January 9, 2015

Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b 1.5" Quick Release Clamp Review

Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp

The Hejnar Photo F61b clamp reviewed in this article is a 3rd generation successor to the Hejnar Photo F012A Quick Release Clamp which I had reviewed back in July 2011.
An interim version of this clamp was shown also in my Hejnar PHOTO F60 1" Quick Release clamp Review.

The latest design is now more distinctive, as we shall see further down in a close comparison, making the clamp recognizable from the previous versions by the new safety stop-screw relief grooves and of course the decimal scales on both jaws.

Packaging and Contents

Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp packed in bag
The Hejnar Photo F61b arrived in padded envelope further enclosed in a zip-lock nylon bag, with the top opening sealed with folded Hejnar Card. The hard folded card carries the model sticker with appropriate bar-code at the back.
Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp package contents
The F61b clamp comes together with one 1/4"-20 screw, ½" (1,27cm) long and one Allen Hex key in a separate small zip-lock bag.

The clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Model:F61b
Jaw Length:1.5" (3.81 cm)
Weight:84 gr (3.0 oz)
Countersunk/Threaded hole:1 x 3/8"-16
Short Captive Screw Knob:Stops at maximum opening
Material:6061-T6 Aluminium
Color:Black hard coat anodized
Hardware:Stainless Steel
Made in :USA

Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp top view
As all Hejnar Photo products it is machined from 6061-T6 Aluminium and is black hard coat anodized with a clear knob and weighs only 72 gr (2.54 oz) measured on electronic scales. The center socket is countersunk on top but also threaded 3/8”-16. 
As mentioned in the begining, a significant improvement comes with the deep relief grooves which make the clamps compatible with most if not all the brands of rails and plates equipped with M3 safety stop screws. The safety screws prevent the plates/rails from free fall in case the clamp is not closed properly. The relief grooves actually let a rail or a camera plate move further inside from the edge of the clamp in order achieve balancing within the width of the clamp.
Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp bottom view
On the bottom (or back side) of the clamp we can see the usual groove running across the center threaded hole. This groove matches the width of the anti-twist bosses found on the stem of some ball heads. The groove is somehow elongated due to the existence of two 5 mm side dowel pin holes at its ends. The F61 clamps have another dowel pin hole in front of the center hole intended for the proper alignment of the clamps on the Hejnar Photo series of nodal rails.
The front side under the steady jaw is hollow in order to minimize the clamp's mass as much as possible.
Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp tongue in pocket detail


Although quite smaller, the Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b QR Clamp uses in pocket tongues to assure smooth and linear movement of the moving jaw; much like all the larger Hejnar QR clamps as the Hejnar Photo Updated F62Ab Quick Release Clamp reviewed in the past. This design warrants less dirt and debris accumulation in the return spring sockets, which may be the case with clamps with exposed springs, therefore minimizing cleaning requirements.
Further to that the jaws stay aligned with the geometry of the clamped plates, eliminating bending forces.

Comparison with the Previous Versions
Laid aside each other starting from the left, the original Hejnar Photo F010A QR Clamp (review) with its larger clear aluminium screw knob, in the middle the original F61b QR clamp with a smaller black screw knob and finally on the right the updated F61b QR clamp reviewed here.

Hejnar PHOTO F012 aside F61b and Updated F61b QR Clamps
The progress in the design of the Hejnar 1.5" clamp is evident in the photo above.

The latest update has deeper safety stop relief grooves and is easily spotted by the more detailed laser engraved decimal scales. The simple Φ marks indicating the center of the jaw width on each jaw are replaced with a laser engraved full decimal scale divided in 1mm increments showing larger marks with digits in 1cm intervals. The numbers are increasing from the center (0) outwards. Besides that the weight is marginally lower by 12 gr due to the safety relief grooves.

Mounting on a Nodal/Macro Rail...
The Hejnar F61b* 1.5" QR clamp due to its width, is the natural companion to almost all of the Hejnar Nodal Slides. Especially now that the updated F61b version features safety stop relief grooves becomes more versatile permitting a lateral adjustment of a camera plate within the clamp jaws.

Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b mounting seq. on E030-60 6" Nodal Slide Rail
Mounting sequence of the Hejnar PHOTO Updated F61b on the Hejnar Photo E030-60 6" Nodal Slide Rail.

