What about a better compact camera plate -- replace T-20 and T-30

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Thread: What about a better compact camera plate -- replace T-20 and T-30

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  1. What about a better compact camera plate -- replace T-20 and T-30

    #1
    Question

    The T-20 and T-30 camera mounting plate for compacts with offset tripod holes are barely useful. I had to take it off to change the batteries on my old compact (Fuji e900) and could never get it back to perfect alignment. After a while, I gave up trying and just hoped for the best when putting the plate back on. The screw would wobble and shift and the camera would twist on the plate even with the screw so tight I was afraid of stripping the threads.

    A high end compact like a g10/g11/g12 or LX3/LX5 or (gasp) or of the Leica's or one of the Nikons cost as much or more than a good (but used) DSLR.

    So why not produce a series of custom camera mounting plate for a select handful of the high end compacts like the ones I've mentioned to match the quality of the camera and the interest of the photographer that would buy a high end compact?

    The plate would have a counter sunk hole for a screw to hold the plate on the camera that would fit into the existing tripod hole and then another threaded hole that would be used to screw (and perfectly center) the plate onto the tilt arm of an NN3/5 or whatever is going to replace the NN5. You wouldn't need that big knob now used to attach the T-xx plate. It could be much smaller and more flush so that the camera could be moved closer to the tilt pivot if necessary.

    The plate would be as thick as the standard length of tripod screw. It could be made from high density plastic or even soft aluminum and wouldn't even need a cork or composite face for seating the camera. You could make one basic plate and then just position the holes to match the camera the plate was for.

    The reason I'm asking NN to consider this accessory is because the holes would have to be positioned with less than millimeter accuracy. I know NN can do that. I can't

    In addition, there would be a small lip at the back that would snug up against the back of the camera below the LCD -- custom shaped for each camera -- to keep the camera square on the plate and therefore square on the tilt arm.

    Each plate would be for one camera body series and would be shaped in such a way that one could change batteries and/or memory card without taking the plate off the camera.

    But even if the plate had to be taken off one of the camera models, the design of the plate would be such that a much, much better alignment would be easy to achieve when reattaching the plate.

    High end compacts are not going to compete in image quality with a good DSLR for a long time. But they are a nice option for some projects and for non-professionals.

    The plates I suggest here would cost more to design and produce than the T-xx, but once you got a process for design and production, additional plates would cost less and less. And compacts are not going away.

    The RXXX series is not a good option for compacts because fisheye lens adapters don't seem to be very good for compacts. But there are many vendor produced wide angle adapters that are very good. And the NNxx series are more flexible for that kind of lens.

    But the T-xx adapters just sort of make life harder. Please consider my idea for camera matched mounting plates.

    DD
    Last edited by DemonDuck; 09-29-2010 at 10:20 PM.
  2. #2
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Jan 2010
    Location: Cambridgeshire, UK.
    Posts: 4

    I think the MkII T-adapter from NN appears to meet most of your requirements - or could be fairly easily modified to do so?:
    store.nodalninja.com/products/T-adapter-II-with-3...

    And of course more modern compacts than your old Fuji e900 have much extended battery autonomy, capable of shooting many hundreds of shots on a single charge.

    Andrew
  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by mediavets View Post
    I think the MkII T-adapter from NN appears to meet most of your requirements - or could be fairly easily modified to do so?:
    store.nodalninja.com/products/T-adapter-II-with-3...

    And of course more modern compacts than your old Fuji e900 have much extended battery autonomy, capable of shooting many hundreds of shots on a single charge.

    Andrew
    Yes, that might work with a modest amount of fiddling. It would not be as precise as my suggestion. And it's a lot bigger than it needs to be and it might have to be removed for battery replacement -- depending on the camera.

    My Fuji e900 would shoot around 200 pics with 2 AA bat's depending on what I did. Still, eventually the plate has to come off -- depending on the camera.

    And NN makes ring adapters for various lenses and that's more complicated than a plate with two properly placed holes. It's not that they don't have the manufacturing capability. The manufacturing process for the T-adapter-II is way more complicated than a plate with two holes. But whatever I guess....

    When I get my new LX3 (I think) I'll give it a try.

    DD
    Last edited by DemonDuck; 09-30-2010 at 04:35 AM.
  4. #4
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,427

    you can mount a small quick release system to T-adapter. Velbon makes good ones. this gives you an effective solution for rapid and reproducible mounting.

