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Author Topic: Really Right Stuff Lever QR Clamp - Any Con's?  (Read 13740 times)
Paul Sumi
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« on: July 24, 2009, 07:03:09 PM »
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I'm looking to complement my Acratech V2 ballhead with a heavier ballhead for those times when ultimate stability is critical.  I'm using Canon 1 series bodies and a variety of lenses, the heaviest being the 70-200 f/2.8L, all with Really Right Stuff plates.

I am 99% sold on the RRS BH-55 ballhead and leaning towards the lever clamp.  This clamp has gotten great reviews, but I'd like to hear from people who have used this clamp for an extended time in cold, wet, heat, dust and general muck.

I've heard all the pro's - I really want to hear about the con's - any gripes, problems, weaknesses.

Thanks for any help!

Paul
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bradleygibson
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 09:58:35 PM »
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Quote from: PaulS
I'd like to hear from people who have used this clamp for an extended time in cold, wet, heat, dust and general muck.

That would be me, I guess!  

I've used the RRS long lever clamp for about a year.  I started out using it on the RRS ballhead, but soon switched it over to an Acratech GV2 (solely for weight reasons).

I shoot nature and find myself doing a fair bit of winter mountaineering.  I've never had a hiccup with the lever head.  I love how it will allow you to slide a plate back and forth when it is half open, but will prevent a plate with safety stops from completely coming out.  Opening the lever all the way will allow you to drop or remove a camera or lens.

Works great for Canon, Sinar Hy6, Mamiya and Contax systems, different weights, lenses etc.

Two notes:
   RRS cautions against some plates, as their dovetails aren't fully compatibile and could cause a "failure".  We all know what that means.  If your plates aren't RRS, check with them to be sure.
   Be sure that the clamp is long enough to position, for example, a telephoto lens where you want it within the clamp.  If you use safety stops, as I do, it means the range you can slide the plate in the clamp will be limited, so to avoid having to shoot with a slightly unbalanced rig, be sure your clamp is long enough.

Hope that helps,
-Brad
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 12:50:50 AM »
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Quote from: bradleygibson
That would be me, I guess!  

I've used the RRS long lever clamp for about a year...

Brad, thanks for your reply, I was hoping to hear from someone like you.  You say you have the "long" lever clamp, is this the one with the longer platform?  If so, is there a special reason you got this version?

Thanks,

Paul
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 03:33:51 AM »
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Hi,

I have an Acratech Ultimate ballhead, too. I used to mix up the pan knob an the QR-knob far to many times, that is my major issue with the Acratech.

Nowadays I mostly use RRS BH-40  with lever type QR. I have only positive to say. RRS has a warning about using their lever type QR bases with some "Arca-type" adapters. I have only RRS and a few Acratech plates and never had an issue.

I'm thinking about retrofitting the Acratech with a lever type QR, but it's nothing you can do own your own.

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 05:14:49 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

francois
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 04:15:48 AM »
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I've used the lever clamp in very cold climate, in snow, under heavy rain and in dust environments. I've not had a single problem. When too much dust collected in the mechanism, I simply used a soft brush to remove it and put a very litlle drop of lubricant.

I managed to bend the shaft connected the lever, but the steel is quite soft and didn't break (tripod/ballhead went down with lever in the open position) and I could bend it back in place without any problem or tool.

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Francois
Paul Sumi
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 09:59:36 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
I'm thinking about retrofitting the Acratech with a lever type QR, but it's nothing you can do own your own.

Thanks for your info, Erik.

FWIW, I've heard a rumor that Acratech may be working on a lever QR clamp.

Best,

Paul
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 10:08:42 AM »
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Quote from: francois
I've used the lever clamp in very cold climate, in snow, under heavy rain and in dust environments. I've not had a single problem. When too much dust collected in the mechanism, I simply used a soft brush to remove it and put a very litlle drop of lubricant.

I managed to bend the shaft connected the lever, but the steel is quite soft and didn't break (tripod/ballhead went down with lever in the open position) and I could bend it back in place without any problem or tool.

Francois,

Thanks for your reply, and for relating the story about bending the shaft.   I had wondered if the lever in open position could be damaged by dropping or impact and I have read scattered reports.

Paul
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KeithR
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2009, 10:36:36 AM »
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I've been using RRS for a few years and have no cons to report. I have lens plates and L-plates(all RRS, save one), use the BH-55 on a tripod and the MH-01 on a monopod. All the while I've used nothing but the lever release and have never had a problem with the heaviest lens used on a regular basis is the 400 2.8 on the monopod covering sporting events.
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francois
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 10:53:32 AM »
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Quote from: PaulS
Francois,

Thanks for your reply, and for relating the story about bending the shaft.   I had wondered if the lever in open position could be damaged by dropping or impact and I have read scattered reports.

Paul
Paul,
Now, you know! Since that mishap, I ordered a second lever clamp, just in case. FWIW, I shot for years without having any incident at all. I guess it's just a matter of "when" rather than "if".

