After recounting up how much I have spent over the years on proprietary, form fitting body QR plates and L brackets, I began looking for alternatives for my new cameras. I found this one by Arca-Swiss. Here are impressions
- The top of the base plate is covered with a grippy rubber surface. Unless you mount a heavy long lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8L or 300mm f/2.8L on the camera and use the camera as the tripod mount for the lens (in which case you have other problems) instead of the lens' tripod collar I really doubts that any twisting of the body on the plate will be an issue.
The base and slide plates, as advertised, are adjustable for centering the plates on the lens axis. Either plate can be mounted to the camera but only one screw is included and it is in the base plate. The screw tightens with an included hex key (AKA Allen wrench) that appear to be a metric size. One is included with the 802306. If I didn't already have a metric set of hex wrenches I'd pop down to my nearest hardware store and buy a couple of spares. The screw bolting the plate to the camera is in a fixed location in the plate. The plate is also tapped on the bottom for a heavier duty 3/8” tripod screw.
There are a couple of features to the base clamp to note:
- There is a lug for a tripod strap (black rapid /sun sniper strap fans rejoice) on the opposite end from the lever.
- A small optional pin is included in the package. The base plate is tapped in three places for three cameras: The Canon 5D / 50D; Nikon D700 / D300; and Sony Alpha 900. Presumably the pin location matches up with the registration pin for these camera’s accessory vertical grip / battery holder. With regard to the 5D I don’t know whether that includes both the 5D Mark II, and I but if this is the case, then Canon has moved the position of the pin for the 5D Mark III accessory grip. In any event the 802306’s base plate is not long enough for the pin receivers on the base plate and camera body to line up.
When the plates are positioned where you want them to be each has a lever to lock them to the rails of the "L". The levers are strong and not easily nudged out of the locked position. Although you can turn them to face in the opposite direction, the levers face the bend in the L. Presumably this is a safety feature to prevent accidental snagging. The L itself is a solid piece of work.
I have a number of clamps (don't ask, it is a long story) from Arca-Swiss, Foba, Graf, Kirk, and Really Right Stuff (4 RRS screw drive clamps of various sizes including two PCL-1 panning clamps plus an FAS lever-release clamp for macro work), and Sunwayfoto. 07-17-2012 EDIT:The only clamp the Arca-Swiss L-Bracket is not compatible with is the RRS FAS lever-release clamp. This appears to be due to The outside of the edge of the FAS clamp a having a straight flat shape while other RRS lever-release clamps have a curved outer edge allowing the clamp to close down more. With all others, including the RRS screw drive clamps: full compatibility.