Disclaimer: Sorry to revive an old thread, but as a newcomer who is looking into getting a better tripod, I was quite confused by the conflicting information as to whether Arca Type QR is still universal in this day and age of lever clamps. I ended up finding the answer after reading multiple threads. I feel that other newcomers may find it beneficial to have the "incompatibility issue" addressed in the Stickies. However, if the Mods feel differently, please feel free to delete this post of mine. (Although I hope someone would then create a separate stickie entry addressing this issue.)
CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #376478
One of the disadvantages is that there is no "Quick" release or install really.. (well not as quick anyway) it relies on you tightening or loosening the threaded clamp.
Mike K wrote in post #1350602
During the past year Really Right Stuff has come out with a better mousetrap, er.. better Arca style clamp. Everyone simply calls it the RRS lever clamp.
As Mike mentioned before, the introduction of the lever clamps made the Arca Type QR a true quick release system. (The traditional knob-tightening approach was not exactly slow, but as CDS pointed out, not as quick as other QR systems.)
For the purists who may sneer at lever clamps, there is clealry a demand for lever clamps. In additon to RRS, Markins has jumped on the wagon as well, now offering a choice of twist-knob clamp or lever clamp for all of their ballheads:
However, unlike twist-knob clamps which can adjust to plates of different widths (and thus making Arca-type accessories universal), lever clamps are more "picky".
RRS has the following warning on their website:
"Due to wide variations in other brands of Arca-Swiss compatible plates, we recommend using our lever-release clamps only with Really Right Stuff or Wimberley brand quick-release plates."
This seems to suggest Arca plates are no longer universal, at least not when lever clamps are involved. In fact, RRS offers trade-in discounts to users of other Arca-type plate systems (Kirk, Foba, Markins, AcraTech, Novoflex and Arca-Swiss), again suggesting that these plates may not be fully compatible with RRS lever clamps.
Before you dismiss that simply as a marketing ploy by RRS to expand its market share, Markins also puts out similar warnings:
"It is known that different brands have different sizes of Arca-Swiss style plates. [...] We strongly recommend to use a single brand of plates with this lever release quickshoe. With mixed brands of plates, the traditional screw-knob style quickshoe will be more flexible." Elsewhere on the same webpage, they seemed to suggest that RRS/Wimberley and Kirk plates are larger in size compared to the others.
This seems to throw a wrench into CDS' previous claim:
CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #376478
Any Arca plate will fit any Arca clamp regardless of length.
While length of the plates may not matter, width of the plate may be a problem.
RRS' approach to this incompatbility problem is to ask users to exchange their existing plates. Markins cleverly decided to address this issue differently, by making their clamps user-adjustable in order to accommodate different plate widths:
"Adjustable Clamping Distance (Patented): The clamping distance is user-adjustable by turning the adjustment screw for plates larger than Markins standard such as Kirk or RRS."
However, in case people they can then mix Arca-type plates from different manufacturers without care, Markins warned:
"Though Markins' lever release quickshoe is adaptable to accommodate different brands of plates, it won't be practical to do so in the field with mixed brands of plates. We strongly recommend to use a single brand of plates with this lever release quickshoe. With mixed brands of plates, the traditional screw-knob style quickshoe will be more flexible."
So, in summary (correct me if I'm wrong), the Arca-type QR world is now:
1. If you are willing to use the traditional twist-knob clamps, any Arca-type QR plates should work with any Arca-type clamps, even if they are from different manufacturers. (Exceptions: FLM and Graf
http://www.afximages.com/stuff/arca-plates-xref.html <== link courtesy of Bogdan)
However, one needs to accept the not-quite-as-quick-release as a trade-off.
2. If one decides to go with lever clamps, one has 2 choices:
a) RRS lever clamps (non-adjustable): One needs to stick to RRS or Wimberley plates only, or be willing to send plates from different manufacturers to RRS to exchange for RRS plates.
b) Markins' adjustable lever clamps: This offers slightly more flexibility since one can adjust the clamp width at home, but should still stick to plates from only one manufacturer.
Did I get it about right?