September 25, 2014

Desmond D7DG Custom QR Plate for Canon EOS 7D w/ Grip Review

Desmond D7DG Custom QR Plate on Canon EOS 7D w/ Grip
Although the once top of the line APS-C sensor size digital camera the Canon EOS 7D is at the end of life, it is still a very fast digital camera for many.

I have already published solutions for the support of the EOS 7D either with or without the battery grip. However, I have been using the Desmond D7DG Arca-Swiss® compatible quick release plate lately, custom made for the BG-E7 battery grip, which proved very convenient in most cases.

Therefore, I decided to write about it, since I believe that there will be a big number of used EOS 7Ds in the market as soon as many users will rush for the new model, coming out by next month.

On top of that the price of the plate has been dramatically lowered lately making it a real bargain for a custom plate.

Packing & Contents

Desmond D7DG Custom QR Plate w/ box and tools
The D7DG plate comes in the usual generic white box with the product label and ASIN code. Except for the plate two Allen hex keys are included. One 4mm for the mounting screw and one smaller 2,5mm for the safety stop screws respectively

Desmond D7DG QR Plate

Manufacturer Specification: 
Height w/ ridge:15 mm (0.59")
Width:64 mm (2.52")
Length:77 mm (3.03")
Weight:81 gr (2.85 oz)

The plate is precision CNC machined from solid Aircraft grade Aluminium following a skeletal design, featuring safety stop screws at both ends, plus compatibility with all Arca style quick release clamps including RRS Lever clamps.

The D7DG QR plate is skeletal but still robust, thus a little larger and heavier than common dovetail QR plates. There is only one front convex edge to hold the plate since otherwise it would block the BG-E7 battery door which opens from the rear, but sports two strap loops at either sides.

Desmond D7DG Custom QR Plate top view
The top surface that comes in contact with the battery grip base is smooth except for the carved out parts. The 1/4"-20 mounting screw moves withing a captive slot which permits the lateral adjustment of the plate. That's a nice touch but not of any real use since the plate is large and gives enough lateral movement for the camera to be centered when clamped.
Somehow, I feel this is a detail remaining from the equivalent L bracket, from which the base plate seems to be part of. An L bracket indeed needs to be moved away from the camera side allowing for larger cables to be connected for tethered shooting.
Desmond D7DG Custom QR Plate bottom view
The bottom side view reveals the captive slot socket with the 1/4'-20 captive mounting screw which has a hex socket cap head but is also slotted and the two M3 safety stop screws at both ends. There is also an 1/4"-20 tapped hole behind the mounting screw which replicates the camera tripod socket, for direct mounting of the plate on a pod with an 1/4"-20 stud, without having to remove the plate.

Mounting the L Plate on the Camera
Since this is a Custom plate, mounting has no second thoughts and is straight forward.

Canon EOS 7D + BG-E7 w/ Desmond D7DG QR Plate bottom view
Quite obviously on the top left photo the battery grip is equipped with a standard 1/4"-20 tripod mounting socket within a ragged parallelogram. After aligning the front convex edge with the curved front of the battery grip, we just need to tighten the mounting screw with the included Allen hex key which offers the appropriate torque to tighten the plate securely. The bottom large photo above, shows that the plate is well designed to allow for the battery door to open fully and give access to the batteries.
Canon EOS 7D + BG-E7 w/ Desmond D7DG QR Plate installed
The alignment of the plate is not crucial since it is wide enough to allow for lateral adjustment within the jaws of any clamp. Nevertheless, the leftmost position seemed to me the most appropriate in order to center the plate under the lens. Although the battery grip already has a hand strap loop at the bottom, the two extra strap loops on the D7DG plate may prove useful for an extra strap.

Using the Plate

Canon EOS 7D + BG-E7 w/ Desmond D7DG QR Plate clamped on ball head
The Desmond D7DG QR plate is equipped with sizable dovetails matching the RRS® standards for use with Lever Release clamps. Judging from the adjustment of the DDC-42LR Lever Release clamp shown above, the dovetail size is on par with rails/plates from Benro and Hejnar who follow the same standards.
After giving some hard time to the plate turning around the camera, having set the friction of the ball head at a high level, I can confirm that there is no slip or twist of the plate whatsoever.

Exceptional machining, finishing and anodizing quality for the price.
Excellent strength and torsional behavior.
Safety Stop screws.
Full Arca-Swiss® and RRS® lever clamp compatibility.
Excellent value for money.

Absence of lens centering mark(s).

The D7DG Plate is a good choice for the Canon EOS 7D with battery Grip in case you use the camera mostly in landscape orientation and don't actually need an L bracket.
The Desmond quality standards, proven constant up to now, combined with a very low price tag, makes the D7DG an excellent Value for Money actually a bargain!

Note: The D7DG QR Plate 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: ©2014-2015 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
The Desmond D7DG QR plate is currently available for only US$ 9.95 (Regular US$ 21.95) (+Shipping where applicable) from

Relevant Articles:
Custom QR Plates for Canon EOS 5D MkIII and Gripped EOS 7D from Desmond
Custom QR Plates for Gripped Nikon D700 and D800 from Desmond
Announcement of New and Innovative Camera QR Plates from Desmond

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