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Manfrotto doesn't know what they're doing either. How many dozens of incompatible plates do they have now?
The only system where you can mix and match anything is with products that are acra swiss-ish. Note the -ish part as every maker has their on spin on how it should work, but all the parts fit together.
I have a whatever was cheapest mix of Acratech (my favorite by far even though their stuff has some dumb flaws they've still not corrected) Kirk and Novoflex. All the parts fit and play nicely with each other. There's some other random stuff like a bracket...Show more →
You sound a little bitter - have you had a lens flex, get loose and fall off? I'm all for robust design, but even if we're talking really long primes with a D3s/D4 hanging off the back, what evidence do you have that the bolt Nikon chose isn't up to the task?
I'm only aware of a couple (photography) plates from Manfrotto - their rectangular and their hex. I know they have several different video plates that are matched to their video panning heads, but whatever. I don't get why they do it that way, and as a former user of one of their heads, I have to say their clamping system doesn't inspire confidence (though I did like the safety built into the quick release function). Manfrotto lacks a useful L-bracket, which is my favorite part of the A/S system (I know they have one, but it isn't one I'd leave on my camera 99% of the time like I do my RRS bracket). Personally, I don't like Manfrotto's system, and I think they are in serious trouble with the number of affordable A/S options coming on the market these days. Their big advantage is their brand name and how established they are with channels/stores. Time will tell, I guess.
Ultimately, it isn't in Nikon's interests to choose a mounting system, for a lot of reasons. Primary among them is it gives incentive for a company to come up with a better solution without having to worry about incumbency from an OEM like Nikon or Canon. Heck, it might even give Manfrotto the opportunity to move to something better.