Originally Posted by disfromage
I was playing around with the 2/3 of my Franken ARCA that's completed last night, and the head I tried that handles the load the best and provides the most rigidity is the ARCA-SWISS B1. I was amazed that it provided greater rigidity than the much bigger, much heavier Gitzo G1570.
Of course, some people may have a hard time using a ball head with a camera this large, but I found that positioning that camera where I wanted it was actually fairly easy by grasping the rear frame of eth camera and moving it where I wanted it. With the tension pre-set adjusted properly, you can actually grab the back with one hand on each side, move the camera to the desired position, and then tighten down the locking knob without disturbing the camera position. For such a compact, lightweight head, the ARCA-SWISS B1 is incredibly strong and rigid.
I suspect that at full extension, with a heavy lens and film holder in place, the B1 may be pushed close to its limit, but I had already figured I'd need a second support (lightweight monopod or outrigger arm) for long lenses even with the G1570.
Based on my experience last night, I'm wondering if maybe the dual-ball ARCA-SWISS B2 would be the ideal combination of strength/weight/usability for a ULF camera.
For hiking and backpacking, I plan to use the B1 with my 7x17 Franken ARCA. Here I've been trying to figure out how much a good ULF tripod head (like your Ries) was going to cost, and low-and-behold the same head I've been using for years with my 4x5 and 4x10 may be the best solution for my new 7x17.