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Old Apr 20, 2010, 4:47 PM   #1
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Default You get what you pay for

I've been happy with my Slik tripod and Velbon monopod, but not with the Slik quick-release plate system. They're way less expensive than the Arca-Swiss system but the Slik system doesn't hold the heavy Oly 35-100 f/2 plus the E-3 steady without some movement.

I just got a pair of Arca-Swiss quick-release plates (for both units) and a pair of the Acra-Tech 2.5" lens plates (for the 35-100 and the 50-200). This system is extraordinarily expensive but once you adjust the Arca-Swiss plates to fit the Acra-Tech lens plates, the system holds together like an angry bulldog but is surprisingly easy to release. I just wish it didn't cost as much as a lens...

Ted

Last edited by tkurkowski; Apr 20, 2010 at 7:29 PM.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 6:08 PM   #2
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Funny enough I'm in a tripod hunting mood and it's pretty much this sentiment. My old tripod could hold my Canon S2 fine. However, with the E-620/70-300mm it's just an accident waiting to happen.

A quick search for Manfrotto and it quickly boggles the mind.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 6:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TekiusFanatikus View Post
A quick search for Manfrotto and it quickly boggles the mind.
I have the Slik Pro 700 DX tripod, and the Velbon Neo Pod 7 monopod. Both are very sturdy and reliable, and less expensive than the pro-type Manfrottos or Gitzos, etc. I do believe that they are probably not able to take the abuse my pro friends need, but I don't subject them to the desert war-type conditions in Iraq or Afghanistan like my pro friends do.

The issue of quick release plates is way more complex.

Ted
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 7:33 PM   #4
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Default “Arca-Swiss” is a generic term for quick-release systems

And I’ve discovered that the inter-operability between different manufacturers isn’t seamless, depending on what you buy. Arca-Swiss, the company that originated the pro-level quick-release system, makes 2 different base units: a Quick Release Adapter with a Flip-lock, and a Quick Release Adapter that uses a thumb screw to release the camera or lens plate. The former is $180 for an 84mm long plate, and the latter is $145 for the same length. To me, a thumb screw release is not a “quick release” for my shooting needs so I chose the Flip-lock plate. But the Flip-lock plate has an adjustment screw that sets the width of the jaws to correspond to the width of the camera or lens plate, because different manufacturers of “comparable” camera or lens plates have slightly different jaw width requirements.

The lens plates that work the best for my 35-100 and 50-200 lenses, are the Acra-Tech 2.5" lens plates. But once you set the jaw width on the Arca-Swiss Flip-lock plates for the Acra-Tech lens plates, you need to only use Acra-Tech plates for anything else (like camera plates). I.e. an Arca-Swiss camera plate fits too loose on the Arca-Swiss Flip-lock plate if it’s been adjusted for an Acra-Tech plate.

Sorry if this got too far into the weeds, but I figure that any of you who might consider an “Arca-Swiss” type quick-release system need to know this before you spend a few hundred dollars. The reason being, the Arca-Swiss type system is the best quick-release system I’ve used.

Ted

PS: I don’t think it’s an accident that the Acra-Tech company chose that name for their products – I suspect they wanted the confusion between the names to sell more of their products. Notwithstanding that irritating marketing decision, their products are very good.
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