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03-18-2013, 06:27 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Fanotec Tripod Foot for Pentax Q Adapter and DA* Lenses

(Executive summary: well-made replacement for Pentax tripod foot for $35, or in a package with an arca-compatible universal lens plate for $65. Ordering details to come!)



The News:

My good friends at Fanotec Professional Photographic Accessories (the creators and manufacturers of the entire Nodal Ninja panoramic photography product line) have reverse-engineered the removable "foot" for the DA*300/4, and the DA*60-250/4, which also fits the Pentax Adapter Q to K. They spent considerable effort to engineer a replacement tripod mounting solution that fits precisely into the wedge-style clamp found on these three current Pentax products, and any future ones using the same removable foot design. Consistent with their other unique products, they are not content to simply "copy" a design, but rather sought to improve it.

So, what I can show below is a "production-finish prototype" made from high-strength aluminum, with a brass and steel clamp mechanism and steel attachment screws. The parts for this prototype look CNC milled and hand-assembled, and only the knob is not representative of the final product (it will be smaller). Given the small market for Pentax parts, their proposed production run of 50-100 units might also be individually milled. The finish is excellent (smooth, satin-anodized black, with all edges rounded off), and if it is like their Nodal Ninja products that I've abused for nearly a decade, it will be very, very durable.





The Deal:

You can see in the photo that the design has two "parts." One is the upright clamp that grabs onto the wedge areas of the lens collar or adapter, and the other is the arca-compatible "universal" lens plate. These parts will be available together in a "package," but for those that don't use arca-style mounting equipment (Manfrotto RC2, etc.), the upright clamp unit can be purchased alone, making it a (lower-cost) alternative to the hard-to-find Pentax OEM foot.

Before I go further (and in case you missed the summary), I know you want to know "how much does it all cost?" For a limited production run of 50-100 units, Fanotec will charge $35 for the upright clamp alone (which is basically the Pentax OEM part with a smaller footprint), and $65 for the package including the clamp and 100mm "universal" lens plate package. I think the universal lens plate will be offered alone in the future, but I don't know the price.



The Details:

The upright clamp is sized for the DA*60-250/4 lens (slightly taller than the DA*300 foot), and attached to the universal lens plate (100mm or ~4" long) by 4 steel screws, meaning it can be reversed if you don't like where the (prototype) knob is. Also, the upright clamp tower has a 1/4" thread on the bottom as well, so it can be taken off the arca-plate and attached to different types of quick-release plates (Manfrotto RC series or other proprietary types) or possibly even an L-bracket!

One interesting departure from the Pentax design is where the knob is in relation to the moving "wedge" part. In the Pentax design, you turn the knob and it "pushes" the wedge inward toward the mount, but in this design, turning the knob "pulls" the wedge from the opposite side, giving a stronger clamp action! Another difference is that the knob in this design is only active when it is pulled out (like a watch knob). It spins freely when pushed in, meaning you cannot accidentally loosen your tripod mount!

Finally, the supplied "universal" lens plate includes two different thicknesses of a removable "ridge" for using the lens plate with any other lens or accessory, as well as the shorter steel screws to attach the ridges, and a "captive" 1/4" screw that slides in the channel down the middle to attach the plate to a different tripod mount. There are also screw holes for "safety stops" if your arca-mount is compatible with them.

Here are additional photos of the parts and some different views:










Last edited by panoguy; 03-18-2013 at 08:11 PM.
03-18-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Nice looking piece of kit. I will be buying one, with the Arca-Swiss plate.
03-18-2013, 06:47 PM   #3
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Please post back with ordering instructions when they are available, this is appears to be a well though out and executed design.
I plan to order at least one.
03-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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Looks very good. When will they begin taking orders?

03-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Looks very good. When will they begin taking orders?
I'm waiting to hear back on that. This prototype is pretty much "final quality" (in fact, it's better quality than the plates I have from Hejnar & Jobu & Markins) so I think the issues might be scheduling the production and how to handle fulfillment. I know they have resellers for their Nodal Ninja products all over the world, so it is possible one of them may handle the orders and fulfillment, or they may be set up to handle it directly from the factory. I will definitely let you know as soon as I hear.