    I do plan to make some custom plates for some cameras but get occupied by other more important stuff.

    nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by nick fan View Post
    you can mount a small quick release system to T-adapter. Velbon makes good ones. this gives you an effective solution for rapid and reproducible mounting.

    I do plan to make some custom plates for some cameras but get occupied by other more important stuff.

    nick
    That really would be only more awkward and clumsy with out any benefit of better alignment or convenience. Quick release systems are just more unnecessary complication and weight.

    That is a specious suggestion.
    Last edited by DemonDuck; 10-01-2010 at 10:52 AM.
  6. #6
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by DemonDuck View Post
    That really would be only more awkward and clumsy with out any benefit of better alignment or convenience. Quick release systems are just more unnecessary complication and weight.

    That is a specious suggestion.
    I will make some custom QR camera plates after I release the multi-row Ultimate. Developing these plates before the Ultimate is counter-productive.

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  7. #7

    I can see the challenge in developing custom plates and I agree on the need - we've had customers asking us. Once you are ready if you like I can shop out cameras DD suggested - might be some used ones. I have a G10, G11, P5100, P6000, Sony Cybershot DSC-TX7 I can send over for measurements. If anyone else has a P&S camera they can offer up this would help in reducing cost to buy cameras.
    Also maybe a Nodal Ninja Mini for compact cameras.

    Bill
  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bailey View Post
    I can see the challenge in developing custom plates and I agree on the need - we've had customers asking us. Once you are ready if you like I can shop out cameras DD suggested - might be some used ones. I have a G10, G11, P5100, P6000, Sony Cybershot DSC-TX7 I can send over for measurements. If anyone else has a P&S camera they can offer up this would help in reducing cost to buy cameras.
    Also maybe a Nodal Ninja Mini for compact cameras.

    Bill
    YESSS!!!!

    I'm cameraless right now. Looking for an LX3 or a g10 or a Pentax kx (the smallest dslr -- almost a compact), When the time comes, I'll loan you my camera if it helps. I'll even pay the freight.

    But an NN Mini is a great idea. When I used to put my Fuji e900 on my NN3 or even my NN 2spr (is that the name) I had a lot of rail hanging unused. The T-30 I used weighed almost as much as the camera.

    A good compact camera can make pretty good panos....

    DD
  9. #9

    With so much in development at the moment Nick is doing a bit of juggling with priorities but did mention this too is in the works.
  10. #10

    Making dedicated mounting plates for compact cameras sounds like a good idea but in reality it isn't.
    1) As manufacturer you have to choose out of many models which model you will support and which model you will not so there will be always customers who are not pleased with your choices,
    2) Every year many new compact cameras hit the market so you have to keep on expanding the series and you will always behind the demand for new plates,
    3) For your resellers and for your own stock having all those different plates is a nightmare, it will introduce big risks of making shipping errors,
    4) You have to buy or borrow all models because you can't rely on the spec sheets of camera manufacturers and have to test out every new plate,

    A much better solution is to develop a smart designed universal adapter plate that has adjustable guide bars, with such an adapter it will be possible to remove the plate from the camera for a battery change and then re-position the plate in the exact position over and over again.
    Perhaps you have to make a few versions for the guide bars for different type of compact cameras but even then the system will contain just a small number of parts.

    Wim
    Last edited by Wim.Koornneef; 10-09-2010 at 04:51 AM.
  11. #11

    Quote Originally Posted by Wim.Koornneef View Post
    Making dedicated mounting plates for compact cameras sounds like a good idea but in reality it isn't. Wim
    Yes, there are hundreds of compact cameras. But we are talking about making panoramas using an NNXXXX. Which means that only people with NNXXXX pano heads are going to be interested.

    And then, you can eliminate all compact cameras that don't have a way to put a fisheye or wide angle adapter on them with some sort of extension tube or any other way. That eliminates at least 80% or more of all compact cameras.

    Then for panorama shooting at the level most of you (maybe not me) work at, you have to have manual control of focus, exposure and white balance. Bracketing and raw file format are nearly mandatory. So that eliminates a bunch more compact cameras.

    And then, I think most of us can name most if not all the compact cameras that really would be worth while to consider using to make panoramas. There aren't that many.

