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Problem with L Bracket & New Ball Head

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by SteveSinclair, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member


    I've just purchased a Manfrotto XPRO ball head (top lock variety) and a Sunwayfoto L bracket (PNL-D810R) to fit a Nikon D810. The bracket fits the camera well despite some online reviews I read so I’m happy with that. However, I’m having a major problem releasing it from the plate on the ball head after it's attached. It's much worse when in the portrait orientation.

    I'm struggling to find anything online that concludes the bracket and head don't work together. To my non-expert eye it looks like the release mechanism on the head isn't going down quite far enough when the red release button is depressed. I can release the bracket if I push the gripping mechanism on the head a little further down than it goes by depressing the release button only. The plate supplied with the head attaches and detaches perfectly without any intervention.

    Does anyone use the same combination of head and bracket? The head was purchased from new and can still be returned, I'm just unsure if that's the problem. Both devices appear to be Arca Swiss compatible based on my reading of online marketing info - though I may have misinterpreted some of it.

    I’ve contacted Manfrotto but haven’t had a reply as yet though it is the weekend so not expecting one just yet.

    I'd welcome any suggestions anyone has.


  2. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Just a guess, but I assume you're backing the locking screw off sufficiently before pressing the red button?
  3. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Morning Craig - thanks. I think so, I’ve been conscious of that and loosened it right back to the point where it’s wobbling on a thread. Wondering if the machining on the bracket base might be a bit off. Seems to align with the plate that came with the head but I guess I wouldn’t necessarily see it if it’s out by just a small amount.
  4. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    That's me out of ideas then :).
    I know I have to quite precise when pressing mine down, even to release the plate that came with the head. It does sound like the L bracket has slightly, shall we say, less accurate machining to the required tolerances than the original plate.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The only Arca-swiss type head I have is a manfrotto gimbal with a manfrotto long plate. This sometimes sticks a bit, which can be a bit hairy when trying to line up a camera and a big lens. Alignment seems to be critical for the first/last 1/2 inch of contact.
  6. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks Pete. It’s my first experience with this Arca Swiss malarkey and I have to say it’s been painful. I see the benefits but seem to be struggling to realise them. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky and machining tolerances are out a little bit enough to be a problem. Attaching the bracket to the head is ok. Detaching it isn’t. Couldn’t practically do what I’ve been doing out shooting and it defeats the purpose - it’s supposed to be convenient etc. I’ll see if Manfrotto come up with anything. Else I might replace the clamp on the head - seems to be £ all the time with this.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I've only seen mine. There are two fixings. An emergency stop, that prevents the lens (I use it on a lens tripod foot) sliding off, and a lock. To mount the lens the lock is loosened and the plate slid onto the mount, tbe safety catch engages automatically after about an inch of travel. To release the lock has to be loosened, the safety catch depressed, and the mount slid off. If it jams it is usually in this last step as I take the weight of the lens+camera.
  8. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks for all the responses. I’ve decided the Manfrotto tripod and head are being returned and I’ll look for a different brand. I found it a lot more trouble trying to use Manfrotto than I’m willing to put up with sadly. I purchased a new plate and clamp to swap out the Manfrotto clamp only to find I also need a separate adapter for the replacement to actually fit the Manfrotto head. Enough! Never again.
  9. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    I've just come across this thread - so I'm probably too late in replying now.

    I have Chinese L-plates (Sunway, I-Shoot, G&S etc) for all of my cameras and I have come across the same problem with the same Manfrotto head.

    This is Manfrottos first attempt making an adaptor to fit Arca mounting plates, and I can only think it needs a slight modification to make the jaw very slightly larger. Most of the L-plates work without a problem, but one is particularly stuborn - it comes on and off, but with an effort. Frankly though it's not enough to make me want to return the ball head, which I find particularly useful.

    Another solution would involve a Dremel - take a tiny amount off the L-plate to make the overall width less - I haven't resorted to this...yet… ;)
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  10. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks for the reply. I couldn’t get my L plates off the head once on and portrait orientation was the worst. Sent it back and am looking again. I haven’t reached for the Dremel yet either
  11. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    I feel I must add that I was certainly not suggesting to "Dremel" the Manfrotto adaptor - just the L plates. I would have no hesitation in doing this to as I think the most I ever paid was something like 40€ for a plate - if you feel the need for a Really Right Stuff plate at 190$, whatever floats your boat - and I feel sure it would fit first go, but Sunway and the rest make (IMHO) perfectly good products and I feel sure even my simple Dremel skills would be able to make it fit!
  12. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    never mind taking the Dremel to the Manfrotto clamp on the head, I was close to reaching for the lump hammer at the end. To be honest I might have been willing to try the Dremel approach (like you say the Sunway plates aren’t hugely expensive) but the Manfrotto customer service staff were completely disinterested so I sent the lot back. Maybe just me being too easily annoyed - the head felt like a good substantial bit of kit, just could my plates to fit it. I didn’t like the release mechanism though, seemed like an obvious weak point.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Much as I love Arca-Swiss, I can't help feeling that (a) they may not have been totally realistic in publishing their plate dimensions (or that they never did actually publish them) and (b), related to (a), all too many manufacturers have not been totally realistic/ competent in matching or even measuring plates to Swiss standards of accuracy. I can remember the look of horror on a minor manufacturer's face when I explained Alpa tolerances. He said, "That would double our prices." I said, "Exactly." I didn't have the heart to charge him a consultancy fee...


    SteveSinclair likes this.
  14. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    This is, sadly, prevalent with these large companies. Since Manfrotto and Gitzo are part of the same (Vitec) group I can't help thinking that possibly more 'care' is given to Gitzo customers…

    My requests for information have all fallen on deaf ears - luckily "Google is my friend" and I've been able to answer my own questions for the most part. One interesting fact I've discovered is that not all Manfrotto accessories are available in all European countries. I find this odd - Manfrotto have agents everywhere. I was unable to find an ARCA mounting plate here in France - but was able to order over-the-counter from the UK. Odd.

    With regard to "Swiss standards of accuracy" this is really moot - what we see coming out of China at the present time has pretty much all been machined on computer controlled lathes, working on 3D scanned blueprints - this can be confirmed by the simple expedient of comparing an RRS L plate with a Chinese 'copy' - so manufacturing tolerances really don't figure in the equation. The item is scanned, the machine is turned on and off we go.

    Sorry - none of the above will help you in any way - I trust you've found another solution
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  15. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Didn’t know that about Gitzo and Manfrotto. I don’t think I’d be very happy if I’d invested the substantial sums around Gitzo and got the shabby level of support I experienced.

    Haven’t found an alternative solution yet. Still looking for a new tripod and head.
  16. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    The Amazon reviews of this head show you were not only with this problem, somebody had the same L bracket and had the same issues.
    SteveSinclair likes this.

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