The Quick Release Plate - A Guide For the Perplexed

on February 09, 2015

Every single week that I have worked here we have had someone come in looking for a quick-release plate to match their tripod - they have lost the original one or have added more lenses and bodies to their bag and need to connect to the tripod.

Nearly every single week someone has had a sobering experience - the quick release plate that fits their tripod is long gone and their tripod is irredeemably bare on top...

The manufacturers of tripods all seem to have gone their own way when it comes to quick release plates and the associated clamps on the top of the tripod. I have drawn up a list of at least a dozen well-known ones and there must be even more of the budget and house-brand ones that have come and gone in the last two decades. None of them fit anything else.

Some are well-built and 'universal' enough ( read knocked-off...) to be something that we can supply. Manfrotto, Arca-Swiss, and Cullmann come to mind. You need one, we got 'em.

Some were chips that passed in the night, and even our legendary cardboard box o' junk is running low on suitable replacements. In some cases you can modify a standard block with saw and file, but sometimes nothing will ever fit. Bunnings sells wood blocks, chisels, and 1/4" flathead screws if you are feeling adventurous....

Far better to just admit that the dear old Jessops or Sears tripod is cactus and get a small INCA or Velbon for $ 50...or get a decent Cullmann or Manfrotto and start afresh. Even if you decide to get a lesser-known brand you are likely to get a block now that is of Arca-Swiss size, and you can go away with a handful of extra blocks in anticipation of losing a few.