OK, so I'm terminally stupid. I just bought a Q3. Got it today. It's gorgeous; smooth as silk.
I also bought a "generic style" (P-45U) camera plate. I figured that it would be suitable for anything from my 3 F bodies through my D2x.
I discovered first that there is no thumb screw to mount the plate on the body, or in this case my 70-200, no... I've got to find an allen wrench of the correct size. This is something new to me. Since I don't shoot all that much from a tripod (mostly hand-held) the idea of permanently affixing something to the body or lens that I don't need every time I shoot seems a bit strange. You Pro's, it seems do this all of the time. All of my other heads use thumb screws to connect the plate to the unit.
OK, here's the problem: when I try to use the ball head to swing the lens left or right (no, not pan, just change) the plate twists relative to the bottom of the lens bracket. Not good.
Am I using it incorrectly, or do I really have to get special plates for the 70-200, the D2x, the F (with F-36) the ELw with AW-1, the 2 F2's with MD-2's, the 500mm, and the SP. That's a lot of $50.00+ plates.
Also, I notice that there several options for the D2x and the 70-200. Which are best? There also seem to be several options for the other bodies as well.
Also, not being a professional, I get very upset when something damages my gear, so what's that extra screw on the P-45U? OK, I'm anal.
Generic plates often twist. Yes it is expensive to have body/lens specific plates. I have the L brackets on my F5, F6, and D200, D2X. Lens collar replacement foot on my 400mm, 200-400mm, 70-200mm. For other lenses, I have kind of flexible lens plates. That is the cost of convenience nad efficiency.
Since there seem to be multiple options, would you tell me which plates you use for your 70-200 and your D2x? Also, are you happy with the choices you've made or do you think something elkse might be better?
Mike, I am not selective amount RRS, Kirk and Wimberley unless there are differences in design. I have RRS for D2X, F5, Kirk for D200 and F6. I believe the Kirk L bracket allows users to access the USB port easier than RRS but I use a card reader so it does not matter. There is a difference in 200-400mm plate design between wimberley and RRS/Kirk so it is up to your needs and tastes.
I tend to choose plates according to my ballhead clamp. I have a wimberley head so I chose Wimberley replacement foot for 400mm but mostly there are not much differences.
Yes, to avoid swapping generic plates you'll need specific plates for your 70-200, D2x, F w/F-36, and others. Since you have 2 F2 perhaps one would suffice there.
I never remove any of my plates and they don't bother me when shooting handheld. If you don't shoot much from a tripod then perhaps you could determine which cameras and lenses you normally use with a tripod and just get plates for those.
It really helps to get the opinions of others. You have both responded to the question and given me additional food for thought.
BTW, the PZ-86 that you are using for your D2x appears to have an additional threaded hole so that the camera could be mounted on another head (I have a Manfroto 3047) without removing the PZ-86. Am I correct?
The P45U is "generic" plate only in the sense that it can be used on most small bodies and small lenses. "U" means "Universal", that is bi-directional, so it can slide into the clamp forward-backwards or from a side. Since it doesn't have a lip or flange to adjust to the contour of a body, whether you have the screw-drive screw ot the allen wrench type, both need to be tighten well with the appropriate tool. It also has an anti-twist stopping bolt that effectively prevents from any pivoting between the plate and small cameras and/or small lenses with foot. However, your 70-200mm is by no means small and it uses two screws, so it needs another solution.
If you are using the original foot, you may get a Kirk LP-44 or a Markins PL-70. You may also want to check the 70-200mm replacement foot with integrated plate Kirk LP-45.
On my D2X I keep a L-bracket at all times, the BL-D2H. But, if you are not much into landscapes and tripod use, a Markins PG-50 or a Kirk PZ-86.