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Thread: Review of Acratech Ultimate Ballhead (on Gitzo G1325) vs Arca Swiss B1 (on G1228)

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Review of Acratech Ultimate Ballhead (on Gitzo G1325) vs Arca Swiss B1 (on G1228)

    By request again, here's the link to my review on the Arcatech Ultimate Ballhead (mounted on a Gitzo G1325) vs the Arca Swiss MonoBall B1 (mounted on a Gitzo G1228).

    http://eoslightbox.com/reviews/Review_ATUB_G1325.html

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    How much is the head?

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Kho King
    How much is the head?
    The Acratech Ultimate Ballhead is selling at US$269.95 available directly from Acratech only.

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    I have brought one.
    The cheapest shipping available is US$27, take 4-7 days.
    Will be receiving it next week. (It has been shipped)
    total cost is about S$560, exclude the FOBA QR plate I brought at CP.

    Thank you Edmund for your help!
    Hope we can share our user experience later.

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    Hi Everyone,

    I have updated my review to include the new rubberized main control knob that I received on Monday.

    Enjoy!!

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    The Arca swiss B-1 is really too TOP heavy for the Gitzo 1228.
    Whilst its a useful stopgap measure, if you can afford it, move up to the Gitzo 13XX/14XX/15XX series, and you can see how it easily absorbs/balances the usage of heavy equipment, compared to FOBA/Kirk and many others, and I suspect maybe even against the Acratech (even though i have not used one before, so I won't vouch for that). You basically need a similar set of legs to compare the heads.

    The smaller (new) Kirk BH-3 would probably be better balanced on the Gitzo 1228 than the Arca B1. I have tried a friend's (on a Gitzo 13XX not carbon fibre) and it certainly works well holding lenses of 300/4 or 400/5.6 with a pro body attached.

    I have tried many ball-heads available in the Singaporean market, and simply, the Arca is still the best around. All those locking up and horror stories are by those whom do not heed the advise of keep the ball loosen in storage. I have used mine for 2 years now, and never had any problems.

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG
    The Arca swiss B-1 is really too TOP heavy for the Gitzo 1228.
    Whilst its a useful stopgap measure, if you can afford it, move up to the Gitzo 13XX/14XX/15XX series, and you can see how it easily absorbs/balances the usage of heavy equipment, compared to FOBA/Kirk and many others, and I suspect maybe even against the Acratech (even though i have not used one before, so I won't vouch for that). You basically need a similar set of legs to compare the heads.
    Perhaps you didn't read my review closely enough, or maybe I didn't phrase my paragraph very well in my review, but in my review, I did say
    I had a simple strategy for the tests. Since both ballheads use the same kind of QR plates, all I had to do was to mount my EOS 3 (with PB-E2) and EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM on the individual heads and simulate operations during shooting. During this test, my G1325 CF tripod had not arrived yet (the photos above were shot during a subsequent trip) and I was using borrowed legs (Manfrotto 190B -> thanks again Darren!!!). So to be fair, I mounted each ballhead on the G1228 CF tripod before each test.
    So you see, I did use the same legs for my review.

    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG
    I have tried many ball-heads available in the Singaporean market, and simply, the Arca is still the best around. All those locking up and horror stories are by those whom do not heed the advise of keep the ball loosen in storage. I have used mine for 2 years now, and never had any problems.
    Maybe so (and I don't think Darren's AS-B1 has ever locked up either), but you don't live in the same climate as many of them (I'm assuming you are normally resident in this region?) so those who do live in other climates will have to take your testimony with a pinch of salt. Honestly speaking, I too believe that the AS-B1 is one of the best ballheads around (why else did i compare the ATUB to the AS-B1?? ), but that doesn't mean I discount the comments of reputable bird photographers like Arthur Morris.

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    Perhaps you didn't read my review closely enough, or maybe I didn't phrase my paragraph very well in my review, but in my review, I did say
    Speed reading, so i guess I did miss it. (limited time during office hours)

    So to be fair, I mounted each ballhead on the G1228 CF tripod before each test.
    My point is, the Arca B1 is really not that suitable on the 12XX series. It would be better to test BOTH ballhead on a 13XX series ball head.

