Architectural photographers are probably following the news in the small specialist geared head market with interest. In a space that has been dominated by Manfrotto and Arca Swiss for, as far as I can tell, decades, the Chinese brand Leofoto emerged a few years ago. Their products, especially the first, are clearly inspired by European and American models, but they are successively expanding their range with new solutions.
Recently, several new products were unveiled that should be of interest to architecture and interior photographers: The G3 head, a smaller lighter version of the G4, the G20, a larger and more versatile version of the G2, and the GR-2: the missing piece of the ideal geared head, that is, the geared panning adapter. Then there is the G4 pro head, which, if I understand it correctly, differs from the existing model only in the top mount, which has been replaced by the aforementioned GR-2.
The Leofoto G20 is a mid-sized geared head offering adjustments on three axes along with a panning clamp mount that accepts Arca-style plates. It differs from the smaller G2 model in a very important detail, it has a panning not only at the top, but also at the bottom. The Leofoto website claims that it can sustain a weight of 20 kg (around 44 lbs) and the head itself comes in weighing 0.68 kg (G2 weighs 0.36 kg). The head is 81 mm high (G2 is 62 mm) and 75 mm wide (G2 is 60 mm). The new head also has a greater range of movement of 15 degrees (G2 10 degrees). A great addition is the two spirit levels located on the sides of the head. It is therefore a larger, more versatile model. I know that many of you have complained about the lack of a bottom swivel in the G20. You have been heard!
It should be mentioned that It does look very similar to the Arca Swiss Core 75 Leveler which we recently posted about here.
The G3 model is simply a smaller, lighter, and arguably (we do not yet know the prices) cheaper version of the well-known and previously described G4. It is dedicated to smaller tripods, as the diameter of the base is 50 mm (the G4 is 60 mm), the weight of the head itself is only 450 g (the G4 weighs 690 g) and the declared load capacity is 12 kg (the G4 20 kg). Other than that, there are no apparent differences.
I think I would most like to test the GR-2, the geared panning adapter. Unfortunately, this type of component is difficult to find on the market and few geared heads are equipped with geared panning. Noteworthy products of this type are Rogeti (CAP-GZA) and Sunwayfoto (GC-01G).
The GR-2 is fitted with an Arca Swiss standard connector underneath, so we can quickly mount it on our existing head. It is worth noting that the lower plate can be unscrewed and the GR-2 can be permanently installed as a top mount in the head by removing the existing one. The GR-2 is 60 mm in diameter, which means it should fit perfectly on, for example, a G4 head, 42 mm in height and weighs a hefty 300 grams. It’s great that the adapter is equipped with two side spirit levels, which, if sufficiently precise, will be great for architectural photography.
I hope to describe the new Leofoto additions in more detail for you soon. What do you think?