October 1, 2012

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 Mini Mate Plate Adapter Review

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 Mini Mate Plate Adapter overviewAnother useful gadget among the Sunwayfoto line of accessories is the MPP-01 Biderectional Mini Mate Plate Adapter.
What is so interesting about a mini mate plate?

Well, of course the original intention of Sunwayfoto designers was to find a simple method of attaching and aligning two of their quick release clamps back to back, in any orientation between them, without any intervention in the clamp design itself.
Somehow, this simple but clever idea makes these mate plates universal. Any two quick release clamps that have anti-twist grooves at the bottom, beside their center hole, equal or greater than 20,6 mm in length, can be attached back to back forming a subtend or bidirectional clamp.
But not only! ...

The Mini Plate

Manufacturer Specification:
Model:MPP-01 Mini Mate Plate
Type:Dual Drop Notch Classic
Outer Plate Size:35 x 35 mm
Inner Plate Size:21 x 21 mm
Total Length of two bosses:20,6 mm
Captive Flat Head Screw:One x 1/4"-20
Weight:10 gr

The Mini Mate Plate comes in a molded PVC case on top of a black sponge which immobilizes the contents during transport.

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 in plastic case

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 case back labels
On the back side of the case there is a large white label with item description and specs, together with a barcode sticker.
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 case contents
By separating and unfolding the case surfaces from the top, the contents come out. The two  mate plates  are accompanied by an 1/4"-20 flat head screw 22mm long, a conversion bushing and an Allen hex key.

The plate Concept
The concept is based on a simple, therefore clever idea. MPP-01 consists of two small rectangular plates that have anti-twist bosses on one side beside their center hole. The larger one has a recess equal to the size of the smaller one, where the smaller can rotate by 90 degrees. In this way the clamps attached on each side may be oriented with their jaws either parallel or perpendicular to each other.

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 assembly
The outer plate size is 35 X 35 mm and 4mm thick, while the inner plate is 21 X 21 mm by 2 mm thick. Total thickness is equal to the outer plate thickness of 4mm (0.157") as the inner plate sits inside the outer plate's recess. (see photo above top right). The larger outer plate has also two recesses on either edge beside the anti-twist bosses in order to facilitate its removal from the bottom of a clamp.

Using the Mini Mate Plate
With any two clamps...
In order to illustrate how easy is to use the MPP-1 as an alignment mechanism for the attachment of two quick release clamps back to back, I have chosen two clamps of dissimilar design, from two different manufacturers with the only characteristic in common their compatible anti-twist grooves.

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 assembly w/ clamps & hardware
Pictured above are Desmond DAC-02 60mm clamp on the left, Hejnar Photo F012A  60mm on the rigth and the MPP-01 parts in the middle. The clamps are similar in size but dissimilar in design.
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 assembly - clamps bottom grooves
As fore mentioned, their common characteristic is the anti-twist grooves at the bottom. Still different is size but compatible with MPP-01. All that needs to be done is to screw the conversion bushing in one of the clamps' 3/8"-16 threaded hole, then align the small plates to the desired orientation, insert them between them and...
Subtend clamps via Sunwayfoto MPP-01
And tighten the flat head screw on the other side. A subtend clamp is ready!

With DDH-02 compact panning clamp...
On the other hand, I have chosen Sunwayfoto DDH-02 panning clamp, which is designed solely to be attached on a ball head, in order to illustrate that its use can be expanded in further applications via the MPP-01. Matched with another Sunwayfoto clamp I had handy and clamped on a long rail, it can perform very nicely as a rotator on a lightweight stereography rig.

Sunwayfoto MPP-01 + DDH-02 + XB-44 clamps
Pictured above are DDH-02 panoramic clamp on the left, another Sunwayfoto 50 mm screw knob clamp on the right and the MPP-01 components in the middle.
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 + DDH-02 + XB-44 mounting seq
The conversion bushing is screwed on the 50mm clamp, the mate plates aligned in the anti-twist grooves at the bottom of both clamps...
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 + DDH-02 top view
...and the long flat head screw inserted in the DDH-02 center hole.
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 + XB-44 top view
...tightened with the Allen hex key in the bushing bellow.
Since DDH-02 is a panning clamp orientation between the clamps is not critical.  However, if  the 0 point position on the panning scale matters then proper orientation has to be done.
Sunwayfoto MPP-01 + DDH-02 + XB-44 stereo rig
Either using one camera and moving the DDH-02 panning clamp on the rail, or using two sets of subtended DDH-02 clamps, you will end up with a nice, transportable, lightweight stereography rig.

