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11-30-2014, 12:49 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
So if I get it correct, the set should consist of:
- GP ballhead
- quick release plate
- nodal rail
- (extended) universal L bracket
Counted together, I could buy another K-3
But it will last a lot longer...

11-30-2014, 01:19 PM   #17
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I have to say I'm fed up with the crazy European prices. The European distributors of Acratech are so smart that the EUR prices are even higher than USD prices.
So in the end it's better for me to order from US and even in spite of having to pay the customs, taxes and transport, I'd save a little.
11-30-2014, 01:36 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
I have to say I'm fed up with the crazy European prices. The European distributors of Acratech are so smart that the EUR prices are even higher than USD prices.
So in the end it's better for me to order from US and even in spite of having to pay the customs, taxes and transport, I'd save a little.
I would like the folks at Acratech know about this, mainly as a point for them to consider when talking to their distributor. Relaying the information won't save you any money, but it might help them nudge the distributor to align prices a bit in the future. Trust me, I know about this due to the surprisingly higher prices for any goods up here in tiny little Canada, when compared to the giant marketplace of the USA. Cost of business and exchange rate are only part of the story - sometimes it's just what the market will accept (example: some cars that are even assembled in Canada cost 36% more up here than in the US, where the company is headquartered!).

Last edited by panoguy; 11-30-2014 at 01:41 PM.
11-30-2014, 02:00 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
So if I get it correct, the set should consist of:
- GP ballhead
- quick release plate
- nodal rail
- (extended) universal L bracket
Counted together, I could buy another K-3
I have a spreadsheet that I have in the past maintained - much to my dismay (and no I dare NOT show it to my wife). I have things broken down by category - bodies, lenses, "mechanical support", and other. Mechanical support is not cheap. The GP alone will run the price of a K5IIs body on Black Friday sale. You can find generic quick release plates in the $20 to $30 area (if it has a slot for the screw that allows it to adjust to the thickness of the camera body). I think Acratech use to charge $40 - probably more now. If you are going to get a L-bracket, you will not need a quick release plate, as they serve the same purpose. Well - I take that back, it depend on the L-bracket's design. If it screws on to your base - no, it it uses a plate for attachment then yes. You could also do with out the nodal rail. The nodal rail does come in handy when you have something in the foreground that sticks up - a tree for example (that is relatively close in), that appears in two of the frames to be stitched. If you rotate around the nodal point you eliminate parallax and things will stitch together fine. In all the years, I have only had one pano that failed due to parallax. That said, I do try to recognize it (the problem) and avoid the location if I don't have a rail with me (I just recently got one).

I am not the one to go by. I was lucky enough to pick up a custom L bracket for the K5 body from Kirk while they were still making them (~$100 for a bent piece of machined aluminum). Now, having said that - it fits my K5 like a glove and lives on the body (I never remove it). Unfortunately, Kirk no longer supports Pentax - I wish they did, and they sold out of their K5 brackets a couple of years ago. Yes, custom L brackets are expensive, generic will fit a multitude of bodies, but to have it live on a body 24/7/365 - they don't catch on anything and they just become part of the body. I really have not gone looking for a good K3 bracket, since I decided to upgrade to a K5IIs for a variety of reasons from the K5 (better AF in the dark, better dynamic range at low ISO, ISO 80, slightly better resolution, better noise control at higher ISO) and my L bracket fits....

On the other hand - mechanical support usually does not break, usually adopts to new bodies (other than custom items), and are a one time lifetime purchase.

I have owned the GP for 6 or 7 years now. They did a slight redesign after its introduction. I really, really, really like it. My wife questioned my mental sanity over buying a piece of metal - that wasn't gold with diamonds on it.



11-30-2014, 02:26 PM   #20
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the fact is, you will likely keep your digital body for maybe five years or less (some like me change bodies every two years). And if I add up all my other non-body gear (tripods, flashes, umbrellas and soft boxes, remotes, pano gear, macro gear, filters, lens adapters, software, hard disk storage, etc. etc.) my investment in bodies is the least of my concern. Much more interesting to me is the ability to reuse/repurpose any of my gear to work with any of my camera bodies. In the past we would purchase a body and get 20 years out of it. Those days are mostly gone today if one is a purely digital photographer. But having everything "work together" is money well spent. As such, I don't mind investing in high-quality gear like Acratech or RRS -- those items will continue to provide value even after 20 years of service. My Nikon D800 or my Pentax K-3 will be long gone in 20 years.

