Miller Tripod to Kessler Quick Release Modification

One thing that really bugs me when shooting is having to change mounting plates on my cameras to make them work with my tripods, sliders, jibs etc. In the past I’ve used Miller Tripods QR system which allows you to use the same tripod plate from the Solo DV20 head on other bits of kit.  Then when I started using DSLR’s I became a fan of the Manfrotto 394 quick release plates and fitted them to everything that I could.

When I started shooting on the C300 and C100 I wanted to use something more heavy duty than the Manfrotto system so reverted to the Miller QR plates for a while. The  Miller system works well but it has a few drawbacks such as having to slide the plate into the mount from the back which isn’t always possible. The Miller QR plates are also not flat on the bottom so they can’t be mounted to everything.

Miller QR

I eventually decided to try out the Kessler Quick Release system and after using it for a few months I absolutely love it. The Kessler system allows you to attach the camera from above and once the bright red release latch engages you know the camera isn’t going to fall off, then there’s also a cam operated locking lever that fully secures the camera in place.

kwik_system-3

Kessler provide various plate sizes depending on the usage you have in mind, I have them fitted to my cameras, the bottom of my Stealth slider, and one on the base of my pocket jib traveller. I fitted the receiver plates to my tripods and one to my mini ball head so that I can swap my cameras between any tripod, the slider or the jib without swapping plates. I can also mount my slider or the jib to any of my tripods so whatever configuration I opt for it works without any messing around swapping plates.

One thing that I wasn’t so keen on though was the fact that I had to mount the Kessler receiver plate on top of a Miller tripod plate to then fit that into my Miller Solo DS20 tripod. Setting up that way works okay but it’s one more thing that can work loose and also adds a little more bulk and likely more flexing when the camera is mounted. A much better solution would be to mount the Kessler receiver plate directly to the tripod head.

The Miller receiver can be easily removed from the DV20 head by removing the four bolts that hold it in place. As you can see though this doesn’t offer any way to then mount the Kessler Kwik Release so an adapter plate is going to be needed.

photo 1

If you’re good at working with metal it would be a fairly easy process to create a rectangle plate that has the four required holes to bolt it to the head and at least one threaded hole int he centre to allow the Kessler plate to be mooted to that. I don’t have the required tools to do such a job myself but I discovered a work around using the Miller 313 QR system.

If you look at one of Millers 313 Quick Release plates you’ll notice that it’s basically identical to the one fitted to the solo DV head, but in order to make it fit on other devices Miller have attached a metal plate that has four threaded holes in the corners to allow the plate to be bolted to it and a pair of threaded holes in the middle. This plate is perfect for creating an adapter for the tripod.

Unfortunately there are some modifications that you need to make though. The four holes in the corners of the adapter plate are threaded and don’t have the countersunk recesses required so that the heads of the bolts sit flush inside the plate. I modified mine by drilling out enough metal to allow the bolt heads to sit flush. Be careful with this though, if you go all the way through it won’t work. The holes near the recess on one end of the plate do cut through the side slightly but not enough to cause any problems with strength.

You’ll also need to use a smaller drill bit to remove the threads from the remaining part of the small holes in the corners so that the bolts can be inserted and then tightened in to the threads in the tripod head. Please note that these modifications render the plate unusable with the 313 QR plate any further.

No modifications are required to the tripod head itself though, please don’t make the mistake of doing anything to your tripod head!
photo 2

Whether you make a plate or take one from a Miller QR system once it’s in place you just have to bolt the Kessler Kwik Release to it. For maximum strength and durability it would be best to have an additional threaded hole cut into the plate so that the Kessler Kwik Release can be attached at two points. For now I’ve stuck with just the one and mine has been rock solid but I’d still like to have another thread cut in at some point.

photo 3

So there you have it, the Miller tripod looks like it was created with the Kessler system and it’s super solid and more compact than the original Miller plate. A Miller 313 plate is around $190 so it’s probably not worth buying one just to do this, plus it’s a non reversible modification for the 313.

If you do have a spare Miller 313 plate though or you can have a plate made up it works really well. With Kessler receiver plates on all of my kit mounting cameras to supports or even supports to supports is always easy and reliable.

photo 4

 

The Kessler Kwick Release systems can be found at Kesslers website

The Miller 313 QR plate is available from B&H Photo

The Miller DS20 Tripod is available from B&H Photo

 

 

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    • Brendan Yee
    • March 26th, 2014 1:15am

    Hi Paul,

    I reside and run a small video production company in the Fiji Islands. I have had the same issues like you, as I have used Miller Tripods for many years. I would like to try the Kessler Kwik Release system, so your post has been awesome in helping figure out what to do. However I am still unsure as to which “metal plate” (pic 4) you are referring to, that needed the modification done to. On my Miller DS20 head I only have the standard QR plate which came with the head and looks nothing like your pic. If I remove that there is only the tripod head with the four threaded holes in each corner. Can you clarify. Thanks a tonne.
    I’m a big fan of your work. Regards, Brendan

    • Hi Brendan, sorry for the late reply. The plate was one of Millers additional receiver plates that can be purchased. They are expensive though so if you don’t already have one then I’d recommend going to a machine shop and asking them to make a plate up for you. It just needs to be a flat plate with countersunk bolts in the corners for mounting to the tripod and tapped threads in the middle for mounting the Kessler Kwik Release.

      I hope that helps

      Paul

        • Brendan
        • July 11th, 2014 8:20pm

        Hi Paul. Thanks I understand now. Btw apologies for the late reply.
        Much appreciated.

        Brendan

  1. I was looking for a way to combine the Kessler Kwik release with my DS20 and came across your brilliant post. Thank you! I used the 313 plate, drilled the holes with a couple of titanium drills, which cut through like butter. Works great!

  2. Hi Paul just came across your post so thanks for putting it up. Just wanted to ask is this possible with the Compass 20 head from Miller? Also i am buying that head with solo carbon fibre legs and was wondering if the philip Bloom pocket Dolly Traveller length can be used with the Miller Compass 20 solo carbon fibre legs configuration. I really hope you have time to reply thanks Paul

    • I’ve not tried that head Paul so I really couldn’t tell you for sure but looking at photo’s the Miller QR system seems to still attach with bolts so in theory could be removed and replaced with a blank plate. I wouldn’t like to guess whether or not the screw holes are the same distance as the DV20 though, they look to be wider apart.

        • Sam Bocca
        • February 10th, 2015 11:01am

        Thanks for your article Paul, it’s been very helpful on a number of levels.

        I also have a c100, a compass20, a PB 2′ pocket dolly and 3x kessler kwick releases which I bought on special. I’m now trying to figure out how to make it all work.

        As you mention, it may not be worth paying $200 for the 313 just to get a flat plate if it did in fact fit the compass20, although I’m not sure how else to get something to to the job. I downloaded the DS20 and Compass20 manuals and no dimensions for the plate attachment points.

        Getting one manufactured sounds complex and potentially costly… guess I’d have to ring around to find out. It would be good to find something read-made though, so if anyone finds something, please let us know.

        • Hi Sam. I’ve had no experience with the Compass but if it’s similar to the DS20 manufacturing one should be that tricky. ultimately its just a rectangular block with four countersunk holes for the bolts and a threaded hole in the centre. I could probably make one myself if I had the tools so I would imagine any machine shop or handyman with the right drill bits and taps would be able to make one a lot cheaper than buying a 313 plate.

    • Simon
    • July 23rd, 2017 8:05pm

    Hey Paul, great article. Couldn’t you just attach the Kessler QR Base to the Miller QR Plate using their two attachment screws? I’m guessing you tried this – did it not work for some reason? Thanks.

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