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RRS / Arca-Swiss design tolerances ... ?


West Hartford, US
842 posts

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nl Silver Member Charter Member
Sun 20-May-12 02:18 PM

So, something interesting (?) I have noticed. I wondered if others have seen the same thing.

I have two RRS BH-55 ballheads, one with the lever release and one with the screw-knob release. I have, to date, used RRS L-plates on all of my bodies, and so I never have had occasion to tilt the ball to the side to shoot vertically; I always reorient the body to the side piece of the L-plate for vertical shooting.

That worked fine until I moved to a combination of the Spider Holster and the Black Rapid straps for carrying my bodies. When I got the Spider, I ordered the add-on to the Spider Plate that allows direct connection to an Arca-Swiss style mounting. Of course, now I no longer had the L-plate, and so to shoot vertically I had to till the ball to the side. What I found is that when tilted to the side, the LR-clamp simply does not grab the Spider's Arca-Swiss plate securely. My camera (D3) nearly slipped out of the clamp entirely. No go.

Recently, I bought the mounting plate from Custom SLR, which I like in general because it provides the ability to screw in a Spider pin and (claims) to be both Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto compatible as well.

Today I tried it with the LR clamp. I seems secure enough to hold the camera when the ball is turned to the side, but a little push slides the camera free. Not as loose as the Spider, but not tight enough to feel confident either.

I put in a RRS L-plate, and boy is that grip solid.

So, it seems that something in the design or tolerances of these alternative Arca-Swiss mountings is not up to snuff, at least with an RRS clamp. I haven't tried it with the screw clamp; I'm guessing it will be higher because there is more control over the adjustment.

Has anyone else noticed this sort of thing? Is it just the case that you have to match up RRS with RRS to get a secure grip? I had pretty much assumed that all Arca-Swiss type plates and clamps would have matched tolerances, but that is not the case. Is it a quality issue for these alternative vendors (I should note that both the Custom SLR and the Spider seem to me to be high quality operations...)


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