Re Tripod Mount Possition in New Cameras

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by retiredfromlife, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I notice a lot of new Mu43 cameras have the tripod mounting thread insert at the front of the body. First saw it on the Pen F, them EMI Mk11 pictures, and just saw the same on the Panasonic G80. I wonder if a lot of people use quick release plates as I would have thought this new position would be a bad decision for the use of quick release plates.

    I like to use quick release plates so to me this trend seems odd, but am I missing something obvious since the new EM1 MK11 is supposed to be aimed at Pro users.

    I do notice a few of the wedding photographers around Sydney Harbour use quick plates for quick on / off tripods. But there must be a reason to move the hole from the centre of the body to the front.

  2. hillwalkinggirl

    hillwalkinggirl Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 9, 2011
    Wales, UK
    I have just tested Manfrotto QR plate on my GX80 which has the tripod mounting thread at front of body and no problem at all. Also QR plate clears the battery/ card door so no need to remove it when taking card out or changing battery.
  3. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I presume the hole position works as it must have been tested but aesthetically I think I like the plates in the centre of the body.

    I like the way my QR plates are in the centre and only just stick out both sides equally. I use Manfrotto RC2 mounting system. (I think 200PL plates?)

    I think if I used these plates with the 12-40 pro, the plates would come very close to touching the lens if used on a camera with the hole at the front of the body. I have seen a few posts where people have problems with QR plates and the 12-40 pro. So I wonder why the move from the centre of the body to the front?
  4. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    I've only seen a picture of the Pen F tripod mount and I'm not sure if this is the reasoning but personally that is where I'd want it for the purpose of stitching together pictures. It's not as good as using a pano head but centred and closer to the mount helps, especially in landscape orientation.
  5. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Manufactures try to keep the size of the µ4/3 cameras small, bodies are crammed full of bits and pieces and the tripod socket intrudes into that space. The tripod socket winds up where it fits. Also, these days very few people use tripods and even fewer pros use µ4/3 cameras.
    FWIW, I put a Really Right Stuff grip on my E-M1 for extra gripping purchase and it is machined to fit Arca-Swiss type tripod heads. The E-M1 is particularly good for tripod use, because the card door is on the side of the body and can be removed without taking the camera off the tripod or removing the QR plate.
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  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010

    But I'll give you a couple of other things to think about:
    • When doing some shutter shock testing with my GX7s I discovered that the tripod socket is not solidly connected to the camera chassis/aka lens mounting flange. There is flex. Further, the socket sits a few thousands of an inch proud of the camera bottom, so no amount of screw tightening can eliminate the flex. Fortunately I have a precision milling machne in my shop, so I simply cut a 0.010" relief in my Arca plate. Now the plate tightens against the base of the camera, leaving the tripod socket hanging loose into the 0.010" pit. Moral: Do not trust the tripod socket, regardless of its location. Test, test, test.
    • Rubber pads, beloved of the cheap Arca plate manufacturers are exactly what you don't want. They introduce compliance at a point where you'd actually prefer the two pieces to be solidly welded together. The higher-end and savvier plate manufactures do not have these pads, and it is not to save costs. Moral: Do not use plates that include rubber padding between the plate and the camera bottom. Be sure you have a solid metal-to-metal connection.
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  7. excman

    excman Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    Odsherred, Denmark,
    An optimal placement of the mounting hole for tripod must be where the camera is in the best balance. That means a location throughout the hole equipment's balance point. Since the lenses, as required for tripod, often weigh more than the house, the optimal location is in the center line of the lens. How it is located in GX 7th
    Compromises must be made as the Quick release plate should not cover for other functions. Finally, there may be features inside the housing that requires Compromises.
  8. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Even worse that the tripod socket being proud, one of our cheap point and shoot cameras had a recessed screw socket, so tightening it down popped it out and made it loose. With regard to cheap tripod heads and or plates it is worth checking the thread length, as I saw a forum thread awhile ago where someone screwed their mount in and cracked the bottom of the camera because the thread was too long. I now have a test plate where I screw on all tripod mounts to check how far the screw goes in, as it is hard to measure because of the rubber on them sometimes compresses.

