Nikon FTZ Adapter to Arca Swiss Tripod Foot

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mike_halliwell, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Just in-case no-one has seen this, it's perfect for bigger/heavier 'footless' F mount lenses mounted onto a Z Body via the FTZ.

    I use it for my Sigma 40mm and 135mm ART on my Z6ii.... which don't balance well on the FTZ's own foot. Those lenses are very heavy (and have no foot of their own) and the FTZ's only foot screw socket is too far back, resulting in a very nose-heavy setup.

    ..which has the usual Arca Swiss dovetail for perfect/better balance.
  2. Is there any reason for it to stand an inch proud of the dovetail plate Mike?

    I'm always a bit confounded when QR plates, tripod heads, etc., seem to add extra opportunities for vibration to creep in. And that bit of vertical metal appears to add nothing but another thing to wobble.
  3. One of the pics somewhere shows it with a T&S... guess this allows down shift?

    I did wonder about making one myself, but the shape of the FTZ's base is such a pain to mill out....:(

    I suppose I could cut a simple oblong recess and make the shape with an epoxy putty like Milliput? Maybe it doesn't actually matter?
  4. Most likely, a lens heavy enough to merit using a tripod foot will already have one. In every case I have replaced the foot with one by RRS, or attached a plate. The FTZ adapter might not clear the camera base if an Arca (RRS) plate is attached, which is likely if you use Arca QR. The foot would add ample clearance for both the camera and lens, plus extra length to adjust the balance.

    I would not worry about Arca QR wobbling. It uses the same technology as used to clamp fixtures to a milling machine or for lathe ways. The extra hight would have trivial effect on stability, and is no more than that found in much heavier lenses. Besides SLR lenses are likely to be wider, longer and heavier than those designed for mirrorless.

    I don't have much confidence about compatibility with diverse clamps. A few thousandths across the flats makes the difference between complete security and a running fit. I would recommend using a self-adjusting screw type clamp rather than one with a lever which cannot be adjusted.
  5. Agree. I have tried the lever type, and screw-type seems more reliable to me. One time, trying a new one on a trip, it was so rigid that I called RRS in a panic. To be fair, that unit was likely to be defective - should have tested before taking it to a trip. Also, please check out Flexshooter as ballhead - then there's no need for additional gadgets such as the Wimberly or Sidkick, etc. I have the Flexshooter Mini and it's plenty.
  6. When the plates fit, a lever clamp is more secure than one with a screw. With the latter, you can tighten the clamp with plate slightly tilted so only one edge is engaged. It feels tight but can come loose without warning. With the lever, it can only be closed if if is correctly placed or completely out of the groove.

    I looked at the Flexshooter page, and think their claims are overstated. In order to balance a load, you must be able to slide it fore and aft for stattic balance. The center of gravity is well above the axis of tilt, so you must counterbalance the load as it is tilted. That's fairly common in video heads, but only the best use springs and geometry to provide a true sinusoidal action.

    I have been using an RRS video head in lieu of a ball head for most applications. The action is very smooth (true fluid damping), with adjustable sinusoidal counterbalancing. Unlike a ball head it can tilt over a range of 180 degrees without flipping the base around. You level the head once and the horizon stays level for panoramas. The downside is that it's twice the size of a heavy duty ball head, like the RRS BH-55. Once balanced, you can tilt it to any angle and it will stay without locking it (but I do anyway).

    I lost one Arca knob while hiking. It came off rubbing against my jacket. New RRS knobs can't come off unless you pry it open and remove a snap ring.
  7. The RRS BH-55 is bulky when I had it. I had used Markins, loved it. Then the RRS BH-40 and now the flexshooter - it balances the 70-200 S lens + TC well. Don't see a problem - yet.
    Hmm... something about some RRS equipment: A friend got an RRS Monopod and something went wrong. Then there was my BH-40 that was defective from the box; then recently - after my new RRS TVC-24 tripod was left in the car with my old Gitzo G3530LSV tripod over the cold winter, the leg came off when I tried to extend it. This never happened in the history of my using Gitzo tripods. So I hurried up to buy a Gitzo GT3533S as backup, as I would rather not have to fix this problem when shooting.

