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Author Topic: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system  (Read 4665 times)

Prognathous

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A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« on: October 19, 2014, 05:16:27 pm »

I'm about to buy a Sirui K-20x ballhead that uses Arca-Swiss-compatible QR plates and would like to better understand two aspects of this system (which I believe apply to other heads that use it):

1. The knob that clamps the plate seems to require quite a few turns to lock. This is different from the typical flip locks that most QR systems use (and which from my experience typically work well). Is there any advantage to this?
2. Is sliding the plate forward and backward  and not using it centered on top of the head recommended? I could see it useful for macro work (as a poor-man's rail) and for getting better balance when attaching to the collar of a long and heavy lens. Are these use cases part of the intended design?

Thanks!
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Jimmy D Uptain

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 08:00:16 pm »

I personally like the screw knobs as they make me feel more secure. But I am OCD and have to reach down and make sure its tight about a thousand times a day ;D
I don't like levers for no other reason than i'm paranoid about inadvertently snagging the lever at the wrong time.  It's probably nonsense, but I cannot shake it.

If the lever has never given you a problem, then you should stay with what you prefer.

As far as your second question, I really cannot answer. But it seems you couldn't use it as a rail as it will only slide laterally.
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synn

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 10:47:29 pm »

The knob is useful as not all "Arca-compatible" plates are of the same width. This is especially helpful when you have QR plates and L clamps and need to interchange often.

I use a Sunwayfoto head that has a screw knob and a flip lock and this helps me mount just about any Arca compatible plate on it. I have plates from sunwayfoto, markins, sirui and a no-name plate/ side holster combo and they are all of different widths. I use the flip lock first and then the knob to lock it in real tight.
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Jan K.

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 12:21:20 am »

...The knob that clamps the plate seems to require quite a few turns to lock.

In practice it will probably be more like a quarter to half a turn to lock/loosen...

At least if you slide the bracket in and out of the clamp.

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ripgriffith

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 03:44:38 am »

I don't like levers for no other reason than i'm paranoid about inadvertently snagging the lever at the wrong time.
I use Manfrotto QR  platforms which have a lever release plus a release lock, making it almost impossible to accidentally release the lever.  I think this  setup pertains to most  QR systems.  I realize that your paranoia doesn't come from a rational place, so the fact that even if you could "inadvertently snag the lever", it wouldn't release the QR plate makes no difference in your mind.   
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NancyP

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 11:03:38 am »

Arca Swiss dovetail clamps and rails: you can indeed slide the rail, camera bracket, or lens foot back and forth  /side to side a small amount. When I mount my 400mm f/5.6 with teleconverter, the Arca plate attached to the lens' tripod ring is in a slightly different position than when I mount just the 400mm lens, to balance properly. Panorama rigs take advantage of the AS dovetail design - you can mount the camera at the end of a long rail, put the rail's other end into an AS clamp, then move the rail back and forth in its clamp to the proper no-parallax point for whatever lens is mounted on the camera at the time. One rail can service many lenses. For macro, it may be more efficient to get a macro-specific rail that has a movable top clamp.

Screw vs. lever: it's a matter of preference. I have both. If you have a motley collection of rails, brackets, lens feet by many manufacturers, a few lever clamps may not conveniently fit all. I have a screw mount on two tripods, in one case because I wanted a very compact (Sunfotoway disc-shaped) clamp that the tripod legs could be reversed to fit around, in the other case because I bought a kit to adapt my Manfrotto geared head to Arca-Swiss clamp and the only choice was a screw clamp. I tried a lever clamp on the third tripod/head, Arca-Swiss brand lever clamp on a Arca-Swiss Z1 ball head, and like it too. It is very secure for the Kirk and Hejnar brackets, feet, and rails I use, and cannot be readily adjusted to fit both those items and a small Sunwayfoto rail. I don't use that Sunwayfoto rail on that tripod, I use it on the smaller travel tripod, which is the tripod I use for the compact camera that the rail is intended for.  The safety feature works well, it is a two step process to remove the camera/lens/rail.

