That's pretty nice of them IMO. They also offered 20% discounts on their demo, blemished and last model, which are all perfectly acceptable to me functionally. I wonder which I should pick...

I also noticed that my new Kirk L-plate for 5DIII doesn't fit very nicely in the Arca Swiss clamp. The dovetail on the Kirk is quite blunt and the dovetail on the Arca Swiss is rather sharp. So I am just going to wait for my C-10 to arrive- then a quick check to see if I like the knob and then, off goes my Z1 for it's new clamp :)

I'm glad to hear about the Wimberley offering. I contacted their customer service once before, and they stroke me as good people to do business with. Regarding clamp models, keep in mind that the C-10 is discontinued, the C-12 is the current model and what I've had for almost a couple of years (http://www.tripodhead.com/products/qr-clamps-main.cfm (http://www.tripodhead.com/products/qr-clamps-main.cfm)). I can attest that the C-12 works fine with Kirk L-plates for the 6D and 7D.

You seem to already be on the Wimberley track, but you mentioned liking the lever system. RRS has a lever clamp that also has anti-twist groves. I ignore if they will retrofit your Z1, but a quick phone call can help (they have great customer service too).
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 06, 2013, 04:01:33 PM

I'm glad to hear about the Wimberley offering. I contacted their customer service once before, and they stroke me as good people to do business with. Regarding clamp models, keep in mind that the C-10 is discontinued, the C-12 is the current model and what I've had for almost a couple of years (http://www.tripodhead.com/products/qr-clamps-main.cfm (http://www.tripodhead.com/products/qr-clamps-main.cfm)). I can attest that the C-12 works fine with Kirk L-plates for the 6D and 7D.

You seem to already be on the Wimberley track, but you mentioned liking the lever system. RRS has a lever clamp that also has anti-twist groves. I ignore if they will retrofit your Z1, but a quick phone call can help (they have great customer service too).

Definately agree on the Wimberly comment.  I'd do business with them in a heartbeat and in fact their BH-300 is going to be my next ballhead.  My fiesol just isn't cutting the mustard, and it even locked up in 100 degree (F) weather.  so I'm done with cheap ballheads. 

As an aside, Wimberly does not put a C12 on the Z1;  they put on a C11 which is specifically designed for the Z1.  Reason being:  C12 is a brand-agnostic clamp with setscrews that can be installed on most any ballhead.  C11 has been designed to take advantage of the anti-twist nubs manufactured into the Z1 shaft itself, so it has  no set screws and none are needed.  I'm also told that the top-side groove pattern is different, though I'm not sure why that is.  So bottom line is that the C11 is functionally equivalent to the C12.  one can certainly put a C12 on a Z1 thats for sure, but Wimberley doesn't do it. 

Whats curious to me is that Arca Swiss, if you contact them directly, will tell you if you want to put an RRS clamp on, then buy the 3/8" stud / platform flavor of the Z1 and screw the RRS clamp directly onto the 3/8" stud.  Wimberly told me this is not a good idea, and that its better to take the platform off and install the clamp onto the ballhead shaft itself.  I'm sure the RRS clamp supplied with an M6 screw will work well in that situation.

The issue here is "does AS lock down the platform in the same way that they (reportedly) lock down their own clamp?".  We don't know, but one thing I do know is that the Z1s supplied by AS to Wimberley are not locked down.  Wimberly takes the platform off and installs their C11 as I mentioned above.  Moral of the story is that if you want a  no-DIY solution, the Wimberley BH-300 is the only way to go, and there is zero worry about breaking the thread lock.  alternatively, if we can verify that AS supplies the Z1 (with stud and platform) via normal channels (i.e. B&H) without thread lock,  then field replacement with the RRS clamp would be quite straight-forward and DIY friendly, as many have already done, prior to the recent "AS clamps are locked down" discovery. 

ONe other interesting detail I"ve learned is that apparently AS may be starting to ship Z1s with a conventional single-decker clamp.  Word from Wimberly is that this stock may be still emerging and that B&H for example may still be shipping the double deckers.  to be sure, their photos still show that. So I dunno on that one...
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 06, 2013, 04:35:51 PM
dlleno, it's good that a number of us hold Wimberley in high regard. Thanks for reminding me about them using the C-11 in their modified Z1 offering. I prefer the wider grooves of the C-12 over the C-11, and I assume that they are narrower as that's an older model (same look as the C-10). My C-12 is indeed lying tightly on the anti-twist nubs of my Z1 (no play). I secured the main screw using blue loctite, and I tightened the additional small screws as a safety precaution (although I reckon that they're most likely not adding much). sagitariansrock, I'm sure that Wimberley will advise you on the best course of action.

