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Author Topic: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube  (Read 18314 times)

shadowblade

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KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« on: January 19, 2018, 07:39:30 AM »

I'm looking for a geared head to replace my (stolen) Cube, but, before pulling the trigger on another Cube, thought I'd search around and see if any alternatives had been released since I bought my previous Cube.

Now, the Cube is a fantastic piece of gear, but, nevertheless, has a few shortcomings. Firstly, the clamp isn't replaceable on the current model - I'd much prefer to use a RRS lever clamp, but, instead, am stuck with Arca-Swiss's substandard flip-lock clamp since. (If anyone's found a good, reliable way to replace the Cube's clamp, let me know). Secondly, it's heavy when hiking. Thirdly, the gears are, perhaps, a bit vulnerable to damage from sand and dust, being exposed as they are.

I looked at the D4, but it looks like it might have more scope for vibration or instability when using long lenses. But then I saw the KPS T5 - it's around a third lighter than the Cube, can take a RRS clamp and gets good reviews. As a bonus, it also works as a ballhead for when that kind of thing is more convenient (e.g. wildlife).

But what is it like stability-wise compared to the Cube? I need a head that can hold long and heavy lenses (at least 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 @ 400mm, preferably even 200-400 f/4) perfectly still for long exposures (still enough for multiple exposures for image blending or pixel shift) - any head which can't do that is out. It also needs to have independently-adjustable axes with fine control and no 'droop', hence the need for a geared head. At the same time, the massive load-bearing capacity of the Cube may be overkill.

Anyone here tried both first-hand? I've read the reviews, but am not prepared to pull the trigger on it without direct comparisons, when there's a tried-and-true solution available.
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Ken Doo

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2018, 10:18:59 AM »

The KPS T5 is an excellent geared ball head, but the Arca Swiss Cube remains the top-dog for a geared solution, imho.  There are new alternatives now available such as the P0 hybrid, but this may not have the capacity which you require.  The T5 is smaller and lighter, so does make a good portable option. I use the KPS T5 on RRS TVC-24 tripod legs.  The AS Cube really is better on heavier leg sets such as the RRS TVC 3 series; it is top heavy on lighter leg sets.  You can search for threads on removing the AS top clamp from newer Cubes using a heat gun, and replacing it with a RRS top clamp.  I like the KPS T5 for a portable option, but I also love the precision of the AS Cube. Hybrid solutions are great for flexibility, but if you are seeking a geared solution only, a dedicated geared head is going to be a better solution, imho.

There is also a new option available from Cambo that is worth exploring. The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head.  See, https://www.cambo.com/en/news/pch-precision-geared-head/

If you don't mind the price and weight, I'd invest in another AS Cube. The AS Flip-lock is not bad once you figure out the intricacies, and it is possible to replace the top clamp with a heat gun. I've heard that Precision Camera may do the top clamp swap for you also?? Not sure.
The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head also looks to be a solid option, but I have not tried it.

Ken

davidgp

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2018, 11:30:17 AM »

Hi Shadowblade,

As Ken comments, there is also de Arca Swiss P0 Hybrid, that Jim Kasson has reviewed: http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/arca-swiss-p0-hybrid-head/ , he also has the Cube, and he is a member of this forum, so maybe you can ask him his opinion (apart from what he wrote in his blog).

Probably you will have the same clamp problem as with the Cube. Arca Swiss also offers a knob version: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1345415-REG/arca_swiss_801224_monoball_p0_hybrid_ballhead.html , but I think I have not seen the option without clamp...

Regards,

David

davidgp

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2018, 11:44:34 AM »

Just looking at more information about the P0, here is a guy who mounted an RSS clamp, not sure if it was too dificult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27MS155GtpU

David Eichler

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 03:20:27 PM »

The KPS T5 is an excellent geared ball head....
[/i]
There is also a new option available from Cambo that is worth exploring. The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head.  See, https://www.cambo.com/en/news/pch-precision-geared-head/

If you don't mind the price and weight, I'd invest in another AS Cube. The AS Flip-lock is not bad once you figure out the intricacies, and it is possible to replace the top clamp with a heat gun. I've heard that Precision Camera may do the top clamp swap for you also?? Not sure.
The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head also looks to be a solid option, but I have not tried it.

