Can anyone refer me to a cross-reference of tripod head types and clamping systems used? I have been unable to find I thorough explanation within the Nikonians website or via search engines. I purchased a Manfrotto tripod and a Manfrotto ballhead with a quick-release lever. I understood, apparently incorrectly, that it was Arca-Swiss compatible. Later, I bought a Kirk L bracket which should be Arca-Swiss compatible. However, the L bracket cannot be clamped to the ballhead. The Manfrotto clamps to plates with a bevelled, angle-cut base, whereas the Kirk seems designed for a tongue and groove clamping system.
In all my reading, I did determine that there are several systems out there, and I stayed away from some popular ones like RRS. I'd like to figure out what is compatible with what. Surely, someone has written about this somewhere.
Thanks in advance to anyone who offers a reference.
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#1. "RE: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 0kjrslr Registered since 19th Jul 2003Thu 30-Aug-12 11:52 PM
RRS is popular because it's a damn fine product(a system approach), that has been around for a few years and has a very good track record. They may be a bit pricey, but their choice of materials, machining and over all build quality is hard to beat. I really think they're the bar by which the others are judged.
A few years back, after I had used some of the clamping options at the time and didn't like most of them, primarily Manfrotto(due to their bulk). I looked into Kirk and liked the collar for the Nikkor 300 f/4 AFS. Then I got to see some RRS clamps & plates and made the decision to stick with one system and chose RRS.
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#2. "RE: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 0WD4MLA Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Fri 31-Aug-12 03:32 PM
Manfrotto is not Arca-Swiss compatible but Kirk Plates and L Brackets are. RRS and Markins ball heads and plates are compatible and are very popular on this site.
Here is a reference site that I found but I havn't spent much time checking it out.
I personally like the Markins heads and use Kirk L brackets.
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#3. "RE: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Fri 31-Aug-12 05:42 PM
Both Manfrotto and Gitzo heads (and the related plates) are proprietary. Those clamps only fit plates made by that same maker, with the exception of a few 3rd party plates and clamp-type arrangements that third parties make, expressly to extend the utility of those proprietary systems.
Arca-Swiss compatible screw clamps should mate to any truly Arca-Swiss compatible plates.
Lever clamps are a different story because the levers require very tight tolerances, tighter than those used by the industry at large.
Who is or isn't compatible with what has been somewhat of a moving target over the years, especially in regards to A-S lever clamps. For that reason alone it would be difficult to provide more detailed guidance in a FAQ-like post. It is also complicated by the fact that much of what we know is based on user reports, and those are necessarily anecdotal in nature.
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#4. "RE: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 0jrp Charter MemberFri 31-Aug-12 06:25 PM | edited Fri 31-Aug-12 06:40 PM by jrp
To use Arca-Swiss type plates and L-brackets, all you need to continue to use your tripod is change your ball head.
We are convinced the Markins ball heads are the best and have hundreds of testimonials on that, but can also recommend the Arca Siss Z1 and the Novoflex ClassicBall 5.
Independently of tripods, there are Arca Swiss type and there are No Arca Swiss type tripod head clamps, plates and L-brackets.
Manfrotto was an Italian pioneer in camera support systems (ball head/plates), unfortunately they chose a proprietary design that had you locked into their brand only, for plates.
That would have been OK if the design worked for larger pro cameras and lenses. The same happened to Gitzo ball heads, also a tripod pioneer manufacturer out of France.
Manfrotto was the enthusiasts market standard for long, on a world-wide basis, but never the industry standard they may have wanted to become.
It was not until the early 90s that Arca Swiss -mainly a medium and large format camera manufacturer- popularized their modern Arca-Swiss type system, with 38mm wide plates and a 45 degrees dovetail for effective (not moving at all) clamping, most with anti-rotational flanges.
The true professional ball head manufacturers of today use the Arca-Swiss type clamps and plates and many other lower brands are following, however with various degrees of success.
You may want to read this
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#5. "Thank you for the information" | In response to Reply # 4
#6. "RE: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 0
>Later, I bought a Kirk L bracket which should be Arca-Swiss compatible.
It probably is.
An Arca-Swiss compatible quick release clamp should solve the problem. A new ballhead with clamp is the straight forward solution.
Depending on your Manfrotto model, you may be able to put an Arca-Swiss quick release clamp on the Manfrotto head. With luck, one of two methods may work. It may be possible to remove the Manfrotto clamp and mount an Arca-Swiss compatible clamp on the Manfrotto ballhead, or you may be able to find an Arca-Swiss clamp that has a Manfrotto plate and intended to be held in place by the jaws of the existing Manfrotto clamp on the ballhead.
RRS has replacement quick release clamps for some Manfrotto head models, see http://reallyrightstuff.com/WebsiteInfo.aspx?fc=100
Kirk may offer replacement clamps similar to those from RRS. Kirk also offers special quick release clamps that can be stacked on some Manfrotto clamp models, see http://www.kirkphoto.com/Specialty-Quick-Release-Clamps.html
Hejnar Photo offers some solutions for Manfrotto heads, see http://www.hejnarphotostore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=16&zenid=ps6vthlop64n1an3cv7ij7r5t1
None of this may be applicable to your Manfrotto model, but it may be worth checking if you like your Manfrotto ballhead. RRS, Kirk and Hejnar may also have solutions not listed on their web site or be able to custom build a conversion for a reasonable sum of money.
#7. "My reply re: Clamping systems compatibility" | In response to Reply # 6