Attaching non arca Swiss quick release clamp to arca Swiss monorail z1

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by sanjay_chaudary, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Hi,
    I have a kirk quick release clamp and had bought an Arca Swiss Z1 sp ballhead with 1/4 inch screw. I fastened the clamp onto the ballhead by tightening with the screw.

    However , in portrait , there is some play when I use heavy camera like Pentax 67ii , as the clamp is resting on the felt mat on the ballhead.

    I would appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks and have a nice one.
  2. I know little about this modification, but... there's a felt mat? Is it just intended to be screwed directly onto the bottom of a camera?

    It doesn't sound as though felt should go anywhere near the construction of a ball head. With the proviso that you'll reduce the functionality if you ever decide to screw it straight onto a camera (though most have a fairly robust base plate), if you don't mind the warranty damage, I'd just pull the felt off. Assuming you can screw the quick release down far enough to make contact with the top of the head, anyway (felt bad, gap worse).

    Good luck. I hope someone has tried this combination. I just decided the Arca QR clamp wasn't too bad (the screw version - the lever version has killed my nails more than once) and that I couldn't be bothered replacing it.
  3. I have the dp version of the A/S Z1 but I bought it with an integrated AS clamp. Don't know why there would be a felt mat between the ballhead and the clamp.

    You may want to contact Precision Camera Works (assuming you're in the US) - they're the only authorized A/S service center in the US. I've contacted them in the past and they're very responsive.

    Precision Camera Works :: Camera Repair

    Good luck!
  4. Lose the QR plate and screw the camera directly to the ballhead - like it was designed to be used?
  5. Hi, I did not make any modifications to the ballhead. I screwed on the quick release clamp to the ballhead. The height of the screw is less than the depth of the hole in the quick release clamp.

    The quick release plate remains secure to the body and to the quick release clamp. It is the combination of the three ( body , clamp and plate) that twist on the ballhead, where they come in contact with the ballhead surface. This happens in vertical orientation.

    thanks and have a nice one.
  6. To clarify for others if my interpretation is correct, I believe it's possible to buy an Arca head with absolutely no quick release - just with a 1/4" bolt for screwing directly into the bottom of the camera and a plate to stop it rotating. I had the same arrangement on a Triopo head. That head had a rubber upper surface on the attachment point, which stopped the camera getting scratched; I assume Arca, being posh, use felt.

    To replace the non-QR attachment on my Triopo, it was possible to unscrew the bolt; it had an integrated nut sunk into the top plate, so you could grab it and unscrew the bolt. Unscrewed sufficiently, the top plate came off, and then you could attach a QR clamp by attaching it with a bolt going into the same hole.

    I'm prepared to believe the same arrangement should be there on the Arca head: the plate that's designed to have a camera screwed on it should come off if you attack the bolt with enough vigour, and you can then screw the QR plate directly onto the neck of the head. Give or take any damage done to the bolt if you grab it with pliers, the process should be reversible.

    However, I have a very faint memory of Arca changing their head arrangement to stop you from getting the bolt out - presumably because they wanted you to pay for an actual QR clamp and they got sick of third-party solutions. I think it's sometimes been known to order an Arca head with absolutely nothing on the top (just a neck with a hole threaded for a 1/4" bolt) specifically for people wanting to attach their own clamp, although I might have been imagining that too.

    It might be worth checking with them (they respond eventually if you ask nicely in French) or your dealer whether you can get the existing attachment plate off and replace it directly with the clamp. If you can't, I'd just remove the felt, on the basis that felt isn't very expensive to replace...
  7. I assume this is the ballhead in question: Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 sp with 1/4"-20 Screw 801101 B&H

    it was possible to unscrew the bolt; it had an integrated nut sunk into the top plate, so you could grab it and unscrew the bolt. Unscrewed sufficiently, the top plate came off, and then you could attach a QR clamp by attaching it with a bolt going into the same hole.​

    Yes, I do believe that is the appropriate solution for the OP and there may be You Tube video instructions that illustrate how that can be done. Precision Works would know for sure, and I would think that it is information that they would share.

