Zacuto Marauder with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to the Gorilla Plate.

Use Zacuto, Manfrotto and Arca-style heads without changing your camera’s base plate

The Problem

When I began shooting video more regularly, it did not take me long to figure out that in order to get smooth shots I needed a fluid head for my tripod and a shoulder mount for ‘run ‘n’ gun’ situations. The fluid head I am currently using is the Manfrotto 502 (HERE) and my shoulder mount of choice is the Zacuto Marauder (HERE). Two things that slow me down when switching from video to stills (or vice versa) are changing the tripod heads (which I found a solution for HERE) and re-mounting the camera to the various base plates for every system. For still photography, I have been using Arca style base plates for over a decade, and figured there must be a way to adapt the Zacuto and Manfrotto camera mounts to the Arca-style plate on my camera.

There is…

The Solution

Really Right Stuff makes a small screw knob clamp called the B2-FAB (HERE) that fits perfectly into the 1/4”-20 screw on the Manfrotto plate. The bottom of the clamp has two anti-twist detents that keep it lined up and facing forward in the groove of the Manfrotto plate. This same screw knob clamp ALMOST mounts perfectly with Zacuto Gorilla plate as well. I had to get a metal file and scrape away about 1mm from the 1/4”-20 screw slider on the Zacuto plate in order for the Really Right Stuff screw knob clamp to mate with it perfectly.

Manfrotto 502 Flat Base Head with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to its plate.
Manfrotto 502 Flat Base Head with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to its plate.
Manfrotto 502 Flat Base Head with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to its plate.
Manfrotto 502 Flat Base Head with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to its plate.
Zacuto Marauder with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to the Gorilla Plate.
Zacuto Marauder with Really Right Stuff B2-FAB attached to the Gorilla Plate.

Downsides

1. On the Manfrotto – if I am shooting video with a big heavy lens like the Nikon 200-400mm f4 – I have to remove the RRS screw knob clamp and mount the lens directly to the Manfrotto plate for stability. But when using smaller primes and zooms – the system works incredibly well.

2. On the Zacuto Gorilla plate – If I want to use the Zacuto Z-finder, the centimeter of extra height added by the Really Right Stuff screw knob clamp makes it so that the Z-finder no longer lines up perfectly with my camera’s monitor.

Conclusion

Mounting the Really Right Stuff B2-FAB screw knob clamp on top of my Manfrotto and Zacuto camera plates make it so no tools other than my hands are needed to swap my camera between my ballhead, fluid head and shoulder mount.  In the cases when I need use a big, heavy lens or need use of the Z-finder – I am no worse off than before, but the speed gained from having the B2-FAB deployed more than makes up for its small cost.