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  9. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Thanks to all who commented on the ineffectiveness of rubber pads/padding being between the camera base and tripod head. It makes a lot of sense that you want to ground your vibrations as much as possible and not reverberate around the tripod/camera mounting point. Also thanks for the warnings about thread length being too long.
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    FWIW, the issue with rubber is not just vibration. It also introduces compression and rebound as you put forces on the head via moving the camera. So you compose the shot, moving against the friction of the ball head, then when you release that pressure the composition changes as the rubber rebounds. It's not a huge effect but it is definitely there.

    In addition to not wanting rubber between the adapter plate and the camera, you don't want rubber anywhere in the chain -- tripod head top, tripod head bottom, tripod top, etc. For example, Gitzo uses a very hard non-resilient plastic on the tripod models I have seen. Just soft enough to not scratch anything but too hard to move when stressed.

    I think the reason (other than ignorance) that vendors use the rubber is that it tends to keep the camera from twisting on the camera bottom if the screw is not very, very tight. The pro vendors like Acratech, RRS, etc. have custom plates than prevent rotation by mechanically locking the plate to the camera. But you cannot do that with a "universal" plate.
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  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    From a mechanical point of view, the forward positioned tripod socket makes a lot of sense to me.

    Obviously it depends on the physical structure that the socket has to tie into, but the stresses on the tripod socket are a product of the moments about that location. You want it to be in equilibrium between the weight of the body and the weight of the lens. That is why heavy telephotos have a tripod mount on the lens itself, because they weigh more than the bodies and have a much larger moment arm, so they would apply a lot of torque to the tripod socket on the body.

    So for example, if the body weighs 500g and the tripod socket is directly in line with the center of gravity, there is no moment on that socket, it's in equilibrium. But then if you add a 300g lens with a center of gravity 6 cm ahead of the tripod socket, you now have a total torque of -0.17 newton-meters about that socket.

    So what if you took that body and instead put the tripod socket 2 cm in front of the body's CG, right below the lens mount, like on the PEN F. Now the body is producing a +0.05 newton meter moment about that point, but you've shortened the moment of the 300g lens to 4 cm. So it's now generating just -0.11 newton-meters. So your total moment is just -0.06 newton-meters. Only 1/3 what it was in the above example with the conventionally centered tripod mount.

    Now in general, these numbers are of a very small magnitude, so mechanically they're easy to design around. But it goes to show why it is in fact desirable from a structural point of view to place the tripod mount in the seemingly "weak" position that people have complained about on the PEN F or GX85, because it doesn't look sturdy from a cosmetic point of view.

    P.S. ...This was an incredibly boring and complicated way to describe (poorly) a pretty straightforward concept, but I've been spending the past few days doing a lot of Weight & Balance calculations for experimental aircraft, so I'm in that mindset...
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    All true, especially the part about these being small numbers. But I have read an argument that it is better that the lens/body cg actually not be directly over the mounting point. Instead, having them off balance preloads the support structure and reduces any slop, like at least partially compressing any rubber. Actually, locating your airplane CG directly over the center of lift is sort of an analogous situation. You'll be placing CG ahead of the center of lift for stability and then "preloading" with the elevator in level flight.

    For handling the camera on the tripod head, though, any significant off-balance moment will make things more difficult, mean that the friction set on the head would need to be larger, etc. But any tilting of the camera results in a moment on the head pivot point anyway, so again its a shades of gray sort of thing.

    Have I contributed enough to "boring and complicated?"
  13. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Problem is I have seen a few articles where the forward hole places the quick release plate too far forward and havind it interfere with larger diameter lenses. Obviously I would say Olympus would Have checked common quick release plate's with their lenses, but I was thinking of thre people here whouse older lenses with adaptors. I know some of my old Minolta film lenses only just clear my RC2 plates now.
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