    To the OP: Here's the same ballhead with the integrated AS QR: Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 sp with Quick Release 801104 B&H Photo

    Notice how there is no round camera plate?
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  8. Okay, that confirms our suspicions. If you grab the central bolt on the head (ideally with a thin socket wrench or ring spanner that will fit inside the central circle but over the hex nut - but otherwise grab the threads with pliers and try not to distort them too much in case you want to reattach the original plate) you should be able to unscrew it. It will likely be held in with locking material, so expect it to be hard to get out. Once you've done that, the flat plate above the ball head should come off (you can see the dividing line in the photo on the link) - then you can screw your QR clamp directly to the neck of the ball head, probably with a conventional 1/4" screw. In my case, one came with the QR plate.

    Disclaimer: I did this to a cheap Triopo head, not a big Arca one. I imagine the process will be similar. The Triopo head had some anti-rotation teeth on it which engaged with the bottom of the QR plate (and make it less likely that the whole thing will unscrew). If Arca have the same arrangement, I can't see it on the photo - so you might want to apply more thread lock to ensure your clamp doesn't unscrew itself.

    I have to say, though, I don't know where the "felt mat" came from. The top of the plate in the images show seems to be flat metal. Rubber isn't uncommon to avoid rotation, but I don't see it here. (My Triopo, before I replaced the plate with a QR clamp, had a rubber ring glued to the top to avoid camera rotation; the moment I screwed it into a camera, the friction between the rubber and the camera base tore the rubber off the glue holding it to the plate. So... not a brilliant design, but irrelevant anyway once I put the QR clamp on it.) I guess it doesn't matter if we're bypassing it, but it's odd...
  9. If Precision Camera Works doesn't have a solution for you, you could look into an L-bracket for your Pentax. I don't think there is one currently made for it, but there are some universal L-brackets. If you can find a suitable one, you would no longer have your camera hanging off the side of the ballhead. I should add that I understand why would want the A-S Z1 with a different clamp. I have the version with its own clamp. The ballhead works beautifully, but the clamp is much too fussy to load..
  10. I don't get on with the Arca lever clamps (after admittedly brief experience) - the safety release system just shreds my fingernails, which might mean I'm doing it wrong. I can't really be bothered with any lever clamp, because I'm concerned about the consistency of machining in my QR plates; I don't find screw clamps to be time-consuming, and they're much easier to machine, so I just go with those. And I don't really see much of a difference between the Arca version (which is actually a dual-level one just in case I ever get a "monoball fix" QR plate on something) and the cheap Triopo one I have. I do believe that lever clamps like the RRS and Arca ones have differences worth paying for, especially when it comes to adjustment for different plate sizes.
  11. Hi, I looked at this video. However , the hex nut on my ballhead looks different. It seems to have a bushing. I am wondering if its not user detachable.
  12. I looked at video. I have a notch on the thread on both sides of the screw . It appears that it is an assembly of two parts.
  13. Interesting. The thread is definitely the right size for a camera, yes? I've seen nested threads on tripods in which the outer thread is 3/8" (the normal size for the bottom of a tripod head) and the inner one is 1/4" (the size of the hole on a camera) - making the head optional. Anything smaller would be unusual. The ones I've seen have a screwdriver notch so you can remove them - is this what you have? I've not normally seen one on top of the head, unless you're trying to use the ball head as a leveling base for a second head.

    I'm a little nervous because I think I remember a story about Arca making it difficult to replace their clamps at one point. Still, it looks like the nut is still there and in the right place, and your previous image showed a divide on the shaft. It's highly unlikely that there should be another way to remove the plate (you can't exactly get at it from the other side).

    So, with the proviso it's not my money, I'd say don't panic and be bold. I'm pretty sure replacing the clamp by unscrewing the flat base should just work. When it comes to tripods, precision engineering doesn't necessarily mean complicated engineering.
  14. You can try it on your own or contact an authorized service center.
  15. Out of interest, whose? It feels unlikely to me that Arca have much interest in letting you attach someone else's QR clamp when they'd rather sell you theirs. Kirk might, but then they're on the line for any damage to the Arca head - plus there's risk of damage in shipping.

    Not that I don't think you could find someone to do it (if you signed a disclaimer about it going wrong), but I wasn't aware this was a standard thing to all a service centre to do. And I'm still confident that it should be an easy end-user fix. But calling Kirk and checking if there's doubt might be an idea for peace of mind.
  16. As I mentioned in an earlier reply, Precision Camera is an authorized AS service center. However they are not owned by AS and may offer a solution. Whether or not they would be willing to offer a DIY solution or have the OP send it in for service at some cost is another matter.

