Another vote for at least a look into the A-S system... I use two tripods, a Gitzo GT1540T on which I have installed a Markins Q3T, and a bigger Manfrotto 055ProB with a Manfrotto MG468 ballhead.
The MF ballhead orginially came with the RC2 clamp, and I did try to use it that way, but I soon ended up retrofitting it with a RRS B2 clamp. I don't know what ballhead you have, but I can vouch for the advantages of a L-bracket made to A-S standards, and I have used one for every DSLR I have owned since the D200.
I also use plates on my 80-200/2.8 and old-model 80-400VR.
Hope this helps!
Olivier Rychner __________________________________________ Jetez un oeil à ma galerie if you feel like it! And it's a bit void as of now, but I also have a Nikonians blog
Auta i lomë! And my Nikon's only awaiting daylight...