August 12, 2013

Desmond DLP-100 / 115 / 150 / 169 Lens Plates Review

Desmond DLP-100 / 115 / 150 / 169 Lens Plates overview

Desmond Photographic Distribution U.S.A. have recently introduced a full line of Araca-Swiss® compatible lens plates under the Desmond brand name.

The line is comprised by seven new lens plates with lengths ranging from 60 mm (2.36") to 169 mm (6.65") which can cover the mounting needs of a large variety of long telephoto lenses.

Although the whole line follows the same design pattern, a difference in the mounting screw made me separate the three smaller ones from the batch and review them according to their common characteristics. So here we shall deal with the four longer lens plates ranging from 100 to 169 mm intended for larger and more expensive telephoto lenses.

Packing & Contents

Following the standard Desmond packaging, all DPL Lens Plates come in a small, plain, white box with a model and code sticker. They are wrapped in a nylon bag and accompanied by two chromed Allen hex keys for the 1/4"-20 and M3 stop screws respectively which are enclosed in a separate and smaller zip-lock nylon bag.

Desmond DLP-100 / 115 / 150 / 169 Lens Plates w/ boxes

The DPL Lens Plates

Manufacturer Specification:
Model :DPL-100DPL-115DPL-150DPL-169
Length  :100 mm115 mm150 mm169 mm
Height :10 mm10 mm10 mm10 mm
Width :38 mm38 mm38 mm38 mm
1/4"-20 Screws :1122
Weight :65 g (2.29 oz)74 g (2.61 oz)95 g (3.35 oz)106 g (3.73 oz)

Laid side by side from longer to shorter are DPL-169, DPL-150, DPL-115 and DPL-100 with their hex tools in front. All plates share the Double Dovetail design, Twin Ridge backstops and Flash Bracket mounting holes, while the two longer ones are equipped with two 1/4"-20 mounting screws instead of one, as they are intended for use with very long telephoto lenses which have two mounting holes on the lens collar foot.

Desmond DLP-100 / 115 / 150 / 169 Lens Plates top view w/ tools

The bottom side is almost hollow with only a small strengthening brace around the flash bracket mounting holes. All plates are equipped with removable M3 safety stop screws at both ends.

Desmond DLP-100 / 115 / 150 / 169 Lens Plates bottom-view w/ tools

Plate Structure

A closer look at the Desmond DPL-115 lens plate, shows clear cut lines and smooth surface. Superb finishing for the price indeed. As all DPL plates, it has a long captive slot enabling adjustment of the position of the 1/4"-20 captive screw for different lens feet. The front edge has three passing through holes and a groove behind them (perpendicular to the long axis), serving the optional attachment of various screw mounted flash brackets.

Desmond DLP-115 top-view front

The back end features two small backstops which serve as an anti-twist mechanism when set flash to a lens collar foot.
The lens plate model number is laser engraved in white lettering at the back side.

Desmond DLP-115 top-view rear

A closer view of the almost hollow bottom side with the two M3 safety stop screws at both ends and the chromed stainless steel captive screw in the main slot. The screw head has both a hex socket and a wide slot for its tightening.

Desmond DLP-115 bottom-view front

Using the Plates

Taken as an example for illustration, DPL-100 lens plate was chosen to match the collar foot of the Canon EF 100-400 L IS USM lens. Although, the collar-foot can take a shorter plate, the push-pull nature of the lens which results in a displacement of the center of gravity as it is extends or retracts benefits a lot of a longer plate which permits better balancing.

Desmond DLP-100 on Canon EF 100-400L collar foot

The lens plate fits very tightly under the collar-foot. In my opinion that extra torque exercised by the Allen hex key secures any plate far better than any other tool. The separated back stop ridges fit seamlessly the slightly curved back end of the collar-foot depriving the plate from twisting.

Desmond DLP-100 on Canon EF 100-400L collar foot closeup
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Further, a longer lens plate than the lens collar-foot, which features a double dovetail serves so as the base QR clamp of a flash bracket can be attached on the top dovetail.

