Compact, High-Quality Head with Classic Knob Quick Release

Review by Steve Baczewski

The black metal Arca Swiss d4 geared tripod head is a wonderfully designed and engineered tool to let you finely and accurately compose an image. Its smooth precise adjustments should appeal especially to architectural, landscape, and macro photographers. It weighs 2.2 lbs., is 4.3″ in height, and feels like a solidly milled instrument.

There’s a learning curve before getting comfortable with the six manual control knobs, four of which have rubberized grips for easy handling in cold weather. At the base and at the top of the d4 are two small teardrop-shaped, lockable panning knobs that independently allow for 360º rotation. The bottom pan allows moving the entire d4 for positioning its controls to where you like them. The upper pan is right under the camera mount and includes two spirit levels and a 360º measured scale for panoramic shooting.

The two large teardrop-shaped knobs allow for free manual movement of the camera as if the camera were on a ball head. These controls allow for tilting the camera back and side-to-side approximately 40º. It also allows for 90º forward positioning, placing the camera parallel to the ground.

Once the teardrop-shaped knobs are locked down, the round-geared controls are adjusted. These controls are for smooth, minute, precision positioning of the camera. The geared controls allow the camera side-to-side and back-and-forth axis movement.

According to Arca Swiss, the d4 can handle up to 75 lbs. I mounted my medium format Pentax 645Z with a heavy zoom, and the d4 worked as smoothly as it did with a smaller camera. Once you have your image composed and the d4 is locked down, there’s absolutely no camera drift: It’s rock solid. This high-quality head comes in screw or quick release. In my opinion, the Arca Swiss d4 geared tripod head is an excellent product! ■