Redneck Tripod Modifications

Quick release plate and neoprene washer

Slik Sprint Pro II quick release plate with 1 1/4" neoprene fender washer

About a year ago, I got a Slik Sprint Pro II tripod.  It is amazingly lightweight and very small when travelling, but has 4 sections on each leg which make it tall enough for a 6’3″ dude like me.

Hands down, I love this tripod.  I got it on a recommendation from Patrick Smith and I haven’t regretted it.  The downside, though, is that Slik decided to use cork on the quick release plate.  Why?  Is rubber really that expensive?

Along with the plate’s diminutive size, this causes it to have a very poor grip on the camera.  As a result, when shooting in a portrait orientation, the camera has a tendency to rotate on the screw and not sit still.  I cannot tell you how many lost shots I’ve gotten not only because of the camera moving during the shot, but just out of frustration and giving up.

Now, I could go order a nice head for the tripod and drop a hundred dollars.  Yes, that would be nice.  But I’m broke.  Instead, I was using my Panosaurus pano head one day and realized it had a neoprene washer on the vertical arm to prevent it from doing the very same thing I was seeking to stop.  Ding!

Last weekend, I went to Home Depot and grabbed a 1 1/4″ neoprene washer with a 1/4″ hole.  I threw it between the plate and the camera and I’m happy to report the problem is completely solved.  My grand total?  $0.73 before tax.  And that’s a lot better than a $125 ball head.

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