Designed for a realm where functionality trumps all concerns, the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube simultaneously achieves mastery of control with an appearance approaching the status of jewelry. The head allows users to place their heavy cameras with a degree of accuracy they could never have had before except in exchange for a large increase in weight. There are still plenty of shooters around wishing to actually travel with their best stuff, and no geared head seemed practical to endure on one's person before the C1 arrived.
The C1 Cube has finely calibrated ungeared panning adjustments under and above ±28° x-y geared axes with adjustable tension. Why two panoramic axes? So that you can first center the Cube's controls to your position with the bottom axis, then readjust the camera to point dead ahead with the upper axis. The gears' knobs have a little scrap of rubber running around them, to give pinpoint control while wearing gloves without being broad enough to obstruct the head's movements. On the bottom of it all, there's a third (ungeared) hinge which allows 62° of tilt so that any camera can reach the 90° vertical position.
On top of the C1 you'll find 2 sensitive bubble levels and an Arca-Swiss flip-lock quick release clamp which has its own advantages in compactness and security. Given all that's going on here, the weight's astonishingly low; just 2.03 lbs (925g), as light as could be imagined and considerably more compact than other geared heads.
The C1's ultimate advantage lies in the world of macro shooting, where its design allows far fewer focusing readjustments while creating images. You see, all other geared heads (and all other 3-way pan/tilt heads for that matter) execute movements upon circular axes which are centered far below the actual camera-your gear moves along the outside of a sphere. The C1 Cube, however, places the camera inside of a sphere. It is almost as if the x/y axes meet at a point upon the image plane itself, with all the camera rotating around a stationary image plane. This remarkably difficult engineering feat was chosen to minimize movements of the optical system's entrance pupil during composing, making for speedier field work free of perpetual height and focus adjustments.