Quick release plate/head that PREVENTS camera rotation

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by tropdude, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Need to hold Nikon D3/x/s body with large lenses, on-camera flash STEADY.
    I am looking for pro or best-available quick release plates or whole heads, compatible with Manfrotto AND/OR Gitzo heads or tripods, that DOES NOT LET the camera body twist around the screw when used in vertical or other non-standard attitude.
    I am NOT interested in large L-frames and the like, but a plate/head that maybe has a rim or the like to prevent any camera body rotation relative to the quick release plate.
    Price not a factor, portability is, need the best solution.
    This maybe a solution, although I am not sure if it goes with Gizto/Manfrotto or if there are no better alternatives: http://www.kirkphoto.com/Camera_Plate_for_Nikon_D3s.html#
    Thank you.
     
  2. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Well I'd suggest Kirk or Really Right Stuff , but then they both (I think) require an Arca Swiss type clamp to fit, and that would rule out a Manfrotto head IIRC. Looking at the Gitzo site, they seem to be saying that they have new materials that inhibit twisting but I can't see anything about compatibility with AS type plates which represent the best way of preventing twisting.
    You can of course match a RRS/Kirk/Markins /Acratech etc head with Manfrotto/Gitzo legs and RRS or Kirk plates ( as indeed I do) . But I'm not aware of a way of avoiding buying a head offerring AS type clamps and plates if you want the best plates. Personally I opted for the L plate for my main camera. Its just so much faster and less hassle to turn on its side, keep the camera centred and maintain the weight right over the tripod when vertical that to me it was an easy decision.
    I chose a RRS head and plates, and after a year I'm happy . But I'm not convinced that any of the above-named heads wouldn't have done as well, though there are relatively minor compatibility issues with plates and clamps that its as well to bottom before you buy.
     
  3. I agree with David. I've never found anything that works as well to prevent camera twist as an Arca-Swiss style clamp and a plate fitted for your camera. It's not the least expensive way to make a clamp/plate but being able to get the plates designed for your camera is worth it.
    I have used separate AS style clamps that screw onto the top of existing heads and you can screw them down tight enough to work without slipping but buying a new head with the AS clamp built in is the way to go. It helps that the AS clamp/plate system is the most commonly supported system around. At least in theory they are all interchangeable.
     
  4. Thank you. It is disappointing that in 200 years of photography, this simple but key issue was never sorted out -- a heavy camera will always twist a little around if it is only held by 1 axis screw.
    More suggestions are appreciated.
     
  5. 2 screws would do the thrick - at least much better than one screw. Not yet available on any camera or tripod, as far as I know.
     
  6. zt: I think your question for a quick release plate that does not rotate relative to the camera has been answered. The RRS plates don't because the are custom fit to the camera. I have some old Mamiya QR plates with extra pins that fit into two holes in the camera plate to prevent rotation. So, that part HAS been sorted out. The remaining issue, at least for me, is that the tripod head may rotate off the tripod column, at least with the RRS heads on the Gitzo tripods.
     
  7. Google 'Manfrotto Architectural plate'.
    There is a metal lip that rests against the bottom edge of the camera that is closest to you (not the edge toward the lens). This keeps the camera from rotating. Just make sure this edge is straight or the plate will be unstable.
     
  8. Agree with Kirk or RRS plates. They are specific to each camera body, molded with a lip that wraps around enough that there will be no rotation. Only 1 screw needed. They are pricey, but well worth the security of knowing your camera will never roatate.
     
  9. As mentioned above, Manfrotto architectural plates work pretty well. If you have a head that uses the large hex plates, it's also possible to do a number of things with them. First of all, the plates usually have extra holes in them. In some they are tapped for threads, and in some not yet tapped. You can tap threads into one of the many holes, and use it to screw down a piece of metal, ledge, or other object on the top, which can be designed to hold a camera from rotating. I did this recently to adapt a plate to a Nikon F4. A screw of the right length and a little piece of aluminum, and I have a custom fitted L plate. Although they have an arrow for lens position, hex plates can be installed with any of the six points forward, so you can use any of the available screw positions.
    I have some milling capability, so I have also made some custom hex plates from scratch. The hex plates use a single layer of aluminum, and the mounting screws can protrude because there's a matching hole in the head. This makes custom plates rather easy to make if you have milling capabilities or connections. I've done several with good success.
    If you mark the footprint of the camera on the plate, and mill that part down about 1 /16th of an inch, the camera will be held securely from rotating even when the screw is only finger tight. It takes very little restraint to keep a camera from rotatng, as long as it prevents the camera from starting to unscrew itself.
     