Length of the AS clamp: The longer the jaws, the more friction exerted. Don't put a heavy rig on 1" long clamp. My clamps have jaws of 2" to 3". 3" should hold a supertelephoto.
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Colorado David

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 11:26:32 am »

I use three different Kirk ball heads with QR clamps.  They are all screw type.  I use feet and L-brackets by Kirk, RRS, and Wimberley.  A lot of my brackets have stops at both ends so they cannot be slid in or out.  They must be tipped in sideways, so my screw clamps must always be opened enough to allow tipping the dovetail into the clamp.  It is a small price to pay for the security.

Paul2660

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2014, 11:34:25 am »

A true Acra made plate will not equal the width of an RRS or Kirk as pointed out.  All of different. 

I use the screw knob on my BH-55, however RRS has re-worked their quick release clamp to now work with the Acra plates, and I have one on order for my BH-40. I don't believe their locks however. 

However since I started using the Acra D4 Geared head, (love it), it has the Acra quick release clamp.  This is adjustable to any plate I have used over the years, just takes a few seconds to adjust the width.  The Arca clamp locks also so there is no chance of it opening in the field while moving the rig from one location to another.   

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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Herbc

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 03:57:36 pm »

If you ever had a quick release open when it wasn't expected to, you become a life long convert to screw type locks. :)
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NancyP

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 06:16:28 pm »

My Arca lever clamp must need some lubrication, because it is hard as heck to adjust, and if you go too far, the whole thing falls apart and you have to chase a spring and itty-bitty washers - so I am not going to try to adjust it in the field. Looking for a 2 mm OD washer in leaf litter is not my idea of fun. Still, I trust its failsafe 2 step unclamping mechanism.
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Jimmy D Uptain

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2014, 07:34:38 pm »


I realize that your paranoia doesn't come from a rational place, so the fact that even if you could "inadvertently snag the lever", it wouldn't release the QR plate makes no difference in your mind.   

Exactly
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synn

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2014, 09:05:38 pm »

FWIW, the sunwayfoto quick release lever has a secondary lever on it that needs to be pulled back for release. Haven't had an accident so far, touch wood.
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Some Guy

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2014, 09:45:33 pm »

I have a RRS BH-55 with the flip lever.  Love it!  Very quick, and I can feel it tighten in the last bit of swing.  No lock though, but it is covered up well enough under the plates and head that I doubt if it could accidentally flip open.   It's pretty snug when locked.

That said, I also have a Wimberley Sidekick I use on it for gimbal work.  It has the knob and screw thing for the dovetail clamp.  It's VERY SLOW to lock, and I have to hold stuff a lot longer and wobble it in to secure it.  I often let go gingery as I don't trust it slipping at times.

On the lever lock, using a hand-strap on the camera with a RRS L-plate, I can flip the camera into portrait from landscape in seconds while holding onto the camera with my right hand through the strap, and flip the lever to lock it with my left hand.  My hand stays in the strap so I'm tethered to it if something goes wrong in securing it, but no need as once I feel the cam lock, it's secure and then I can take out my hand from the Camdapter leather hand strap.

With the screw lock, I have to take my hand out of the grip to turn the lock screw and tighten it, hold the mount, and things get very iffy juggling stuff to lock it all down.  Takes a whole lot longer to do so with a screw clamp.

SG
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Jan K.

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2014, 11:15:38 pm »

...A lot of my brackets have stops at both ends so they cannot be slid in or out...

Those small screws are luckily easy to remove. Nothing but a pain to have...

... I can flip the camera into portrait from landscape in seconds while holding onto the camera with my right hand through the strap, and flip the lever to lock it with my left hand.  My hand stays in the strap so I'm tethered to it if something goes wrong in securing it, but no need as once I feel the cam lock, it's secure and then I can take out my hand from the Camdapter leather hand strap.

With the screw lock, I have to take my hand out of the grip to turn the lock screw and tighten it, hold the mount, and things get very iffy juggling stuff to lock it all down.  Takes a whole lot longer to do so with a screw clamp.

Hmmm.... I hold camera by grip, turn knob a quarter of a turn, slide camera out, rotate camera, slide back in, twist knob a quarter of a turn and... voila!

It may take a half a second more (?), but then again... framing and setup most times takes me minutes, so what do I care...  ;D

No straps here, btw. Those annoying things always finds new ways to get caught up with something in odd ways...  :-\
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synn

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2014, 11:29:26 pm »

I use one of them side holsters that screw into my arca plate. This way, I am ready for tripod/ handheld action in a second with minimal juggling.
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Some Guy

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2014, 11:31:51 am »

...
Hmmm.... I hold camera by grip, turn knob a quarter of a turn, slide camera out, rotate camera, slide back in, twist knob a quarter of a turn and... voila!

