Art and Photography

Arca-Swiss compatible tripod

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 27th, 2017 2:30 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 6, 2007
1066 posts
129 upvotes

Arca-Swiss compatible tripod

Hi all,

I am looking for a good deal on tripod which is compatible Arca-Swiss QR.
I currently own Velbon Sherpa 200R which served me well over the years, but not compatible with Arca-Swiss plate used for Peak Design straps.
Any recommendations are welcome!

Thank you in advance!
20 replies
Member
Apr 9, 2012
273 posts
112 upvotes
Lexi wrote:
Jan 21st, 2017 1:42 pm
Hi all,

I am looking for a good deal on tripod which is compatible Arca-Swiss QR.
I currently own Velbon Sherpa 200R which served me well over the years, but not compatible with Arca-Swiss plate used for Peak Design straps.
Any recommendations are welcome!
Why not just get a new ball head with an Arca Swiss QR Clamp & Plates & put that on top of our present Velbon tripod. Your present tripod head should screw off the center post & you can replace it with any other type that you want. The tripod legs / frame & the camera mounting head are usually / always separate parts & can be mixed & matched. Unless there is another problem with the Velbon legs, you should not have to replace them just to use an ballhead or pan head that uses Arca Swiss clamp & camera or lens plates.

Any tripod should allow for an Arca Swiss type ball head & quick release system to be screwed onto it. And you should probably be looking at purchasing theses items separately anyway, as likely either the head, clamp, plates or the legs will be cheaped out on, as not many manufacturers are likely to make all of these well. Eg. I don't believe that Arca-Swiss, the original designer of the AS QR plate system even make tripod legs. There are several other 3rd party AS ballhead system manufacturers, some cheap some quite expensive. Lots of leg manufacturers. I've purchased several different legs & put Arca-Swiss ballheads on top. On one small tripod that I've put a small Manfroto single lever ballhead, I've attached an ASQR clamp from Jobu to the inexpensive Manfrotto head. Jobu-Designs is a Canadian Mfg that makes decent Arca Swiss style clamps, plates, gimbal heads & other accessories. Jobu AS Clamps

But, I'd search the DPReview.com website forums, B&H Photo Video & Adorama websites. There are so many tripod & head manufactures that come & go, & there are so many models anyway, it's hard to keep track. Well actually I don't any longer as my kit of tripod legs, ballheads, camera plates & lens plates has been established for quite a few years.

Anyway, my point is to think of a tripod as being at "least" 2 separate components, one being the legs & two being the head where the camera is attached. The head can also be of a couple of types, pan head with handles or a ball head with knobs. Either can use ArcaSwiss style clamps for camera & lens plates. I believe that B&H & Adorama also have video tutorials on this & so should YouTube.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 6, 2007
1066 posts
129 upvotes
Thank you very much!
Are all heads feature universal thread, i.e. do i need to worry that the new head will fit Velbon legs?
Any recommendation about good deals?
Mtnviewer wrote:
Jan 21st, 2017 5:00 pm
Why not just get a new ball head with an Arca Swiss QR Clamp & Plates & put that on top of our present Velbon tripod. Your present tripod head should screw off the center post & you can replace it with any other type that you want. The tripod legs / frame & the camera mounting head are usually / always separate parts & can be mixed & matched. Unless there is another problem with the Velbon legs, you should not have to replace them just to use an ballhead or pan head that uses Arca Swiss clamp & camera or lens plates.

Any tripod should allow for an Arca Swiss type ball head & quick release system to be screwed onto it. And you should probably be looking at purchasing theses items separately anyway, as likely either the head, clamp, plates or the legs will be cheaped out on, as not many manufacturers are likely to make all of these well. Eg. I don't believe that Arca-Swiss, the original designer of the AS QR plate system even make tripod legs. There are several other 3rd party AS ballhead system manufacturers, some cheap some quite expensive. Lots of leg manufacturers. I've purchased several different legs & put Arca-Swiss ballheads on top. On one small tripod that I've put a small Manfroto single lever ballhead, I've attached an ASQR clamp from Jobu to the inexpensive Manfrotto head. Jobu-Designs is a Canadian Mfg that makes decent Arca Swiss style clamps, plates, gimbal heads & other accessories. Jobu AS Clamps

But, I'd search the DPReview.com website forums, B&H Photo Video & Adorama websites. There are so many tripod & head manufactures that come & go, & there are so many models anyway, it's hard to keep track. Well actually I don't any longer as my kit of tripod legs, ballheads, camera plates & lens plates has been established for quite a few years.

Anyway, my point is to think of a tripod as being at "least" 2 separate components, one being the legs & two being the head where the camera is attached. The head can also be of a couple of types, pan head with handles or a ball head with knobs. Either can use ArcaSwiss style clamps for camera & lens plates. I believe that B&H & Adorama also have video tutorials on this & so should YouTube.
Member
Apr 9, 2012
273 posts
112 upvotes
Yes the center post threaded bolt that the tripod head screws on to is universal but it can come in two sizes, the common size is 1/4", the same as the camera tripod thread & a larger size of 3/8". Smaller & medium tripods will all the be same smaller 1/4" bolt size & large & heavy tripods can have both, often one on either end of the center post, or it is removeable on one end. Small & medium heads will use the smaller threads the same as the camera's & larger ball heads often come with both hole options. If you got a head with the larger 3/8" bolt / hole, then it's easy to get a screw in insert to make the adaptation to the smaller size. Likely you won't have to worry about that.

