There is something universally pleasing about a cube. The symmetry is easier to grasp and to describe than a sphere’s. Cubic forms are primary building blocks both in physical construction and in the realm of thought.
[Viz: if we recognize that a two-dimensional line drawing of a cube really shows us a “shadow” of the actual 3D cube, we can think of the 3D cube as a “shadow” to imagine the 4D version, and so on up the dimensional ladder.]
Manufacturer Arca-Swiss has a cube that’s a bit of both. A few years ago, the company, which is well-known for ball-head tripod attachments, released the C1 cube [PDF], which “simultaneously achieves mastery of control with an appearance approaching the status of jewelry.”
The elegant C1 is a precision geared tripod head that can hold and position heavy, professional camera rigs, and weighs less than 25% of anything comparable.
Outfitted with bubble levels, the head adjusts on two sets of x-y axes, and allows for tilt and pan, all while keeping the image plane — or lens nodal point — in pretty much the same spot. (Jack Flesher has a great review with more details from a photographer’s perspective.)
The only drawback to this cube is that Arca-Swiss appears a bit snobbish. The company eschews an online presence, having no website and contact emails with addresses like aol.com and swissonline.ch. And, the price tag: yours for only $1,699.
[h/t Shao for reminding us this particular cube is on our wishlist]