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Female plate for Tiffen lower dovetail


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#1 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:30 PM

Appreciate any help I can get on the question of a simple female dovetail bracket and/or cheeseplate for the lower (66mm wide) dovetail on the bottom of Tiffen sleds (Zephyr, in my case.)

I'm looking to mount a few lightweight accessories from time to time (Decimator, etc). and the Zephyr offers very few mounting options on the lower spar.

It could be as simple as an aluminum plate that screws into the 1/4-20 with some "stops" to keep it from twisting, and flat surfaces for velcro...or something more elaborate and elegant that incorporated mounting holes. I could cook something up, but thought I'd ask what may be out there already. The only thing I'm aware of is Steve Fracol's weight plate system.
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#2 thomas-english

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:20 PM

Yeah, I'd love an answere to this too. All I have ever found is the Cam-Tec Cat Griller

http://shop.strato.d...cts/Cat-Griller

I have one. It is relatively big and heavy and really its for putting a camera with a dovetail onto the top of a head.
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#3 RonBaldwin

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 03:00 PM

Steve Fracol makes a plate for tiffen rigs but I think it is a pound (maybe more?). Greg Bubb always has cool doohickeys, I bet he makes one. The pro gyro mounts might be able to be slightly modded to work but just hitting a machine shop might be the best bet to get exactly what you need. I was looking for the same thing recently and ended up using part of an old topstage from my model2! I am surprised no one makes one (that I know of).
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#4 Andrew Stone

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 03:48 PM

Yes the Cam-Tec store has more than one solution you might wish to consider Mark. Have a look.

There is also the old inexpensive standby: the Manfrotto baseplate system. Here is one of them at Filmtools...

http://www.filmtools...ma32quread.html

The rubber bumpers on their baseplate may solve the twisting problem by gripping the bottom of the mounting point on your Zephyr. The Manfrotto things are so cheap, you can buy several to use the receivers on several different accessory setups. Just a thought.
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 08:36 PM

Thomas, Thanks for the link to the cat-griller. Concept looks great, I could bolt on a cheeseplate easily enough. Out of stock, unfortunately. How heavy is yours?

Andrew, the Manfrotto plate I hadn't considered, but I have a spare one so I will play with it. Seems like something could be MacGuivered out of that. Thanks for the thought.

Ron, thanks for your insights and suggestion to contact Greg. I'll do that.

Brings up a somewhat-related question: are the Tiffen plates all 66mm wide? If not, which ones are? What about other makers' plates? I've been thinking about extra plates, particularly with rod mounts, but I don't have deep history with CP/Tiffen rigs and don't know anything about what plates play well with what topstages. Is a concise rundown possible?
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#6 thomas-english

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:48 PM

As far as I know all big rig dovetails are the same. I tried my XCS dovetail on an Ultra2 tiffen the other day and it fit fine. So MK-V, GPI PRO, XCS , BaerBell (CAM-TEC) and Tiffen are the same. Is Satchler?

I wouldn't say it was really heavy and I'll pop it on some scales when I get back from tonights shoot. But relatively to most accessories it is heavy. Maybe 220g ? You could easily cut it down and make a few holes in it as well as it is well over engineered for your purpose.

Yeah, its insane that no-one makes a bracket out there for this. I don't get it. All the tiffen rigs have this dovetail on their bases now... Why?

Mind you... does that Manfrotto really fit? Is it the right width? I thought they were considerably narrower.... I make it only 44mm wide.

http://www.tripodpar...with-B00131G90A
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#7 martynporter

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 07:25 AM

Hello Chaps

I rang Dave at Marrell's this morning.

They use the Dovetail to mount several of their products and are willing to sell their plate as a separate item.

www.marell.co.uk

hope this helps

Martyn Porter
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#8 Jerry Holway

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:17 AM

The Tiffen rigs all have solid dovetails on the bottom so that heavy accessories like Antlers and Gyros and Fracol's weights can be rigidly mounted direcly under the post, and one can safely set the rig down on this solid plate.

The big rigs have the large (std) width dovetails; the smaller rigs (Archer/Zephyr) have the less wide dovetails.

The Antlers™ dovetail clamp fits both sizes with an adaptor. Weights or a battery mount or whatever can be easily screwed to this clamp as well as Antlers components.

Tiffen is making/has made a 3rd battery holder that mounts to the big dovetail (and should be adaptable to the smaller one as well).

Mark, BTW, while 66mm is a perfectly okay way of describing very roughly which size dovetail you have, it is not a good way to accurately describe how to measure or machine a dovetail. To properly measure a dovetail, you need a couple of precision rods and a very flat surface.

