Well after a lot of frustration I realize it comes down to this, I can either use the NN3 by itself without the QC2 release or with very few lenses with it.
Neither option works for me.
It seems the QC2 didn't account for the knobs. they simply are WAY TOO BIG and the 30mm of adjustment I lose at either end of the spectrum depending on which way I mount the plate means some of my lenses don't work with each orientation.
Here is the deal, I understand the knobs were made big for ease of use, but the release plate actually takes precedence over the knobs for me.
Why? Well dealing with cold metal in 0F weather is not fun, having to switch my tripod plates back and forth is not fun, hence the quick release.
The knobs on the other hand are much less important because if you know you are using lens A and need settings A you can preset everything before getting outside.
1) Does Fanotech have plans to make smaller knobs?
2) can these type knobs be bought off the shelf at a hardware store or online supplier?
3) even knobs that adjusted with a hex key wouldn't be a bad idea...sure you have to keep track of the key, but you could just attach it to the tripod, or leave it in the camera bag, this would give 100% range from the head, and probably be more durable in the long run. I'd personally be OK with paying like $15-20 shipped for an option like this.
The bottom line is with the QC2 I lose about 35mm of adjustment regardless of which way I set the plate up, and the main problem is I need about 20mm of that adjustment range back. So my plate is limited to about 55mm or 90mm no matter what.
Knobs about 50% smaller would perhaps give me most of that range but the allen key/hex key option seems like the most sensible alternative with most range!