Previous news story    Next news story

Manfrotto creates Arca-Swiss compatible 'Top Lock' quick release

By dpreview staff on Jul 25, 2013 at 16:02 GMT

Manfrotto UK has announced a 'Top Lock' quick release system for its tripod heads that's compatible with standard Arca Swiss-type plates. It uses a clamp design that allows the camera to dropped in from above, rather than slid in from the side, along with a safety pin to stop the camera slipping out of the clamp if it's inadvertently left loose. The setup is rounded off with three bubble levels to help keep the camera straight. The Top Lock release is available as an add-on adapter for £84.95, or pre-installed on the company's top-end 054, 055, 056 and 468MG ball heads (£209.95, £229.95, £264.95 and £259.95 respectively).

Press release:


London, 25 July 2013 – Manfrotto, world leader in the equipment and accessories industry for photography and imaging, is pleased to announce the launch of its new Top Lock Quick Release System. Compatible with Arca-style quick release plates and systems, Top Lock sets a new standard for ease of use, leveling capability, and portability with unique and practical features. The innovative design of the Top Lock System means that the ball head, the quick release adapter and the quick release plate work together to allow for fast and reliable changeovers in any environment. It gives professional photographers the assurance that their camera is supported at all times, letting them focus on the business at hand: capturing outstanding images.

Arca-Swiss compatibility

Top Lock is compatible with the reliable and highly-regarded Arca-Swiss quick release plate system. Arca-style plates have become an open standard for photographic equipment – Top Lock further builds on this system by enchancing insertion and stability functions.

Easier to use; a failsafe support

Top Lock’s clamp element allows the camera to be dropped in from above, which is easier than trying to align and slide it in from the side. It has a safety pin that stops the plate and camera from slipping out of the head, even if the QR lock is inadvertently left open.

Helps achieve straighter images and more accurate framing in-camera

Three independent bubbles help level the camera against all axes of rotation, ensuring the full frame is usable and also reducing time spent in post-production.

Lightweight and easy to carry

The System is made from light aluminium and stainless steel offering weight savings without any performance sacrifices.

Manfrotto’s new Top Lock Quick Release System is available as an adaptor or in complete pro ball heads for professional photographers with Arca-style QR plates and systems Prices start at £84.95. Please visit for more information.

Adapter / Plate only:

  • MSQ6 - Top Lock quick release adapter with plate (£84.95)
  • MSQ6PL - Top Lock quick release plate only (£20.95)

Heads featuring the Q6 Top Lock Quick Release System:

  • MH054M0-Q6 - 054 Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock Quick Release (£209.95)
  • MH055M0-Q6 - 055 Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock Quick Release (£229.95)
  • MH057M0-Q6 - 057 Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock Quick Release (264.95)
  • 468MGQ6 - Hydrostatic Ball Head with Top Lock Quick Release (£259.95) 


Total comments: 32
By Gochugogi (4 months ago)

BigWells, Hejnar Photo FM496RC2 Arca clamp fits the 054 series like a glove. I wrote it up with images:

By BigGWells (4 months ago)

I recently purchased a Manfrotto MH054MO-Q6 Magnesium Ball Head with MSQ6 Quick Release. The claim being it is compatiable with the Arca=Swiss plates. Well I am here to tell you it is not even close. At the sometime I purchased two Kirk Plates, and found they would not fit at all. I am in a quandary, I love the head, very smooth and sturdy. My option is to return the head, then purchase just the ball head without a plate, then purchase a Kirk QR. The 054 head I have has an entirely different configuration on how the QR attaches, otherwise I would be able to just remove the plate and buy a $60.00 Kirk QR and everything would be fine. But I am past my return time with B&H, so here I am stuck in no mans land. I can machine the Kirk Plates at a cost of about $75.00, which then those Arca Swiss plates become only compatible with this ball head. So many of my photo buddies use the Kirk Plates, This was my whole reason for buying the Manfroto. NOT A HAPPY Manfroto OWNER.