I believe that a standard clamp (screw) would have been damaged too but probably harder to repair without tools.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 10:54:54 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
Paul Sumi
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 11:55:33 AM »
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Quote from: KeithR
I've been using RRS for a few years and have no cons to report. I have lens plates and L-plates(all RRS, save one), use the BH-55 on a tripod and the MH-01 on a monopod. All the while I've used nothing but the lever release and have never had a problem with the heaviest lens used on a regular basis is the 400 2.8 on the monopod covering sporting events.

Keith, thanks for your information, particularly about the biggest lens you use with the clamp.

Paul
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2009, 12:05:55 PM »
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Quote from: francois
Paul,
Now, you know! Since that mishap, I ordered a second lever clamp, just in case. FWIW, I shot for years without having any incident at all. I guess it's just a matter of "when" rather than "if".

So the RRS clamp can be changed in the field by the user?  That would be a useful capability.

Paul
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BlackSmith
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2009, 12:10:16 PM »
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I originally got the RRS B2AS II clamp to fit on top of my manfrotto tripod and ballhead. Once the cheap manfrotto ballhead seized up, it was replaced with the RRS BH-40. As far as compatibility goes, the leaver clamp plays nicely with a wimberly P-30 lens plate. Other than that I use RRS plates.
Getting to the dust and muck, I regularly take this tripod to the beach. Often a few stray grains of sand are blown onto the ballhead and clamp. This has caused no worries or problems for normal use. The ballead and clamp clean off rather easily. Once I dropped them directly into the sand. I didn't operate any of the mechanisms until properly cleaned to avoid grinding the sand into the smoothly functioning components. Again the sand cleaned off surprisingly quickly except in the lever's shaft. There is a stack of washers around the shaft (inside the clamp jaw) for precise spacing between the main clamp body and the leaver. It took me twenty minutes or so to make sure every grain of sand was removed. Once cleaned, it was as good as new. I love my RRS equipment, and am currently saving up for their pano-head.

Smith
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francois
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2009, 12:45:29 PM »
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Quote from: PaulS
So the RRS clamp can be changed in the field by the user?  That would be a useful capability.

Paul
If I remember correctly, the RRS clamp comes with a hex key and it's very easy to replace it.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 02:27:50 PM by francois » Logged

Francois
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2009, 12:47:08 PM »
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I managed to bend the steel pin that connects the lever to the clamp as well while transporting the unprotected tripod in my car, though it is easy to bend back with a pair of pliers. The bent pin would still clamp the plate tightly but would not release to the second (wide open) position. Since then I always cover the head with the protective pouch that came with the head when transporting the tripod. The upshot is, this would not be my preferred choice for very rough handling conditions, and probably no QR clamp is. But for normal use this clamp works very well.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2009, 03:26:39 PM »
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Quote from: francois
If I remember correctly, the RRS clamp comes with a hex key and it's very easy to replace it.
Yes ... quite easy.  I have a Giotto ballhead on which I replaced the original clamp with a RRS clamp.  I've taken it apart a couple times no problem.

I love the RRS clamps and plates, but I don't use anything bigger than the Nikon 70-200 VR on a D700.

No issues to report.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2009, 03:49:13 PM »
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Smith, apq65 and Jeremy,

Thanks all for your replies and information, it's all very helpful!

Paul
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Dustbak
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2009, 03:54:11 PM »
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I use the screw-knob as well as the PCL1 clamp, which is basically a screw-knob on a rotating base. I could not be happier. Small turn and no camera can fall out but you can easily slide it in or out. Why would you want to use the lever over the screw-knob?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 03:54:38 PM by Dustbak » Logged
Paul Sumi
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2009, 04:13:35 PM »
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Quote from: Dustbak
I use the screw-knob as well as the PCL1 clamp, which is basically a screw-knob on a rotating base. I could not be happier. Small turn and no camera can fall out but you can easily slide it in or out. Why would you want to use the lever over the screw-knob?

Hi Dustbak,

Ability to visually check that the clamp is securely closed, seems to be a bit quicker to operate. More compact when closed (no knob sticking out).

I'm not convinced one way or the other, but want to know what the pros/cons are.

Paul
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2009, 04:53:30 PM »
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I purchased the BH-55 with the knob instead of the QR clamp for fear of the camera sliding off, etc.

About a year later I went ahead and changed to the clamp ... absolutely no regrets.
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Dustbak
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2009, 05:18:24 PM »
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Quote from: PaulS
Hi Dustbak,

Ability to visually check that the clamp is securely closed, seems to be a bit quicker to operate. More compact when closed (no knob sticking out).

I'm not convinced one way or the other, but want to know what the pros/cons are.

Paul

I use mine mainly with the H2F/CF combination. The knob stays nicely underneath the camera wich might encount for me not having trouble with it. I am quite adamant in making sure it is securely tightened. With the lever I always felt I might accidently open it but I guess that is also an assumption based on perception rather than a real possibility.

Wayne, why do you prefer the lever over the knob? I need to buy some plates anyway so I might also get a lever clamp to check it for myself but I always love to hear from people that have already tried various options.
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