Ken

I disagree. It might be pretty good if it works properly. However, the geared function of mine stopped working and they acknowledge this was due to a design deficiency. They claim they have revised the design and I can send mine in to be updated. Will see what happens when I do that. However, bear in mind that that Arca is a well-established company with an excellent reputation and the Cube is a proven professional design. KPS...? In retrospect, I should gone with a known quantity.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 09:22:43 PM »

I disagree. It might be pretty good if it works properly. However, the geared function of mine stopped working and they acknowledge this was due to a design deficiency. They claim they have revised the design and I can send mine in to be updated. Will see what happens when I do that. However, bear in mind that that Arca is a well-established company with an excellent reputation and the Cube is a proven professional design. KPS...? In retrospect, I should gone with a known quantity.
My original KPS-T5 had a failure of the knob tension mechanism that couldn't be repaired so they gave me a new one with the revised three click tension knob design which works well.  I have two issues with the head though - first my panning base will not completely lock down.  No matter how tight I make it, I can still turn the head by hand.  The other issue is something my original head had as well so I think it's a "feature" - when you loosen the ball, it sticks and quite a bit of force is required to break the ball free and then it moves around smoothly.  I have never had a problem with the gearing in either axis. 
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 10:10:29 PM »

The KPS T5 is an excellent geared ball head, but the Arca Swiss Cube remains the top-dog for a geared solution, imho.  There are new alternatives now available such as the P0 hybrid, but this may not have the capacity which you require.  The T5 is smaller and lighter, so does make a good portable option. I use the KPS T5 on RRS TVC-24 tripod legs.  The AS Cube really is better on heavier leg sets such as the RRS TVC 3 series; it is top heavy on lighter leg sets.  You can search for threads on removing the AS top clamp from newer Cubes using a heat gun, and replacing it with a RRS top clamp.  I like the KPS T5 for a portable option, but I also love the precision of the AS Cube. Hybrid solutions are great for flexibility, but if you are seeking a geared solution only, a dedicated geared head is going to be a better solution, imho.

There is also a new option available from Cambo that is worth exploring. The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head.  See, https://www.cambo.com/en/news/pch-precision-geared-head/

If you don't mind the price and weight, I'd invest in another AS Cube. The AS Flip-lock is not bad once you figure out the intricacies, and it is possible to replace the top clamp with a heat gun. I've heard that Precision Camera may do the top clamp swap for you also?? Not sure.
The Cambo PCH Precision Geared Head also looks to be a solid option, but I have not tried it.

Ken

Thanks.

I'll get another Cube then. I use a TVC-34L most of the time, except for some long hikes where I need to carry everything myself (no pack animals). Have you managed to exchange the clamp using a heat gun before? I don't want to damage any components due to thermal expansion.

I might still look at the T5 as a lightweight hiking head, though. Is it a true geared head, or more a standard ballhead with some extra controls for fine adjustments?
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jng

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2018, 10:11:19 PM »

If you're in the U.S., Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works (https://www.precisioncameraworks.com/about/) can replace the clamp with one from RRS. Bob does outstanding work for a reasonable price. He did the conversion on my Cube and I couldn't be happier (although TBH I find myself wanting the newer geared-panning head  :P).

John
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 10:17:05 PM by jng »
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2018, 10:54:23 PM »

If you're in the U.S., Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works (https://www.precisioncameraworks.com/about/) can replace the clamp with one from RRS. Bob does outstanding work for a reasonable price. He did the conversion on my Cube and I couldn't be happier (although TBH I find myself wanting the newer geared-panning head  :P).

John

I'm in Australia. I don't think the Cube is even commercially available here - I had to import my previous one from the US.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2018, 11:19:57 PM »

I'm in Australia. I don't think the Cube is even commercially available here - I had to import my previous one from the US.
Sure they are ;)
http://specular.com.au/tripods/arca-swiss/
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2018, 11:39:03 PM »

Sure they are ;)
http://specular.com.au/tripods/arca-swiss/

They don't have a price or a retail website - are they distributors only?

Either way, I suspect the 'Australia tax' would be rather high. Just look at the cost of printers...
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 04:40:42 AM »

Some of the newer reports on GetDPI (from the past 18 months or so) suggest that the D4 clamps can now be removed with an Allen key, with no sign of Loctite on the threads.

https://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/60384-arca-d4-clamp-question.html

Is this the same with the current Cubes? Has Arca-Swiss given up on glueing everything tight? My previous Cube didn't even have an Allen key slot in the stud. Anyone got a recent Cube?
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the_luminous_french

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 01:40:39 PM »

on all my arca head, i have the classic clamp... that's perfect, i can use Arca, RRS, Kirk, Sunwayfoto... and, the +... i can use arca F line rail directly... i can mount my Rm3d on a rail that way ( good for macro and for nodal point ).