  10. The only solution is an Arca-style clamp and plate system. RRS or Kirk clamps can be adapted to many other ball heads (but not all). They are not practical on 3-way heads, but not completely out of the question either. You could attach an RRS clamp to a Manfrotto plate using two or more machine screws. Clamps with drilled and countersunk holes are available. You would need to drill and tap the plate, which is pretty easy.
    There are various options for Manfrotto and Gitzo (non-ball head) QR plates which have a lip to keep the camera from rotating. Since these must fit any camera, they invariably use elongated holes or slots so that the camera can be pressed against the lip. Unfortunately, these slots provide very little resistance against rotational force. They slip, and you're back to square one.
    Fitted Arca-style plates by RRS or Kirk wrap around the camera base, so the attaching screw needs very little tension to prevent rotation. Oddly, Arca never quite caught on to the real power of their own QR system. Sounds like GM and Ford, doesn't it? The clamp uses a V-block principle, which is the basis for most machine tool ways and fixtures. It doesn't get any simpler or more effective than that.
     
  11. "It is disappointing that in 200 years of photography, this simple but key issue was never sorted out -- a heavy camera will always twist a little around if it is only held by 1 axis screw."

    This has been sorted out long ago. Get a tripod that is compatible with a Kirk, RRS, etc. head and get the camera specific A-S plate to go with it. And an L-plate is better yet.
     
  12. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Its Manfrotto ( and the other middle market manufacturers) that haven't sorted this out. All you have to do is pay the price those who have sorted it out want to charge.
    And of course you can understand why Manfrotto take the stance they do. They have opted for a mass market approach which pretty much rules out making and holding stocks of a tailor-made solution for every camera or even every popular camera. I'm pretty sure that Manfrotto understand absolutely how to resolve this issue- its just that they don't want to face the impact on either their profit or their competitiveness or both if they should do so. They must reckon that there's more money for them in making mid-priced solutions that most camera users will find adequate, and for those users they could very easily be right.
     
  13. The no twist solution seems to come at least two forms,aside from the old Bogen drop in heavy wedge type. 1)A lip that grasps front or rear edge of the camera. 2)Another is the kind I see on some video camera setups ,and on my Olympus E series cameras as an option twist resister to the lip edge approach. Namely the usual tripod socket and another small stud to match a little molded hole in the body a short distance away as Oly has chosen for some reason... The plates need to have a slot to move the tripod screw to appropriate distance. ( Acratech for one has made an E-3 plate that uses this approach of a tripod hole screw and a small stud a distance away to go in the second inset hole.) The disadvantage of the made to order Arca Swiss plates is that one often needs a bunch of them for fifty bucks apiece.
    Yet the advantage is that they mostly fit snugly, have a low profile and are of minimal mass to add to the camera. the latest limitation is that plates should also clear the flexible LCD screens we are getting, so there is some thinking in the engineering and milling process....
    I have used a small A-S style clamp on top of a few Manfrotto style flat top heads. I think now specifically of their mini video fluid head. If one is tripod user, this is an acceptable/not inelegant way to go. I would call or e mail Kirk and get some personal advice on modifying your particular model tripod or add on to the tripod legs. Once one goes Arca Swiss "standard,: the road is smoother. Not for every combo there is however it pays to ask what will go with what by the mfr. Maybe 80% though, which aint bad.
     
  14. I use a number of Manfrotto heads that take the larger hexagonal QR plate. These plates originally came with a cork facing which was useless - I removed this and replaced it with thickish rubber (cut from a cheap car floor mat). This gripped well. Later examples have a thin dimpled rubber covering which works OK but which I might also replace in extreme cases.
     
  15. Amplifying a bit on those large hex plates. I enclose a quick picture of a pair of them that I made for Nikons. The bottom one is my first attempt, for a Nikon F. The padding is just a piece of plastic shelf paper, and the camera fits into the recess. The second is for an F3, and for that one I omitted the front raised area. The slightly raised rear is enough to hold the camera securely. With the screw reasonably finger tight I can tilt the camera on its side or steer a ball head with it, and it does not come loose. The rears on these are clipped off so I can stow the cameras in my case without removing the pads.
     
  16. Amplifying a bit on those large hex plates. I enclose a quick picture of a pair of them that I made for Nikons. The bottom one is my first attempt, for a Nikon F. The padding is just a piece of plastic shelf paper, and the camera fits into the recess. The second is for an F3, and for that one I omitted the front raised area. The slightly raised rear is enough to hold the camera securely. With the screw reasonably finger tight I can tilt the camera on its side or steer a ball head with it, and it does not come loose. The rears on these are clipped off so I can stow the cameras in my case without removing the pads.
    00bGfs-515395584.jpg
     

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