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Old November 28th, 2008, 06:33 AM   #1
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Manfrotto QR sizes

I've been using the Manfrotto 503 head (yes - not even HDV model) for some time and, in spite of some horrible comments about it, found it adequate (just like the 525 tripod it came with). Now however, after having added the 35mm adaptor/lens, and some stuff from Redrock Micro (like the matte box and follow focus), plus my new Manhattan HD monitor - all my rig is becoming too heavy for the 503...

So, I'm going to upgrade. Please don't comment on this decision of mine: I'm only upgrading the head, not the legs (yes I know there are better ones but at the moment, I cannot afford them). Also important is that I have the microSupport and microShoulderMount on order from Redrock Micro, and all these toys use the Manfrotto QR Plate #3272. So in order to avoid the hassle of using adaptors/double plates etc, I'm thinking about the Manfrotto 516 head, whose payload is up to 10 kg (22 Lb), and which also uses this QR system. The dovetails is 55mm, which is wider than my current 503 plate (the 3433PL)

Now, I know there is newer, perhaps better head from Manfrotto: the 519 (unlike the 516, it has adjustable counterweight springs), but for some reasons I don't understand , they came back to the old, good 501/503 QR size (the 3433PL plate).

My questions to you guys:

- which QR plate size is more "standardized", the 3433 or the 3272? I mean, if I upgrade to a higher class tripod-head in the future, which of these two has more chances to fit?

- is there an adapter available, that could make my current (503) head, (or future one by perhaps another manufacturer) accept the 3272 (links, please)

Thanks for your comments in advance,

Piotr
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Old December 7th, 2008, 10:43 PM   #2
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piotr,

- there really is no standard. the most 'universal' qr plate i've come across are the ones that come with the 501s and 503s. as you've already discovered, they can be used on bogen's 519, but will also fit the bogen 505, as well as the gitzo g1380 and g2380. i think i've gone through tripods by most of the major manufacturers and, aside from the brands listed above, a qr plate from one manufacturer will not work on the head from another brand.

- this will allow you to put the wider redrock qr plate on your 503:
Bogen / Manfrotto | 357 Pro Quick Release Adapter with | 357
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Old December 8th, 2008, 12:03 AM   #3
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Piotr I have been using a 503 with 525 legs for a few years and "just" got a Miller head/tripod to use with my EX3, Letus and so on. I am not pitching the Miller but wanted to indicate that Manfrotto makes a base plate attachment that you can connect to any tripod that will allow you to use the Manfrotto 503/501 baseplate on any head. Cost is around $60 USD. So you don't necessarily have to stick to a Manfrotto head if you buy these adapters to allow you to swap out gear quickly on your tripod.

Also I might indicate that the 503 head can take a lot of weight. I didn't feel it was maxed out and my rig is heavy when kitted out. The issue was smoothness of pan. It just bugged me way too much so I looked for something with more finesse when moving the camera around.

BTW I am keeping the 503. It is not worth selling as it is a good tripod for most things when the camera is not doing a lot of graceful moves.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 03:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Cho View Post
piotr,
- this will allow you to put the wider redrock qr plate on your 503:
Bogen / Manfrotto | 357 Pro Quick Release Adapter with | 357
Hi Henry,

And thanks for your answer. Can you tell me: will the adapter screw solidly to the 503, or do I have to "stack" plates (ie. the 503 plate screwed to the bottom of this adapter), and the whole assembly - two plates and the adapter in-between them - going between the camera and the 503 head?

PS OK - disregard; I know how it's used :)
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; December 8th, 2008 at 06:23 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 04:58 AM   #5
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OK, so if I wanted to upgrade not just the head, but the whole system - from Manfrotto to Miller DS20 for instance...

Which DS20 system would you recommend for rig, consisting (at its max, ca. 10kg) of:

- EX1 camera
- Letus Extreme + lens
- microMatteBox etc
- extra batteries, Nano Flash, light etc.

Basically, I'd like to know to pros and cons of the carbon-without-spreader legs DS20 (1514), and the alloy-with-spreader, Miller DS20 (850) systems. Both basing on the renowned DS20 head, of course.

I somehow got used to having a spreader :)
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Old December 10th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Basically, I'd like to know to pros and cons of the carbon-without-spreader legs DS20 (1514), and the alloy-with-spreader, Miller DS20 (850) systems. Both basing on the renowned DS20 head, of course. I somehow got used to having a spreader :)
The carbon fiber legs "notch" and spread out in varying degrees allowing you to bring your cam with tripod down to about 8" above the ground (this is going from memory). This feature is extremely useful. The 850 you can set up really quickly and it has the spreader. Very appealing. I had a tough time deciding which way to go. I huge part of me wanted the stability of the spreader with the super fast setup but the reality was I knew I would be sometimes shooting on uneven terrain and the 850 is really suited for an urban indoor environment with level floors where you aren't pinned against walls or weird objects.

I obviously settled for the 1514 series with the carbon fiber legs, also known as the "DV Solo" kit. I actually plan on getting the legs for the 850 down the road. I should point out the setup time on the DV solo/carbon fiber legs is fast in relation to their competition. The twist/locks for the legs require only one twist of the wrist with little finessing. The carbon fiber legs and feet are first rate. Fit and finish of the whole kit is really well done.

I should also point out the stability of the DV Solo's carbon fiber legs is quite remarkable. Coming from the visually similar Manfrotto legs, the difference is dramatic. The legs are solid. No lateral movement WHATSOEVER. When the legs lock, they lock in place and no shimmy. The metal fittings have tight tolerances and the carbon fiber is rigid.

The only negative I will say about Miller is when you buy out of their "kits" they charge a HUGE premium.

I wouldn't say go with the "DV Solo". Weigh out your needs and above all just check them out in a store. Hopefully you have one you can go to and lay your hands on them. If you can the decision should be self-evident.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 05:48 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for your input - the Miller DS20 Solo really looks sexy.

I have perhaps a provocative question: there seems to be a consensus that Manfrotto products are not good enough for rigs like that. But has anyone tried their top-of-the line kits, like the 526 head on the 528, or 350 legs?
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