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05-04-2018, 08:06 AM   #1
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Thinnest arca-swiss compatible tripod plate available

For some reason, most manufacturers don't seem to realize that tripod plates should be as thin as possible so they don't get in the way.

Peak Design have understood this with their latest Capture Clip plate. However, that plate is poorly suited to mount on a heavy lens' tripod foot.

I have a good number of very solid and large plates, from the likes of Sirui, Vanguard, as well as some chinese copies from eBay (which are just as good as the original, for a fraction of the price).

Sunwayfoto makes the PT-26 which is about 5.5mm thick, a very good value. Again, it's minuscule and not suited for heavy lenses. Sirui makes a small plate for their compact tripods, same problem.

My ideal plate would be about the dimensions of a PU-60 (the pretty standard 6cm long, 3.8cm wide) but about 5mm thick and in a perfect world would have two screw holes.

Does anyone know of something comparable?

05-04-2018, 08:57 AM   #2
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Metal plates can only get so thin until they become too thin and unusable for the intended use. Like you mentioned, some plates are very thin but can't hold large lenses. That's the trade-off you make for having thinner products. Engineering and product design is a world of compromises. You can't have a plate that's very thin and very strong (able to hold large, heavy lenses) and very light without a trade-off on some other quality (or qualities). You can have thin and light but then you trade-off on strength. You can have strong but then you trade-off on weight and, often, thiness. That's just how it is in engineering and product design. It's all about trade-offs and what you have to lose compared what you can gain.

By the way, the word you're looking for, in engineering speak, is Unobtainium.
05-04-2018, 12:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeyBugs95 Quote
Metal plates can only get so thin until they become too thin and unusable for the intended use. Like you mentioned, some plates are very thin but can't hold large lenses. That's the trade-off you make for having thinner products. Engineering and product design is a world of compromises. You can't have a plate that's very thin and very strong (able to hold large, heavy lenses) and very light without a trade-off on some other quality (or qualities). You can have thin and light but then you trade-off on strength. You can have strong but then you trade-off on weight and, often, thiness. That's just how it is in engineering and product design. It's all about trade-offs and what you have to lose compared what you can gain.

By the way, the word you're looking for, in engineering speak, is Unobtainium.
Mikey, I do understand that there are limits to what materials can withstand I don't believe what I'm asking is unobtainable... There ARE parts which have the thickness I wish for, but they usually have a surface area that's too small for lenses' tripod feet. We're not talking about an impossible thickness, far from it.

Most of the plates are more or less based on the original Arca-Swiss designs (all those PU-50, PU-60, etc). Those plates are meant to also be usable upside-down, which adds to their thickness (double-edged bevels). It doesn't means it's the only way to make them strong enough.

For the record, adding a second screw to a large and thin plate would be a great way to make the plate even stronger.

I could purchase two PT-26 and frankenstein them into a larger assembly (using the two screw holes) but it probably wouldn't be as stable, and would become quite expensive, especially in Canada where the plate must be imported.
06-17-2018, 06:31 AM   #4
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Maybe if you go to a local machine shop and have one custom made. They could do the maths for you and do it in a tougher, but heavier material (steel vs. aluminium) and still be able to make it as thin as you'd like. Mostly any finish, too . If you feel generous, you could even have it made out of titanium.

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06-17-2018, 06:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
Maybe if you go to a local machine shop and have one custom made. They could do the maths for you and do it in a tougher, but heavier material (steel vs. aluminium) and still be able to make it as thin as you'd like. Mostly any finish, too . If you feel generous, you could even have it made out of titanium.
That's actually good advice, and I have a colleague who has his own shop at home. But it would be prohibitively expensive to make.

The best I've found is the new plate from Peak Design. It's surprisingly resistant to rotation and as thin as they go.
06-17-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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This is about the thinnest I've got, But, It's for tiny cameras, I have one on my Q-7. It's not very long, but it does work.