It may take a half a second more (?), but then again... framing and setup most times takes me minutes, so what do I care...  ;D

No straps here, btw. Those annoying things always finds new ways to get caught up with something in odd ways...  :-\
Wimberley Sidekick gimbal takes a whole lotta turns to tighten.  No quarter turn.  Total pain dealing with vs. the lever lock.

I agree on the long OEM or aftermarket neck straps.  Can't stand those.  The ones I use look like the following:



With this grip strap, I can let the camera hang at the end of my arm and it seems locked to my hand.  Reminds me of the old Graflex hand straps.  I have it tight and sewed the ends of the strap so it cannot come apart from the L-plate.  RRS sells the identical Camdapter model.  Really is a nice strap, er, hand grip.

SG
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marc aurel

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2014, 12:15:17 pm »

If you ever had a quick release open when it wasn't expected to, you become a life long convert to screw type locks. :)

At least I am a life long convert too - two weeks ago the "flip-lock" of my Arca Swiss d4 head didn't lock tight - and I didn't notice. My A7r+TS-E 17+external monitor crahed on the floor. A case for my insurance. I didn't try other brands, but the flip-lock system by Arca is not secure if you use it with different plates. The screw to adapt to the different plate widths gets loose and you have no secure lock. The last click that should give you a feedback that the lever is locked - it is very quiet so it's hard to be sure.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 12:18:37 pm by marc aurel »
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dwswager

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2014, 03:39:25 pm »

1. The knob that clamps the plate seems to require quite a few turns to lock. This is different from the typical flip locks that most QR systems use (and which from my experience typically work well). Is there any advantage to this?
2. Is sliding the plate forward and backward  and not using it centered on top of the head recommended? I could see it useful for macro work (as a poor-man's rail) and for getting better balance when attaching to the collar of a long and heavy lens. Are these use cases part of the intended design?

Thanks!

1. My RRS clamps require about 3 full turns from full open to full closed.  You don't have to fully open the clamp to slide a plate or rail into it.  Only if you want to lift the plate or rail out of it.  I have all knob clamps because I can adjust the pressure to make positioning a plate or rail a little easier (maintaining a little tension) and because you can put more force on the clamp than the lever clamps do.

2. Sliding the plates and rails is normal.  Nodal slides and macro slides are common.  While you want to keep a full grip of the clamp on the plate or rail and you want to properly balance stuff so it doesn't topple over, don't worry.
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Prognathous

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2014, 04:20:00 am »

Thanks for all the replies. I guess this QR system wouldn't have become a de facto standard if it didn't offer tangible advantages. I think I'll go for it (once I manage to decide between the K-20x and the K-30x).
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: A couple of questions about Arca-Swiss QR system
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2014, 04:59:16 am »

Hi,

I use lever type clamps. The main reason is that I had a screw type lock on my Acratech Ultimate Ballhead and I unscrewed it by mistake quite a few times. Stupid of me? Yes! Still it happened half a dozen times.

So I get rid of the Acratech Ultimate, and got med several RRS ball heads with level type QRs, it worked well for me. I don't think they open accidentally, as it takes considerable force to open and close them.

On my favourite head,the Arca D4 I had Arca's "flip lock" but I didn't feel happy with it. It is adjustable, yes, and it can also fall apart. Add to that, it doesn't lock firmly. I can push my LR plates with my thumb even if they are locked. Fortunately, I could replace it with an RRS-lever type clamp, so I am happy.

It is a bit unfortunate that the different QR systems are not of the same width.

Best regards
Erik

I'm about to buy a Sirui K-20x ballhead that uses Arca-Swiss-compatible QR plates and would like to better understand two aspects of this system (which I believe apply to other heads that use it):

1. The knob that clamps the plate seems to require quite a few turns to lock. This is different from the typical flip locks that most QR systems use (and which from my experience typically work well). Is there any advantage to this?
2. Is sliding the plate forward and backward  and not using it centered on top of the head recommended? I could see it useful for macro work (as a poor-man's rail) and for getting better balance when attaching to the collar of a long and heavy lens. Are these use cases part of the intended design?

Thanks!
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Erik Kaffehr
 
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