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Manfrotto 410 Junior: DIY Arca Swiss Clamp on a Budget

Published: 21/08/2019

Author: Garey Gomez

Viewers of my tutorial have been asking me how I use an L-Bracket with my Manfrotto 410 Junior geared tripod head. I have answered the question so many times now that I decided to take a few photos and write a blog post explaining what is needed to make it work.

It's a nice alternative to the more expensive solution from Hejnar Photo. It works identically, but costs about a third of the price and is even easier to install. If you can mount a camera to a baseplate, then you can do this modification.

You can find the write-up HERE.

Please feel free to comment below with questions or feedback.

Garey Gomez is an architectural photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a three-time PFRE Photographer of the Month, and the creator of the Mastering Real Estate Photography tutorial series.

Garey Gomez

13 comments on “Manfrotto 410 Junior: DIY Arca Swiss Clamp on a Budget”

  1. Fyi, Benro recently introduced their own geared head that is based on the Manfrotto design but is better executed and better built, imo. It has the Arca clamp built in.

  2. Nathan Cool has a two part review of the Benro Geared head. I played with one at the last WPPI show and it feels very nice. Time will tell if it gets sloppy with wear, but the price is pretty cheap and it is made of metal. I haven't seen if the gears are replaceable or not. I use Arca Swiss on all of my stuff so I like that it's built into the Benro head.

  3. I recently took the plunge & purchased a Arca Swiss C1 Cube after using Manfrotto 405 & 410 jr heads for years. The difference is like night & day. It is crazy expensive, but it is so much easier to use. Should have done this years ago!

  4. Yes, I recommend the Benro head to everyone in the market for a reasonably priced geared head, and the fact that it comes equipped for Arca Swiss compatible plates out of the box is a nice bonus.

    Earlier this year I bought an Arca Swiss D4, and I absolutely love it. The price was painful, but I am really happy I bought it. It's incredibly high quality and much more enjoyable to use over the old Manfrotto head, which I keep around on an ancient Manfrotto 475 tripod (pictured).

  5. Educate me. I can't think of more than half-a-dozen times in RE when I need to shoot the exact same angle but in a vertical position. I'll find a small bathroom where it's necessary, but I already have to re-position my tripod and switch the 410jr to vertical then level. What's the big advantage of the L-bracket in everyday RE photography?

  6. @Andrew H. - I'm glad you found it helpful!

    @Brian - I did not mean to imply that I shoot the same angle from both landscape and portrait orientations. It's just that I find it much more comfortable and convenient to shoot a vertical composition with the camera positioned on an L-bracket, rather than by turning the head awkwardly on its side. In my blog post, I do make a case for a practical reason why it can make or break a composition, and maybe it's one you can relate to. When crammed up against the right side of a doorjamb, to get your camera as far to the right as possible, having the camera hanging way off to the left side of the tripod can actually limit how far to the right you can get the camera, sometimes by several inches. That's reason enough for me. But then again, I shoot quite a lot of vertical compositions. My clients like them, and my local MLS does not have any issues with displaying them, so you may not run into that issue as often as I would.

    Another practical benefit is, on the 410 head, you lose the ability to use the bubble level when you turn it on its side. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the 405 head has more bubble levels just for vertical orientation, so if that's true, then this benefit only applies to the 410. Not the end of the world if you are using a different level, but I prefer using the one on my head, so this one was a big deal to me.

  7. Just purchased the Ellie Lbracket made by 3 Legged Thing and the Sunway Foto screw knob clamp. Impressed with the quality of both. Seems to be a good solution for my Canon 5D Mark IV. Had to extend out the vertical bracket to allow clearance for the shutter release cable.

  8. @Brian L. Pierce,

    There was an article here not to long ago on creating diptychs to combine vertically composed images to better use the display space on mainstream RE web sites. It's not something that you might do on every job, but if you have a lofted two story home, you might want to have a frame or two that spans floor to ceiling. I just did one where there was a sweeping stairway from the front entrance and I made an image from both sides and combined them into one frame. It worked out great and the agent loved it since that staircase was a show piece and they tried with their cell phone and couldn't make it work. BTW, I charge by the image and a diptych is counted as two. I also have in the back of my head where I make a triptych with one vertical image and two detail photos stacked along side of that. That could be handy if I only have one vertical composition I want to use. The other two images can be tight detail shots since those are easy to make and with a shallow DOF, have lots of appeal. Like lots of things, it's another tool in the box to pull out when needed. Since I have L brackets for my cameras, I don't see any value in buying standard base plates as well. As a bonus, I can clip the Camranger pouch to the L with a small carabiner.

  9. Hey Garey, timely write-up as I have the 410 Jr. and share your frustration with verticals. Looks like an economical solution. Just being able to use the bubble level for verticals is justification enough for me!

  10. @Garey - I appreciate the response. Found myself crammed up against a door jam earlier today.. lol. I get it now.

    @Ken Brown - Thanks for the input too. I read that diptychs article last month too, it inspired me to make a .psd template that I've used 4 or 5 times now with my clients. Not a lot of feedback about it yet, time will tell.

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