Aluminium Camera Quick Release Plate For Arca Swiss RRS Wimberley Tripod | eBay
06-18-2018, 05:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
This is about the thinnest I've got, But, It's for tiny cameras, I have one on my Q-7. It's not very long, but it does work.
Interesting, and not very expensive. Maybe two of them side-by-side would work with a long lens (with two holes). 6mm is really thin, indeed. I'll keep that in mind.

06-18-2018, 05:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Interesting, and not very expensive. Maybe two of them side-by-side would work with a long lens (with two holes). 6mm is really thin, indeed. I'll keep that in mind.
Maybe have two of 'em soldered together?

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Last edited by torashi; 06-18-2018 at 06:09 AM.
06-18-2018, 05:52 AM   #9
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You could try two small plates side by side but unless they are of the highest manufacturing quality, there's a high chance that the clamp will only grip one of the plates or will but the clamp load on the corners of the plates. The two-plate solution might actually have less load capacity that a one plate solution.
06-18-2018, 06:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
You could try two small plates side by side but unless they are of the highest manufacturing quality, there's a high chance that the clamp will only grip one of the plates or will but the clamp load on the corners of the plates. The two-plate solution might actually have less load capacity that a one plate solution.
That's actually an excellent point that I had not considered before. Scrap that hypothesis!

For the moment I'm using an Oben dual-screws plate that came with their Gimbal head. It's not thin but apart from that there's little to complain about.
06-18-2018, 09:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
Maybe have two of 'em soldered together?
That would be a cheaper option than having them manufactured from scratch, and certainly would get rid of the load distribution and plate turning problem.

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06-18-2018, 10:16 AM   #12
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We're talking about the height of the plate? Can you really have a plate only 5mm thick and still have a usable bevel for the clamp? Or are you just referring to height above and beyond the clamped part? And how is that extra 4mm really getting in your way?
06-18-2018, 03:06 PM   #13
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You could probably purchase 6-7mm aluminum strip 40 mm wide and cut a groove with a carbide tipped table saw blade, but as others have commented a heavy lens probably will wobble and shake.

It might work if the tripod foot is balanced and has multiple screw holes, but for my tamron 200-500/5.6 where I n d a 10-12cm plate just to balance the camera, it would be too thin.

The ideal solution would be to have lens makers cast the shape into the mount
06-19-2018, 05:12 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
We're talking about the height of the plate? Can you really have a plate only 5mm thick and still have a usable bevel for the clamp? Or are you just referring to height above and beyond the clamped part? And how is that extra 4mm really getting in your way?
Most plates have a V groove on the sides, so in theory removing the top part of the V would still leave you with enough purchase to clamp. Some plates do this but they're all very small (as opposed to long).

A thinner plate is always good, all things being equal. In this particular case, I have a long lens with a dedicated hard case, and it's a snug fit so adding almost a cm prevents the lens from inserting well.

For cameras (I always, always leave a plate on) it also makes a difference, the thinner the system the better it is.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
It might work if the tripod foot is balanced and has multiple screw holes
Yep, my wish is for that scenario.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The ideal solution would be to have lens makers cast the shape into the mount
I can't understand why this is not mainstream. After all, shaping the lens foot at an angle would change nothing for people not using Arca-swiss, and would make things so much easier for people who do. It's not like lens manufacturers generally make their own tripods with proprietary systems...
06-21-2018, 04:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Most plates have a V groove on the sides, so in theory removing the top part of the V would still leave you with enough purchase to clamp. Some plates do this but they're all very small (as opposed to long).

A thinner plate is always good, all things being equal. In this particular case, I have a long lens with a dedicated hard case, and it's a snug fit so adding almost a cm prevents the lens from inserting well.

For cameras (I always, always leave a plate on) it also makes a difference, the thinner the system the better it is.
For a camera and a short lens, I can see a thin plate working, but for a long lens, where the tripod mount location is where the optics allow it to be, as opposed to where balance with a camera suggests it should be usually dictates you need a long plate to balance the lens.

A5mm plate is simply not rigid enough to prevent vibrations
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