I preface every review with the same disclosure. I am not a professional. I do not shoot test charts. I do not try every lens with every camera. All opinions are my own, and are only based upon my own experiences with the gear. I haven’t had a ton of gear, or all of the expensive gear. I won’t list every specification or test for every specification. My review is not meant for professionals – if you are a professional, you shouldn’t need a review from an amateur. The information below is simply my own observations while doing normal photography, and is for other car enthusiasts and amateurs like myself.
I decided to get a new Arca-Swiss compatible lens plate for my Nikon 80-200mm AF-S. I was previously using my top plate from my Dolica tripod as a lens plate, but I couldn’t get it to keep from twisting when using it on my Feisol monopod, so it was time to just get the right plate. I initially wanted to get the RRS plate, as I have the RRS BD600 plate on my camera, but after looking at it, it wasn’t anything special. Add in the fact that it would really be used mainly on my Feisol monopod that I use a Sunwayfoto discal clamp on, it didn’t really make sense to drop extra cash on it just to say “RRS”.
I then looked a the Kirk and the Sunwayfoto options. The Kirk plate was just as expensive as the RRS plate, but was really made specifically for the 80-200mm AF-S. It was a perfect as you could get, but itreally couldn’t be used on another lens, if I choose to later. I decided to pass on the Kirk and look at the Sunwayfoto option, which was a universal plate for almost half the price of the Kirk and RRS plates.
The Sunwayfoto plate was universal, and seemed to be what I needed, and it was a nice match to the discal clamp that I already own. The problem was one of the reviews that I saw about it. In the product photos, it clearly shows that it has safety stop screws, which were a requirement of mine (along with it being Arca-Swiss compatible). One reviewer said that when he received his plate, it did not have any safety screws included with it, nor had the thread in the bottom of the plate for them to screw into. That was a no-go for me.
I knew from looking at clamps and plates before that there was another good option that most people don’t seem to know about. The Chinese company, Kiwifotos, seems to have copied RSS and Sunwayfoto several times, and produces decent plates and clamps. I decided to see what they had, and sure enough, they had a nice Arca-Swiss compatible plate with safety screws, and for far less than anyone else offered. I immediately ordered it. The model is an LP-86, and its dimensions are 11.80mm x 86.55mm x 38.10mm, and it weighs only 112 grams. The LP obviously stands for “lens plate” and the “86” must stand for the length. The material that they make it from is stated to be satin black anodized aluminum and it has a flange on the back like the RRS plates to prevent the lens from twisting on the plate, but I still recommend that you use Lock-tite on the screws, of course.
The LP-86 is the shortest of the set of long lens plates that Kiwifotos offers. They also offered a LP-100, LP-115, LP-150, and a LP-169. All are available on eBay through the seller, “rainbowimaging”. They had this handy photo on their eBay listing that shows the sizes and what they fit. Their shipping was quick, so I feel that they can be a recommended seller.
As soon as I saw the box that it came in, I knew that they were either copying Sunwayfoto’s boxes now, or are made at the same factory. The plate was exactly as described, fit perfectly, and had the safety stop screws with it. It also had the screw locations to mount an RSS or Kirk flash mount to it, although I don’t plan to get one. The plate easily fit my Arca Swiss compatible clamps, and I am not worried about this one twisting around.
It was obvious that the quality was good, and that I had made the correct choice. At a third of the price of the RSS or Kirk, it was the best deal for a lens plate by far.
I have been using the plate on the 80-200mm for a couple of months now, and I am pleased with it. It works well, and I can’t see why you would consider spending more on another plate, as this one does everything that I need it to, and works perfectly. The slide stops work beautifully with Arca Swiss compatible clamps.