30 years photography experience demonstrates that the Arca Swiss system of tripod heads is by far the best. Arca-Swiss system offers the best and most diversified after-market add-ons.

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Arca Swiss system of tripod heads

Arca swiss monoball
The Arca Swiss Monoball for 35mm and 6x6cm. cameras

This Arca Swiss monoball has lasted over 20 years and is still in full service. I use it for Leica and Hasselblad.

For 4x5 and 8x10 cameras and especially for the Dicomed and Better Light digital systems, try out a Manfrotto tripod head.

You can buy a dozen different kinds of quick release tripod adapters. But there is only one international standard, that set years ago by Arca-Swiss.

So if you travel around the world you have a greater chance to find substitutes if you start with the Arca-Swiss system.

I have seen many photographers try to shave a few dollars off their equipment costs by using cheaper systems. But in the long run, Arca Swiss tripod heads are more cost effective.

Two different American companies make useful after-market components for the Arca-Swiss system. I have tried them both and found that Kirk is far superior in friendly service and personal attention.

If you have to travel light and can't carry the Manfrotto, the Arca-Swiss head will support considerable weight. But the advantage of a Manfrotto model 3263 head is that it has no ball joint, so the heavy camera always remains horizontal. Ideally you need one of each, since you need a monoball for your 35mm and medium format 6x6 cm cameras.

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