Unique idea with universal use.
Excellent machining, finishing and build quality.
Very small tolerances between the inner-outer mate plates.
Light weight.

Adds 4mm of height between the two quick release clamps.

So if you need a subtend or bidirectional clamp for occasional use and have old clamps (that fulfill the spec of grooves as a lot of them do) don't waste them. You may end up with a nice solution while saving a lot of money.
However, as shown above with a stereography rig, MPP-1 can have other applications some of which will be presented extensively in following articles.

Note : The MPP-1 Mini Plate Adapter presented in this article is a complementary copy, kindly offered by Sunwayfoto, together with DDH-02 Panning Clamp 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 and Availability:
The current retail price for MPP-01 Mate Plate is US$ 14.95 while it is available from Amazon and from eBay

Referenced Articles:

Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp Preview

Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp Review

Desmond DAC-02 60mm Quick Release Clamp Review

Hejnar Photo F010A & F012 Quick Release Clamps

Relevant Articles:

Create a Mini Multi-Row Panorama Head for Mirrorless Cameras


  1. Hi SV,

    I purchased one of these little plates based on your review. You are absolutely correct in your assessment ....it is a very handy and cheap way to "produce" a subtend or bidirectional clamp for occasional use !
    A "magic" addition would be an extra "inner" or "outer" component plate that had anti twist "bosses" of a size that would fit directly into the slots of a rail. At the moment the bosses are marginally too wide @ 5.2 mm to fit into the centre slots on my Sunwayfoto and Fittest brand rails @5.1 mm.
    If one had an extra inner/outer plate with slightly narrower bosses, you could have a very flexible and relocatable clamp mount via the use of the single clamp, the mini plate, a 1/4-20 captive screw and a 3/8 - 1/4 bushing. The result would give a low profile clamp/rail mount solution with sliding ,multi directional capability with A SINGLE clamp mounted to a slotted rail.!

    Of course simply reducing the existing bosses would probably make the anti-twist too sloppy so I think the idea would be to have two separate and interchangeable inner or outer plates with different width bosses?

    FYI I am trying to source a "Fittest" version of the Mini plate and if successful , I will test the width of its bosses and if needed reduce them carefully with a fine file and some patience:-)


    1. Hi AJS,
      Have a look please, into the Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp Review and the Create a Mini Multi-Row Panorama Head for Mirrorless Cameras mentioned already in the Referenced and Relevant articles at the last section of the review above.
      There, you may see the illustration of the use of the MPP-01 as you describe. The MPP-01 bosses do fit into the captive slots of the Hejnar rails but unfortunately not the Sunway or Desmond that I had tested.
      Narrower bosses for a more universal fitting sounds good but I don't know if there is enough market to justify the production of a variation.

    2. Thanks SCV,

      Interesting!...perhaps the best solution then would be for Sunwayfoto and Fittest etc to widen their rail slots to the same as the Hejnar rails!


    3. Welcome AJS,

      I'll confer to the manufacturers your ideas about the MPP-01 boss width to match the rail's captive slot width, either way possible, and come back with any news on the matter.


  2. Thanks again SCV....

    It simply adds so much more utility to the MPP-01 if the rail captive slots are the same width, and a logical step for Sunwayfoto at least ,given they manufacture and market both items.
    That one simple move would enable the anti-twist coupling of all of their clamps( and any other brand equipped with the matching "+" or '-" grooves) to their rails via the use of the MPP-01. In many instances that would negate the need for a subtend or bi-directional clamp, and produce a much more compact and economic solution.
    Thinking from the manufacturers perspective , the simplest change is perhaps to widen the captive slot widths as Hejnar have already done. Making the bosses narrower would necessitate making the "+" and "-" d├ętente grooves on the clamp bases narrower as well, and that would have wider implications and be more problematic I suspect .


    1. Hi AJS
      Widening the captive slot of a whole range of rails and plates is impossible as it would require change of all production lines.
      Therefore, after some talks, planning and some prototypes Sunwayfoto has introduced last month a modified version of the MPP-01 mate plate, the MPP-02 with exactly the characteristics discussed in the previous comments.
      The MPP-02 features standard bosses on the outer plate with a width of 5.15 mm, but an inner plate with bosses with a width reduced to 4.89 mm able to fit into the captive slots of Sunwayfoto rails.
      I have recently received a sample of the MPP-02 so a more detailed review with appropriate illustrations will be out sometime soon. Meanwhile you may get more info at the Sunwayfoto website.