Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK Leveling Base + TH-DVTL-55 adaptor plates on the base of my video and stills head = bliss.

How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Problem

I shoot both stills and video which often requires me too carry both a fluid head and a ballhead in the field.  Not wanting to carry two tripods, I very quickly realized that it took far too much time and frustration to swap the fluid head for the ballhead under any sort of time pressure (as is often the case in the field) and guessed there had to be a better way.

The Solution

I have always been a fan of Really Right Stuff’s products.  They are the photographic gear equivalent of a high-end german car – engineered to perfection.  As soon as I realized my problem swapping tripod heads in the field, I began combing their product lineup for some ideas.  What I found is a solution so elegant, I wanted to share it.  

In a nutshell, Really Right Stuff makes a leveling base with a quick release plate that is compatible with all Gitzo series 3 carbon fiber tripods – my tripod of choice.  The leveling base (HERE) has a clamp on it that mates with the Really Right Stuff dovetail plate (HERE).  The plate can be screwed into the bottom of both my Manfrotto fluid head and my Acratech GP ballhead.  With the dovetail plate mounted on the bottom of both my fluid head and my ballhead – swapping the two now takes just a matter of seconds.  I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


 

Gitzo series 3 mountaineer tripod with the Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK: Series 3 Leveling Base with Clamp and Hook.  The Really Right Stuff TH-DVTL-55: Round Dovetail Plate is mounted to the bottom of my Acratech GP ballhead.
Gitzo series 3 mountaineer tripod with the Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK: Series 3 Leveling Base with Clamp and Hook. The Really Right Stuff TH-DVTL-55: Round Dovetail Plate is mounted to the bottom of my Acratech GP ballhead.

Gitzo series 3 mountaineer tripod with the Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK: Series 3 Leveling Base with Clamp and Hook.  The Really Right Stuff TH-DVTL-55: Round Dovetail Plate is mounted to the bottom of my Manfrotto 502 Flat Base fluid head.
Gitzo series 3 mountaineer tripod with the Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK: Series 3 Leveling Base with Clamp and Hook. The Really Right Stuff TH-DVTL-55: Round Dovetail Plate is mounted to the bottom of my Manfrotto 502 Flat Base fluid head.

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