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Some overlooked detail in photography are quick release systems. I found it tough to get good information about them, and since they tend to be rather expensive I'd like to hear pros and cons of different quick release systems and brands.

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Discussion questions like this aren't really suitable for the Stack Exchange system as there's no chance of there being one acceptable answer. If you'd asked for the advantages of System A over System B then that would have been a better question. – ChrisF Jul 28 '10 at 14:12
I kind of agree with @ChrisF on this. This question is broad and will be difficult to come up with a answer without going into a lot of depth--we'd have to essentially go through all the different plate systems (Manfrotto has at least 5 different types of quick releases alone). – Alan Jul 28 '10 at 17:45
Well, the point was not to get one single answer, but instead to have informations on which the reader might be able to decide, which quick release system would fit his own style. you think this is unattainable? – Sam Jul 28 '10 at 21:51
while the Stack Exchange engine can be used for this sort of list question it's not really what it's built for. The votes and acceptance of one answer are designed to make the correct answer (well the answer that solved the problem) bubble to the top of the list. – ChrisF Jul 29 '10 at 10:14
@ChrisF, I wanted pro/con of the systems, so one can make an educated dicision. I didn't ask for "the best" system, since such does not exist. – Sam Aug 16 '10 at 13:31
up vote 9 down vote accepted

If you have any interest in extra tripod head gear, whether it be panoramic heads, macro focus rails, L-brackets or anything else in that space then your first concern is going to be interoperability and standardization.

Unfortunately the quick release market is horribly fragmented with each major tripod brand having several unique systems.

To the degree that there is any interoperability and standardization at all, the Arca-Swiss style brackets are clearly the leader.

Notably Arca-Swiss style is now the standard system for the larger third party tripod accessory vendors like Really Right Stuff and Fanotec.

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I've got a Manfrotto 488RC4 and their quick release system works really well.


  • The plate is quite large and therefore supports large/heavy cameras perfectly.
  • The quick release has a secondary safety hatch so you can't release it accidentally when you bump the normal hatch into something.
  • The plate attaches very easily to the base. You only need one hand (that's holding the camera) and snap the camera/plate right into position.


  • Since the plate is quite large it isn't comfortable shooting handheld in portrait orientation with a batterygrip attached.
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+1 for the RC4. I modded my 468GM to use the RC4, and it's awesome. – Alan Jul 28 '10 at 17:45

Are you talking about quick release system as in Ball head with quick release plate? It seems to me that the linked thing costs around 85 USD including the ball head, which does not look expensive to me. Personally I'd simply buy a tripod head that has the feature.

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But if I buy a few quick release plates for my cams I'm hosed when I want a new ball head, not? – Sam Jul 28 '10 at 12:52
@Sam: you need to be careful and see if the existing plates fit on the new ball head. As long as you stick with one brand you'll be quite safe. – Marc Jul 28 '10 at 13:19
You have to be careful, however, on which system you buy, as the plate systems are not all the same. I had the 468MGRC2, which used the same RC2 plate system as the head you linked, and near the upper max of 10kg, it had a front tilt of about 1/8" which made it nearly impossible to use. – Alan Jul 28 '10 at 17:41

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