By dumbo (8 months ago)

Hopefully we can see this on the geared heads in a not too distant future, so that we have an alternative to the Arca Swiss C1 or Photo Clam Multiflex that is a bit cheaper...

By Beauzeauz (9 months ago)

I bought a Q6 (Arca) ballhead/release combo. The accompanying plate was huge and not something I wanted on my camera.
My old 5D had a KIRK plate - this clipped on the head fine.
Locally, only the BENRO plates were available, so I bought 2.
When they arrived, they did not clip into the quick release so I measured them and found they were a fraction too thick at the bottom. Rather than trying to find an alternate product, I wet-sanded the BENRO plates on a flat surface. After a short bit of exertion and a bit of trial fitting, the plates clipped in just great.

By fotofundi (9 months ago)

Isn't it about time Canon, Nikon, Sony etc incorporated a quick release system in the original camera design? Rollei and Hasselblad had them eons ago. It is quite ridiculous we still have to add a block of metal to the bottom of our cameras. Surely it is not beyond the ability of the large manufacturers to design and standardise a quick release system. The Rollei SL system would be a good starting point.

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (9 months ago)

There are mechanically simpler systems that would work just as good as this one, but the main problem will be getting one piece of Part A, and as many pieces of Part B as you need. Up till now, every manufacturer will sell you just one set of the matching pairs, regardless of the number of cameras you'd want to quick-attach to the same single tripod and ball-head that you use.
And the price to pay for this is ridiculous. Now if there was one Part A and, say, three Parts B in the blister package, it might be tempting. The way things are, it will be equally time-consuming to switch the cameras using 1/4" standard screw.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By WilbaW (9 months ago)

You missed the individual QR plates -

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (9 months ago)

So I did... Thanks! :)

1 upvote
By MtOlympus (9 months ago)

I would not be interested in trading for my PanoFix rotator that also fits an Arca Swiss clamp, is smaller, weighs less, and has 30 degree panorama rotator built in.
At about four time the price, the Manfrotto just plain silly.

By PatMann (9 months ago)

About time they went to the standard.

I always considered it a nuisance to get some Manfrotto hardware that there wasn't a good substitute for, and have to toss the various different plates and mounts and get a 3rd-party Arca adapter or converter to fit it to my L-plates.

Perhaps the geared head I was looking at will now come with this instead of yet another throwaway part requiring a retrofit.

By IEBA1 (9 months ago)

Ever since I kickstarted Capture quick release clamp, and that uses an Arca-compatable plate, I've been looking for an manfrotto-like, drop-in, automatic locking plate to put my camera into. Everything else I have is manfrotto, but the Capture is so handy, that I've been itching for some way to have that auto-lock functionality with the Arca.

I looked around and all I see is "quick release" and I'd much rather have quick LOCK. As in, the base locks on to the camera plate when it is dropped in to place. Just like Manfrotto has done for years.

Peak Design actually made an Arca/Manfrotto combo plate, but designed it 90° wrong so the camera mounted on the Capture belt clip goes in to the Manfrotto head facing sideways.

Now Capture has v2 of their belt clip system, and it has a tripod plate on the bottom, but ... really? NOBODY else has made an automatic latching system for Arca? As in, drop the camera in and it click-locks automatically. 1-hand secure with zero extra effort?

By dmurphey (9 months ago)

Really... 'bout time. I have 3 Manfrotto tripod (legs) but they all wear Really Right Stuff ball heads with quick release.

The nice thing about RRS heads is that you can get the ball in different sizes. My oldest head is 11 years old and has seen so much use that the yellow bubble level faded to solid white. Still works like a champ.

The specs of the new heads look good, but I'm happy using RRS. Will be nice for new photographers wanting to buy a tripod as a "kit", though.

