/ Zero Friends or Camalot C3's?
If there are alternatives great. Also, is it maybe worth waiting for the Camalot X4's? Although from what I've read/seen on them they don't seem to fully replace either the the C3's or C4's.
What about mastercams?
I've used Zeros since the start of 2004 and remain a big fan. The perform brilliantly and I love the doubled sling. The only real downside is probably the varying views on their durability. I feel it is perfectly satisfactory given their size, although others complain that they find them less robust than the alternatives.
A final potential point in their favour is there has been some keen pricing of them online recently.
Only thing that concerned me about the zeros was the lack of protection for the springs. Do you find these get bent easily or are they pretty hardy? They don't feel particularly hardy when you hold one! cheers.
I went through this process (having had a couple of odd micro cams over the years) and plumped for mastercams. That was partly on quality and partly on price (though I did get a particulalry good deal as buying a lot of C4's at the time as well - via woody at the epicentre). Not a real fan of Zeros (having had one for years) and using a mate's C3's decided they were too stiff (and costly).
They feel quite solid nice in the hand, metal trigger bar.
C3's are more expensive, but they feel solid, the springs feel strong (and protected) and they have a narrower head than zero's. And they're a bit prettier, if that concerns you.
Dunno about mastercams, never used them.
But to sum up, I got rid of the one zero I ever had, and now own 3 C3's. Go to a shop, play with some and see what you think.
> Only thing that concerned me about the zeros was the lack of protection for the springs. Do you find these get bent easily or are they pretty hardy? They don't feel particularly hardy when you hold one! cheers.
I think because they are so soft in the stem that the springs don't get much of a beating, I have however not fallen on mine so I can't comment on that.
Have you seen the size of a 3? They are very piddly and unless you plan on doing E-some or aiding it is probably a bit small and I'd rather get another size 5
I love Zeros, and mine are showing absolutely no signs of age after 5 or so years of constant use. I really like my small cams to be flexible, so I'm not worried about them walking out of marginal or upward-pointing placements, so I really don't like the C3s. Mastercams are nice bits of kit, although not quite flexible enough for my tastes. Don't go for them, whatever you do, if you climb regularly on sea cliffs, as they rust and seize up very easily unless you are super-attentive with cleaning and maintaining them straight after every use.
If you climb in places where the small cracks are featured and/or irregular, or if you have to deal with pin scars, then small head width matters a lot (a cam that you can't get in isn't worth much), and C3's are way narrower than Zeros.
Flexibility may not be an advantage either. Here is a comment from BD on the subject (but note that the references to loads relative to planes of movement seems to have confused parallel and perpendicular):
"Not only do we have tests to show that it (the ‘stiffness’ of the stem) is not a problem, but we have tests that show too much flexibility is a problem in certain placements. Think about how cams work in a perfect placement: you pull straight down on the cams, that force is converted to a rotational force on the cams, and the surface of the cams push against the rock surface. Now place a highly flexible cabled cam in a vertical bottoming crack (the stem is sticking out horizontally). Should be good right? Think again about how the cams need to work. Pull straight down on this placement and you’ll notice a large component of the downward force is acting parallel to the cam surfaces. This is not how the cam is designed to work. The cams will not push against the rock surface without a force perpendicular to the cams plane of movement. In short, it stops camming and acts like a nut placement. You need some torque on the placement to convert the parallel load to more of an outward one that can act on the cams. This torque is provided by the stiffness of the cable, or the length of the shank of head terminal, or some combination of both. In testing, the high flexible cables did not generate the torque necessary to hold the falls and the units slid sideways out of the placement at very low loads. We even made C3s proto types out of softer cable, only to watch them fail our bottoming crack test because of this issue."
This quote extracted from an extensive review by John Griffith at http://www.alpineexposures.com/pages/black-diamond-c3-gear-review .
Personally, I've used both, and once I had C3's, the Zero's disappeared from my rack. The C3's fit where nothing else, including Aliens, will go, but Zeros in particular are way out of the running with a much bigger head width.
I owned a zero and the trigger wires broke after a few years. WC told me the best they could offer was a new cam for £25 considering I only paid £40 for it I considered this a poor deal. I also found the head width isn't as narrow as I'd like and as mentioned BD found that having flexibility all the way to the cams wasn't as beneficial as WC claim.
I also own a tech friend 00 (which isn't bad) and last year bought a C3. I must admit I really like the C3s. The strong springs and narrow head widths are a real bonus.
I didn't buy the metolius master cams for a couple of reasons, partly because the alloy is particulary prone to corrosion when used on sea cliffs (I like sea cliff climbing) and partly because of some issues regarding the triggers.
I must admit I am waiting with anticipation for the new camalot x4 but don't expect them to be cheap!
I'd echo that sentiment. I rarely carry my size 3 unless I'm climbing on slate or have specific beta that very small gear will be useful. I'm more likely to carry my doubles of 5 and 6.
I'd have said double up on the 6, although 5 might be better if you already have an existing small cam in the size 6 range.
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