The Problem With Selling The Best

Arca C1

Two days ago I dispatched a tripod head to South Australia. After a long phone conversation with the buyer, we agreed on a price and the Arca-Swiss C1 cube with a flip lock went into its box and out the door. This means that we will never sell this client another tripod head.

He wanted a Gitzo 5-series tripod. While we didn’t have one in stock, he might still order one from us later. Again, it would mean the end of sales to him.

This may, or may not be a good thing. If he had purchased lesser products we could live in hopes that he would break them and need a replacement – or find their limitations and get all antsey for something grander. As it is, we have done the dash early.

I know, because I use a 5-series Gitzo in the studio. Not with an Arca head, mind – with a big Gitzo head. Utterly reliable and horribly heavy. The best of over-engineered Gallic manufacturing. They made lousy tanks but great tripods.

It is the same with a number of other photographic products. If the canny buyer buys the best at first they need never buy again. They can save their money for strong drink and the attentions of paid women. Of course there is always the tendency in the enthusiast to change for the sake of change – or in the foolishly rich to spend for the sake of spending. That is a comfort – if you can stand to listen to them justify it to themselves as they fondle their credit card. Few of them ever improve their results but then so few of them have talent to begin with. As long as the EFTPOS machine is working the staff are happy.

Okay. Our South Australian will be able to adjust his studio camera to a fare-thee-well hereafter, and may find this a great help with static subjects. I know the business of minute adjustment crops up surprisingly often with tabletop shooting, and if one were doing product illustration it would be invaluable. The Arca-Swiss C1 is able to move in 7 different dimensions and three states of consciousness all at once and if you are unwary it will eat your fingers.

A dream product!


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