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What is the RRS-Dovetail Standard?

The RRS dovetail standard is a type of arca-swiss style groove-system for plates and clamps.

RRS Quick Release System

Why should you invest in a quick-release system? Because screwing your camera or lens onto a platform with a standard ¼"-20 screw is tedious and insecure. Not only is it a hassle to screw your gear onto that platform, but once installed the camera or lens is free to rotate; there's nothing to prevent it from coming loose. Why invest your money in a tripod and tripod head only to compromise your shots with an insecure connection between the camera and head? Instead, adopt the Really Right Stuff quick-release system and dovetail standard.

What is the Dovetail Standard?

Here at RRS, we use the RRS 1.5" Dovetail Standard™ to create products that are cross-compatible with all our products in our line of clamps and plates. Our dovetail is based on the Arca-swiss style clamp and plate system.

These measurements are used to assure that all of our products can be used together, so no matter what clamp or plate you get, you'll know it will fit!


So, what is Arca-Swiss, and what does it have to do with the dovetail standard?

Arca-swiss refers to a style of quick-release system. There are two pieces usually referred to as a plate and a clamp.

Plates can vary in length, but most arca-swiss style plates should have a 35mm (about 1.38 in) wide base, and a 45° dovetail, like the standard shown above.
Really Right Stuff clamps are "open channel" clamps. The advantage of this design is the ability to freely slide the plate within the clamping channel: center your camera for panos, shift a telephoto lens fore or aft to find the best balance point. Clamps are usually comprised of a base with 2 side jaws. One side of the jaws can be moved back and forth to allow the clamp to be opened, and the plate either slides in between or placed and then closed into the clamp. Our clamps can be placed onto a variety of different products depending on your needs.


There are a number of companies that sell gear based on the Arca-Swiss dovetail rail. In addition to Really Right Stuff, companies such as Wimberley, Markins, AcraTech, Foba, Novoflex, and Kirk sell gear that is commonly marketed as "Arca-Swiss style" or "Arca-type" or "Arca-Swiss compatible. Arcs-Swiss has never published a standard, so we developed our own and distributed it within the industry. In general, most of this gear is cross-compatible (but many Novoflex plates do not fit our screw-knob style clamps). For example, a Really Right Stuff L-plate will work just fine with the quick-release clamp on your Markins ballhead. And your Wimberley lens plates will work great with any Really Right Stuff clamp and ballhead. An exception to this is our lever-release clamp.

Really Right Stuff plates do not work with any Manfrotto, Bogen, or Gitzo quick-release clamps. Those companies have their own proprietary quick-release systems. They are not Really Right Stuff compatible. Only Manfrotto plates work with Manfrotto clamps. Only Bogen plates work with Bogen clamps. Only Gitzo plates work with Gitzo clamps.

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