I personally don't know of any good deals as I'm not in the market for these, but as I said before, just keep checking the B&H Photo Video website & Adorama & search this DP Review forum DPReview Accessories Forum & or join that forum & ask the same questions there, as that forum will have people actively looking & likely your situation has been already covered many many many times.

IMO, it's not worth cheaping out on an Arca Swiss style ball head, AS quick release clamps & camera plates (make sure the camera plate has a rear ridge!!!!!) or lens plates, especially with expensive cameras & lenses. Kirk, Markins, Manfrotto are popular mid to low priced brands, though Manfrotto also makes their own plate quick release system which used to be horrible & I would not touch it. Manfrotto ball heads can be okay, but I think they've changed a lot since I last looked.

If you're looking for a DSLR that uses fairly heavy lenses, then look for ball heads with 2-3 knobs, a large tensioning knob, with an inner set screw or a 2nd set knob for fine tuning & a 3rd knob for base rotation. A good ball head adjustment will require VERY little effort to lock & unlock the ball head for camera adjustment. A poor ball head will require a lot of force to turn the knobs to lock down the camera. Ball heads with one tensioning knob can work for really light cameras such as point & shoots. So it depends on your needs & budgets, but cheap ball heads, AS QR clamps & plates with no back top ridges (to keep cameras & or lenses from rotating on the camera or lens plate) will be frustrating & potentially insecure. I'd also recommend that you try to go to a camera shop to look at a few in person, whether you buy there or not. Otherwise, it's difficult to learn about these until you have them in your hands for your particular use & set of gear. Once you are familiar with them, it's far easier to buy off the internet..
Last edited by Mtnviewer on Jan 22nd, 2017 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
6312 posts
1595 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
One thing I would warn about Arca-Swiss in general is that there ISN'T a true standard for the fitting. Sure, they look the same and most of them work together but some just don't.

Have a read through this article from Jobu Design which spells out the problem - http://www.jobu-design.com/Arca-Swiss-i ... e_b_8.html
Member
Apr 9, 2012
273 posts
112 upvotes
GaryI626 wrote:
Jan 23rd, 2017 4:15 am
Looks like the head is removable just no instructions on how... Anyway what some people do is add a small arca swiss quick release clamp on top of the existing head.

http://www.velbon.biz/product/archive/s ... chive.html
It just unscrews off a center post bolt. See here for a diagram of how their tripods come apart. Velbon Manual

It looks the same as any head that unscrews from the center post either directly or first by unscrewing small "set" screws, that hold the camera head to a platform attached to the tripod center post.

Sadly Velbon's quick release plates on their ball heads are of a poor design with no top plate back edge to hold against the camera base to prevent the camera from getting off center. They only use a rubber or worse cork friction pad, as do all cheap or light duty types. The ball heads may be okay but the clamps & plates do not look very good, which surprises me in this day & age. That's the same design of 15-20 years ago.
Newbie
Jan 12, 2017
23 posts
8 upvotes
^That looks good, so no need to get another tripod base then.

I do agree that a completely new head with Arca-Swiss release built in is most ideal.

For me, I have a compact travel tripod that couldn't switch heads so I recently ordered a small quick release clamp form the site below and still waiting for delivery.
http://www.gumptrade.com/14120000901.html
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2008
1180 posts
187 upvotes
North Vancouver, BC
GaryI626 wrote:
Jan 23rd, 2017 4:15 am
Looks like the head is removable just no instructions on how... Anyway what some people do is add a small arca swiss quick release clamp on top of the existing head.

http://www.velbon.biz/product/archive/s ... chive.html
I have the Sherpa 200 and the head easily unscrews from the center pole. I believe it's a quarter inch base mount.

I am also looking for a ball head that is smooth and when locked down the camera doesn't move.
Member
Apr 9, 2012
273 posts
112 upvotes
robertz wrote:
Jan 24th, 2017 2:24 am
I am also looking for a ball head that is smooth and when locked down the camera doesn't move.
Neither you nor the OP give enough info for anyone to make a recommendation. Unless you get a large ballhead that can support ANY camera & lens combination, likely into the medium format range or 35 mm with longish zoom lenses, then one can't really help. So, given the vagueness of the camera equipment that you are using, I'd say get the
Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 & it will cover any option & should last you a lifetime. I have 2 older previous models. If you are using smaller cameras then look for smaller ballhead options, but you don't tell us what camera & lenses that your ball head must support, so what do we recommend for you?

