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03-16-2010, 02:37 PM   #1
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2 questions about QR clamps

I'm in the process of going arca-swiss compatible tripod head and accessories. Have an Acratech ballhead. I'm looking for quick release clamps to put on objects other than my tripod: macro rail, flash bracket, etc.

To the questions:

1) Does the length of the clamp matter much? Will 2 inch clamps be sufficiently sturdy/stable, or are 3 inch or larger clamps to be preferred?

2) Is there a source of inexpensive QR clamps?

03-16-2010, 02:50 PM   #2
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There are several companies (besides the well-known Kirk/RSS etc. brands), that produce Arca compatible clamps:
Novoflex makes 2 different clamps, one faster to use and more expensive and a cheaper alternative. The Novoflexes are very nicely made.
Also, Giotto makes compatible clamps, which seem to be the cheapest ones. The modell is the "GTMH 657"

There is one caveat: different companies use different safety pins, which means, that some plates may not fit other clamps, unless you either file/machine the required groove into the plate or get rid of the pin in the clamp.

Ben
03-16-2010, 05:01 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
I'm in the process of going arca-swiss compatible tripod head and accessories. Have an Acratech ballhead. I'm looking for quick release clamps to put on objects other than my tripod: macro rail, flash bracket, etc.
Been there, done that -- it's frustrating isn't it? Companies seem so loath to admit compatibility. . . probably due to liability fears. . .


QuoteQuote:
1) Does the length of the clamp matter much? Will 2 inch clamps be sufficiently sturdy/stable, or are 3 inch or larger clamps to be preferred?
The above mentioned liability fear kicks in: The integrated clamp on my Wimberley Sidekick is @ 2.5", and supports over 8lbs of lens/body at every odd angle you can imagine without any worries (when tightened down properly, of course). The cheap Flashpoint (Adorama house brand) clamp I bought for my Manfrotto 3232 Tilt head for my monopod is a touch under 2" long and I've had no problems using it with my 300/2.8s and K20 (@ 8-9 lbs). Unless you're going to support something way heavier with the clamp vertical (positioned where the plate could slip out of the clamp), I doubt that you'd need the larger clamps, even if just for peace of mind.

QuoteQuote:
2) Is there a source of inexpensive QR clamps?
The cheapest I found when researching last year were the Flashpoints from Adorama @ $59.95 USD with free shipping.

QRC-1 Flashpoint Quick Release Clamp with Quick Release Plate included

It's well made and strong -- nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. The one negative I've found is that the knob is not captured, so could work its way off while being carried in a bag. To keep this from happening, I now just tighten down the clamp before storing it.

I now see that they also sell a Giottos, at a buck cheaper, but it's got 2 reviews that both say the knob broke. I don't see this being a possible problem with the FP.

Taking a look at B&H, they now sell Kirk clamps at very good prices:
Kirk | QRC-2 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type Plates | QRC-2.0

Kirk | QRC-1.75 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type | QRC-1.75

. . . and a Jobu Design that looks to be good @ $50:
Jobu Design | QRR-1 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type | QRR-1

There might be others. I'd check some of the better Chinese mfgs: Benro, Feisol, Photoclam, etc, as they seem to now make AS compatible clamps for their ballheads.

You do have to keep in mind how the clamp is to be attached:
Is there a stud that requires a threaded hole in the clamp, and what size?
Is there a threaded hole in the base/shaft of the thing you want to attach the clamp to for a screw that passes through the clamp to screw into the hole, and what size?

Scott
03-16-2010, 06:37 PM   #4
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2" doesn't sound like much, but will probably handle all your needs, unless you have some huge lenses.

One thing I'd suggest is to go with the screw type clamps, NOT the lever type. The tolerances have to be just so for the lever types to be secure, and you'll probably lock yourself into one particular brand if you go that route to ensure compatability. Plus, quite frankly I'd always be afraid of catching a cuff on the lever and opening it up accidently, spilling my camera and lens!

03-16-2010, 07:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote

One thing I'd suggest is to go with the screw type clamps, NOT the lever type. The tolerances have to be just so for the lever types to be secure, and you'll probably lock yourself into one particular brand if you go that route to ensure compatability. Plus, quite frankly I'd always be afraid of catching a cuff on the lever and opening it up accidently, spilling my camera and lens!
A very good point -- and one that I had meant to make. . .but forgot

Scott
03-16-2010, 07:41 PM   #6
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Very helpful info. Thanks.

Anyone want to take a look at this Ebay "deal" and pass judgment on it?

5 X 50mm 3/8" 1/4" QR Clamp Quick Release Arca Compat - eBay (item 370320810394 end time Apr-14-10 21:58:27 PDT)
03-16-2010, 07:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Very helpful info. Thanks.

Anyone want to take a look at this Ebay "deal" and pass judgment on it?

5 X 50mm 3/8" 1/4" QR Clamp Quick Release Arca Compat - eBay (item 370320810394 end time Apr-14-10 21:58:27 PDT)
Great deal IF the quality is good...but it's hard to imagine that it's THAT bad. I actually used to use some really cheesy quick release clamps and plates before I finally got over the sticker shock and bought Arca-Swiss style clamps and plates. Once I did, I kicked myself for not doing so earlier...