dlleno, I agree with you that AS' suggestion to put a clamp on top of their flat platform head is nonsense. I wonder if they started locking down their heads due to reports of lousy DIY clamp-replacement jobs?? Some new manufacturing process (as when they modified their stud construction)?? I doesn't sound smart to force their new system into everybody.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: dlleno on December 06, 2013, 05:50:30 PM
+1 Pensive Tomato (ok I'll bite.  explain your handle please!) .  We can only infer and postulate, but my reading of the tea leaves suggests that

1.  AS locked down their clamps primarily to protect their prioprietary plate geometries and to prevent people from taking off the double decker and putting different clamps on their as DIY jobs.  Their primary sales channels would drive market penetration.  A  secondary affect (what they promote as the primary motivator) was DIY jobs run amok.  Its is quite possible to insecurely install a clamp and then blame the fault on AS, so the AS claim that warranty returns was the reason for the lockdown cannot possibly be all false, imho.   

2.   what we need to confirm, however are three possible indications that AS isn't really thumbing their nose at the community
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 06, 2013, 11:09:55 PM
Dlleno, here is the text from the actual email:
Quote
Our C-12 clamp replaced our earlier C-11 quick release clamp.  The C-11 was specifically designed for mounting to the Arca-Swiss Z1 Monoball.  Like the C-12, the C-11 has a grove milled in the base of the clamp to match the notch on the top of the Z1 stem. The differences between a C-11 and C-12 are very minor: the C-12 uses three locking screws while the C-11 uses a single locking screw, and the C-12 uses a triangular safety stop slot whereas the C-11 uses a more rectangular safety stop slot.

Now, the question is do I go for a new C-11 or do I go for a blemished or demo C-12? Personally I think it makes more sense to use the C 12 and be future proof. In my case they would put on whatever I choose and purchase.
Further, I think having three locking screws is probably better than having one.
Even quite recently I know of people who have removed the circular disk without any difficulty so I'm guessing Arca Swiss probably uses Loctite only on the adapters.
Pensive tomato, I do like the Arca Swiss flip lock however the really like stuff  one is not adjustable and they recommend using the flip lock only if people are using either RRS or Wimberley. And I'm using all Kirk.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 06, 2013, 11:18:05 PM
dlleno, your reasonings behind AS' "motives" for locking their clamps make sense. We'll see how things play out in the market. I do hope that they go back and include an offering with their single decker clamp. I have to say that the quality of their double decker clamp is quite nice (just as the for the rest of the Z1), but it just doesn't fit the needs of a number of us very well.

As for my handle, it's a silly thing. About 10 years ago, a bunch of my buddies were figuring out handles for gaming after one too many drinks. For fun we were using some random handle generator, which oddly enough kept suggesting vegetables and uncommon adjectives. I'm of fair skin, bad physical shape, and given to get lost in thought, hence Pensive Tomato. It just stuck and I kept using it for other things as well.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: pensive tomato on December 06, 2013, 11:29:33 PM
Now, the question is do I go for a new C-11 or do I go for a blemished or demo C-12? Personally I think it makes more sense to use the C 12 and be future proof. In my case they would put on whatever I choose and purchase.

I know you're asking for dlleno's opinion, but see the report on my positive experience using the C-12 clamp. I'd heard about lever clamps being affected by slight changes in the geometry of the plates, but I'm surprised that RRS' can't be adjusted. In any case, I've only used knob clamps. They're a bit slower to use, but you know for sure when they're tight and it's very easy to make quick adjustments as you slide the plate or rail while keeping some friction.
Title: Re: Arca Swiss Z and Safety stops
Post by: sagittariansrock on December 07, 2013, 01:19:24 AM
Now, the question is do I go for a new C-11 or do I go for a blemished or demo C-12? Personally I think it makes more sense to use the C 12 and be future proof. In my case they would put on whatever I choose and purchase.

I know you're asking for dlleno's opinion, but see the report on my positive experience using the C-12 clamp. I'd heard about lever clamps being affected by slight changes in the geometry of the plates, but I'm surprised that RRS' can't be adjusted. In any case, I've only used knob clamps. They're a bit slower to use, but you know for sure when they're tight and it's very easy to make quick adjustments as you slide the plate or rail while keeping some friction.

Actually I did see your post and decided that there would be zero downside to going for the C-12 (if I don't mind knobs). While C-11 was exclusive to the Z1, there is no benefit exclusive to it that the C-12 doesn't have. The only consideration was that they were offering me a new C-11 at the same price as a demo (gently used) or blemished (shiny finish resulting in tool marks) C-12, and I have no issues with a gently used or blemished item.
I'm just waiting for the C-10. Now, that I'm going to use with my monopod, and I didn't want to spend too much on that. And of course, it makes very little sense to use lever clamps on monopods because the lever can catch on stuff and come undone.
My only concern with a knob is the worry about them coming loose. The only knob I used was the 3-legged thing and it was rather flimsy. But I understand Wimberley is a very different beast.