Quick Tip: Secure the Screws That Secure Your Tripod Screw

Here’s one of the first things I do when I buy a new camera.

Secure the screws that secure the tripod screw port on the bottom of your camera.

You’ll probably be shocked to discover just how unsecured this port is, especially considering how much weight and force you could be applying while using a tripod. There will usually be 2-4 screws holding the port in place behind the bottom plate. Losing these screws will leave your port wobbling, though will still work in most cases once you’ve tightened the screw on your plate or tripod. Unfortunately, some may find themselves less lucky should the screws become lost, discovering the port isn’t otherwise shimmed one place, spinning freely the next time you try to install a base plate and becoming useless.

So, as soon as you unwrap your brand new camera, it’s best to remove these screws one at a time and apply thread locker. There may already be thread locker applied. If using a moderate amount of force doesn’t break the screw free, just leave it as it’s obviously secure with thread locker from the factory.

As I discovered with my GFX, one of the screws clearly wasn’t engaged with the threads that had thread locker on them. The threads with locker on them just didn’t go in far enough. I was able to remove all four screws by hand with minimal force, making me thankful I had done this as I very realistically could have lost one or more within weeks.

Final tip: when doing this or any other maintenance, spend the money and get the proper tools then ensure you’re using the right one. The mistake most often made is the use of the wrong driver and the result is stripped out screw heads. In my case, the screws were size 00 Phillips. I’d bought an iFixit Mako 64-piece mini tool kit a long time back, in part to do things like this. It’s only $35 on Amazon and even if this is the only time you ever use it, the cost of replacing stripped out screws can be even more.

And if you resell your camera gear to help facilitate upgrades, stripped out screw heads are one of the first things people look for on electronics as evidence of abuse, repair and overall tampering. It may work just fine but what you’ve got is something that looks tampered with or abused, reducing its value.

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