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1029552-REG/arca_swiss_8501003_1_c1_cube_geared_head.html

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Alex Waugh

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2018, 05:33:03 PM »

They don't have a price or a retail website - are they distributors only?

Either way, I suspect the 'Australia tax' would be rather high. Just look at the cost of printers...

Shadowblade I purchased my p0 hybrid from Specular and also inquired about cube pricing. After tax and shipping is considered they are competitive. I also have an issue with my p0 and their service has been stellar. AS are quite difficult to deal with on a case by case basis, they always honour their warranties but communication is slow or non existent. Not worrying about it is worth a small markup (if any exists).

My main point of contact is Michael he's absolutely lovely and always goes the extra mile.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 02:57:03 AM »

Hi,

I did replace the QR on my ArcaSwiss D4, and it was easy. But I am pretty sure later models have non removable QR-s.

Best regards
Erik


Some of the newer reports on GetDPI (from the past 18 months or so) suggest that the D4 clamps can now be removed with an Allen key, with no sign of Loctite on the threads.

https://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/60384-arca-d4-clamp-question.html

Is this the same with the current Cubes? Has Arca-Swiss given up on glueing everything tight? My previous Cube didn't even have an Allen key slot in the stud. Anyone got a recent Cube?
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2018, 03:21:50 AM »

Shadowblade I purchased my p0 hybrid from Specular and also inquired about cube pricing. After tax and shipping is considered they are competitive. I also have an issue with my p0 and their service has been stellar. AS are quite difficult to deal with on a case by case basis, they always honour their warranties but communication is slow or non existent. Not worrying about it is worth a small markup (if any exists).

My main point of contact is Michael he's absolutely lovely and always goes the extra mile.

Thanks - it looks like they're the distributor, and also the retailer (since no-one else in Australia sells the Cube). They're also less than 2 minutes' walk from my house.

After inquiring with them, it turns out that they're actually selling the Cube for less than the US retailers, after currency conversion (taking into account the 10% Australian sales tax). Not a bad deal, really.
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shadowblade

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2018, 03:29:16 AM »

Hi,

I did replace the QR on my ArcaSwiss D4, and it was easy. But I am pretty sure later models have non removable QR-s.

Best regards
Erik

Damn - the thread on the other forum seemed to suggest that they had gone to non-removable clamps for a while, but that the latest ones are again easily removed. Arca-Swiss make fantastic heads, but mediocre clamps and generic plates.

Even looking at various photos of the Cube, it looks like the earlier, removable clamps had a socket for an Allen key in the stud attaching the clamp to the head, while the photos from 4 years ago (around the time they started gluing the clamps) had studs that lacked this socket, the top of the stud instead being a plain hexagon without a socket (you don't exactly need a socket in the stud of a non-removable clamp). But the latest Cube and D4 photos seem to again show an Allen key socket in the stud.

Of course, there's nothing stopping them from applying glue to socketed studs...
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Alex Waugh

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2018, 07:21:24 AM »

Thanks - it looks like they're the distributor, and also the retailer (since no-one else in Australia sells the Cube). They're also less than 2 minutes' walk from my house.


Thats a laugh they're also 2 minutes from my house.
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John Hollenberg

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2018, 09:45:05 AM »

Of note, the KPS T5 is not currently available.  Here is info from email from legiophoto.com:

"Thank you for your interest in the KPS T5.
KPS is working on replacing some components.  So, the production has stopped.  As of now, we are hoping that it will be available again by this coming spring."
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: KPS T5 geared head - comparison with Arca-Swiss Cube
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2018, 11:28:33 AM »

Hi,

I hope they would change their mind...

The clamp is not that bad, BTW. I feel it is a bit overengineered and it should have a bit more clamping force, but I am still using it on a "fluidless fluid head".

Best regards
Erik


Damn - the thread on the other forum seemed to suggest that they had gone to non-removable clamps for a while, but that the latest ones are again easily removed. Arca-Swiss make fantastic heads, but mediocre clamps and generic plates.

Even looking at various photos of the Cube, it looks like the earlier, removable clamps had a socket for an Allen key in the stud attaching the clamp to the head, while the photos from 4 years ago (around the time they started gluing the clamps) had studs that lacked this socket, the top of the stud instead being a plain hexagon without a socket (you don't exactly need a socket in the stud of a non-removable clamp). But the latest Cube and D4 photos seem to again show an Allen key socket in the stud.

Of course, there's nothing stopping them from applying glue to socketed studs...
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Erik Kaffehr
 
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