Jerry
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#9 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 10:59 AM

Jerry, thanks for the info. Brings up some questions:

66mm is the rough width of both the camera dovetail on my Zephyr as well as the solid bottom dovetail. How wide is the bottom dovetail on big rigs? Is it the same as the big rig camera dovetail?

So all the conversation above about the catgriller and other "female" clamping bases is moot if they are all for big rig dovetail plates, true?


I just want a simple, flat slide-on or clamp-on plate that I can velcro a Decimator or wifi transmitter, etc. onto from time to time. Are you saying that I would be able to buy an Antlers dovetail clamp and adapter separately from a set of Antlers?
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#10 Jerry Holway

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:33 AM

Mark-yes the bigger dovetails are bigger. Measure them yourself using standard practices if you want to make your own.

I can't reveal Tiffen's true dimensions and tolerances for the dovetail, but it doesn't matter in this case as it is not a critical dimension for a screw in type dovetail grabber like Steve Fracol or the Antlers uses.

Moot, unless you have an adapter from one width to the other. Antlers has the adapter.

Not sure if you can buy separately the female dovetail grabber (email Brant Fagan, he may have a spare in stock). But you could certainly use it for your purposes.

Jerry
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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:58 AM

I can't reveal Tiffen's true dimensions and tolerances for the dovetail,

Jerry



You have got to be kidding me, Really Jerry? this is a new all time low in jackassery. It's a DOVETAIL PLATE.

My kit is being delivered to Panavision today (Prepping for Dexter) and I'll measure up a plate this afternoon and post the dimensions since it's something that Jerry is unable to do
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#12 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:02 PM

Thanks, Jerry.

Not concerned about critical dimensions. Not planning to try to fabricate my own dovetail...it's a grabber I'm interested in. (and for the narrow dovetail, anyway. I just was curious so I could call it an "88mm dovetail" or whatever it is. I'll just call it "big rig dovetail".)

Tiffen literature on the Zephyr lower dovetail is incomplete and misleading...seems to suggest that it's a "standard" or common width and doesn't specify that it's different from the big rigs' lower dovetail. Glad you clarified that.

Was hoping someone makes the equivalent of the base for the the Manfrotto quick-release, (or the catgriller) but in the proper width to grab the Archer/Zephyr dovetail, that could then be bolted to a longer slab of aluminum or a cheeseplate (which in turn would provide mounting options for aks via screws an/or velcro.)

I'll probably just find a cheeseplate and screw it to the 1/4-20 in the bottom of the sled and call it good for my current purposes.
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#13 Jerry Holway

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:23 PM

quote]


You have got to be kidding me, Really Jerry? this is a new all time low in jackassery. It's a DOVETAIL PLATE.


Eric-

Alas, I can't reveal exact dimensions AND tolerances.

As part of my deal with Tiffen, I can't reveal that stuff, nor can I choose which dimensions AND tolerances to reveal or not... no matter what you or I might think of this practice in this particular instance.

And as I said, it is not critical for this application anyway, so just measure as I suggested and anyone can get a reasonable profile, just as you say you will do today at Panavision. Please do.

What you will not get is what I cannot publish; the exact nominal dimension and tolerances, and how these are achieved for the standards maintained by Tiffen. Which are, again, non-critical in this case (but, alas, critical in other instances).

To another matter: Especially because you are a moderator on this forum, I suggest you should be more moderate in your choice of words. I gave as much information as I could to Mark, suggested how he should really measure his dovetail if he was going to make something of his own, suggested alternatives... tried to be helpful. You could have done the same - offered to measure a big dovetail - without the rest of it.

Jerry
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#14 thomas-english

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:56 PM

So in conclusion. This part is called a "Dovetail grabber"

Marrel have one for sale, Steve Fracol uses one and Brant Fagan may be able to sell one.

Will Tiffen be selling one too? and how soon? Will they have a battery module for sale as thats what I am looking for. I just have to re-jib its output cable for my MK-V

Thanks
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#15 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 03:10 PM

Will they [Tiffen] have a battery module for sale as thats what I am looking for

In the Ultra2 Manual (last paragraph on page 32)

However, if you also want 24 volts in this 12 volt/parallel mode, a third PowerCube battery can be added via an accessory IDX battery plate and special plug for the auxiliary power connector.

So I would assume they have something available such as what I had built by Terry West on my Fracolizer Base
Attached File  IMG_0552.jpg   62.33KB   148 downloads

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