Ending our love-hate relationship with L-Brackets: A thorough review of new options from SmallRig

L-holders are a very useful tool enjoyed by many photographers of different genres, but as long as we use them, it is hard to overlook imperfections in the way they mount or Works with some cameras. These two new mounting tools from SmallRig can change that.

Photography accessories often fulfill both or one of two functions. Either they help protect precious camera gear, improve the way we use them, or both. In recent years, L-mounts, cages, rigs, and other camera attachments have grown exponentially in popularity, and as more camera manufacturers update their line of imaging equipment, so does Supporting accessory manufacturers must also keep up.

The problem that the L-rack solves

The L-mount is simply made to mount the camera on a tripod like a regular tripod plate. The only difference is that when using a regular tripod plate, one would have to tilt the camera on top of the tripod to the side 90 degrees to be able to shoot vertically. For the simplest of applications, this shouldn’t even be a real problem when shooting fast stills, as long as the tripod and head can hold the camera steady.

For other photographers, just thinking about tilting your head to one side feels risky because of the uneven weight, especially if the camera and lens are quite heavy. In addition, if the latter involves panning and stitching, having the camera a few inches away from the axis of rotation will result in image distortion.

L-rack is the solution

Simply put, an L-mount makes it easier and safer to mount your camera on a tripod vertically. It eliminates weight imbalances and helps keep the camera at a more comfortable angle of view. In a way, the L bracket also provides additional protection for two of the six sides of the body. This means that if in case the camera falls on the bottom or left part, the mount will take some impact. There are L mounts made to fit a wide selection of cameras with adjustable or sliding mounting screws, and there are also L mounts specially designed to fit specific camera models. body. The benefit of using rear mounts is that the photographer can simply keep the L-holders on the camera even when not in use and rarely have to remove them as the holes for the battery door and side ports are aligned properly. corpse.

Ergonomic challenges

Over the decades, L-holders have proven to be very convenient to use for a multitude of shooting situations. Whether you’re using a general-purpose version that you’ll take out and install every now and then, or one that’s fitted to your camera, it offers undeniable convenience.

In recent years, as vari-angle flip screens have become more and more common, especially for cameras used for video and vlog recording, the presence of the side plate of the L-shaped mount has become an ergonomic obstacle. Most, if not all, flip screens flip to the left side of the body, tilting the screen will also rotate to the same side, and the side plate of the stand is clearly an obstacle for those types of movements. At the same time, the side plate will cover the accessory ports on the side and will have to be unlocked from below to get some space by sliding the side plate further away from the body. When it does, this means the camera now takes up more space, and if the screen is facing the person in front of the camera, the side plate becomes an obstruction. Most mounting solutions manufacturers have found a variety of ways to overcome this challenge.

Foldable L-stand

This new variation of the L-rack from SmallRig certainly solves the problem, but with the added step of folding and unfolding the side panels. When folded, the side plate of SmallRig . folding L-shaped stand serves as the surface to which the quick release clamp of the Arca Swiss mount will adhere. This plate has two buttons on the back. The right button unlocks the side plate from a folded configuration allowing the joint to rotate counterclockwise to put the side plate in place, and the left button unlocks that position to fold the side plate back to the bottom of the machine. image . The same mounting screw can also be loosened (even partially) to slide the side plate out to create more room on the side to access ports similar to how older versions of the mount did. .

Considering that this new version works exactly the same and only addresses the issues of using the flip screen and side ports, it can automatically be seen as a major improvement in product design. In my opinion it could be improved simply by having a separate slide and lock mechanism to extend the side plate instead of having to open the mounting screw to make space on the side.

Rotating camera stand

Another option that has recently been made available is this option rotating camera mounting plate set use a lens ring with a foot that acts as a tripod plate. This necklace is then connected to a bottom plate made specifically for the camera. At this time, this is only available for Sony a7R DRAW, a7RIV, a7IVAnd a7SIIIbut the brand has said that options for more camera models from most camera brands will be made available soon.

The tripod plate connected to the washer is both Arca Swiss mount type and compatible with Manfrotto RC2. The collar is made up of two internal rotating layers, which means no moving parts come into contact with the lens barrel. In fact, the washer doesn’t make contact with the lens at all, but only acts as a conduit for the internal rotating element.

The rotation of the washer is limited to 90 degrees, allowing only one-way horizontal-to-vertical transitions but also conveniently ensuring a right angle if the initial position is at the right level. On the lower left side of the washer is an extension of the lens release button for secure access, and on the other side is a knob for controlling friction or simply locking the dial in place. At the bottom of both the tripod plate and the camera plate are additional screw threads of different sizes in case the user has to use it on a different type of quick release mount or if the user wants to attach accessories. additional accessories to the camera.

The swivel mount allows access to all ports within any shooting configuration and ensures that the flip screen’s range of motion is not obstructed. Overall, this seems to be the most practical solution to the challenges that were initially solved with L brackets, and also seems to be the most effective.

What I like

  • The folding L-rack offers a quick and portable solution
  • The easiest to use and adjust swivel bracket
  • Both options are compatible with Arca Swiss . mount

What can be improved

  • Folding L bracket can be provided with a separate locking mechanism for side extension
  • More compatibility options for other camera models and brands
  • More color and finishing options


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