THE AD­VAN­TAGES OF AN L-BRACKET

Digital Photograper - - Reviews -

With this de­vice on your kit list you can in­crease the ver­sa­til­ity of your tri­pod

An L-bracket is a sim­ple ac­ces­sory that con­nects to the tri­pod thread of a cam­era and pro­vides dual con­nec­tion points for mount­ing on a tri­pod head. This al­lows the pho­tog­ra­pher to place the cam­era in ei­ther land­scape or por­trait ori­en­ta­tion, by quickly re­mov­ing the setup, ro­tat­ing it and re-at­tach­ing it to the tri­pod.

Many work­ing pho­tog­ra­phers choose to use a bracket be­cause of the con­sid­er­able time sav­ings of­fered by sidestep­ping the need to tip the head it­self. The lat­ter pro­ce­dure re­quires a loos­en­ing of the head and then a re-tight­en­ing of the lock­ing mech­a­nism, which may take any­where up to 40 sec­onds, dur­ing which time the sub­ject may have moved and the light changed. Other dis­ad­van­tages of tilt­ing the en­tire head is that weight is shifted to one side, creat­ing a sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to wind move­ment and po­ten­tially a dropped cam­era. It also gen­er­ates wear on the quick­re­lease con­nec­tors.

Be­yond these time and bal­ance prob­lems there is also the dif­fi­culty in shoot­ing per­fectly level im­age se­quences for panora­mas.

Due to the cam­era hav­ing to be swung around the tri­pod legs, rather than piv­ot­ing around a cen­tral point, it is com­mon to find your hori­zon mov­ing up or slant­ing down as you move through the se­quence, re­sult­ing in stitch­ing com­pli­ca­tions in Pho­to­shop back home. If the soft­ware can­not align your seg­ments it will be un­able to gen­er­ate a seam­less panoramic im­age. When us­ing an L-bracket, the cam­era

es­sen­tially re­mains in the same place when flipped, so that por­trait­for­mat images can be pho­tographed just as eas­ily as those in land­scape-for­mat.

When look­ing to source a bracket there are sev­eral key fea­tures to look out for. Firstly it is im­por­tant that you con­sider the con­struc­tion ma­te­rial ver­sus the ad­di­tional weight it will add to your cam­era. The unit will have the cam­era body and lenses sit­ting on it al­most con­stantly, so a solid metal con­struc­tion will be a ma­jor ben­e­fit to guar­an­tee it will al­ways hold them safely. How­ever, you’ll also need to be able to com­fort­ably hand-hold the cam­erabracket com­bi­na­tion, given that an Allen key is re­quired to re­move it and there­fore it will most likely re­main at­tached at all times. Be­fore buy­ing a bracket, re­mem­ber to check the com­pat­i­bil­ity of the tri­pod con­nec­tor to be sure it will fit your tri­pod head. The bracket fea­tured here is the L Bracket Q2 from Man­frotto, which uses a quick-re­lease sys­tem based around the 200PL-14 plate, while an­other Man­frotto ex­am­ple is the MS050M4-RC4, which utilises the com­pany’s RC4 con­nec­tor.

An L-bracket’s use­ful­ness will de­pend on the pho­tog­ra­phy genre you spe­cialise in: stu­dio pho­tog­ra­phers may find lit­tle use for one, but land­scape and ar­chi­tec­ture shoot­ers will likely con­sider this an es­sen­tial ac­ces­sory.

“When us­ing an L-bracket, por­trait-for­mat images can be pho­tographed just as eas­ily as those

in land­scape”

Left POR­TRAIT SHOOT­ING

MADE EASY

Whether you shoot in the stu­dio or out in the land­scape, an L-bracket makes por­trait ori­en­ta­tion less of a strug­gle

Above left

LAND­SCAPE ORI­EN­TA­TION

Most brack­ets like this Man­frotto L Bracket Q2 fea­ture quick-re­lease at­tach­ments, en­abling the user to at­tach their cam­era to a tri­pod as when us­ing a quick-re­lease plate

Above mid­dle LEVEL HORI­ZONS

When tilt­ing a ball head, it can be dif­fi­cult to achieve per­fectly level photos when shoot­ing in the por­trait ori­en­ta­tion

Above right

RAPID RO­TA­TION

Quickly and eas­ily flip the cam­era into por­trait ori­en­ta­tion. This method main­tains the cen­tre of grav­ity, mak­ing your setup more sta­ble and en­sur­ing eas­ier panorama stitch­ing

Left AT­TACH­ING THE BRACKET

A po­ten­tial draw­back of us­ing an L-bracket is the time taken to safely at­tach and re­move it from the cam­era

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