You might have purchased a camera recently. It can be any type of camera. You will be looking to add more camera gears and accessories to your kit, including the tripod/monopod. It is essential to understand the different thread size for different types of camera gear. It will ensure that you buy the camera gear with the matching thread size. Otherwise, you will have to depend on converters to match the size.
Is Thread size Standardized in Photography?
Yes, there is a standardization for threads used in photography. It is clearly defined in the ISO 1222:2010 by the ANSI. The thread size specification is a UNC one for the coarse thread.
Standard Thread Sizes in Photography
There are two commonly used thread sizes for camera and camera accessories.
As per the standard, there are two thread sizes used in photography.
1. 1/4-20 UNC Thread Size
It is a thread size that is a quarter-inch wide, and there will be 20 threads per inch as the UNC thread size.
Most consumer cameras come in this thread size, and the mounting plate will have the matching male screw.
2. 3/8-16 UNC Thread Size
Here, the thread size will be 3/8 inch wide, and it will have 16 threads per inch as per UNC thread size specification.
Most of the tripod heads come in this thread size for mounting on the tripod legs.
Different Camera & Tripod Thread Converters
You don’t have to worry if your camera and tripod have different thread sizes that do not match. You can always invest in the right converter to make the camera and tripod match.
I will share some of the converter adapter options here.
1. 1/4” to 3/8” Convert Nut (Male to Male)
You can use the 1/4” to 3/8” Convert Nut to change the size 1/4” male screw to a 3/8” male screw.
2. 3/8” to 1/4” Convert Nut (Male to Male)
3/8” to 1/4” Convert Nut transforms a bigger screw into a smaller one. When you these converter nuts, then your camera will not be fully flushed onto the tripod. There will be space around the circumference of the converter nut. It is because the use of this nut will result in an overall increase of the male nut.
3. Male to Female Converter Nut
In some instances, you want to convert the male screw to a female. It can be the ¼” male screw to a 3/8” female thread or a 3/8” male screw to a ¼” female thread. Use the converter (shown above) to do the conversion. You can use the same nut (shown above) for both the conversion.
4. Female to Male Converter Nut
Sometimes, you may have to convert the ¼” female thread to a 3/8” male screw or 3/8” female thread to a ¼” male screw. You can use these converter nuts to get the job done. You can use the same nut (shown above) for both the conversion.
So, if you have purchased a tripod for your camera and the thread size does not match between the two, you can consider buying an appropriate converter. You can easily get these converter nuts in online shops like Amazon. If you are interested to buy all the variants, then you can go for the combo kit option. It will cost you around $5 to $8 for all the nuts together.
Different Camera Gears & Their Thread/Screw Size
I will share the different camera gears and accessories where you need to look for the thread size while buying.
All camera bodies come with a tripod mount option. There will be a thread at the bottom of the camera that will allow you to connect the camera to a tripod. Even small action cameras and point-and-shoot cameras come with the tripod mount option. So, check the camera thread size while buying.
Example: Sony A1 camera comes with a camera thread size of ¼” at the bottom.
You may be using an interchangeable lens camera like a DSLR/ Mirrorless/ Medium format camera. If you are using a heavy telephoto lens, you will mount the lens on the tripod instead of the camera body. This heavy telephoto lens will come with a tripod collar. The tripod mount thread will be located at the bottom of this tripod collar. You need to check the thread size on this collar to make sure that it is compatible with your tripod.
Example: The Canon EF 500mm F/4 L IS II USM lens’s tripod collar comes with ¼” thread on its tripod collar.
The tripod legs will come with a screw pointing outside. The tripod screw size will be either the ¼-20 UNC size or the 3/8-16 UNC size in most consumer models. Big size tripods will be using the bigger thread screws, and some come with smaller thread size along with the convert nut.
Example: The tripod screw size for Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminum 3-section tripod comes is 3/8”.
Tripod Mounting Plate
The provision for connecting the camera to the tripod head comes in the tripod mounting plate section. It is a detachable piece. You can connect the mounting plate directly to your camera base. Whenever you want to mount on the tripod, you need to mount the plate on top of the tripod head.
Example: The camera mount screw size of the mounting plate of the Manfrotto 498RC2 tripod head is ¼”.
The tripod head will have a screw thread in the bottom. You will be connecting the head to the tripod legs using this part. So, make sure that the thread size matches for both the part.
Example: Manfrotto 498RC2 tripod head comes with a 3/8” thread at the bottom.
Few Camera Straps
Some high-end camera straps come with the option of connecting directly to the tripod mount thread at the bottom of the camera instead of the regular strapping place located on the top of the camera body. Such straps can also be directly connected to the camera lenses for a better balance if the lens is a heavy telephoto lens.
So, if you are planning to buy such a camera strap, you must ensure that your camera’s thread size matches that of the screw in the camera strap. BlackRapid Sport Camera Strap is an excellent example of such a camera strap.
Whenever you are selecting any camera gear, make sure that they have a thread size that is compatible with your other gears. If not, ensure that there is a thread size converter is available in the market, which does not cost you much.