    The question here is whether it can or cannot be done, and while there are many bright and helpful people here on pnet, NO ONE here will have a more definitive answer than the authorized service center.

    All I’m saying is that it is easy enough to call them and ask. But the OP has not even done that. Are you saying the OP should not even bother contacting them?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  17. Ah, I see. Sorry, I'd forgotten you'd referred to Precision Camera. That makes sense.

    Nope, I just wondered who you were referring to. No harm in asking, I just would expect Arca themselves to be a bit reticent about helping with a third-party clamp, and the clamp manufacturers to be a little worried about taking responsibility for the head (I've never tried, but it seems like a possible financial risk). PC may well be best qualified to comment impartially, though, and it certainly does no harm to ask them, if there's doubt.

    I'm still fairly confident that doing the obvious thing will work - but it's not my money, so...
  18. Hi,
    thanks for the replies. It might be a screwdriver notch. I am not sure how I can remove it . I spoke with Arca swiss , precision works, kirk. Kirk suggested another quick release plate that should work once the ballhead top is removed. Precision confirmed the clamp , and said it was possible to remove with a 11mm thinwall socket wrench . I was unable to upload the images earlier. I am in India and have to find someone to carry the ballhead for repair. ballheadn.jpg ballheadn2.jpg
  19. Thanks for getting back to us, Sanjay.

    It belatedly occurred to me to have a look on the Kirk site. At least some of their clamps seem to tcome with a 3/8" central hole, and they have a "brass reducer bushing" accessory which is a 1/4"-to-3/8" adaptor. With the exception that the one you're showing is a bit shorter than what's on their web site, it looks a lot like what you've got there. In fact, to get the clamp to screw on if it does have a 3/8" thread (designed to be attached directly to the top of the tripod), you must have had something like this, otherwise the clamp would just fall off the head - it's not directly anything to do with the head itself. (To confirm, I assume you'll find you can't get a camera directly on the ball head any more, because the outer thread is too large for the camera's 1/4" socket.)

    These adaptors screw the same way inside and outside (otherwise they wouldn't be adaptors). If it came inside your clamp and you didn't notice it, it could easily have wedged itself on the thread on the head more firmly than it was attached to the clamp, and therefore stayed there when you took the clamp off. That would explain the apparent screw notch at the bottom - if it were still in the clamp, you'd be able to use that to unscrew it, but because it's on the head it's upside down.

    If you're attaching the clamp directly to the head anyway, I'd completely ignore this - the socket wrench will just cover it, and you can remove the screw with this attached. If you really care and want to get rid of it, I'd just grab it with pliers and unscrew it - you probably won't do enough damage to it to stop it attaching to the clamp, and even if you did, these adaptors are cheap. (I just searched for "tripod thread adaptor" on Amazon and the first hit was an offer of five for £4.99.) It's probably supposed to be a bit stiff if you have trouble removing it...

    Which clamp do you have? I'm a little confused that Kirk suggested a different one - I don't know their range very well, but I'd expect them all just to be attached to the neck of the (decapitated) head by a simple screw, as in the RRS video. Are there anti-rotation notches on the bottom of the clamp (you can see them on my Triopo's round head on a review thread I posted long ago) to align with the crenellations on the neck (which you can see at about 1:06 in the RRS video linked above)? That's supposed to stop the clamp unscrewing from the head. I only ask because it looks like Kirk's universal clamp arrangement has a weird square base instead, but they don't show the backs of their other clamps.

    Given that it sounds like you'll have difficulty getting the head to a convenient service centre, and from the photos you've shown above, I'm still very confident that everything is fine and you can just unscrew the top plate with the hex wrench as described. Did the plate come with a screw to allow you to attach it? If not it might be worth checking with Kirk what kind is needed (I don't have audio where I'm typing, but I could believe RRS said the head needs an M6), but I'd hope you can source one without resorting to international shipping.

    If I were slightly more affluent or generous, I'd tell you I'd buy you another one if it goes wrong. But... I'm afraid I'm not. :) Given all the information you have, though, I'd absolutely just try it if I were in your shoes. What's the worst that can happen?

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