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Thread: Tripod heads and plates

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    Enjoys Photography Photophil2010's Avatar
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    Tripod heads and plates

    Is anyone able to tell me if a manfrotto quick release plate will fit into an arca swiss style quick release.
    I am buying a focus rail for macro and I have a manfrotto tripod already.
    Cheers
    Phil

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    My recollection from when I mad a Manfrotto QR plate is that it sort of will, but not well.

    Not to be recommended .
    All constructive criticism accepted with gratitude.


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    Manfrotto use several different sorts. At least three that I know about, presumably more. One of them is supposed to be compatible with the standard (Arca-Swiss), but I haven't tried for myself.
    Tony

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    No!

    I can't understand why this macro focusing rail requires the arca swiss mount type??

    Usually, they are the type of accessory that is mounted to the QR plate of the system you have chosen.
    There are a few manufacturers that do make them in Arca QR types(eg. RRS and Novoflex).

    I suppose you have a couple of options available to make the different brands work together, if you do go ahead with the purchase.(and I've contemplated a few options myself too, as I'm heavily invested in the Manfrotto QR plate system.

    1: you need to purchase/manufacture a couple of plates that allow you to mount the camera to the focusing rail and also the focusing rail to the tripod head too.
    (this sounded to clunky and annoying to be a realistic option, but this way you don't end up with useless plates that you don't end up using again.

    2: you could do a wholesale change to the QR system, and replace your manfrotto system with (better) Arca type plates.
    personal note: I believe that the Arca system is a more secure mount type than the manfrotto type(especially the RC2 and RC4 mount types! For most(99%) of usage tho, the manfrotto system is capable enough.

    One other item I look into tho, was the Manfrotto focusing rail, but unlike the simplicity of most other brands I've looked at, the Manfrotto rail requires the user to mount the camera directly to the plate, as it's not compatible with their own QR plate system! I studied the device in detail and think it could be made to use their RC plates, but that would require me to waste my limited financial resources to work this one out(not willing to waste any more money on Manfrotto gear).

    I concluded in the end that I'm just going to bite the bullet and simply ditch all the old plates and start investing in Arca plates.
    I worked out that to replace all my current plates it's going to cost me upward of $300-400.. and that's before I start dealing with the focusing rail(which is approx $200 for the basic fore/aft model).

    I have been looking at other options, but I'm so limited with time, that it's been relegated top backburner status at the moment.

    Curious as to which brand you were looking into.
    (if it's a cheapo ebay job.. you know the 'super high quality macro focusing rail for only $39 with free postage' .. I'd recommend against it).

    Member Helumt(or maybe I@M).. I can't remember who exactly, they had a Velbon focusing rail once upon a time, and while it works, it works OK(as distinct from excellently or perfectly).
    That is, there is just the slightest amount of slack and flex in the rail system which would be enough to make it annoying to use in some situations.

    FWIW, I think I've decided to go with a RRS system now, after lots of umming and ahhing and tossing around the idea of a Novoflex system.
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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    It seems that my plate is a Manfrotto 3027 plate, that Manfrotto do indeed use a multiplicity of different plates (why?) and that my comment above applies only to this particular plate.

    Of course you can keep the Manfrotto tripod, buy a head from any one of many excellent manufacturers and use an Arca-Swiss or compatible plate.


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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    The only Manfrotto plates that I know of are the RC2, RC4(most common types), RC5 and RC0 .. none of which will come anywhere near fitting into an arca swiss plate(unless you're desperate!)

    I just noticed that they also have a 'dove tail' plate, which I've never seen in real life, but it doesn't look to be compatible.

    Funnily enough too, this so called Arca Swiss system.. is obviously invented by Arca Swiss(a long time ago) and picked up by other manufacturers(except Manfrotto).
    Many of these other manufacturers claim that their quick release plates and bases are Arca compatible, but there are many instances of incompatibility between these brands. So don't expect that an Arca compatible (or style) mount will always fit another manufacturer's Arca Swiss mount type!

    ps. there is a website dedicated to the topic which I once stumbled upon in my internet travels!

    pps. yeah! I know. It's sad that my life seems to have evolved into one that (used to) found interest in the trivial aspect of life such as cross compatibility between seeming the same tripod head quick release plates!
    (now I barely have time to go to the loo on a slow day).

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    I just tried an RC2 plate in my Wimberly head (arca-swiss style, and a big one at that). The arca-swiss clamp does not open wide enough for an RC2 plate, and even if it did, the profiles of the edges of the two kinds of plates are different enough that the grip would not be secure and might damage the clamp, let alone what you have on top.

    BTW, I have a couple of the Manfrotto focussing rails. They aren't fabulous, but they don't mandate any particular kind of plate.

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    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
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    Short answer, no they don't with any reliability

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post


    FWIW, I think I've decided to go with a RRS system now, after lots of umming and ahhing and tossing around the idea of a Novoflex system.
    Thanks for the detail of what you have done and plan to do.
    I have purchased RRS focus rail for $250. It seemed a good price, it appears to be more solidly built in comparison to the Manfrotto focus rail.
    My manfrotto tripod has the 3 way head permanently mounted to it, so I have to use the QR plate on this to mount the RRS focus rail to the tripod.
    This means I need another QR plate to mount my camera onto the focus rail, thus my original question about which plate to use and if the manfrotto QR plate would fit the RRS arca swiss QR mechanism.
    Also I now have seen an L type QR plate which looks to be very handy, making the change from landscape to portrait view easy and quick.
    Just more money to spend
    Cheers Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by strictfunctor View Post
    I just tried an RC2 plate in my Wimberly head (arca-swiss style, and a big one at that). The arca-swiss clamp does not open wide enough for an RC2 plate, and even if it did, the profiles of the edges of the two kinds of plates are different enough that the grip would not be secure and might damage the clamp, let alone what you have on top.

    BTW, I have a couple of the Manfrotto focussing rails. They aren't fabulous, but they don't mandate any particular kind of plate.
    Thanks Strictfunctor
    As Arthurking83 mentioned and you have said the manfrotto focus rail connects directly to the camera. This is ok but I think that the QR L plate could be much more friendly to use, especially when wanting to change view from portrait to landscape.
    Cheers
    Phil

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