YMMV

Michael
11-30-2014, 02:29 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I have a spreadsheet that I have in the past maintained - much to my dismay (and no I dare NOT show it to my wife). I have things broken down by category - bodies, lenses, "mechanical support", and other.
So do I, it is listed in the "things to look at if I don't wake up some day" for her. We have had a standard joke since we got married "dump the body and sell the tools". Meaning when I go not to fuss, just sell the fortune of tools (and camera gear) I have accumulated and enjoy. List price and price paid for everything is in there so she knows what to price things at. Of course if she ever looked in there she might be tempted to just off me so she could sell the tools

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
On the other hand - mechanical support usually does not break, usually adopts to new bodies (other than custom items), and are a one time lifetime purchase.
One excellent reason to standardize on Arca-Swiss gear. It's expensive but it never goes out of style
11-30-2014, 03:37 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJSfoto1956 Quote
the fact is, you will likely keep your digital body for maybe five years or less (some like me change bodies every two years). And if I add up all my other non-body gear (tripods, flashes, umbrellas and soft boxes, remotes, pano gear, macro gear, filters, lens adapters, software, hard disk storage, etc. etc.) my investment in bodies is the least of my concern. Much more interesting to me is the ability to reuse/repurpose any of my gear to work with any of my camera bodies. In the past we would purchase a body and get 20 years out of it. Those days are mostly gone today if one is a purely digital photographer. But having everything "work together" is money well spent. As such, I don't mind investing in high-quality gear like Acratech or RRS -- those items will continue to provide value even after 20 years of service. My Nikon D800 or my Pentax K-3 will be long gone in 20 years.

YMMV

Michael
Afternoon Michael, There was absolutely nothing wrong with my K5, I could keep it until it quit and I would have been very happy - actually that was my plan. That was also my largest tipping point. Since I was selling off my long MF lenses for the 60-250 and TC, I thought that the better AF, especially in the lower light levels was worth an upgrade. There are a few things that I want to try, and I have been figuring things out for the past few years. I think that I have the knowledge and understanding - we will see if I have the skill and ability to bring it all together. There are some specific shots I have always wanted to do up at the Grand Canyon, Canyon Country, Canyon de Chelly, etc. - all of the usual places, since 1966 when I passed through all of them on vacation with my folks. Now gear is not the problem, its behind the camera. I absolutely agree that going with the common AS interface, allows reuse and re-purpose - lifetime of the mechanical stuff, will out last me. Folks have gotten 10 years out of their *ist bodies. If something happened to Pentax tomorrow, there are enough K5 and K5IIs bodies at bargain basement prices to keep me in replacements forever. This is a hobby. Fortunately, I can afford Pentax and I am just very delighted with what I have. Too old to carry an 8x10 or 645 or 67. I can digitally replicate them for the most part, via mechanical support. That is why, the K5 family I believe works better for me than the K3. All I want to do is go take some nice images. This Black Friday was the adjustment time, aka fine tuning - given the prices.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
One excellent reason to standardize on Arca-Swiss gear. It's expensive but it never goes out of style
I really do like the AS standard. My wife even liked the GP - she thought that the machining was excellent.



11-30-2014, 04:08 PM   #23
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As far as Acratech's lever on their QR clamp - it has a lock on it so you can't accidentally open it. It's easy to operate and I've never had any problem with it. I like it because it fits flatter against the plate, you don't have the knob sticking out.
01-10-2015, 03:54 PM   #24
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Just wondering... anybody here using GP head on a monopod? Is that a good idea or not?
01-10-2015, 04:50 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
Just wondering... anybody here using GP head on a monopod? Is that a good idea or not?
If you lock the pan knob and use it in gimbal mode (or just lock everything down securely), it is ok in a pinch, but like any ballhead not really suitable. A simple tilt only head works better with less chance of catastrophe.
01-10-2015, 08:14 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
Just wondering... anybody here using GP head on a monopod? Is that a good idea or not?
I'm sure it is possible but certainly over-kill. I agree with vonBaloney, a simple tilt only head works much better.
01-10-2015, 10:34 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I'm sure it is possible but certainly over-kill. I agree with vonBaloney, a simple tilt only head works much better.
QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
If you lock the pan knob and use it in gimbal mode (or just lock everything down securely), it is ok in a pinch, but like any ballhead not really suitable. A simple tilt only head works better with less chance of catastrophe.
QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
Just wondering... anybody here using GP head on a monopod? Is that a good idea or not?
That has been my plan, essentially reusing what I have already have. Also, it really depends on how much you are going to use this setup. For me it would not push me to buy anything new.

01-11-2015, 04:04 AM   #28
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Are the Acratech and Kirk systems compatible? I mean can I fix a lens with Kirk lens plate to Acratech clamp and vice versa?
I'd suppose so as they both are Arca-style, but could somebody confirm it?
01-11-2015, 05:26 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
Are the Acratech and Kirk systems compatible? I mean can I fix a lens with Kirk lens plate to Acratech clamp and vice versa?
I'd suppose so as they both are Arca-style, but could somebody confirm it?
Absolutely!!!

Arcatech heads come with either a lever or knob style AS clamp. I have a Kirk L Bracket and a couple of other third party plates, and they all work perfectly fine. I also have a Arcatech plate for the old K100D that I have used on my Q and a K20D (that I use to have) and in a couple of other instances, that I have used on a AS Sunwayfoto clamp. If its an AS type clamp and plate, I have not found any in-compatibility problems (... yet).

01-11-2015, 05:43 AM   #30
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^^ good to hear, thanks!
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