The Benefits of L-Brackets for Cameras

|, Gear, Photography|The Benefits of L-Brackets for Cameras

The Benefits of L-Brackets for Cameras

By | 2016-12-18T17:00:53+00:00 July 1st, 2014|3 Comments

About four years ago, while on a short trip to Moab, I can clearly remember an incident that nearly cost me my camera (and lens, for that matter). I was placing my tripod with camera attached to it into the back of my car, and just as I was about to set it down the camera detached from the tripod head! I was holding the cable release at the time and that (miraculously) kept it from crashing to the concrete below without being unplugged. It was at that moment I knew that I needed a better tripod head system, and as I started to photograph landscapes more and more (with a tripod) then I wanted something I could trust.

I can safely carry my tripod (with camera attached) when using an L-Bracket.

I can safely carry my tripod (with camera attached) when using an L-Bracket.

Eventually I found my way to the L-Bracket system for cameras. An L-Bracket is an L-shaped mount that is fitted to each specific camera model, and mounts securely to the camera. There are also specific types of tripod heads to use with this system that lock the camera in to the tripod very well. The reason it is L-shaped is so that you can easily photograph both horizontally or vertically without having to tilt your tripod head completely sideways.

nicolesy-l-bracket_45 nicolesy-l-bracket_44

The reason I am such a fan of this system is because I know that my camera is securely attached to the tripod. I can hold my tripod over my shoulder while walking on trails without worrying if the camera would fall off the mount. I can also very quickly switch between vertical and horizontal without straining my tripod, which makes it much easier to work with. It is also very easy to get to the battery compartment, which is great if you are set up for your shot and need to quickly change out your battery.

nicolesy-l-bracket_12

I would definitely recommend this setup (L-Bracket and tripod head) for anyone who uses a tripod on a regular basis. The “disadvantage” of this type of gear is that the L-Bracket is semi-permanently attached to the camera; you can remove it, but it takes an Allen wrench to get it off, and it is made to stay attached to the camera. I also use my camera off-tripod as well, and for me it does not get in the way, but it does add some noticeable bulk.

BTW, I use the Really Right Stuff system for my camera L-Brackets and tripod equipment and love the quality of their products. There are also other affordable alternatives out there as well.

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

3 Comments

  1. Paul Parkinson LRPS July 1, 2014 at 8:14 am - Reply

    One thing I would add to this – from personal, recent, experience…

    When you switch from a “click into place” plate to a “slide in” plate such as Arca Swiss, ALWAYS double check the camera is properly seated, locked and secure.

    I thought my Canon 5D3 and 24-70 mk2 was securely locked in place with my nice and shiney new Kirk L-Plate and let go. Only to see the camera and lens fall (in very slo-mo) to the concrete around 6 feet down.

    Amazingly, the camera still worked and the lens was fine. After a few days of use a large crack appeared next to the hot shoe mount and I took it in to be repaired. £350 ($600) later it’s back to normal with new top and back casing. The electronics were fine, as was the lens. I was, on reflection, very very lucky. It could have been far worse.

    Double check the camera is secure before you let go!!

  2. Patrick July 4, 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

    I don’t understand why the use of an L-bracket would mean the camera is attached more securely to the tripod head. My tripod head came with a plate which has to be attached to the camera with a screw (just like your L-bracket). It does not detach easily. I think all has to do with you checking if your camera is attached securely onto the tripod head, whatever plate/bracket you use…

    • Nicole S. Young July 4, 2014 at 8:03 am - Reply

      L-Brackets usually need an Allen wrench to screw them into place, whereas most other tripod plates are hand-tightened. I’m sure that there are tripod systems out there that are going to do a reliable job, but for me I like L-plates for pretty much every reason I mentioned above.

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