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Quick lever release clamp - where can I find a good one at reasonable cost?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by TassieFig, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    I'm looking to replace my screw-knob release clamp on my Sirui T-025X + C-10X tripod (Arca style). I want to get a lever release clamp instead as I can't live with the slow fiddly screw knob anymore. I found exactly what I was looking for with Really Right Stuff...

    http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/Shop/Lever-Release-Clamps/B2-LR-II-Lever-release-clamp.html

    ...until I checked the price. I'm sure it's the bee's knees but it's way out of my budget.

    Do you have any suggestion where I can get something that is still good but cheaper? Nothing fancy but reliable and preferably not big and bulky.

    Edit:
    I just saw thin on the bay
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Adjustab...39?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item19fbcbd813

    Anyone using it? A bit bulkier than ideal but the price is ok. Any good?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  2. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
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  3. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Thanks. Looks ok, I like the cut-out for minimising weight! (yes, I count grams when bushwalking :rolleyes-38:)
    I'm hoping to find a smaller still, a 50*32mm like the one I use currently.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I've spent quite a bit of time looking at and using quick release clamps. The reason is that I use a monopod a lot and the Arca clamps almost all need three hands. One to hold the monopod, one to hold the camera, and one to work the clamp mechanism. A lever doesn't really solve this because it still needs to be operated, though it is easier than a screw clamp mechanism.

    Other systems have clamps where the camera plate is automatically locked into the clamp when the plate is inserted, but I only know of one such clamp for the A-S. It is the Manfrotto Q6. It doesn't seem to have gained much traction, however. The mechanism looks to me to be a bit fiddly and vulnerable to dirt and sand. I found one on-line video that seemed to confirm my suspicion. It's odd, really, because there is nothing about the A-S system that precludes building a good automatic-lock clamp.

    The automatic-lock systems I know of that seem suitable for M43 are:

    • Velbon QRA-3 - cheap, small, but the clamp lever has no lock so it is vulnerable to being accidentally released.
    • Manfrotto RC2 - moderate price, a little bulky, locking clamp lever.
    • Gitzo - lovely, of course, but bulky and expensive. Really no advantage over the RC2

    I am playing right now with camera plates that will work in either the A-S or the RC2 clamps. Then I can have the standardization and variety of A-S clamps on my tripod(s) and the RC2 auto locking clamp on my monopod. The jury is still out on this, though.

    HTH
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
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  5. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    My former Slik tripod had a SH-707E head with a spring loaded QR mount. You would open the lever until it locked in an open position. Then when you inserted a QR plate into the mount, it would push on a button that would release the spring-loaded lever and it would clamp. Further tightening of the locking lever was needed to ensure it was solidly locked. The idea was to allow for "one-handed" mounting. Haven't heard of such a clamp for Arca-Swiss plates, though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
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  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I was worried about the A/S system being fiddly as well, coming from Slik proprietary lever quick releases. I'm liking the A/S system though, having a knob gives better tension IMO. Simply slide the plate in from the side and give two quick twists to tighten, two quick twists to release. The spring loaded safety pin on the Sirui heads means that if you mess up and bump the camera it still won't come out (unless you've completely opened the head clamp).
     
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  7. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Thanks for all that info. It makes me realise I've been ignorant...I assumed I had to stay with A-S but that is not the case, right? As long as I can attach clamp base to my ball head. Is that standardised? (how likely is that? )

    On my old el super cheapo tripod I had very simple qra similar to the Velbon you linked to. A small plate and lever clamp but no locking mechanism. I loved it but I lost the plate and being a no-brand job couldn't find the right size again. I never had any issues with the non-locking clamp and prefer the simplicity. So, browsing B&H I found this little thingy that seems ideal

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...43_DQ_10_Mini_Quick_Release.html/prm/alsVwDtl

    Super small and super simple. Does anyone know if this would fit the Sirui C-10 ballhead?
     
  8. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Maybe the knob will give you a better tension but that safety pin on the Sirui is one of the things that dives me nuts. It's way too safe for me and it will never let me get the camera out nice and smooth. It usually ends with me cursing & shaking the bloody thing violently 'til it finally gives. Nah, I want secure but simple. I've never really seen the need to lock everything down but that's the way I operate.

    About Slik..are they generally regarded as ok quality? Can I trust that the lever wont just break off on me?
     
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    That sure looks like the Velbon. Maybe private-labeled or maybe Velbon and Slik are the same company? (I just sold my Velbon stuff -- pictures here for comparison: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/77564/)

    Assuming it is like the Velbon, then there is no safety lock. Sounds like you are OK with that. B&H should be able to tell you about whether it will easily go onto the Sirui head. I had a Benro head where the stem of the ball did not end with a flat surface (like the Slik/Velbon probably wants). Instead it was designed to go into a base that was slotted, so when they were mated they were locked together and there could be no relative rotation. I had to make an adapter for that one.

