Camera Mount Screws for Tripod Photography - Freaking Idiot Friday Failures
I remember when I first started Photography and getting beyond just the camera and the lens. Things like learning about image stablization having to be turned off when using a tripod or using Mirror Lockup for long exposures. Well as I grew, I started looking into things like off camera flash or OCF if you will, mounting the camera in crazy places, mounting your lighting etc.
As you start to expand and especially once you start doing Videography, mounting becomes crucial. This is when I noticed there were different thread sizes for the camera mount screws. Per ISO 1222:2010, the current tripod screw thread standard for attaching the camera calls for a 1/4-20 UNC or 3/8-16 UNC thread. Most consumer cameras are FITTED WITH 1/4-20 UNC threads.
However larger, professional cameras and lenses may be fitted with 3/8-16 UNC threads, plus a REMOVABLE 1/4-20 UNC ADAPTER, allowing them to be mounted on a tripod using either standard.
Historically, The Royal Photographic Society recommended the thread standard for attaching older cameras to tripods was 3/16-24 BSW (3/16 inch nominal diameter, 24 threads per inch), or 1/4-20 BSW for smaller cameras and 3/8-16 BSW for larger cameras and pan/tilt heads. In this application, the BSW and UNC thread profiles are similar enough that one can mount a modern camera on a legacy tripod and vice versa. The UNC threads are a 60-degree angle and flattened, whereas the BSW are a 55-degree angle and rounded crest. However, at least one English manufacturer uses No.1 B.A. (British Association) for its tripod mount thread.
As you can see, once you start expanding into professional level gear, you start seeing more of a variety in thread sizes and when I first noticed the tripod mount I had didn’t fit the camera I was using, I freaked out a little bit. They don’t necessarily advertise the mount adapters aspect when purchasing new gear.
Since then, I always started carrying a flathead screwdriver in my bag along with a snack pack size ziplock of these little adapters…..and so should you.