The RG-1 is new geared head from Rogeti. Don’t be too surprised if you haven’t heard that name before. The RG-1 is Rogeti’s first head of any type. Where Rogeti has made a name for itself is in accessories for tilt shift lenses. As architecture photographers are the primary audience for these accessories it makes sense for Rogeti to expand and create a complete solution for such photography in the form of a precision geared head. The benefits of a geared head are not limited to those who shoot structures however. The precision of a geared head can greatly speed up the process of composition for photography of any type.
While in theory a ball head can frame a picture quickly as the camera can be rotated in all three directions at once, therein also lies problem. While adjusting one part of the composition, it is easy to accidentally move the other axis out of alignment or un-level the camera. A geared head such as the RG-1 allows you to move each axis independently and orthogonally. Adjusting any one axis doesn’t affect the alignment of the other two. In practice, most people seem to find this to be a faster way to achieve a precise composition than using a ball head.
|Stiffness About Vertical Axis||11324 +/- 314 Nm/rad|
|Stiffness About Radial Axis||831 +/- 40 Nm/rad|
|Weight||1.504 lbs (0.682 kgs)|
|Manufacturer weight rating||22 lbs (9.98kgs)|
|Maximum Height||3.75 in (9.5 cm)|
|Base Diameter||1.8 in (4.6 cm)|
|Ball Diameter||N/A mm|
|Quick Release||Arca Clamp|
What really jumps out when reviewing the specifications is the vast disparity between the respective pitch and yaw stiffness’. This difference is due to the asymmetry in design between the axes of motion. In the yaw direction we have no gearing (unfortunately), but this does help with stiffness. Additionally, the arca clamp is machined out of a single block of aluminum that also makes up the pitch rotation portion of the head’s main body. We are used to seeing the weak point in a head being this connection, as it is typically a narrow stem extending from up from the ball. The lack of any weakness in the yaw (or panning) direction results in spectacularly good stiffness. For pitch movements, the stiffness is rather poor, but not out of line with what we have seen from other geared heads. The backlash in the gearing system doesn’t allow for the same level of stiffness we expect from a head that fully locks down. When averaging the stiffness of the head, we see the best stiffness I have seen to date in a geared head, albeit by only a small margin.
What doesn’t come across in our discussion of stiffness here is the high level of damping seen along the geared pitch axis. There was so much damping that I couldn’t test the stiffness on this axis in the traditional way as as I could not induce any significant vibrations at all. I had to resort to doing a deflection test to measure the stiffness. As heads typically have no damping mechanisms, I do not test the damping of heads. The combination of excellent yaw stiffness and excellent pitch damping will result in a better experience to the user than one would expect from the listed stiffness alone. You would not expect to see any significant vibrations when using the RG-1. The lack of pitch stiffness could become an issue if shooting long exposure in variable conditions, or when not using a cable release. Always use a cable release.