Inspired by Msmoto’s thread of Arca conversions, I thought it could be helpful to see that other conversions are also possible.
I always wanted a geared head, for some shots it’s the best (for others useless, it’s precise bit sloooow). There’s not much of a choice: 3 different ones of Manfrotto and two of Arca-Swiss are the ones I know of. 410 and 405 of Manfrotto share both the same QR clamp system: 394. Big plate, tough enough to take scratches and bumps and still working. It’s made of magnesium, therefore not too difficult to drill holes, put threads in and change the shape by milling parts away. The useless, because unprecise bubble leves for instance.
I started with a 410 head, sold it after getting D800 and got the 405 with a bigger load capacity and smoother handles.
After a while I got tired with using different QR systems. That’s opposite of the quick
release idea. Sawing Msmotos great work with Arca clamps, I thought I have the machinery, the tools and the skills, so let’s try.
First an easy one. To change the original plate of the M055M8 head, I need only a spare part of a ball head. I just need to stay in the series 055, then I can exchange the swallow tail plate with a 401PL clamp. Manfrotto has great sparepart lists and if a dealer knows his stuff, it’s easy to do. This head is the weakest of the collection today, I won’t do it again. But at the time I bought it, I found it clever.
Getting the clamp on my Gitzo Traveler (and get rid of the very suboptimal Gitzo QR clamp) was a bit more challenging. Drilling three holes sounds easy, but the coordinates were given. On a circle Ø of 14mm I put 3 holes in 120° angle and milled the bottom side of the clamp to get an even surface. The cork piece prevents the bubble level sliding out. Same happened with GH3780 head which I really like:
Most challenging was the 322RC2 grip:
The brass pieces underneath the clamp were a bit complicated to define in advance, also the holes and countersink in 15° angle took a while
Last bits were one clamp using for a Gorillapod
And for a device I was inspired by the Peak Design clip in this "need help for backpacking"-thread.
So I made a much simpler clamp, I just need it to put it in a sidebag of a ThinkTank retrospective bag, so the camera is attached to the bag when I need hands free. It’s not as slick and smooth as the Peak Design clip appears to be, but it works