A cradle clamp is a right-angled quick-release clamp used on some gimbal tripod heads to hold your super-telephoto lens foot securely. Really Right Stuff include the PG-CC Cradle Clamp with the Full-Gimbal version of their excellent PG-02 Mk2 gimbal head.
Uniquely among gimbal-producing brands, the RRS Cradle Clamp features a lever-release locking mechanism that many people find easier and quicker to use than the screw-lock mechanisms found on the cradle clamps of competitor brands such as Wimberley and ProMediaGear. As a result, many owners of non-RRR gimbals choose to upgrade their gimbal by buying the RRS PG-CC cradle clamp. This review will take a detailed look at the Really Right Stuff Cradle clamp and discuss the pros and cons of this change.
The right-angled lever-release clamp that makes up the cradle part of the PG-02 Mk2 Full-Gimbal is available as an individual item. It is sold under the name Really Right Suff PG-CC Cradle Clamp and costs around $215.
Just as Really Right Stuff do, many other gimbal manufacturers use an Arca-Swiss standard width dovetail rail for the vertical part of the gimbal cradle, and this means you can use the RRS Cradle Clamp as an upgrade to many different gimbals such as the Wimberley WH-200 and the ProMediaGear Katana and Katana Junior.
I use the word “upgrade” very deliberately here because I think the experience of using a lever-release clamp on a gimbal is far superior to using a screw-lock clamp. While you are wrestling with a giant super-telephoto lens, trying to balance that $15,000 package on a plate with one hand, it just seems awkward to have to tighten a screw-lock clamp with several rotations of a knob. Closing a lever-release clamp is faster, considerably easier with gloves on, easier in cold weather and also much easier if you lack manual dexterity due to arthritis. Strangely, many gimbal manufacturers do not make lever-release clamps at all, and that is why those that want one, will most likely look towards the Really Right Stuff PG-CC. In fact, I don’t currently know of another option on the market.
As with all Really Right Stuff products, you will pay a pretty penny to have this in your camera bag, but when you get it in your hands you feel the usual RRS workmanship, and you’ll also note that it was machined out of one solid block of aluminum. In this case, the right-angled design probably leads to some necessary machining wastage, attributing to the relatively high price. Note that one of their standard lever-release clamps costs $120.
The lever-release action is incredibly smooth. Having been an RRS user for well over a decade, I can attest to the fact that it will stay that way for many years to come. The rubber-coated knob on the vertical clamp is also nice and large, making it easy to operate in the cold with gloves on.
The only other design point worthy of slight note is the fact that the clamp is entirely unbranded by RRS logos. Perhaps that’s a positive thing for you, perhaps it’s not. Personally, I think it’s a strange omission given that all their other clamps do contain the logo, and I also think that many people who use RRS gear are proud of it and would like it to be known.
Upgrading Your Gimbal Head to the RRS Cradle Clamp
As mentioned earlier, the vertical arm of the gimbal cradle needs to be a standard width Arca dovetail in order to make use of the RRS PG-CC upgrade. This certainly includes Wimberley gimbals such as the WH-200 and all ProMediaGear gimbals. I believe it also includes gimbals from Benro, Movo, Oben, Kirk and Sirui as well. If you have one of these gimbals and have made the upgrade, please leave a comment below to confirm and help everyone out.
One gimbal that it certainly does NOT include, is the Gitzo Fluid Gimbal. For some unknown reason, Gitzo decided to use a wider non-standard dovetail width for the vertical part of their gimbal. Gitzo gimbal users are therefore stuck with the screw-lock cradle clamp that comes with the Fluid Gimbal.
Upgrading Side Mount Gimbals
If you currently have a side mount gimbal you can easily upgrade to using the RRS PG-CC Cradle Clamp by simply buying the clamp and any generic multi-purpose Arca-Swiss dovetail rail. In the photo below you can see this demonstrated with a side mount version of the RRS PG-02 gimbal, converted to cradle mount with the PG-CC cradle and a basic dovetail rail from ProMediaGear that I had lying around. This is actually a nice way to do things because it makes it easy to switch back and forth between side mount and cradle mount.
Where to Buy
- In North America and global locations, the PG-CC Cradle Clamp can be purchased from B&H Photo for $190.
- In Europe, the PC-GG can be purchased from Augenblicke Eingefangen for €270.
4 thoughts on “Really Right Stuff Cradle Clamp PG-CC Review – A Great Gimbal Upgrade”
Hi Dan, Thanks for review. As usual your blog has all the answers I’ve been thinking of.
I’ve just been looking to such upgrade and noticed you’ve use the PMG Katana Jnr on Peak Design tripod.
1. Do you feel the tripod is strong enough to hold a Sony A9 with like a 200-600mm zoom lens or even a 600mm f/4 GM prime?
2. For this upgrade, does it change the center of gravity and is the camera still directly above the center of tripod?
3. Is the new cradle heavier or lighter than the PMG cradle?
1. I personally would not use it with these lenses. There is too little torsional stiffness in the PD tripod legs. I probably just have it like that in the photos because that is what I had to hand at the time.
2. The horizontal offset is very close to that of the original PMG cradle. It’s maybe not quite directly above the pivot, but IMO it’s close enough to make no practical difference.
3. A tough heavier. I don’t mind because thankfully the Katana JR is a real lightweight in the first place. And I think even with the slight weight increase, the setup is still lighter than other similar models. That said, if I need to go lightweight, I just switch to side-mount mode.
I recently swapped out the original Katana Jr. screw clamp for the RRS one. I thought to look to see if anyone had comments about doing this (probably better to have done this BEFORE purchasing!)
I works well and removes a source of major concern when mounting and unmounting a big lens to the gimbal. The middle position of the RRS levers is a great boon, as well, where a plate and lens is secure but not fully locked so it can be slid back & forth for proper positioning.
One non-functional area where I disagree with you: in general, I like gear that is not emblazoned with the maker’s name or mark. I know what it is and that is all that matters to me. I am not into freely advertising products unless it is my own!
By the by, nice blog! Keep up the good work.
CORRECTION: the sentence “I am not into freely advertising products unless it is my own!” ought to read,
“I am not into freely advertising products unless they are my own!”
Please correct if you post the original comment. Thanks