For a small or light camera body & lens, or if one is careful, then on my small travel tripod, I have had success with the predecessor to this Manfrotto Micro 492 head supporting a large heavy DSLR & lenses up to 70-200 mms (using a lens plate in the clamp). But put too much weight on it or out in front of it & in the vertical position it will sag & with just one tension control that is not adjustable, it is more difficult to fine tune locking the head camera & lens combination. Again depending on the weight & balance in the clamp. There are other small heads out there, but I am not familiar with more & one could just read the B&H or Adorama reviews or look on YouTube & see what others might have found & recommend. Manfrotto Micro 492 However, this Manfrooto 492 is a ball head without a clamp & plate, which is likely a better way to buy things unless you go much more expensive, such as with Arca Swiss branding or RRS (Really Right Stuff) or Kirk or Markins. Personally, I avoid most Manfrotto tripods & heads & clamps & plates like the plague, as I have also had some of their gear fail due to their cheap materials. But that was also many years ago & I have not kept up on what they are like now. I read that some photographers like their stuff. If they still use cast metals, then don't buy it.

Here is an Arca Swiss Clamp, which while expensive, will last you a lifetime, but you can use it as a comparison for less expensive clamps, maybe made by Jobu from Mississauga, or Kirk.

Here is an example of the type of ANTI TWIST PLATE for a camera body or lens that you MUST GET, not this brand perhaps, though it's not too expensive, but it MUST have the Anti Twist ridge, vs. just a flat plate with rubber or cork on the top surface. Quick Release Anti Twist Plate

Depending on your camera, you may want to get an L Bracket to do the same thing. Look up "L Bracket". I prefer these for my DSLR & the costs vary with brands. You can also find them used on occasion to save money. For lighter smaller cameras, you may not need an L Bracket camera plate.

Here is a link to the B&H site to research B&H Ball heads Again, avoid all those that do not use the above style Quick Release CLAMPS or PLATES.

You can also do a Google Search & likely some photographer or another has probably written & or reviewed ball heads, camera /lens plates & quick release clamps. The info is out there, you just need to do some searching on your own & when asking questions, provide MORE info.

This USA B&H site is just for reference, though it can have great sales if one is patient. Read their reviews as well. Then check Amazon, or Canadian retailers online & in the store. There are also photography forums with buy & sell forums, but be careful. The most reliable seem to be Fred Miranda & DP Review, but again these are USA based. If you rush a purchase you are more likely to make an error. Do your research & take your time to learn of the best affordable options for you.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2006
5332 posts
1337 upvotes
Cornwall PE
Vanguard from photogear is another affordable choice.
The Children all love the the new down vote button.
My STORAGE SHED!
Linux User 412309
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 6, 2007
1066 posts
129 upvotes
Thank you all, I tried and can confirm that Sherpa 200 head is really easy to unscrew.
So far I decided to try the cheapest solution and ordered quick release plate on ebay, similar to the one GaryI626 mentioned.
However, I'll be watching for a good deal on arca swiss heads.

Thank you all again for your help and let me know if you'll come across a good deal for these heads.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
6651 posts
930 upvotes
Is funny that you started the thread at the same time as I was looking for input on an economical Arca-Swiss QR, so I may as well post here.

It seems there are mainly 3 category now to choice from for one:

1) High End Brand - Expensive / $$$
2) No Brand - Cheap / No Assurance
3) Unknown Brands - Mid Range $ / Still no assurance of quality

I am sure 1) would be most ideal but anyone had experience with 2 / 3 ?? Thx.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Member
Apr 9, 2012
273 posts
112 upvotes
hdom wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 12:00 pm
Is funny that you started the thread at the same time as I was looking for input on an economical Arca-Swiss QR, so I may as well post here.

It seems there are mainly 3 category now to choice from for one:

1) High End Brand - Expensive / $$$
2) No Brand - Cheap / No Assurance
3) Unknown Brands - Mid Range $ / Still no assurance of quality

I am sure 1) would be most ideal but anyone had experience with 2 / 3 ?? Thx.
If you don't indicate a dollar value as to what makes it a deal for YOU (plural), nor indicate what size & weight of cameras & lenses that the head system will be supporting, it's pretty difficult to recommend anything. A good deal on a AS Ballhead & QR system for a point & shoot, won't meet the needs for those with larger gear & likewise, a deal on gear suitable for a heavy DSLR with a long zoom lens would be inappropriate for smaller set ups.

Is there a reason no one is mentioning the cameras & lenses that you are looking to support? Without that info, it makes no sense to recommend anything. So just list your budget & your gear. I've already listed a couple of options for clamps & lens plates, so are those too expensive?

Believe me when I say, that if you cheap out on some of these components, it will end in either frustration during use, or disaster in a component failure & usually when you are out using it. Don't cheap out on cast aluminum in the parts of ballheads or QR clamps or plates. Just wait for sales on quality components.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
6651 posts
930 upvotes
^I know what you are saying but you wouldn't see a budget photographers out there shooting with a full frame with an IS 800mm lens either.

For this discussion, lets assume an entry DSLR with a kit lens, for example a Rebel T6i with a 18-55mm lens, total ~600g / 1.3 lbs.

As for budget, that is the question, does it make sense to still spend hundreds of $ for a QR when you know the cheaper ones probably just works as well for that weight.
Last edited by hdom on Jan 26th, 2017 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:

Top