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Thread: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head


    Introduction


    The Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head had been on the market for a few years(in fact, the current one is their 2nd version) but doesn't seem to get much attention and has remained little known. This is probably due to the small audience it serves, being a rather specialized piece of accessory.

    What's a gear head?

    The gear head levels camera even if the tripod is not levelled. Levelling a tripod can be imprecise and time consuming. As gear heads are easy to work with and offer very precise movement with self locking knobs, they are usually used for Architectural / interior, landscapes, macro and panorama photography where fine adjustments are required.

    The price and competition

    Priced at S$1700, the design of the Multiflex is identical to the more expensive Arca Swiss C1 Cube (S$3000) and relatively cheaper. Manfrotto offers 3 gear heads with different load capacity, the 400, 405 and 410. The gear heads are of an entirely different design which uses 3 separate knobs on 3 separate axis and are larger and bulkier but less expensive.

    Details

    Both the Multiflex and C1 offer gear movement on 2 separate axis on 2 tilting bases with individual rack and pinion gears, one stacked on the other. Each axis can be adjusted with 2 knobs located at opposite sides of each other. In total, there are 4 knobs controlling both axis on each side of the gear head. Both axis has up to 60 deg of movement. Tension adjustments are provided for both axis but the difference is really negligible.

    The Multiflex allows framing in portrait format with a tilting base, which is locked down and released with yet another knob. The tilting base will rotate the camera 60 deg only. To achieve a full 90 deg tilt, further adjustment has to be made to the top tilting base. However, in this orientation, you can only make use of 1 of the geared axis for alignment. Adjustment on the 2nd axis has to be done with the panorama base which is not geared, hence less precise. To overcome this problem, I opted to use an L bracket for my Nikon D3 and forget about the tilting base for portrait format.

    In addition to the tilting bases, the Multiflex comes with 2 separate panning bases. One located at the bottom of the head and the other, on top of the tilting bases. Usually, the top one is used for panoramas since its always easier to level the camera first before doing anything else. Only the top panning base has markings for reference. Both panning bases are not as easy or smooth compared to those on the C1.

    Differing from the C1, the Multiflex uses a slot-in type clamp. I think this is simpler and better than Arcs Swiss's Flip-Lock quickset device. The clamp will take standard Arca Swiss type plates and comes with a retaining pin to prevent accidental slips which could result in expensive repair bills for the camera.

    There are 2 bubble levellers on the Multiflex but for some reason, Photoclam used a denser spirit than usual. The movements are a lot slower. I still use the hotshoe mounted leveller. The 2nd version of the Multiflex comes with a removable knob(bigger) which can be slipped on and off any of the 4 adjustment knobs of the tilt bases to give you a better grip. You can order additional knobs separately. The Multiflex is finished in black powder coating and comes with a draw string pouch.

    Availability

    I don't think the Multiflex is readily available in shops here due to its price and demend and that Photoclam is still a relatively new brand. I ordered mine from Korea via eBAY.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Will follow up with pictures.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Sounds great Kit!

    Not many are familiar with geared heads.

    Will you be bringing it along this Saturday?

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Sounds great Kit!

    Not many are familiar with geared heads.

    Will you be bringing it along this Saturday?
    I never leave home without it...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Great!

    Would love to see and get a feel of it.

    I've always believed 3-way heads were more precise, although slower than ballheads, but goodness! This one reminds me of tilt-shift mechanisms on a rack-and-pinion!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Sure!! No problem.

    The gear heads are quite a lot better than 3 way heads since the knobs do not require tightening after the camera is in place. This eliminates any stray movements. The one thing which I really think the Multiflex is worth its weight in gold is the size. Its almost half the size of a Manfrotto 405. Now I can bring in on overseas trips without problems. Oh, and its always a conversation piece with passer-bys.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Here's a demo clip..... speaks a thousand words!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CJfz...eature=related

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Thanks Kit for your review of the Multiflex. I was introduced to this head some months back and only this month did I see it in the metal. Its a beautiful piece of engineering and very costly one at that. I hesitated because it cost more than a 135L. Not many would be ready to spend that kind of moolah for a tripod head. Having said that, I am personally rationalising the need for one - esp for my product photography and shooting with Tilt and Shift lenses. The fine control over the angles is a boon for those shooting tilt and shift.

    Anyway, here is another video of the same head.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0yTF...eature=related

    Here are some images of the head taken off the net...




    A caveat warning though, this head is probably not suitable for quick work like bird or sport photography. So buy the right gear for your needs!
    Last edited by Canonized; 1st May 2010 at 09:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review - Photoclam Multiflex Gear Head

    Quote Originally Posted by Canonized View Post
    Thanks Kit for your review of the Multiflex. I was introduced to this head some months back and only this month did I see it in the metal. Its a beautiful piece of engineering and very costly one at that. I hesitated because it cost more than a 135L. Not many would be ready to spend that kind of moolah for a tripod head. Having said that, I am personally rationalising the need for one - esp for my product photography and shooting with Tilt and Shift lenses. The fine control over the angles is a boon for those shooting tilt and shift.

    Anyway, here is another video of the same head.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0yTF...eature=related

    Here are some images of the head taken off the net...




    A caveat warning though, this head is probably not suitable for quick work like bird or sport photography. So buy the right gear for your needs!

    You are welcomed Its so compact compact to the Manfrotto ones, I can actually travel with it without much hassle. The precision movement that it provides is priceless if you need it. Its actually much easier and faster(more accurate) to set up than a ball head.

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