    Re wjang's comments on the Arca, all are true as long as you have one hand to hold the camera and one hand to turn the knob. In other words, the tripod is taking care of itself. It's a nice system though generally pretty big for our little M43 toys. It's when I am using a monopod that I come up short one hand and need an automatic insert/lock base.

    Re the need for standardization I think it is more important if you are headed toward panoramic/nodal hardware, Wimberly gimbals, etc. As I mentioned I am headed towards a system where the same camera plate will engage a QR2 clamp on my monopod or Arca clamps on my tripods. Best of both worlds assuming it works out.
     
  10. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Doh, I totally missed the point. That is a very neat feature and now that Velbon QRA-3 looks very interesting! I also found some knock-offs of the RC2 very cheap that apparently are very good


    Hm, lots more to check it seems. It never is as easy as you thought.
     
  11. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    lol, I actually saw your add but thought it wouldn't fit as it's not A-S and what would I do with so many qr's. Stupid me. No, I'm not really heading anywhere gimbal or multi tripod at all so standardisation does not bother me other than I want it to fit the tripod I have. I might need to contact B&H to make sure either the little Slick thing or the Velbon can be attached to my Sirui without problems.

    Thanks for enlightening me :)
     
  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    TassieFig, here's a link to the Slik head I was talking about. http://www.kenkotokinausa.com/slik/products/panheads/sh707e/

    You can't see it in the photo, but the lever will lock in an open position. Then when you insert the plate, it will press on a button that releases the spring loaded locking lever. One should still turn the lever to lock the plate down, but the closing lever will hold the plate in place. It's also easier to dismount the plate from the head because you can lock the lever open and lift the plate free without having to hold the lever open. Note, the locking plate is a proprietary Slik design, but they do sell extra plates.

    I had a Slik Pro 330EZ and thought it was very sturdy and quite stiff. I sold it when I downsized to my Olympus system, but I regret that. Needing only one handle to take care of pan and tilt made it easy to move the camera and track something while it was on the tripod. I told the guy I sold it to that it would be ideal for surf photography. I think they're worth considering. Here's a review of its smaller 4-section leg brother.

    This one shows the locking lever. http://hubsphotographytips.blogspot.com/2009/03/hub-pick-slik-pro-330ez-tripod.html

    I always felt that Slik made good tripods and they were well-built. I'd buy one again.
     
  13. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Ah, Thanks. Yeah, I didn't really get the spring loaded thing at first :blush: It looks like this is the slightly larger Slick DQ-20 (but for a much bigger camera). That means the the DQ-10 should be plenty for whatever I put on my E-M5.

    Ok, I shopped around and I can get the Slik DQ-10 for 33 AUD and the Vebon QRA-3 for 40 AUD. Cheaper is very welcome but is there any reason why the Velbon would be a better buy?
     
  14. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've had a Slik Sprint Mini II that I've been using for years as a great travel tripod. It comes with a SBH-100DQ head, with a version of the DQ-10 quick release set combined with the ball head. The quick release mechanism is good enough, but the major problem I have is that tiny plate does not have sufficient friction against the camera, and always tends to slip when in portrait orientation after the cork stuff gets squashed down after a while, no matter how much I tighten it (that was with my E-M5 and something like the 7.5FE by the way, not a heavy lens at all).

    I've also had a bigger Slik U9000, one of those all-in-one tripods. The legs were okay (with retractable spikes), but the integrated pan/tilt head had plastics and was horribly springy. I recently replaced it with a CF Sirui EN-2204 / K-20X Arca Swiss compatible ball head. I was so impressed with this Arca Swiss type system with safety pin that I ordered a smaller G-10X head for the Slik Sprint Mini II legs, which will solve the slipping plate problem nicely, and mean that I don't need multiple types of plates for multiple tripods. I've got an Arca Swiss type L plate for my E-M1 (this sort of thing - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Quick-Relea...260?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item46373ee43c) and a tiny Arca Swiss type mini plate with anti-slip for the GM5 (this sort of thing - http://www.ebay.com/itm/25mm-Mini-Q...197?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27fedf995d).

    One thing about the Sirui type - their smallest head, the C-10X (which comes with their most popular travel tripods), has a spring loaded safety pin but no external button to release it. This is a huge design flaw in my opinion, and when I tried it in the store, I immediately realised that it was a no go. Without that button, the safety pin is an awful pain like you said. This is why I opted for the ever so slightly beefier G-10X, which does have a side button release for the safety pin. With a button release for the safety pin, I can easily operate the entire thing, even, for example, when I convert the EN-2204 into monopod mode.