One thing that they mentioned is that the lens plate can be different sizes (since I think this will be a product unto itself), and they wanted to know "what size would be best?" Personally, I find all of my lens plates are 80-100mm (3.5"-4") but I'd like to get feedback from others...
03-18-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Panoguy - you 'da MAN! Count me in for the deluxe model. BTW - shipping?

Last edited by Flinty; 03-19-2013 at 01:11 PM.
03-18-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
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A very nice product!

I will be on the watch to see when this becomes available.

JP
03-18-2013, 07:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flinty Quote
Panoguy - you 'da MAN! Count me in for for the deluxe model. BTW - shipping?
Thanks! I'll find out about shipping, since these are pretty small and (relatively) light items, they might be packet-shippable.


Last edited by panoguy; 03-18-2013 at 07:46 PM.
03-18-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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Clean design!
03-18-2013, 07:43 PM   #10
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This is great - thanks for your work in putting this together Panoguy!

One observation - and I don't mean to nit-pick, but.....would it be possible to include the safety stop screws with the arca-swiss plate? I bought a used plate once a while ago that came without these screws, and they are very hard to find unless you want to buy a bag of 100. For myself, the safety stop screws are a must.

As far as the length of the plate, it all depends on the length and weight of the lens a person is going to use. I think 100mm is a good "standard" but it will be nice if they offer length options.

Also a very nice feature are the 2 different size removable end ridges.
03-18-2013, 07:58 PM   #11
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I will take two of the $65 dollar ones!
03-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
This is great - thanks for your work in putting this together Panoguy!

One observation - and I don't mean to nit-pick, but.....would it be possible to include the safety stop screws with the arca-swiss plate? I bought a used plate once a while ago that came without these screws, and they are very hard to find unless you want to buy a bag of 100. For myself, the safety stop screws are a must.

As far as the length of the plate, it all depends on the length and weight of the lens a person is going to use. I think 100mm is a good "standard" but it will be nice if they offer length options.

Also a very nice feature are the 2 different size removable end ridges.
It looks like there are two threaded holes for the safety stops.
03-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
It looks like there are two threaded holes for the safety stops.
Yes, there are. The only questionable part is that my prototype only included "countersunk" screws of that diameter (lots of them) which are different from the "cylinder head" screws usually used for safety-stops. The countersunk heads will work, but not stick out as much as typical safety-stop screws... so I'm asking about that as well.
03-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #14
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Interesting and thanks to you and everyone on the other thread who sussed out how to get what so many of us have been after. I just got a slip from Canada Post left at my place today, which I think means that the foot I ordered via Rakuten has now arrived. But this looks like a good alternative. I don't know much about Fanotec except that I looked into them for some equipment for pole aerial photography -- their poles have great specs, but I found them very expensive. Nice to see that their tripod feet will be quite reasonably priced/good value.
03-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #15
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Evening Pano, I am sitting here with a list of items that I need (considering) to order. The only thing holding me back is what Q/K adapter to get. I really do not need the leaf shutter, since I am using K and M lenses. So the Pentax adapter is really probably overkill, but I still have not really made up my mind. I will say that the foot issue with Pentax was almost the irritation that broke the camel's back. After seeing the details in the foot, I see what is going on now.

The Fanotech concept is extremely interesting, very appealing, and does offer value. I like it very much. Actually, I was over at the Fanotech facility last summer, where I walked in and picked up an AS clamp for my NN3 from Nick. They were apparently in the middle of shooting product shots for their website. I brought my NN3 with me to make sure I picked up the correct part. Nick took a look at it and said, you have had this for several years but yet there is not a mark on it. I have actually used it a lot, but really try to take care of my stuff, so I took it as a complement.

Anyway, still have not decided, so I have not ordered anything - yet. The current list includes a wrist strap, Q/K adapter (and foot depending on the adapter vendor), spare Q batteries, a red dot sight, an AS plate for the foot, along with a long rail (and AS clamp) and a rest for the M*300. Also thinking about a geared head like the Manfrotto 410 (and a conversion plate for that also) easier adjusting with the red dot sight. You can go broke on just the mechanical support items - let alone the camera gear.

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