Once you try the Arca-Swiss Quick Release system you will never want to use any of the Manfrotto or any other propriatary Quick Release system again. It is that Good. While the initial cost of entry is considerable the added stability and locking strength is well worth it.
When you rotate the camera from landscape orientation to portrait orientation while it is on a Manfrotto head does it rotate slightly around the tripod screw when you have a front heavy lens on the camera? With an Arca-Swiss plate and clamp the camera can not rotate. Kirk makes Arca-Swiss clamps that fit into some of the Manfrotto Q/R heads to convert them to the Arca-Swiss system. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Here are the Kirk Specialty Q/R clamps . You can also buy a standard clamp and attach it using the Manfrotto Q/R plate via the 1/4" - 20 threaded hole or use a bushing for a clamp with a 3/16" -16 hole. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
While it is pricey, the Arca-Swiss type plates used by Markins, RRS, Kirk (and possibly some others) really is incredible. I went from a Bogen/Manfrotto ball head to a Markins (M20 w/ RRS QR Lever platform) on my tripod. I picked up used, but it is incredible.
Where I think the Markins (RRS, Kirk and A-S) really shine is in the ability to control heavy loads when you angle the camera up or down...virtually no movement.
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...