    To attach, with clamp already slightly loosened:
    1. Hold monopod in left hand by the head, with thumb pressing down on the safety pin release button.
    2. Slide camera in sideways with right (shooting) hand. For me this is absolutely smooth.
    3. Release safety pin release button. At this point you should find that even if you try and yank the camera with the right hand, it won't come out, due to the safety pin being engaged.
    4. Use right hand to fine to positioning of the camera/plate on the head if necessary.
    5. Use right hand to tighten clamp knob.
    To release:
    1. Hold monopod in left hand by the head, positioned so you can press the safety pin release button with your thumb, but don't press it yet.
    2. Loosen clamp knob with right hand slightly, just enough for the camera/plate to come smoothly loose, so that the safety pin still functions. The camera won't fall out this way.
    3. Grip camera with right hand.
    4. Now hold the safety pin release button with left thumb.
    5. Slide the two apart with your two hands.
     
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  15. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    That is a problem I have experienced with the little plate that comes with my C-10x plate. Do you mean it's because of the small size or lack of friction? Very frustrating, especially when you don't have that coin in your pocket...which leads me to another question I meat to ask earlier..would something like this fit the Slik/Velbon plate or is the original somehow permanently attached?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/191609261551?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    Also, if the issue is because of low friction, there must be something that can be added to the plate...I dunno...maybe some sugru or something?

    Yep, that's it! That's me. I didn't know that on the bigger models there was a release button. Now that makes some sense at least. What a stupid idea to not have it on the C-10X!!!
     
  16. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Oh, and what are those L-brackets for exactly :hmmm:
     
  17. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Small and lack of friction go together really, if all the friction comes from a flat surface. That's why I got a separate mini plate with a lip that means it won't slip. With the L plate, the entire thing is locked to the base of the camera, so won't slip either. The entire base goes straight into the Arca style clamp. It also has a removable side arm (the 'L' part) so it can go straight in the head in a balanced portrait orientation.

    Those 1/4in thumb screws are pretty standard, but typically don't fit the smaller proprietary plates which have a locked screw. I certainly can't take the one out of my DQ-10 type one to replace it... they fit any of my Arca compatible stuff though, which do attach using a normal screw.
     
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  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    re plates: With most plates in my experience, the hole that the screw goes through is threaded. After possibly removing an E-clip, the screw can usually be removed by engaging the screw threads in the plate and just backing it out. Where the screw slides in a slot, usually one end of the slot has the threading.

    re "cork stuff" it is not A Good Thing. Using that stuff and friction to prevent rotation is the Achilles heel of universal plates. Much better are the plates with a lip that engages the front of the camera body. There are universal ones where the screw is in a slot so the lip can be moved to suit.

    The other problem with the "cork stuff" is a little more subtle. When making fine adjustments of your photo framing, overcoming the friction of the ball head can cause the stuff to compress. Then it rebounds when you let go of the camera and your framing moves. The high end Arca plates (RRS, Kirk, Acratech, etc.) almost never have any padding. They rely on a lip for anti-rotation and the contact between the plate and the camera body is metal/metal -- no compliant material.

    For my new QR system I am hoping that this plate: http://www.ebay.com/itm/170973020075 works out. I have one coming and have some mods planned. That one gives me the lip, no padding, and both Arca and RC2 capability. Worst case I'll make something like it. Fortunately I have the machine tools I need for that.

    wjiang you made me smile with your ten-step procedure for using an Arca system on a monopod. I never meant to imply that it was impossible, but as you so nicely illustrate it is fiddly. I prefer: (1) insert plate, listen for snap as the clamp engages (2) tighten clamp lever as necessary with now-free camera hand. Then removal: (1) holding camera with one hand and monopod with the other, (2) release clamp lever using whatever finger is best for you and lift camera free.
     
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  19. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    That was a good point about the compressibility of the cork (or rubber pads). Could make a difference especially with long lenses or macro work.

    One good thing about that Slik SH-707E head - it was so easy to move the camera with the integrated pan and tilt handle that you're not compressing the cork when moving the camera. I never tested it with a really heavy lens though, so don't know if the rotating platform lock would hold it in a portrait position. But, then again, a really big lens would probably have a tripod foot which would be closer to the center of gravity and put less rotational force on the head.

    I like the look of that dual dovetail QR plate.
     
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  20. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    534
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    I'd be very interested to see how things work out for you. I'd like to keep things simple but maybe I can save myself some future headaches by getting something a bit more refined...