Whenever I see or have to evaluate a low budget item, there is always a question in my mind. What were the compromises made to justify the low price?
Is it due to inferior quality materials, missing parts or functions, or serious design flows?
Somehow, it is reasonable to expect less from low priced products.
Then, when I received this small and low priced clamp, its robustness, excellent finishing and fitting, with very small tolerances, made me realize I was holding an exception in my hands.
|Width with Screw Knob:||83.0 mm|
|Jaw Length:||50.0 mm (1.97")|
|Metal Converter:||3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20|
|DAC-01 comes in a small plain white box with a model and code sticker. It is wrapped in an air-bubble bag and is accompanied by a good quality 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 reducer bushing.|
|When unpacking and holding DAC-01 in your hands you get the impression of a sturdy, very well machined and finished, quality product. So well finished, that as happened with the Desmond DBA-1 Bogen (Manfrotto) / Arca Clamp reviewed last month, if I weren't aware of the price tag, I would have though that it costs quite more. The clamp is made totally out of Aluminium with no rubber parts. A simple design with flat surfaces, two deep safety-screw relief grooves on the sides and a countersunk hole in the center which is also threaded 3/8"-16.|
In one of the grooves lies one clear bubble level, for those that need one. The 33mm long, captive screw knob is of one piece design, with a grooved surface for good handling even with gloves.
Update Oct 2013
Fitting the QR clamp on a Ball head
Depending on the ball head design the clamp can be mounted on top a ball head stem either by screwing it directly on a 3/8" or an 1/4" stud (via the conversion bushing)...
|...or in most cases simply by using an M6 or an 1/4"-20 flat head screw and an Allen hex key...|
|...the clamp is aligned and fixed in place.|
Using with an Arca compatible plate.
|The clamp can accept Arca compatible plates from 5cm long with M3 safety-screws attached, or even smaller without safety screws.|
|Thanks to the deep safety stop relief grooves the 6 cm plate pictured above can move in by 1 cm on each side for better alignment of the attached equipment.|
The DAC-01 quick release clamp was tested with various camera plates and lens plates, as well as with multi purpose long rails of various thicknesses and widths. Plates / Rails tested were from Benro, Kiwi Fotos, Fotoporo, Marumi and Hejnar PHOTO, showing a small issue with very narrow rails like the Kiwi fotos and 5/8" (16mm) thick rails from Benro and Hejnar PHOTO.
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|
|Steady Jaw Height||05.93|
|Moving Jaw Height||05.74|
|Min Jaw Lip Opening||32.85|
|Max Jaw Lip Opening||37.13|
|Min Base Opening||38.85|
|Max Base Opening||44.18|
All other dimensions fall within the average limits, consisting the clamp compatible with a large number of Arca-Swiss® type plates and rails.
In regard of the 5/8" (16 mm) thick rails mentioned above, due to their different design dovetails, there might be an issue of the clamp jaw hitting the rail side. With a little manipulation the rails will be clamped but may cause a little frustration to some users.
However, the clamp jaws are very strong and due to the very small tolerances there is no play or deformation of the moving jaw as with some really cheap clamps. In order to be on the safe side, before recommending this clamp I conducted a load test.
I clamped a 5/8" thick rail on the DAC-01 in vertical orientation (perpendicular to the floor) and then hang from the rail slot a few sand sacks (which I use as balance or stabilizers for large boom stands) totaling 15 kg (33 lbs). Nothing moved, nothing slipped, rock solid.
I have contacted Desmond Photographic Distribution on the matter and was informed that they have pinpointed the issue, and that their engineer is working on it, so next batches will be even more compatible.
Exceptional machining, finishing and anodizing quality for the price.
Excellent fitting with very small tolerances.
Very smooth operation.
Good quality metal 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 conversion bushing included.
Accurate Bubble level included.
Slightly higher weight than average for the clamp size.
A small compatibility issue due to the jaws height.
Regarding the clamp's weight, is an acceptable fact since as I had explained in the Desmond DBA-1 Bogen (Manfrotto) / Arca Clamp Review, lowering the weigh by a few grams would involve extra machining and finishing time, which would subsequently rise the manufacturing cost substantially.
As for the clamp jaws height is not going to be an issue for the majority of camera plates and rails expected to be used with this clamp, not even with thick rails since the clamp jaws are strong enough to hold heavy gear. Nevertheless, I chose to mention the above, since I believe that positive criticism brings improvement, which in turn leads to perfection.
And I still believe this clamp is an exception if we consider its quality standards and the fact that it is targeted to the low-budget market segment, with a very low price tag.
As this is the third Desmond product reviewed, I realize that all of them have very good quality standards and offer excellent Value for Money !
Note : The DAC-01 Quick Release Clamp presented in this article was kindly offered by Desmond Photographic Distribution, USA, for evaluation and review.
I hope you found the review useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2012 S.C.Vlachos
Price & Availability:
Current price for the DAC-01 is US$
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Desmond DBA-1 Bogen (Manfrotto) / Arca Clamp Review
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