I can't say I have any first hand experience with the ebay seller or the product though.
03-16-2010, 11:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Very helpful info. Thanks.

Anyone want to take a look at this Ebay "deal" and pass judgment on it?

5 X 50mm 3/8" 1/4" QR Clamp Quick Release Arca Compat - eBay (item 370320810394 end time Apr-14-10 21:58:27 PDT)
These look significantly like the Giottos clamps with the bubble level in the knob which the two reviewers said broke on the Adorama listing. Great price though, especially if it's the right attachment type for your needs.

I can't vouch for the seller, having no experience.

Scott

03-17-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Very helpful info. Thanks.

Anyone want to take a look at this Ebay "deal" and pass judgment on it?

5 X 50mm 3/8" 1/4" QR Clamp Quick Release Arca Compat - eBay (item 370320810394 end time Apr-14-10 21:58:27 PDT)
I have that head, which I affixed to this basic manfrotto tilt/swivel head for use on my monopod:

Amazon.com: Manfrotto 234 Monopod Tilt Head (Replaces 3232): Electronics

Good quality plate, solid metal construction - for the money and amount of use the setup will see it was perfect. Holds both a Kirk and Photoclam plate no problem, as well as the 2 other generic (one unnamed, the other benro) plates I have in circulation.

In response to the original OP questions - probably comes down to your own risk/reward rating. I would consider how much weight I would use on the macro rail for instance, along with how much play you would be using (2-3 inches, or 8-12 would be a huge difference!). Obviously you wouldn't want the whole plate/camera well away from the center column and off balance, but I think a 2 inch clamp should be sufficient for most applications.
03-17-2010, 03:53 PM   #10
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I bought a couple of Kirk 1.75 QR clamps on ebay for Lego use.

Pros:
$39 and free shipping
Kirk is a known quantity
The mount hole is 1/4-20. When mounting on a macro rail, or long rail 1/4-20 just makes it easier than trying to work with bushings.

Cons:
I will disagree with the people thinking the flip clips would not be better. The tensioner on the QR clamp is pretty long and the knob is wider than the height of the clamp. Sometimes this means the tensioner is out the back of the camera and you have to be careful not to poke out your eye, or knock out a tooth.






Thank you
Russell
03-22-2010, 09:38 AM   #11
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The issues stated with the lever-type clamps were in terms of security/reliability, not ergonomics.

I have a bunch of Kirk stuff, mostly shorter (1.75") stuff.

For clamps, you don't really need too much more than that. For plates - longer plates give you more adjusting potential for sliding the plate within the clamp.
03-27-2010, 01:02 PM   #12
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Well, I went ahead and picked up the 5-pack of clamps from Ebay mentioned earlier. They appear to be good quality; for example, the knob that screws into the plate is "captured", so it cannot come completely off the plate. The knob is a bit bigger than I would have liked. More review coming later....
03-29-2010, 01:46 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Been there, done that -- it's frustrating isn't it? Companies seem so loath to admit compatibility. . . probably due to liability fears. . .




The above mentioned liability fear kicks in: The integrated clamp on my Wimberley Sidekick is @ 2.5", and supports over 8lbs of lens/body at every odd angle you can imagine without any worries (when tightened down properly, of course). The cheap Flashpoint (Adorama house brand) clamp I bought for my Manfrotto 3232 Tilt head for my monopod is a touch under 2" long and I've had no problems using it with my 300/2.8s and K20 (@ 8-9 lbs). Unless you're going to support something way heavier with the clamp vertical (positioned where the plate could slip out of the clamp), I doubt that you'd need the larger clamps, even if just for peace of mind.



The cheapest I found when researching last year were the Flashpoints from Adorama @ $59.95 USD with free shipping.

QRC-1 Flashpoint Quick Release Clamp with Quick Release Plate included

It's well made and strong -- nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. The one negative I've found is that the knob is not captured, so could work its way off while being carried in a bag. To keep this from happening, I now just tighten down the clamp before storing it.

I now see that they also sell a Giottos, at a buck cheaper, but it's got 2 reviews that both say the knob broke. I don't see this being a possible problem with the FP.

Taking a look at B&H, they now sell Kirk clamps at very good prices:
Kirk | QRC-2 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type Plates | QRC-2.0

Kirk | QRC-1.75 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type | QRC-1.75

. . . and a Jobu Design that looks to be good @ $50:
Jobu Design | QRR-1 Quick Release Clamp for Arca-Type | QRR-1

There might be others. I'd check some of the better Chinese mfgs: Benro, Feisol, Photoclam, etc, as they seem to now make AS compatible clamps for their ballheads.

You do have to keep in mind how the clamp is to be attached:
Is there a stud that requires a threaded hole in the clamp, and what size?
Is there a threaded hole in the base/shaft of the thing you want to attach the clamp to for a screw that passes through the clamp to screw into the hole, and what size?

Scott
Thanks for the info. Looks good
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