Quick Release base plate

Posted on 20 June 2012


Moving the camera from tripod to jib to steadicam asks for a quick-lock solution. First I thought about buying a few more base- and tripod plates so I can use the Sachtler system on all. But this brings up issues with height, I have to have special things made to fix it to the base of the steadicam. Apparently, there is no standard.

So what are the other options? Going from really small $ 10 QR systems to the longer and more expensive all metal $ 35 Giottos MH-621. There are also Manfrotto, Velbon and Cullman QR systems, but as far as I understand they are not compatible with each other.

Most of these systems have a clamp that you screw onto the tripod-head, and a QR plate that goes under the camera. The QR plate slides into the clamp from the back and a screw tightens the clamp. I am afraid that it might be less heavy-duty then the Sachtler system, which needs to be inserted from the top and locks into place by a spring.


And there are these nice Arce-Swiss compatible DSLR plates, that have a dual dovetail backstop for camera’s that do not utilize two screws in the bottom. The Arca-Swiss system really is made for photography and usually consists of a clamp with “jaws” that can be closed and tightened with the turn of a screw. It can also be quicklock with a lever like this $ 200 ballhead system, but not at a pre-fixed position, as it is a slide-on system (from the side). I’ve seen them with hex safety screws on the bottom, I guess these will be hard stops, so technically then it won’t be a QR system anymore.

The Giottos system has longer plates with 3/8″ and 1/4″ screws and most of the clamps have a build in bubble level and a safety lock button. They even have a nice $ 80 double ballhead system:

Just note that not all Arca-swiss style plates and clamps are compatible! Read more about this here.


On the other hand, I like the Velbon system more as it really clamps the camera tight to one place with a lever on the clamp. You can’t (accidentally) move it to another position. I couldn’t find Velbon videocamera plates (with 1/4″ and 3/8″ screws). You can read a short discussion about this here.

Here is another nice and cheap ballhead system:

Posted in: Gear