Today we are taking a look at one of two very existing products we received from iFootage earlier this year and the first ones are the Seastar Q1 quick release units.
There is nothing new about quick release systems, we actually have an old but very popular video looking at some of the more common quick release systems on the market, however especially for video work, many of the popular systems like the Manfrotto 501 are a little bit cumbersome for quickly moving between platforms such as fluid heads, sliders, jibs etc. and they are designed primarily to attach to cameras and not to move heads between different platforms.
The Seastars Q1 – iFootage breaks new grounds in speed and ease of use for photographers
Enters the iFootage Seastar Q1. This round quick release system is faster, smaller and includes some useful features that should make it ideal for moving between setups with small to mid-size camera rigs.
Each Seastar set has a head and base and it comes with a small attached wrench on a short string so you won’t lose it. The unit is made entirely of light and strong magnesium, it only weighs 270g but it can hold up to 9 kg which means basically anything that you can throw at it including some pretty significant setups.
In the center of the QR head, there is a 3/8″ 16 screw head with a spring that reveals a 1/4″ 20 screw so you can choose what type of connection is right for you without adaptors.
To connect it to a tripod make sure that the head and base are locked and twist the two onto your tripod and make sure it is secure (the three arms are very helpful giving you a ton of leverage here).
Now you can remove the head and reveal the two hex screws inside and use the included hex wrench to lock those screws to prevent unwanted rotation of the base. Connect the head to your favorite ballhead or fluid head of choice and just like with the base unit you can lock the three extra pins at the bottom of the head part to prevent twisting which is something that we really love.
The Q1 plate – switch heads, sliders, jibs, and more easily
Unlike the 501 system mentioned earlier that was designed to move only the camera and attached components from one head to another, the Q1 is actually designed to connect to the entire head (ballhead, fluid head or any kind actually) from one type of support to the next and do so quickly and effortlessly which can save a lot of time but also the cost of buying several heads, one for each support unit.
To lock the head to the base just align the three white markings to the base and lock. To unlock just turn the three “stars” counterclockwise and you are done. You can unlock with one hand but you will need your other hand to hold your head so it is very similar to our beloved Manfrotto 323 RC2 system in this respect.
As an added bonus the Q1 has a very low profile. We don’t like it when things make our setup taller especially since we shot lots of low to the ground videos and tabletop b-rolls.
The ideal way to use this system in our view is to have a base connected to any type of mounting unit that you are using, we have two connected to two of our heavy-duty tripods and three heads connected to different types of heads and we shall probably purchase at least an extra-base and two heads just so we can make sure that everything that we use can move using this system, just like all our cameras connect via RC2.
The Seastars Q1 – no unwanted rotation
We see no real drawbacks to this design. In theory, it might have been nice if there was room to connect an arm to the side of the base but we are not sure it is technically possible being so thin (maybe with some sort of an adaptor). Another bonus idea we have is for iFootage to make an accessory to the Q1 in the form of a thin leveling base which can be useful if you are using a photo tripod for example.