Desmond DLP-100 on Canon EF 100-400L collar foot w/ flash bracket clamp detail

As explained in detail in the Desmond DAFB-01 Arca Compatible Flash Bracket Review, a tall flash bracket moves the flash beam far higher than the telephoto lens barrel, avoiding any shadows.

Desmond DLP-100 on Canon EF 100-400L collar foot w/ flash bracket

Lens Compatibility Table
For reference purposes I quote the recommended lens plate length  for various brands of telephoto lenses.
Note: The compatibility table recommendations allow for adequate plate headroom in front of the lens-collar foot for the attachment of a variety of flash brackets.

CanonMP-E 65 Macro
EF 100L Macro***
EF 28-300L IS
EF 35-350L
EF 70-200 2.8L IS
EF 80-200 2.8L
EF 100-400L IS
EF 180L Macro
EF 200 1.8L
EF 200 2.0L
EF 200 2.8L ***
EF 300 4.0L IS
EF 300 2.8L
EF 400 5.6L
EF 400 4.0 DO IS
EF 300 2.8L IS
EF 500 4.0L IS *
EF 500 4.5L

EF 400 2.8L
EF 400 2.8L IS *
EF 600 4.0L *
EF 600 4.0L IS *
EF 600 4.5L *
EF 800 5.6L *
EF 800 5.6L IS *

Nikon70-200 2.8 VR **
200 2.0 VR
300 2.8 MF
300 2.8 AF
300 2.8 AF-I
300 2.8 AF-S
300 2.8 VR
400 3.5 MF
500 4.0 MF
600 5.6 MF
200-400 MF
200-400G AF-S VR

Sony70-400 G300 2.8 G
Pentax300 2.8 MF SMC-A

300 2.8 MF SMC-FA
400 2.8 ED IF

500 4.5 MF SMCP*

250-600 5.6 ED IF*
600 4.0 AF FA *
800 6.7 IF *
1200 8.0 MF */**
MinoltaAF 300 2.8 APOAF 600 4.0 APO *
Leica280-400 / 280-560
Modular System *
Sigma50-150 EX OS HSM
150 2.8 Macro
300 2.8

120-400 HSM
500 4.5 *

TS-41 Collar Foot
80-400 4.5
120-300 2.8 OS HSM
300-800 5.6 *
500 4.5 HSM
800 5.6
TokinaAT-X 300 2.8
Tamron70-200 2.8 Di
70-200 2.8 Di VC
300 2.8 SP AF

* Requires optional 1/4"-20 > 3/8"-16 bushing
** Requires optional longer 1/4"-20 screw
*** Lens equipped with optional Collar

Exceptionally good machining and finishing quality for the price.
Excellent fitting with very small tolerances.
Good quality metal 1/4"-20 and M3 screws included.

Tried hard but only found a blemish on the anodizing coat of one of the plates.

The benefit of using an Arca-Swiss® compatible double dovetail lens-plate especially a longer one than the lens collar-foot is threefold. Apart from the basic need of the lens quick mounting/release on a head, the lens can be moved fore-aft and balanced with a variety of camera sizes and masses and also allow extra gear to be clamped on the top dovetail.
Since these plates sell for approximately half the price than competition, they are so affordable that each lens could have its own dedicated plate instead of exchanging plates between lenses.
Given the Desmond quality and low budget price, I can once again declare the DPL plates excellent Value for Money!

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2013 S.C.Vlachos

Price and Availability:
Current prices for the Desmond DPL-100-115-150-169 plates renge from US$ 21.47 to US$ 24.97 US$ 11.95-14.95 (+shipping where applicable). All are available from Amazon or from eBay

Referenced Articles:

Desmond DAFB-01 Arca Compatible Flash Bracket Review

Relevant Articles:

Desmond DLP-60 / 70 / 85 Lens Plates Review

Kiwi Fotos LP-100 Lens Plate Review

Kiwi Fotos LP-169 Lens Plate Review

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