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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support
Thread started 03 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 17:48
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BH-55 LR Ballhead plate compatibility

Senior Member
neophyte52's Avatar
Joined Feb 2009
Chanhassen, MN
Jan 03, 2018 17:48 |  #1

Was just about to pull the trigger on a new tripod w/ a BH-55 head when I noticed on the RRS site a warning about the quick-release style not being compatible w/ all Arca style plates. I have a wide variety of "off brand" plates on my bodies & lenses (have never had a problem w/ them), and don't want to have to replace them w/ incredibly expensive RRS plates. They claim that the screw-style mount will work, but I really prefer the QR type, as I shoot in cold weather frequently.

Has anyone actually had a problem w/ this, or is this simply an RRS attempt at CYA or to pressure us to all buy their plates?


Trying to compensate for lack of talent with lots of gear :lol:
My Gear

I could have been worse....
Joined Dec 2013
All Along the Natchez Trace (Clinton, MS)
Post has been edited 1 month ago by Nogo.
Jan 03, 2018 17:58 |  #2

If you read much on the web, the size of Arca Swiss plates has quite a bit of variation between brands. The screw type clamps have enough tolerance to pretty much adapt to any of the different brands. The quick releases just have a small amount of tolerance. There are plates from several brands that are compatible with those clamps but there are more that are not.

If you have many old Arca Swiss style plates, it would be best to get a screw type clamp. Otherwise just plan to buy new plates.

Does the TF actually know about the soda cans and PVC pipe from 30 years ago?

Senior Member
sawsedge's Avatar
Joined Dec 2011
United States
Jan 04, 2018 21:26 as a reply to Nogo's post |  #3

That's a yes/no. The latest (since 2012) RRS lever clamps are self-adjusting and hold various widths of plates very firmly.

For example, when I started looking at lever clamps, I rented a Markins Q20 with a lever clamp. When it was adjusted for my widest old plate, my narrowest plate could by pushed out of the clamp with thumb pressure. When I adjusted it for the narrowest plate, it was unable to close the clamp on the widest plate.

In contrast to that, my RRS LR II clamp holds all of the same plates tightly (I cannot push them out of the clamp with any force I can muster). http://www.reallyright​ (external link).

In more recent years, Kirk, RRS, Wimberley, and some others (I think Hejnar) have all standardized on a single width, so this is not as much of a problem anymore. There are still brands that don't follow the same specs as RRS et al. Novoflex does not conform to this standard, for example.

It is still true that screw knob clamps will have a wider range of tolerance.

- John

peter_n's Avatar
2,365 posts
Joined Apr 2010
Boston, MA
Jan 05, 2018 11:10 |  #4

^ +1. I too have had reliable clamping with the RRS self-adjusting clamps with a wide range of plates/brackets. There is no official dimensional standard for the Arca-Swiss type dovetail. A couple of years ago, I think it was Jobu who had an article comparing clamp/plate specs. They found that the products made in Asia were very slightly different to those manufactured in the US. My own experience confirms this, as in particular the dovetail angle on Markins and Benro plates was very slightly different to the RRS angle.

I use RRS and Acratech lever clamps and oddly enough the best fit to those clamps is from ProMediaGear, who also make other high quality camera support equipment.



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BH-55 LR Ballhead plate compatibility
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