ARCA SWISS standard and cross brand competibility issue

ARCA SWISS system is basically a dovetail 45 degree Clamp and Plate standard that allows quick attachment of your equipment on tripods.

The following video credited by Marcus Hutsell have done an incredible explaination on this widely used standard (with slight variation from different makers) and it's pro and cons. 


As mentioned in the video different manufacturer might have slight differences in their dimention but in most of the case it should work across brands.

However, for some tripod design that do not use a screw knob type of fasterning (a turning know that brings the clamp together in a horizontal direction with some tolerance) may pose problems for multi brand adaptability. Screw knob type fasterning have enough tolerance to adapt slightly bigger or smaller, thicker or thinner plates.

For receiver "clamps" that are not using a triditional screw knob type fasterning 100%  adaptability is can not be guaranteed as such clamps was designed to receive their own plate to begin with. 

Our product follows the following standard from ARCA SWISS

Which you can find here:

Previously we have encounter some report about PD tripod, a model with a snap on lock that will not work because the snap on lock has a clamp that is taller.

Most of these issue are caused because such brand designed a product that suit with their own plates to begin with. This can easily be solved by adding a standard screw knob type fastering plate to your tripod like this:


1/4 Inch thread to ARCA connection Plate IDS initial design studio


To illustrate this further I am drawing you out here you can understand better:

Here is the different between ARCA traditional connection plate and RRS connecting plate (other brands can differs slightly as well)

ARCA triditional connecting plate:

RRS connecting plate:

First the height before the 45 degree angle started at different height (1.905mm and 1.5mm). Further according to RRS the width converted to mm is 38.1mm

These slight difference is OK for mounting IF YOU ARE USING UNIVERSAL triditional ARCA Clamp standard.

The top is mounting ARCA standard plate to ARCA standard Clamp, the bottome is mounting RRS standard plate to ARCA standard Clamp.

As this sight difference falls in the tolarance of this type of clamp (although the gap can be slightly different but they are totally sturdy)  

However, if you are using a clamp such as a lever clamp from RRS or a different quick locking clamp from other brands this might cause a problem as the clamp itselve was designed for that particular plate and it only locks at one location.

Without a standard it is impossible for any manufacturer to make a product that fits all tripod without using a plate and therefore we follow the triditional ARCA standard.

If we have to apply a plate that provided by a particular tripod that will totally go againest multi platform competability! Therefore we strongly suggest you either use a clamp that allows this small tolarance between brands or simply apply a universal connection plate (shown in picture above) to your original tripod connection plate.

There is also one more thing you should make note of:

ARCA traditionally started with a simple design but more and more tripod makers started to add a little nib on their clamps as a prevention to their own plate from sliding out if a user forgot to tighten the knob. It looks something like this:

This nib will and needs to be removed to make the clamp more universal for different maker of brackets. All nib on the clamp from different brands of tripod are basically a small screw and designed to be removable for this reason. As different makers will have this nib at different locations, it is not possible to make a product that fits all of them. Also the nib also limits the functionality at the bottom of our bracket. That is why you don't see a nib on the univeral clamp attachement at all.

We have selected this standard for a reason as it require the least vertical distance therefore allowing us to make our bottom plate profile as thin as possible.

The following summary is some information we have come across on-line which was measured by another user between RRS and SmallRig. 

Therefore avoid using non-screw knob clamp as much as possible if you wish to adapt different brands! Any receiver with a snap on lock will only best fit for the manufacturer's own plate and no guarantee that they will fit other brands without using their own plate.

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