    Maybe so (and I don't think Darren's AS-B1 has ever locked up either), but you don't live in the same climate as many of them (I'm assuming you are normally resident in this region?) so those who do live in other climates will have to take your testimony with a pinch of salt.
    Foreign user or local, its a matter of knowing how to use and take care of your equipment.... Some people discount Gitzo tripods with its difficult leg locks. I never encountered difficulties. Thus its understanding your equipment.

    Given that I have spent many a years living in a foreign land....
    I have used it from temperatures of about 0C to Singapore's 32C just fine. Art's current displeasure stems from the latest stock/series of B1, which seems buggy. I have a few friends whom have bought the latest B1's and they have the recently found out "rust" problem. Whereas my much older B1 has gone through quite abit of weathering with no ill effects. Only thing i can say, Arca hopefully will up their QC on their ball heads!!

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    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG
    My point is, the Arca B1 is really not that suitable on the 12XX series. It would be better to test BOTH ballhead on a 13XX series ball head.
    Agreed. But I really wasn't performing any scientifc tests which measured max loads or slippages in relation. Hence in my tests with subjective results (i did mention this also in my review), testing both ballheads on a 13xx series tripod probably wouldn't show any different results unless I were to mount that 500mm lens of yours on them.. (even then, I am still guessing, becos, the ATUB claims to be able to take up to at least 11.4kg of equipment without slippage and the AS-B1 even more!!!)

    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG
    Foreign user or local, its a matter of knowing how to use and take care of your equipment.... Some people discount Gitzo tripods with its difficult leg locks. I never encountered difficulties. Thus its understanding your equipment.
    Fully agree with these points. I love my G1325!!

    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG
    Given that I have spent many a years living in a foreign land....
    I have used it from temperatures of about 0C to Singapore's 32C just fine. Art's current displeasure stems from the latest stock/series of B1, which seems buggy. I have a few friends whom have bought the latest B1's and they have the recently found out "rust" problem. Whereas my much older B1 has gone through quite abit of weathering with no ill effects. Only thing i can say, Arca hopefully will up their QC on their ball heads!!
    That seems to agree with what I have read and heard so far - that the older generation of AS-B1 have no probs but not the current ones - Darren's AS-B1 has shown some rust as well!!

    And yes, I too hope Arca will ramp up on their QC. I plan to purchase one together with one of the Gitzo Explorers in the future and I'll swap the ATUB (since it seems to be smaller in size to the AS-B1) to that and put the AS-B1 on my G1325.

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    testing both ballheads on a 13xx series tripod probably wouldn't show any different results unless I were to mount that 500mm lens of yours on them.. (even then, I am still guessing, becos, the ATUB claims to be able to take up to at least 11.4kg of equipment without slippage and the AS-B1 even more!!!)
    Agreed. However even though Arca claims 90lbs on the B1, I have used both 600 f4 with and without IS on it. Its on the absolute limit.. even with the 1325. I would use it in an emergency, but where one to use those lens, a 1548 should be on high priority along with the B1G or Wimberly head. Practically speaking.. I think a 500 f4 lens would be the limit for a 1325/B1 combo.

    Fully agree with these points. I love my G1325!!
    Amen to that.

    That seems to agree with what I have read and heard so far - that the older generation of AS-B1 have no probs but not the current ones - Darren's AS-B1 has shown some rust as well!!
    I believe Arca is willing to take the ball head back and fix it.. free... but one might need to pay for shipping (unless its from Cathay...)

    And yes, I too hope Arca will ramp up on their QC. I plan to purchase one together with one of the Gitzo Explorers in the future and I'll swap the ATUB (since it seems to be smaller in size to the AS-B1) to that and put the AS-B1 on my G1325.
    Good choice

    I'm actually thinking of getting a smaller ball head, and its essentially going to be the BH-3, although your ATUB seems ideal for the role too!!!

  11. #11

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    Originally posted by NaturePhotoG


    I believe Arca is willing to take the ball head back and fix it.. free... but one might need to pay for shipping (unless its from Cathay...)
    Does Cathay gives warranty on AS ball head? They don't give warranty on Gitzo tripod...although in other part of the world Gitzo tripod is having life time warranty. Maybe this is why Gitzo and AS are cheaper here...
    DR KOH KHO KING

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    Anybody knows if Kirk ballhead is available in Singapore? Have you guys compare it with the AS B1? Price should be not much different, right?
    DR KOH KHO KING

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