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The following is the underside of a ball headed Manfrotto camera mounting bracket:-

bracket

In addition to the expected threaded screw in the middle, there are two threaded holes either side. I don't recall getting any hardware for these when I bought it. What are they for?

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The tripod mount receivers on many video cameras have an additional slot next to the 1/4-20 threaded hole. This hole is for an alignment pin that orients the camera in the right direction and also assists in preventing the camera from twisting on the plate.

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The holes in your Manfrotto 200PL quick release plate are for an alignment pin that fits into the additional (non-threaded) hole in the base on video cameras. The two holes in the QR plate are to allow the user to choose front or rear orientation of the plate when used with a video camera that has the hole for an alignment pin. Your Manfrotto 200PL plate should have been supplied with such a pin (they're typically black plastic, but were originally metal a LONG time ago) as well as a 3/8-16 to 1/4-20 adapter bushing for the main screw.

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At least a few Nikon "still" cameras also seem to have a hole for the alignment pin. The Nikon D850, for example:

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  • I bought a Manfrotto 484RC2 ball-head (supplied with a 200PL-14 quick-release plate), as well as an additional 200PL-14, from Speed Graphic in the UK on 2003-11-10. I got one VHS pin (metal) that Michael mentions, and no screw thread adapter. On 2018-03-18 I bought a Manfrotto Befree Advanced tripod with the Sony Alpha 200PL-PROSONY quick-release plate directly from Manfrotto. It came with a plastic "VHS pin", and no thread adapter. – osullic Mar 13 at 22:40
  • Here are the instructions for the Manfrotto Befree Advanced tripod. You can see one suggestion from Manfrotto for the VHS pin - to attach the quick-release plate to a lens' tripod collar. – osullic Mar 13 at 22:43
  • Not that it's very useful information, but I did some digging on the fact I never received a screw thread adapter... Back in 2003, Manfrotto offered a 200PL-14 and a 200PL-38. I guess instead of having 2 distinct products, at some point after 2003, they merged these into a single 200PL that came with the screw thread adapter. – osullic Mar 13 at 23:00
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Those holes are for a vhs pin — apparently a thing used to keep big heavy tape-recorder cameras in alignment. I don't think there's any use for still cameras.

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