October 18, 2012

Desmond DAC-02 60mm Quick Release Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-02 60mm Quick Release Clamp
DAC-02 is another nice Arca-Swiss® compatible quick release clamp complementing the Desmond clamp range .
It is a little larger than DAC-01 Quick Release Clamp reviewed recently, featuring a jaw length of 6 cm instead.

Except for the size the two clamps differ in the bubble level positioning. Most of their other characteristics are the same, therefore you may find these two reviews quite similar.

The clamp
Manufacturer Specification:
Height:18.0 mm
Width with Screw Knob:83.0 mm
Jaw Length:60.0 mm (2.36")
Metal Converter:3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20
Weight:124 gr

Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp w/ box & bushing
DAC-02 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.
Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp top view
Same feeling as with the other Desmond products I have reviewed recently, when unpacking and holding DAC-02 in your hands. Sturdiness, very good machining and finishing of a high quality product. For sure the price tag is far less than expected. 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.
The 33mm long, captive screw knob is of one piece design, with a grooved surface for good handling even with gloves.
What differs on DAC-02 compared with the other Desmond QR clamps is the slightly larger bubble level and its positioning. In this clamp the bubble level resided on a small plate, put outside the steady jaw, just opposite the screw knob. In my opinion this placement outside the clamping area is more convenient, since the bubble level is always visible. It permits final adjustments, even after the clamp is loaded with heavy equipment, where their weight may alter the balance, thus the leveling of the head.
Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp bottom view
The bottom is flat, equally well finished, with obvious now the center hole 3/8"-16 thread and the alignment/anti-twist grooves for certain types of ball heads. Something that also differs from the other clamps in the Desmond family is the cross type anti-twist groove aside the center hole. With this type of anti-twist grooves the clamp may be rotated by 90 degrees on certain heads and especially rails with anti-twist bosses, changing the orientation of the jaws accordingly.
Except for the grooves, there is a small headless hex screw that hold the bubble level plate in place. By loosening this small screw the bubble level can be removed at will.
The moving jaw tongues are classic in design, from end to end letting a small glimpse of the push-back springs when opened. The jaw opens and closes very smoothly via the screw knob, due to the very small tolerances and the thick silicone-grease.

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)...

Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp w/ Triopo RS-3 ball head + 6M screw + hex key
...or as with most ball heads nowadays that have a threaded hole and anti-twist bosses, simply by aligning it on the bosses and by using an M6 or an 1/4"-20 flat head screw, tighten it with the appropriate Allen hex key.
Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp onTriopo RS-3 ball head
The clamp is perfectly aligned and fixed in place as pictured above.

Using with an Arca compatible plate/rail.

Desmond DAC-02 QR Clamp w/ Hejnar G13-80 MP rail
The clamp can accept Arca compatible plates from 5cm long with M3 safety-screws attached, or even smaller without safety screws. However, its larger jaw size is more appropriate for use with long lens plates or long rails, loaded with heavier gear as it gives more clamping surface and clamping power. This fact allows more room for the fore-aft adjustment of a long rail better than small clamps while it offers more security when handling heavier gear.

Arca-Swiss® Compatibility
The DAC-02 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" (16 mm) 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
Jaw Length60.00
Steady Jaw Height05.88
Moving Jaw Height05.84
Min Jaw Lip Opening32.94
Max Jaw Lip Opening37.18
Min Base Opening39.20
Max Base Opening44.10

The orange figures in the above specs are a little over 5 mm which is considered the middle of the dovetail V cut. As mentioned also in the Desmond DAC-01 50mm Quick Release Clamp Review there will be no issue with standard 10 mm high plates but only with the ones that are thinner than 10 mm.
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.
Anyway, 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.

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 and always visible Bubble level included.

Slightly higher weight than average for the clamp size.
A small compatibility issue due to the jaws height.

Desmond clamps are not racing for lightweight champions, but their weight is an acceptable fact since as I had explained in the Desmond DBA-1 Bogen (Manfrotto) / Arca Clamp Reviewlowering the weigh by a few grams would involve extra machining and finishing time, which would subsequently rise the manufacturing cost substantially.
The small issue with the clamp jaws is not so significant for the majority of camera plates and rails expected to be used with this clamp. Nevertheless, while it has a low price tag, it maintains the same Desmond good quality standards and excellent Value for Money !

Note : The DAC-02 Quick Release Clamp 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 DAC-02 is US$ 29.98 19.95 and is available from Amazon or from eBay

Relevant Articles:

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

Desmond DAC-01 50mm Quick Release Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-04 Arca/Slidefix Quick Release Clamp Review

Desmond DTR-1 Tripod Reducer Review


  1. Hi -- thanks for this review. I'm wondering if you could comment on the size of the knob. I'm trying to mount a camera to a flush base, rather than on a head. That is, essentially the tripod screw is sticking out of a piece of flat granite. Would this mount properly here, or does the width of the screw prevent the base of the clamp from laying flat?

    1. Hi, you're welcome.
      Unfortunately the screw-knob extends by 3mm below the bottom surface of the clamp. Almost all QR clamp screw-knobs are designed that way in order to avoid interference with the equipment mount above the clamp and not below the clamp.
      In your case a spacer of a least 4mm is needed between the clamp and the flat surface you described.
      I could propose Sunwayfoto MPP-01 Mini Mate Plate Adapter that would also act as an anti-twisting device if properly set.

  2. Knowing the height issue, has the problem been fixed during the two years since this review? Will this clamp work with the Sunwayfoto DP-50 since it is 9mm thick?

    1. Although the Sunwayfoto DP-50 is 9mm thick its dovetail height is still 5 mm. It will work with a little higher jaws, but I would not recommend. Better use with Desmond DAC-X1 or DLVC-50 clamps instead.