Many manufacturers offer Arca-Swiss type plates and I noticed there are a wide range of materials used for such plates. The ones I've seen are:

What are the pros and cons offered by each of these materials for the top of a quick-release plate?

  • \$\begingroup\$ My Manfrotto cork pad dried out after about 25 years. No crumbling, but it is smooth and lets a camera spin around too easily. Looking for a replacement. Looks like I can buy one from manfrottospares.com . Trying to decide if I can replace my cork with the rubber version. \$\endgroup\$
    – user21627
    Jun 20, 2014 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


To some degree, the different materials depend upon your intended use. Rubber and cork have an obvious advantage over bare metal in many circumstances because it can be cinched down to use pressure to hold the plate next to the camera/lens/whatever. If you'll be taking the plate on/off in the cold, the rubber may last longer; cork will tend to dry out and crack more quickly -- though this would only be a notable concern if you're taking the plate on/off in very cold weather. The bare metal plates you link to only have an advantage in the life of the product, in that there's nothing to dry out and crack over any length of time. The downfall of any of these options is that you must tighten the plate adequately to eliminate any wiggle (which often means applying a good amount of torque).

Of course, if you are considering the Arca-Swiss quick release system you should really look at the custom, form-fitting plates from Really Right Stuff and Kirk Photo. Both companies make plates that follow the exact contours of the camera/lens/whatever to precisely and tightly fit -- so there is no opportunity for any wiggle movement whatsoever.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, your last point IS my problem. Until recently I had only seen camera-specific plates and I use 5 to 10 different cameras per month typically and I need to use them all on a tripod for some of my work. Now that I found generic models, I saw all these materials. From what I found, custom ones are always metal. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Dec 15, 2013 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ A lot of metal plates have a little pressure button, that tightens as you screw the plate into the camera body. It might not be quite as good as having a rubber or cork pad, but it is better than nothing. All of my Gitzo QR plates have this little feature, and when they are fully screwed in, the plates are pretty tight. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Dec 15, 2013 at 2:05

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