Really Right Stuff

or « How to print money »

Photographers often use tripods – and to make things easier for themselves, they sometimes buy metal plates that fix to the bottom of their cameras and allow them to clip on and off the tripods without having to unscrew things etc. For this reason, they’re often called ‘rapid release’.

Anyway, an American company had a brilliant, and very profitable, idea. They would design a plate in the shape of an ‘L’, they would have it mass-produced in China from high quality aluminium, and sell it for big bucks.

The advantage of this ‘L’ shape is simple to understand. For landscape orientation (the camera sits horizontally) the tripod coupling at the bottom of the ‘L’ is used, and for portrait orientation, the coupling on the side (vertical) part of the ‘L’. The advantage of this system is principally to maintain the camera/lens on the same axis.

With me so far?


These two ‘L’ plates look strikingly similar. However, one costs $170 more than the other…the cheapest one costs $24 with free shipping.

This company do the same thing with tripods too – with their carbon fibre range starting at around $1350. My Manfrotto carbon cost me 250€ and I thought that was expensive…

The moral of the story? Take a cheap item, multiply the price by ten and wait for people to flock in waving their cheque books.