Genesis BH 34 Arca Swiss head and Giottos Carbon Fibre Tripod GT8223

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I’ve been using this set for quite a while, both the Arca Swiss head from Genesis, model reference BH 34 and Giottos Carbon Fibre Tripod GT8223.

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For all of you out there working on a mirrorless based system, weight is paramount – at only 1150 grams (tripod 810 grams, head 340 grams), this is an extremely lightweight system, portable on the side/underneath your backpack or even handheld in a soft case.

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For Fujifilm users that use handgrip on their cameras (except power booster for X-T1/X-T2), the Arca Swiss norm is quintessential. Instead of having to rely on a normal head system, with a plate (camera mount) to attach to the camera, which is cumbersome and impractical, with Arca Swiss heads the camera base plate is the actual plate that slides onto the tripod head, sliding in and out one way, faster, safer and improving practicality and work flow, exponentially. Believe me, once you’ve tried this solution you will agree with me, no doubt.

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The Genesis tripod head I’ve been using (BH 34) costs less than €55, has a maximum load capacity of 15 Kg(!) and I highly recommend it, due to an unbeatable price/performance ratio.

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This ball head is made of lightweight and durable aluminium-magnesium alloy. It features panoramic base with rotational scale to ensure seamless panning experience – extremely smooth. Additionally, there is a knob to unlock the ball with an integrated limitation stop that allows pneumatic adjustment of the ball’s clamping force, clever. The quick-release’s mounting point features spirit levels for precise framing and is equipped with special bolts protecting against the accidental fall out.

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The ball diameter is 34mm, height at 93mm – you get a reduction key and a 1/4”-3/8” reduction, a case, an Allen wrench with it, so it will fit almost anything you throw at it.

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Giottos has now discontinued this model (GT 8223 Carbon Fibre Tripod), but you can still find it in a few retailers that kept them in stock for longer, usually with 5011N Giottos head, a universal camera mount tripod head, no Arca Swiss here. At around €120 it is an exceptional deal. There are other options, from Triopo, models GX 1027 and GX 1127, from €119, without head – so around €170 provides you an excellent solution, durable, piratical, cost-effective and lightweight.

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The reason I would recommend carbon fibre over aluminium alloy, is not only about weight gain – 35 to 45% – indeed, carbon fibre has higher strength and has more resilience to fatigue, is less prone to vibrate (some say in excess of 50%, imagine what it can do to your long exposures) and it has better looks and finish.

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The reason I would recommend carbon fibre over aluminium alloy, is not only about weight gain – 35 to 45% – indeed, carbon fibre has higher strength and has more resilience to fatigue, is less prone to vibrate (some say in excess of 50%, imagine what it can do to your long exposures) and it has better looks and finish.

If you’re on the market for a tripod that you are going to use often, although it is not something that you’ll use on a daily basis then a 3 section leg tripod, with legs around 20mm in diameter, a maximum height of 140 to 160 cm, weight below one kilogram and a maximum load capacity of around 4 to 6 kilograms will do the trick. A hook in centre column is welcome: on windy days extra weight can be added this way, providing a sturdier base to your camera, reducing wind-induced shaking. Also, make sure you can invert the centre column so that macro and studio photography will not be an issue.

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Let me just stress the fact that, if your gear is equipped with an Arca Swiss base plate it is absolutely irrational to buy a normal base plate tripod head, given the advantages one gets from using the Arca Swiss norm.

Links

Genesis head: http://www.hi-techwonder.com/genesis-bh-34-ball-head

Triopo tripod: http://www.hi-techwonder.com/triopo-gx-1027-(carbono)

Triopo Tripods: http://www.triopo.pl/en/

Genesis: http://www.genesisgear.pl/en/

Giottos: http://www.giottos.com

A bit more on Arca Swiss: Camera equipment maker Arca-Swiss independently developed a quick-release system for use on their tripod heads. It is based on plates that are 38mm wide, and have a 45° dovetail, which is held into place on the receiver with a screw clamp. Starting in the 1990s, with the popularization of the Arca-Swiss B-1 ballhead, many other companies began producing plates and including Arca-Swiss style (sometimes referred to as arca-type) receivers on their tripod heads. Today most plates are machined aluminium which are attached to the cameras or lenses with a 1/4-20 hex screw.

Another aspect of the Arca-Swiss system is that the mounting plates are designed to prevent accidental rotation of the plate relative to the device. When used with a camera or camera body the plates incorporate an anti-rotation flange or lip. When mounted to a lens with a foot, the plate will often be secured with two screws to prevent rotation. When this type of system is used, the camera cannot become accidentally detached from the tripod, which is possible when using a quick-release system that doesn’t prevent rotation, or when no camera mount is used. Nearly all makes and models of modern SLRs, medium format cameras, and large lenses have specific plates available with anti-rotation flanges. Universal mounting plates are also available, which can be used with nearly any camera with a tripod mount, though they provide little or no anti-rotation protection.

 

All photographs: Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF 90mm F2, two LED light sources and one Fujifilm EF-X500 Shoe Mount Flash, mounted on to the camera as a stand alone unit. ACR, Velvia Film Simulation and Photoshop to taste.

 

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