By jp1958 (9 months ago)

It's about time. Too late for me though. I have moved away from Manfrotto heads to Arca Swiss compatibles years ago. So, who's next to think Arca Swiss? Gitzo?

By lmtfa (9 months ago)

Manfrotto manufactures good reliable products. I have a bunch of their products that make your camera feel safe on your tripod. Their not pretty, take a look at the 808RC4 3 Way Pan and Tilt. But attached to your tripod and the camera to it, it's like the USS New Jersey, steaming off the coast of some country ready to dish out sme hurt.

The limiting factor like the battleship it was not up to date. No Arca-Swiss compatibility but its reliability and price made up in a way for that. No upgrade for me, I don't throw good money after bad.

Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (9 months ago)

Funny. I've formed the opposite opinion, and I formed that low opinion using RC4. I've had their aluminum screws break, dumping equipment, and the lock arm on the clamp fail, also resulting in dumped equipment.

I've also modified Manfrotto plates and clamps, and have seen voids in their castings when sawing or milling them. Scary stuff...

At this point, I only use Manfrotto clamps for very lightweight gear, on a bench top so it can't fall more than 6 inches.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By SRT3lkt (9 months ago)

Is this gonna be called "RC6"?

By hydrospanner (9 months ago)

I've been looking for this exact piece of metal ever since I got a good tripod and head over a year ago. Now I realize that I couldn't find it because it wasn't there.

Gotta get one...

Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (9 months ago)

That exact piece? Why? Does the Manfrotto name mean so much to you that you've ignored 20 other makers, all of which appear to do it better than Manfrotto (100% machined clamps and plates, no cast or extruded aluminum)

By exdeejjjaaaa (9 months ago)

better later than never

By joe_leads (9 months ago)

Hooray, Manfrotto has realized that their isolated system maybe is a disadvantage. Hopefully Gitzo is next to offer Arca style QR clamps.

By Mssimo (9 months ago)

Arca-Swiss compatible rocks..if you like legos..this is like tripod lego when you get into it. Lots of money but lots of fun also.

By marike6 (9 months ago)

It's about time. I've been using the Arca Swiss QR system for years, so except for Manfrottos very nice video tripod heads, one of which I own, their photo ballheads have been off my radar.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (9 months ago)

Seriously, $32 US for single way (sideways on the camera) generic extruded plate, when the same money will get you a Sunway or Benro fully machined plate with a square biridectional ARCA tenon and a top that's machined for a specific camera.

And $130 for a low tolerance cast clamp bundled with that extruded plate? Subtract the plate, and that means they want $98 for a cast clamp, when Acratech, Kirk, RRS will sell you the best fully machined clamps in the world for that, and Sunway or Benro will get you a basic machined clamp for $40.

Manfrotto has totally lost the plot, here.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By plevyadophy (9 months ago)

May I ask, how do you know that the new Manfrotto clamp and plate are made from cast and/or extruded aluminium rather than machined?

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
By PatMann (9 months ago)

That doesn't look like spray-on cast finish on that clamp base - it looks very much like a standard Manfrotto genuine casting to me from the photo.

By Suave (9 months ago)

The complete set retails for $100 - about the same price as generics, and much, much cheaper than RRS.

By plevyadophy (9 months ago)

@ Suave

So what are you saying?
Are you saying that it's too cheap, so you suspect that it isn't of good quality?
Or are you saying that it is a good thing that it is not as expensive as Really Right Stuff products (which by the way, I think are awesome; certainly their tripods are)


Niklas Ramstedt
By Niklas Ramstedt (9 months ago)

Great! Now I can switch plateholder on my ballhead.

Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (9 months ago)

Great timing!
I am just in for a new ballhead therefore have put these onto my shortlist.

By AbrasiveReducer (9 months ago)

About time they got rid of those gigantic star-shaped plates.

By slncezgsi (9 months ago)

Makes me wonder why it took so long ...

By yabokkie (9 months ago)

looks compact, hope won't break easily.

Total comments: 32