So we don’t do a lot of this kind of stuff but this happens to be a topic that we have a lot of experience with so we figured we would share. As a prerequisite for this sort of thing let’s lay it out. I do not work for any of these companies and while I would love to receive these products for free, I don’t. This interview is a completely impartial, personal opinion, experience based review.

Now to the fun stuff. As pictured above you are looking at the Kessler Kwik Release system ($140, Kesslercrane.com), The Manfrotto 577 ($50, BandH.com and 10,000 other places), The Cinevate Simplis baseplate ($215CAD, Cinevate.com or $215American at BandH.com). If you’re reading this you probably know why you need a quick release system, but just in case… When you have multiple stabilization devices and rigs like a shoulder mount, Steadicam, monopod, tripod, slider, crane, etc, and you are using them in conjunction with each other on a shoot, you want to be able to go back and forth quickly between them. You fit each of the listed devices with the base plate, and the camera with the camera plate and voila. You save time, time is money, long live the queen, whatever.

Manfrotto 577

The Pros

  • Cheapest of the bunch at $50
  • Every time you buy a manfrotto video product you get another free camera plate
  • Lots of people use these, so if you shot with others chances are you’ll be compatible with their gear

The Cons

  • The side lock often loses its position so you have to take your camera off and re-tighten/re-loosten
  • The side lock hits baseplates of many items like a steadicam plate – Super annoying
  • You can definitely accidentally dislodge your camera, having it fall on the floor and you cry

Kessler Kwik Release

The Pros

  • Built like a military tank
  • Camera hold is incredible, will not come loose. Also camera can not fall out, its impossible
  • Easiest load in of the bunch. You drop it in anywhere and CLICK, its in
  • The ability to use this to mount sliders and cranes to tripods is un-matched

The Cons

  • It costs $140 with no plates. Camera plates are only $20, but slider and crane plates are $60 each. OUCH
  • If you shoot a lot with others, this proprietary system wont fit with manfrotto plates

Cinevate Simplis

The Pros

  • Built well
  • Side opening lock solves the Manfrotto problem
  • You can adjust it to accept multiple plates
  • Plays very nicely with other Cinevate products to allow for expansion products like arms and rails

The Cons

  • It costs $215, a bit steep
  • The side lock is not great, and your camera can absolutely fall out
  • Cinevate charges a fortune on shipping, but now that B&H carries their products its a moot point

The Results

The Kessler system wins this battle hands down. The build quality is tremendous and if you have Kessler crane and slider products this creates unbelievable versatility. If you are reading this on Monday November 26, 2012 you can also get it at 50% off by visiting this link. If you want to build up a nice shoulder mount rig, the Cinevate is a nice starter piece and they sometimes offer free accessory arms with the baseplate which is a nice deal. The Manfrotto is definitely a you get what you pay for item. Solid, industry standard, but not going to change the way you work. I can tell you the Kessler system now saves us 30 minutes when setting up our crane, and allows it to be done with only one person, no help needed. That is HUGE.

Good luck friends!