Zacuto Mini Baseplate
Although I really like my Cinevate Proteus rails for using a 35mm adapter, they are a little bit cumbersome when I just want to add a matte-box and follow focus to my EX1 or 5D. I was hoping that the Genus advanced adapter plate that I purchased with my matte-box would do this job but I wasn’t very happy with that one.
I’ve read a lot about the Zacuto products so thought I’d try their Mini Baseplate out. I ordered mine from B&H and it arrived within a few days. The baseplate itself is definitely a high quality product, it’s well engineered and feels like it will last a lifetime. Like the Genus, this one also allows for both horizontal and vertical adjustment, but over and above the genus the range of adjustment is much higher and is locked with six allen head bolts making it very very solid once set up.
The device itself works great, I use a manfrotto low profile quick release plate on it when using my 5d which works well. I also tried using it on my EX1 to mount mu Genus matte-box but ran into a couple of snags. Firstly, for some reason the mounting plate will not screw into the EX1 and lock fully. Once the locking bolt is tightened there is still play between the camera and the plate, I think that the thread may be a little bit too long, either that or the metal base plate needs to have some kind of rubber strips added to allow the two parts lock together more securely.
The biggest problem I ran into with this baseplate though is to do with the mounting of tripod adapter plates. For some reason Zacuto decided to add the thread right at the front edge of the bottom of the baseplate, which does not make for a very secure joint with a tripod at all. When I used it with my EX1 on a recent shoot I ended up having to wrap duck tape over the rear of the rods and down to the back of my tripod plate to stop the flexing that happens between the two.
[update 22/12/2009 - 23:10]
I contacted Zacuto to ask about this problem and was contacted by their Product Designer who explained that they have become aware of this issue and have introduced a modification to the base-plate so that it has a thread at both ends allowing a tripod plate such as the one I use with my Miller DS-20 to be attached much more securely. Zacuto sent me the following image which I have edited to highlight the additional thread which is not present on the version I have.
I’m going to send my base-plate back to Zacuto for a replacement with this modification, I’ll post an update when I get it back.
Zacuto turned my mini baseplate around in no time at all and now that it has two mounting threads it’s solid as a rock. I use it all the time now on both my Sony EX1 and Canon DSLR.
To purchase the Zacuto mini-baseplate visit B&H Photo Video