Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Arca Swiss for the free tripod

That tripod I took to Edinburgh didn't have the same clippy-in bit as my other ones.

The plate that goes on the camera is unique to the tripod. Actually, most tripod makers seem to have had a go at keeping their systems unique, until a system that originated in Switzerland has gradually crept in.

In fairness, the tripod was a free gift, and has now done a good job at the Festival. To keep things simple with my cameras, I decided to Arca Swiss-ify the tripod, so that it used the same type of plate I normally use.

It sounds basic, but it means that if a camera has a plate on its base it can clip into any tripod that has the same system clamp. Otherwise Quick Release is a misnomer because of forever looking for baseplates that match.

Arca Swiss is a well-known system in some circles and a 'Fairly Quick Release' system. The required components are robust CNC-machined aluminium and available widely (and at widely varying prices) around the internet.

It takes about 1-2 seconds to put in or remove a camera from a stand. I prefer this to the other spring loaded quick release which take half a second, for one basic reason. The camera and whatever else is clamped needs to be secure and only come out when required. The Arca system with its twist fitting to me is safer, whilst some other systems can be pinged and the camera can fairly leap from the tripod. Not always good.

So I found another Arca Swiss clamp and have installed it into the Velbon tripod. Curiously, it makes the whole tripod look more industrial strength, although it still needs some care in use.
Some would say this is over-engineering, but I can now disable the normal quick release and convert this interim tripod to the same system as the others. Increasingly handy nowadays as more cameras are video enabled.
Not bad for a freebie.

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