    Consider a parallel problem. Raw conversion. All of the main stream raw conversion programs -- Silkypix, DXO, ACR etc. only support specific lens/camera combination's and not every lens/camera combination. Would you prefer that they support none because they can't support every lens/camera combination?

    And Nick made it very clear that with CNC and a properly designed, parametrized program, you can make plates on demand and not have to stock any plates if you don't want to. This website could have an online order form where you simply select which camera you have and pay on line and it the plate would be made and shipped to you in a few days. And it would be well worth the money to have a mounting plate that you can trust to give you the best possible alignment with the minimum fuss.

    Don't let perfect stand in the way of good.....


    DD
    Last edited by DemonDuck; 10-09-2010 at 03:37 PM.
  12. #12

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonDuck View Post
    .........with CNC and a properly designed, parametrized program, you can make plates on demand and not have to stock any plates if you don't want to. This website could have an online order form where you simply select which camera you have and pay on line and it the plate would be made and shipped to you in a few days. And it would be well worth the money to have a mounting plate that you can trust to give you the best possible alignment with the minimum fuss........DD
    Apart from the making of the plate by a CNC machine there are so many steps in the ordering and manufacturing of a single item of a product involved that this makes this road unattractive.
    One on one manufacturing of customized products is totally different from batch production, the ordering, manufacturing and shipping processes are completely different and if anything goes wrong then you could easily end up with a night mare (I am sure you are familiar with the stories about customized products you can read on Panoguide)...

    Don't get me wrong, I sympathize a lot with your idea but to make it work requires a lot of efforts from the manufacturer who has to set his priorities.
    Aside from this there is a price issue, because of the different processes the price for a camera matched plate will be (much) higher then the price for a smart designed adjustable camera plate.

    All together I doubt that camera matched mounting plates will be introduced soon so I suggest that you don't hold your breath for it....

    Wim
    Last edited by Wim.Koornneef; 10-10-2010 at 01:11 AM.
  13. #13

    both Kirkphoto & RRS make custom camera plates for some high end compacts, like canon G 10 & G 11

    i use a kirkphoto custom L-bracket for my nikon D300 with a NN arca swiss clamp, works great :)

    sam



    Sam Rohn :: 360° Panoramic Photography :: Location Scout :: New York City :: www.samrohn.com

    PanoPress :: WordPress Plugin for 360° Panoramas in Flash & HTML5 :: www.panopress.org
  14. #14
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    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Saddleworth UK
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    It is very easy to take an impression of the base of any camera with polymorph (I know Nick has some) This can be used to mold, using resin or other materials, on a one off basis. specials like this can never be cheap but they could be affordable. In the same way dental plates are affordable. (could even use the same material.)
    The base of the unit would be common to all, it is only the surface fitting that would change.
  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wim.Koornneef View Post
    3) For your resellers and for your own stock having all those different plates is a nightmare, it will introduce big risks of making shipping errors,
    4) You have to buy or borrow all models because you can't rely on the spec sheets of camera manufacturers and have to test out every new plate,
    Developing custom plates is very risky. Unselling inventory can easily become scrap for recycling. I see many custom made accessories selling below costs after the targeted products get discontinued. To develop custom plates we need to boost our efficiency. They need to be ready as soon as the cameras hit the shelf. This is when the cameras are most expensive and have highest depreciation rate! After a few months, customers who want a custom plate would have bought one from other manufacturers already.
    After a year or two, unsold plates are likely to remain as inventory forever. Fanotec are not well-known for custom plates, so RRS, Kirk will have big advantage in selling them. Our panos head (NN3) for compact cameras are budget oriented. Very few people will buy an expensive custom plate to use with it. All these make custom plates not profitable for us at the moment.
    Once we release the modular Ultimate pano head, we can use these plates to boost the sales of the Ultimate. They make the Ultimate a better system. after all, custom plates have their advantages of compactness and ease of use. Besides, people buying Ultimate are not buget oriented.


    A much better solution is to develop a smart designed universal adapter plate that has adjustable guide bars, with such an adapter it will be possible to remove the plate from the camera for a battery change and then re-position the plate in the exact position over and over again.
    Perhaps you have to make a few versions for the guide bars for different type of compact cameras but even then the system will contain just a small number of parts.
    I am also working on this idea too. Again, compact camera users are just a very small fraction of our customer base. I need to work for the majority first. That is what funds our development of new products.


    nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
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