    That said, other RRS equipment with no moving parts such as plates and replacement feet work fine.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  8. Sorry you had a bad experience with RRS. Nobody is perfect. I've been fortunate, having purchased several heads, clamps, and a series 2 tripod (which is my almost daily go-to, and stays in the car year-round). Markins and Kirk make essential the same gear. My point was regarding compatibility between plates and clamps.

    There is balance and balance. For still photography, balance is a convenience. Lenses with a tripod foot are generally reasonably balanced from the get-go. For video, balance is right there will leveling, and must be nearly perfect. Adding a cage, rails, a large battery, and a large lens quickly converts a Sony A7 into a 12 pound monster.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  9. Whilst undeniably true for FX DSLRs, with a heavy lens + FTZ + small lightweight Z6ii, the set-up is very front heavy.

    The Sigma 135mm f1.8 ART balances very nicely on my D3S, but is horrible on my Z6ii..... even though the total weight is less.

    If I try landscape shooting with the Z6ii + Sigma 40mm ART on a tripod, it is impossible to get it balanced with either the Z6ii's socket (!) or the FTZ's. A long plate on the Z6ii would work (if I got a step block to make the Z6ii's socket the same height as the FTZ's socket), but I've often got a battery pack on it for timelapse, and then it wouldn't...!
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  10. That's where the detachable foot for the FTZ would be invaluable. If the foot itself were not long enough, you could attach a long second plate, which would allow you to slide the assembly further back for balance. For smaller lenses without a tripod foot, I use a long plate with a built-in transverse clamp which fits the base plate on the camera. RRS has these adapter plates in several lengths.

    When I shoot video, I use a base plate with rails, and a large (140 KWH) V-mount battery. I can reverse the adapter so that the camera and lens can move forward on the tripod for balance. Though on the bulky side and spendy, these rigs give me great flexibility. I attach a bottom plate to fit the tripod head, and an RRX clamp topside to fit everything else. The battery plate has outlets to power various devices, including the camera. In this version, I use a clamp with a pan head, which is overkill, but it wasn't being used, so why not.

  11. Yup, it is! I find mine well worth it....;)

    The original height 'difference' of the FTZ was always a PITA. I still can't believe they couldn't make it the same as the body, but I guess the engineering must have been too tight.
  12. Hmmm. But doesn't RRS stand for Really Right Stuff?
    Sounds like a claim to perfection to me. Especially at their price point.:cool:
  13. That's correct, and as I went on to say I've bought a lot of gear from them without any problems. They use no castings. Everything from plates, clamps, and hardware on their tripods are CNC machined from aluminum bar stock. That makes their products lighter, stronger and better fitting than similar products from some others, particularly Manfrotto.

    A tripod leg coming loose is serious, but I'm sure RRS made good on it. CF legs are glued into their sockets. Other companies, notably Mandrotto and Benro, have experienced similar problems. A fitting fell of a Gitzo boom pole (also kept in a cold car). I stuck it back on with Gorilla Glue, which fills gaps and remains resilient.
  14. Not a big problem if I am not shooting because it can be fixed. But it is a big problem when this happens as one pulls out the tripod legs to shoot, especially when shooting nightsky in a pitch dark environment that a tripod is required for any amount of success. :eek: As a matter of fact I will be travelling West to do that in a few days and I will be taking the Gitzo - to avoid the "PTSD". ;) That said, I do like RRS products and I believe what happened is likely not to occur again as I will not keep it in the cold again.
  15. You are correct in not trusting the RRS tripod at this point. If it were defective adhesive or process, the other legs are likely affected too. Call them and arrange for repair or replacement. They're guaranteed for 5 years.

    All CF tripods are bonded to the metal parts with adhesive. My RRS tripod is at least 3 years old and I've used CF Gitzo tripods for 15 years. All have been exposed to cold cold and heat without incident. I've had several Manfrotto latches, which are cast, break during that time through mishandling.
  16. Think I should do that sometime, in order to regain the confidence in that tripod. Too busy at the moment. Thanks.

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