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Camera ‘L’ bracket / plate

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Camera ‘L’ bracket / plate

Useful gadgets for your photography


There are an awful lot of small items available as photographic accessories.

Some are useless and some make you wonder why you never got one before.

The quick release ‘L’ bracket (or plate) here is now a near permanent fitting on Keith’s Canon 1Ds mark 3 camera, for architectural work.

Camera L bracket

My own tripod use

A few years ago I got an Induro PHQ 3 head for my tripod [PHQ3 review]

It has a multi axis movement that works well for levelling and even basic panoramic stitching.

I use a tripod for much of my commercial and architectural work, both for accuracy, and the fact that I’m generally working at 100 ISO and relatively small apertures (f/8 – f/16)

The quick release plate attached to the camera allows for lateral movement too, which can help with parallax issues when stitching left/right shifted images (although I do have a specialist TS-E lens attachment for this).

The standard Arca style plate that came with the head, is attached to the camera. Note the chrome pin that stops the camera sliding off the top of the head.

arca style quick release plate

One time such pins are useful is when you need to take a shot in portrait orientation.

camera tilted on tripod head

As you might guess, tilting the camera like this is not the best thing for stability and balance.

What do you get

What about extending the mounting plate round the side of the camera?

There are a variety of solutions for this, depending on the camera you’re using. For a big camera such as the Canon 1 series (or Nikon D3/D4), the plate ideally needs to be custom designed to match the body shape.

This is one for my 1Ds3.

custom L plate for Canon 1Ds mark 3 camera

It’s attached to the normal tripod mount, and offers a grip/quick-release plate (Arca – Swiss style) at the base and side.

L bracket attached to 1Ds mk3

One reason for the shape, is to be able to change battery, without taking the bracket off the camera.

access for changing battery, whilst attached to a tripod

Note too that you still have access to the connectors at the side of the camera, although you need quite a slim USB plug if not wanting to snag on the rubber flap (my studio lead won’t easily fit).

Using the bracket

Not difficult… Just loosen the grip, remove the camera, rotate 90 degrees and re-attach.

using a bracket in landscape orientation

So simple, I wonder why I never got one years ago.

using a bracket in portrait orientation

One reason might be that I don’t shoot that often in portrait mode, and also, when I looked a few years ago custom brackets seemed rather expensive.

Buying an L bracket/plate.

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying a bracket, or any other items at all, via our links.

It won’t cost any more (nor less we’re afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.

Link to ‘L’ Brackets for many different camera models at B&H (US)
Camera L plates at Amazon (US)Camera L plate/bracket at Amazon UK

Anyway, I’ve used one for a while and now always have it fitted when going out…

Conclusions

Given the weight of my camera and lens, I did wonder how solid the device would be.

The lightweight high strength alloy is very rigid, and gives no feel of any play at all.

Finding these brackets to fit your camera may take a bit of searching, and it’s worthwhile being prepared for a bit of ‘sticker shock’ when you first see the price of some of the better quality ones like I have here.

That said, they are available in a range of generic styles and fittings, and if using a fairly lightweight camera such as my 100D, then one of the cheaper ones should be just fine.

Summary

A must have accessory for my camera bag, when shooting my architectural and interior photography.

Other areas of our site that may be of interest...

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