As an example the 6" Hejnar E030-60 nodal slide is used above. The updated Hejnar F61b 1.5" QR clamp can be attached very easily in line with or perpendicular to the rail. After the insertion of one or both of the included alignment dowel pins, aside of the 1/4"-20 mounting hole. We only need to tighten the 1/4"-20 flat head screw included with the QR clamp and the clamp is automatically aligned and secured.
You may seek more details abut the E030 rail in the Hejnar PHOTO Updated E030-60 6" Nodal Slide Rail Review



Mounted on a ball head
The following mounting examples were picked in order to illustrate the possible options according to the ball head design. The F61b QR clamp can either be mounted on top of a ball head stem via its 3/8" threaded center hole...


Hejnar Photo F61b QR Clamp with Desmond DBH ball head
A Desmond DBH ball head which features a 3/8"-16 stud atop its ball stem is used for the illustration. All in all we need is simply to screw-on the F61b using the center 3/8"-16 threaded hole.
Hejnar Photo F61b mounted on Desmond DBH ball head
In this case and as I have mentioned many times, the ball has to be locked very well in order to deliver the appropriate resistance for tightening the QR clamp on top of the stud. Due to lack of anti-twist bosses on the ball stem, a drop of medium thread-lock compound (like the Loctite blue) on the stud should be applied before screwing the clamp and left to cure for 24 hours.
Or via an M6 or 1/4"-20 screw passing it through its center hole.

Hejnar Photo F61b QR Clamp with Triopo RS-3 ball head
In this case the ball stem should feature anti-twist bosses and a threaded hole like the Triopo RS-3 Ball Head (Review) used for the illustration above. The F61b QR clamp must be attached on the RS-3 using an M6 flat head screw with a hex socket on the head.
Hejnar Photo F61b mounted on Triopo RS-3 ball head
Just by inserting and tightening the flat head screw with the appropriate 4mm Allen hex key, the clamp is automatically aligned and secured on top of the ball head.

Arca-Swiss® Compatibility
The F61b quick release clamp, besides the Hejnar PHOTO own rails, was also tested with various camera plates and lens plates, as well as with multipurpose long rails of various thicknesses and widths. Plates / Rails tested were from Benro, Kiwi Fotos, Fotoporo, and Marumi with excellent results.

For the readers that like numbers, I hereunder quote detailed measurements of the clamp Jaw dimensions, so as they can decide whether this clamp is compatible with the dimensions of their plates or rails.

Clamp Jaw dimensions        mm
Jaw Length60.35
Steady Jaw Height05.01
Moving Jaw Height04.95
Min Jaw Lip Opening31.63
Max Jaw Lip Opening37.77
Min Base Opening39.40
Max Base Opening46.05

All dimensions fall within the average limits, consisting this clamp compatible with almost any Arca-Swiss® type plate and rail.

Pros
Very nice sturdy and dirt-proof design.
Very precise machining, very good finishing and anodizing.
Excellent clamping strength.
Excellent Compatibility with virtually any Arca-Swiss® type plate or rail dovetail.
Good value for money.

Cons
None found at the time of review.

Conclusion
This is a very strong and sturdy QR clamp, with adequate clamping surfaces, designed to support even heavy loads in any orientation very effectively, while maintaining a small footprint.
Needless to say that the uses of the clamp are not restricted to the ones set as examples in this article, since you may find more in the list of relevant articles below utilizing its F012 or F61 predecessors.
Once again an excellent product example, coming from a relatively small US manufacturer within the tremendous flood of Chinese Arca style clamps.

Disclaimer:
This review and test was run on a single product sample, using the specifically described methods. Independent of the favorable or unfavorable results of any test, a test on a single product can not be used as a rule, unless more samples of the same product are tested. Furthermore, similar comparison tests should be run with comparative capabilities products so as to reach a solid conclusion.


Note: The F61b Quick Release Clamp presented in this article was kindly offered by Hejnar Photo for evaluation and review.

I hope you found the review useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos ©2015 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Current price for the F61b clamp is US$ 45.00 (+Shipping where applicable) and is available from the Hejnar Photo Store.

If you are interested in the product, do check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon before ordering.

Referenced Articles:
Hejnar PHOTO Updated E030-60 6" Nodal Slide Rail Review
Create a Heavy Duty HDR Multi-Row Panorama Head
Desmond DBH Tension Control Ball Head Review
Triopo RS-3 Ball Head Review

Relevant articles:
Hejnar Photo Updated F62Ab Quick Release Clamp Review
Hejnar Photo New! Quick Release Clamp Series
Hejnar PHOTO F60 1" Quick Release clamp
Hejnar Photo F010A and F012 Quick Release Clamps

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