Somehow, when I first saw the drawings of the new Desmond DAC-X1 QR Clamp, I was first surprised and second I figured that it would cost at least double than its siblings. Well that's not the case.
With DAC-X1, Desmond has introduced an original Skeleton clamp weighing only 61 gr, which has nothing to envy from competition at an unbelievably low price.
|Height:||14.0 mm (0.55 ")|
|Width w/ Screw Knob:||83.0 mm (3.26 ")|
|Width w/ Bubble Level (optional):||97.5 mm (3.84 ")|
|Jaw Length:||50.0 mm (1.97 ")|
|Metal Converter:||3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20|
|Weight:||61 gr (2.15 oz)|
|Weight w/ Bubble Level (optional):||65 gr (2.29 oz)|
|DAC-X1 comes in a common to Desmond clamps and rails, small, plain, white box with a model and code sticker. The QR clamp travels within a zip-lock nylon bag and is accompanied by a good quality 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 reducer bushing.|
Comparison with DAC-01
DAC-01 was the first 50mm QR clamp introduced by Desmond more than a year ago. A direct comparison shows the vast improvement in all aspects, introduced with its same size sibling the DAC-X1.
|Desmond DAC-01 50mm QR Clamp on the left and Desmond DAC-X1 50mm Skeleton QR Clamp on the right. Besides the Screw-Knob and the length of the jaws nothing is the same. A flat solid mass compared to a skeletal CAD optimized design. A mass of 106 gr against a mass of 61 gr. Every possible elimination of material resulted in a 42,5 % decrease of weight. DAC-X1 is also slimmer as DAC-01 stands 18 mm high opposed to the 14 mm of DAC-X1.|
|The bottom view of both clamps is even more contrasting, making more evident the work done on the DAC-X1.|
Optional Bubble Level
The DAC-X1 QR clamp is offered in two versions. Basically without Bubble Level and optionally with a 10mm bull's eye Bubble Level. Actually the price difference is just US$ 2.00 but shows that at Desmond they are very cost minded, feeling that nobody should pay more than needed.
|The bubble level is attached on the steady jaw front side with two M3 screws using an appropriate 2.5mm Allen hex key.|
|The precise placement of the holes, takes care of the proper alignment of the bubble level on the clamp. However the total clamp width increases from 83 mm to 97.5 mm while the weight increases marginally by 4 gr.|
Fitting the QR clamp on a Ball head
Depending on the ball head design the QR clamp can be mounted on top of a ball head stem either using a pass through M6 or 1/4"-20 screw or by screwing it directly on a 3/8" or an 1/4" stud (via the conversion bushing).
|In most cases where the ball stem is equipped with anti-twist bosses and a threaded hole like the Triopo RS-3 ball head pictured in the above illustration, the DAC-X1 QR clamp is attached using an M6 or an 1/4"-20 flat head screw with a hex socket.|
|With very little effort the clamp is aligned and fixed in place securely, just tightened with a 4mm Allen hex key.|
|On the other hand when the ball stem ends in a 3/8"-16 stud, as with the Desmond DBH ball head pictured above, we need simply to screw-on the DAC-X1 utilizing the 3/8"-16 threads in its center hole.|
Using with Arca compatible plates.
The DAC-X1 skeleton quick release clamp was tested with various camera plates and lens plates, as well as with multipurpose long rails of various thicknesses and widths. Plates / Rails tested were from Benro, Desmond, Kiwi Fotos, Fotoporo, Marumi and Hejnar PHOTO, without any issue whatsoever.
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||04.92|
|Moving Jaw Height||04.95|
|Min Jaw Lip Opening||31.99|
|Max Jaw Lip Opening||37.77|
|Min Base Opening||38.74|
|Max Base Opening||45.94|
All dimensions fall within the average limits, consisting the clamp compatible with all variations of Arca-Swiss® type plates and rails.
Although there is a lot of material removed, 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 my load test nothing moved, nothing slipped, it was rock solid.
In the past I had contacted Desmond Photographic Distribution regarding some issues with their clamps' geometry and they had responded that their engineer is working on it. Well, the DAC-X1 proves that their engineer worked really hard indeed!
DAC-X1 is the QR clamp with the best geometry among all the Desmond clamps I have tested up to now.
Very low weight for the clamp size.
Original and innovative design.
Exceptional machining, finishing and anodizing quality for the price.
Very good fitting with very small tolerances.
Very smooth operation.
Good quality metal 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 conversion bushing included.
Removable Bubble level (optional).
Excellent value for money.
None found up to the time of this review.
In all previous Desmond QR Clamp reviews I made some critical comments about their weight. However, I understood that the extra machining required to lower the weight would rise the manufacturing cost substantially. Finally positive criticism seems to work, as with the DAC-X1, Desmond team succeeded to introduce a vast improvement over their original DAC-01 QR Clamp. Not only they improved the geometry and reduced the weight by 42.5% but also maintained a price very close to the price of the DAC-01 when introduced more than a year ago.
I believe this clamp is a great machining example and considering the Desmond quality standards, which has proved constant by now, combined with a very low price tag, I can say it offers excellent Value for Money !
Note : The DAC-X1 Skeleton 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: © 2013 S.C.Vlachos
Price & Availability:
Current price for the DAC-X1 is US$
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