Really Right Stuff

I love small independent companies that spring up to fill the gap where the large corporations just seem to mis the obvious. One such company that I really like is Really Right Stuff. They make excellent tripod heads as well as custom plates to fit your camera. I use an Arca Swiss style tripod head/clamp. It's the most effective way to secure the camera to a tripod. It's quick, and it's robust. I have no time to spend screwing plates onto the bottom of cameras and I am unwilling to have a plate fixed to the bottom of the camera if it has the potential to swivel off. The basic plates you get from Arca Swiss are enormous, clunky and they swivel off the bottom of the camera. Really Right Stuff's plates are specially molded to fit the particular make of camera that you are using. So they become a slightly added feature of your camera, whilst at the same time, don't get in the way. Oh, and they're light too. But most importantly, they don't swivel of the camera. So they're very, very secure.

I have the L type plates attached to my cameras. So it means I can quickly rotate the camera from Landscape to Portrait mode in a matter of seconds.

One thing that I have found issue with though is the quick release clamps that Really Right Stuff are making. The levers on them are simply too long, and they get in the way if you have a filter holder attached to the front of the lens. It becomes a real hassle to take the camera off the plate, because the lever is obstructed by any ND filters I've got on the camera. So I've had the lever on each clamp I own machined down to a smaller size. It now means I can mount and dismount the camera from the tripod head in a matter of seconds, whilst not having to take the filter holder off the end of the lens.

Gear should just 'work'. It should be transparent to use. If you're having to mess around with it too much, then it's getting in between you and the photograph. Get familiar as much as you can with your gear and try to remove any obstacles that you can. Photography is an emotional response to your surroundings, and there's nothing like having to fidget with some gear that isn't simple to really kill any inspiration that you are feeling.