A relative newcomer to the Arca-Type accessories market is Hejnar PHOTO. In much the same way photographer David Honl started the HonlPhoto company selling light modifiers, photographer Chris Hejnar has been quietly and successfully building up Hejnar PHOTO selling an expanding range of Arca-Type products, growing largely based on word-of-mouth from very happy customers.
Henjar PHOTO manages to keep their prices extremely attractive by only selling direct (see their store). If you can't find what you are looking for, they also offer custom services to make a plate or accessory to your exact specifications.
This is a review of their Camera Plates, in particular based on one of their 2" Arca-Type Camera Plates. At the time of writing, Hejnar PHOTO has 3 different styles of 2" Plate available, as shown the photos below (the 3 photos show the 3 different options for grooves for the ¼" Screw, allowing for maximum mounting flexibility). We are also told a new version is due soon with a loop for a camera strap.
The plates come supplied with Hex Keys and Safety Stops installed as shown below (for more information on Safety Stops see our Arca-Swiss Systems Explained article).
The Hejnar PHOTO Plates are made in the U.S.A., and at the time of writing, the 2" Camera Plate sells for $34.99. Other sizes are also available, some for even less. Compare that to the $55-$60 per plate charged by other Arca-Type manufacturers, and you begin to see why people love their products.
In the interests of full disclosure, the specific Camera Plate used in this review is a demo unit kindly provided to us by Hejnar PHOTO.
Installation/Set-UpThe plate installs to the bottom of the camera in seconds, using the supplied Hex Key to tighten the screw into the cameras tripod socket. If you have a version with a groove, this allows you some freedom to position the plate exactly where you want it (although most camera manufacturers already align the tripod socket with the center of the lens so little adjustment is needed).
Fit and FinishThe Plates are made from 6061-T6 Aluminum (which is pretty standard across most of the manufacturers), and anodized black. The unit is amazingly strong, fits perfectly with all the clamps we've tried (including Wimberley, Kirk and Custom Brackets), and the Safety Stops work. The anodizing is very well done.
If you look very closely there are some visible machine marks on the milled surfaces, but this in no way whatsoever detracts from the performance of the plate. You can't feel these marks to the touch, and the plate slides as smoothly through clamps as plates from any other manufacturer we've tested. If you really insist on having a visually perfect plate bolted to the bottom of your camera where no one can see it, then there are other manufacturers who'll happily charge you almost twice as much (and if you look close enough, you can often see machining marks on those too).
The picture below shows the Camera Plate attached to the bottom of a Sony Video Camera. We've also used it on our Nikon D90 and Nikon D300.
In Use/Performance (Feb 2010)This is a very well designed and manufactured product, works exactly as it should, all at an extremely attractive price. So far we've used it on our D90, D300 and Sony Video Camera with no problems whatsoever.
If you are converting to Arca-Swiss and need multiple plates, rails and clamps, using Hejnar PHOTO products can result in significant savings without sacrificing functionality or quality. As such, we wouldn't hesitate to highly recommend the Henjar PHOTO Plates.