I got a tripod from thrift store but I have no idea what this tripod head is for. Does anyone know?

enter image description here

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are there any manufacturer markings on the clamp? What are the dimensions of the rectangular recess in the clamp? What does the underside look like? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


That is not a tripod head, per se. It is a type of quick release clamp or receiver that is mounted on top of, or as a part of, the tripod head.

The point of quick release (QR) systems is obvious in the name: to provide a way to quickly remove the camera or lens from the mount. QR systems consist of two parts: the clamp or receiver, which is left attached or, or part of, the mount head; and the QR plate, which is left attached to the camera (or lens, if the lens has a mounting foot).

There are many different types / geometries of QR systems. Manfrotto has had several different QR systems, mostly similar in concept but not interchangeable. Arca-Swiss style clamps and plates are probably the most common (and expensive), and (mostly) interchangeable (but notable exceptions exist).

A lot of inexpensive tripods are sold at consumer electronics retailers and online, that use QR systems with no apparent standard. Replacement or additional QR plates are hard to find because of their "non-standard" nature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As a side note - the one in the photo doesn't look like a Manfrotto one - all the Manfrotto ones I've seen have a spring loaded button to keep the latch in the open position. Inserting the plate pushes the button down, letting the latch spring closed, securing the camera, without you needing a hand free to open the latch. Usually, the button is metal and big enough to see when in the closed position. \$\endgroup\$
    – JerryTheC
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ For Arca style systems, the part that stays attached to (or is an integral part of) the head is usually called a clamp. For most other QR systems the part that stays attached to (or is an integral part of) the head is usually called a receiver. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark noted, and edited the answer to mention receiver \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 0:11

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