New Toy: Arca-Swiss P0 Ball Head

Some first impressions after picking up an Arca-Swiss P0 Ball Head recently.

Why? It’s interesting. It’s an inverted design so that the panoramic base is above the ball, ensuring a level platform for panoramic photography. Basically it eliminates the need for a leveling base. Combined with the 9oz weight, it’ll reduce as much as 1.5lbs from my systematic tripod setup.

I quickly discovered the reason for the weight savings: the base of the ball head is made of polycarbonate, most likely Delrin. The rest is made from either magnesium or aluminum, depending on the part. Regarding the design, it also has no protruding parts beyond the pano lock lever. The ball lock is performed by a rotating collar around the middle of the body, resulting in a sleek design. The ball is also aspherical, a feature used across Arca-Swiss’ whole line, that increases friction to prevent your camera from loosely flopping over when the ball lock is loosened. A very elegant solution to a universal issue with all ball heads.

Since I bought it without a clamp, I chose a 60mm Arca-Swiss compatible clamp from FLM that includes a large bubble bullseye level. The diameter also matches that of the ball head’s body to maintain the slim, sleek profile.

Immediately, it works well out of the box. I hope to use it to its full capability soon, especially while the clouds in Seattle are gray and moody. Combined with my Gitzo Mountaineer, it’s a compact, lightweight solution. On my Leofoto Systematic, it significantly reduces the carry weight while reducing the total count of moving parts without affecting capability.

I’ll get more in-depth once I’ve spent more time with it in the field.

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