September 27, 2012

Desmond DTR-1 Tripod Reducer-Spacer Review

While it is quite easy to convert an 1/4"-20 thread to a 3/8"-16 thread by using an appropriate conversion bushing the opposite is quite more difficult.
Nowadays, many tripod top mounting plates are equipped with a reversible stud which has both 3/8"-16 and 1/4"-20 threads, one at each side.

On the other hand, there are some older and a lot of contemporary professional tripods that have only a 3/8"-16 stud on their top mounting plate.
Take for example all flat top tripods without center column, like Gitzo's and Feisol's, as well as most of the Manfrotto's. There comes the need for a 3/8" to 1/4" reducer in order to attach equipment with only an 1/4" socket. And Desmond DTR-1 does exactly that!

The Reducer

Manufacturer Specification:
Base Diameter:59 mm (2.3")
Height:20 mm (0.79")
Top Mounting stud:1/4"-20 UNC
Bottom mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Weight:86 gr

Desmond DTR-1 came in a simple nylon bubble bag. But its feel is of finely machined and finished aluminium product. It is very nicely anodized in black satin color. The side is grooved in order to facilitate mounting and tightening on a tripod top mounting plate, while its surface is flat with only its 1/4"-20 stud protruding in the center.
The bottom side reveals the center 3/8"-16 threaded hole, cross braced to the sides with all other material removed in order to eliminate excess weight. Besides the hollow design, DTR-1 feels solid and is acoustically dead on knocking, which means that it is also a very good vibration insulator.
Although, the center 1/4"-20 stud is well fixed with a Loctite-like compound, it can be removed by the use of flat screw driver through the bottom hole. Just in case it breaks off, Desmond Photographic Distribution has replacement studs available.
Its diameter of 59mm fits on most tripod top mounting plates and is wide enough to hold a big number of  gear with an 1/4"-20 bottom hole.

Used as a spacer
Despite its original purpose as a reducer, DTR-1 may also play the role of  a spacer in situations that a flat top tripod would restrict the functionality of a low profile ball head.
Having in mind some comments I read, in a few reviews recently, I found that DTR-1 would be the solution for the owners of Gitzo® systematic or Feisol® tripods (without a center column) who would like to use a low profile ball head like the Sunwayfoto XB-44

Just by adding a 1/4'-20 to 3/8"-16 conversion bushing on top of DTR-1 you may have a nice spacer...
...that will allow full tilting of the head clamp in any direction. Without fearing the bubble level hitting on the tripod mounting plate. 
While it would also permit full side tilting of a camera in portrait orientation, once again avoiding to hit on the tripod large top mounting plate as the ones found on Gitzo's and Feisol's among others.
Excellent machining and finishing.
Excellent structural strength.
Low weight.
Very good price.


A very nice and low priced solution for anyone in need of a thread reducer or even more of a sturdy and vibration free spacer.

Note: The DTR-1 Tripod Reducer presented in this article was kindly offered by Desmond Photographic Distribution, USA for evaluation and review.

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2012 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Current price for the DTR-1 is US$ 13.97 9.95 while it is available from Amazon or from eBay

Referenced Articles:

Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review

Relevant Articles:

Desmond DBA-1 Bogen (Manfrotto) / Arca Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-01 50mm Quick Release Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-02 60mm Quick Release Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-04 Arca/Slidefix Quick Release Clamp Review

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