The ARCA-SWISS Quick Release is compatible with two types of camera plates and with ARCA-SWISS view camera monorail and/or connecting bracket. Our new style quick release utilizes a dual channel, sometimes called "double dovetail" design. The upper channel mounts ARCA-SWISS Classic width camera plates of 38mm, while the lower channel mounts ARCA-SWISS monoballFix 26mm width camera plates and monorail. The original quick release, now "old style", was designed with a single dovetail channel only. See the diagram below for a visual illustration.
Your choice of quick release
ARCA-SWISS offers three quick release designs for our tripod heads - Classic, FlipLock®, and monoballFix.
Classic has a screw knob that tightens the quick release jaws closed, along with a dual channel dovetail. It is the design that I recommend most often, since it can screw closed to tighten different widths of Arca style camera plates. This is a first choice if you use multiple manufacturer camera plates and L-brackets.
FlipLock® provides a lever locking system with a three step unlocking process. FlipLock is very precise as it is matched and adjusted to genuine OEM ARCA-SWISS camera plates. An adjustment will be needed and is essential if using plates or L-brackets from RRS, SmallRig, Markins, etc. FlipLock® is the choice for professional photographers since it is very secure and won't unlock accidentally if caught on a sleeve, strap, cord, etc. FlipLock® includes the dual channel dovetail for ARCA-SWISS camera plates and view camera components.
MonoballFix is a compact quick release with minimal design featuring a simple press to lock lever. It is the lightest option in the group with a single channel/dovetail design. It includes two safety pins in the plate channel that prevent your camera slipping through if unlocked while tipped downward.
ARCA-SWISS Monoball Classic System
ARCA-SWISS Classic camera plates were originally designed and patented in the 1950s. Using a dovetail width of 38mm, the camera plates were precisely defined and matched the base of the ARCA-SWISS view camera optical bench. To this day, the original ARCA-SWISS dovetail camera plate design has not changed.
Third-party manufacturers that offer knock off “Arca Swiss style” copies may not be ARCA-SWISS compatible at all, particularly with our FlipLock® quick release. Adjusted at the ARCA-SWISS factory for original ARCA-SWISS camera plates, FlipLock® will need an adjustment for any third party camera plate or L-bracket, many of which are either too wide, too narrow, or do not have the proper dovetail design, especially those with rounded or beveled edges like RRS. Therefore, I recommend ARCA-SWISS camera plates as the first choice when using an ARCA-SWISS tripod head. For other manufacturer's camera plates, an adjustment in the FlipLock® jaws tension is possible, but I recommend using one brand only, so an adjustment isn't required each time you switch system camera plates.
ARCA-SWISS view camera monorail can be mounted directly into the lower channel of our Classic and FlipLock® dual channel quick releases. Additionally, ARCA-SWISS view camera connecting brackets can be mounted into the top channel of Classic and FlipLock® quick releases.
ARCA-SWISS MonoballFix System
MonoballFix is the ARCA-SWISS modern solution designed for newer compact digital cameras. MonoballFix camera plates are ultralight, compact and multi-functional. MonoballFix camera plates have a dovetail width of 26mm, the same width as ARCA-SWISS monorail.
Our view camera monorail or accessories like Macro Table and X-Table can be mounted directly into the monoballFix quick release without a connecting bracket. Monorail will also mount into the lower channel of our Classic and FlipLock® dual channel quick releases.
Important - monoballFix camera plates mount in one direction only. The edge with the wider overhanging lip must be installed into the locking mechanism side of the quick release. See the diagram above for a visual illustration.
Additional note - monoballFix L-bracket mounting plates are multi-directional. Loosen a screw and the foot can be rotated 90° to become the profile of a Classic camera plate.
If you are searching for an ARCA-SWISS camera plate or L-bracket, I have posted a camera plate compatibility chart here:
Camera Plate System and Information
Locate your camera in the left column and look across the table for our recommendations for a Classic plate, monoballFix plate or L-bracket. The full system of plates, L-brackets and other accessories can be downloaded below.
ARCA-SWISS Camera Plate Systems
Contact me if you need information about a specific feature you might require. We offer many plates in various designs.
ARCA-SWISS MICRO-ORBIX® TILT
While many ARCA-SWISS view cameras are designed with base tilt as a standard feature, Micro-Orbix can be ordered as an additional tilt accessory on ARCA-SWISS F-Line cameras at the time of manufacture. Micro-Orbix is supplied on M-Two, M-Monolith, and F-Line Universalis view cameras as a standard feature.
Micro-Orbix movements are perpendicular to the optical axis rather than the monorail. Therefore, focus adjustments occur in the selected plane and are fast and easy to make. When using shift, the rotation point will still be on the same axis. Micro-Orbix will vastly simplify focusing without the back and forth focus and tilt repetition required by traditional base or axis tilt designs.
Micro-Orbix is installed into the lower front frame, and uses a gear driven knob to adjust tilt in micro increments with detents every 2.5 degrees. The precision of the geared movement provides an indispensable feature that can set very small tilt angles required for wide-angle lenses, or digital backs and DSLR cameras with small sensors. Unlocking or locking of the mechanism is not required, as the Micro-Orbix control is self-locking and requires only your left hand to operate.
Micro-Orbix is adjusted using the same method as BASE TILT -- focus for the far subject and tilt for the near subject. This can be done quickly with the right hand focusing and the left hand controlling Micro-Orbix tilt.
If you'd like more information about ARCA-SWISS view cameras or tripod heads, please get in touch. I can demonstrate locally in the Phoenix metro area or online by Zoom or Skype conference by appointment.