If you are the type of photographer who has their camera on a tripod more often than not, then listen up. You need an L-Bracket.
There, I said it!
An L-Bracket looks exactly how it sounds. It’s a tripod plate attached to the bottom of your camera, like any other. Except, it’s shaped like an L which means it wraps around one side of your camera as well as the bottom.
There are numerous companies making L-Brackets including Manfrotto, Three Legged Thing, Really Right Stuff and many others.
So if you think all L-Brackets are too expensive, you’re not exactly right. Sure, you can spend $200 or more on one, if you want. But you don’t have to. Getting a more universally fitting L-Bracket will cost far less than one custom for a specific camera.
With that said, I personally use L-Brackets from Really Right Stuff and will continue to do so because of their quality, and that they’re made in the United States. Their customer service is top-notch too, which is a plus.
There is one huge advantage of an L-Bracket over a standard tripod plate … balance.
With a standard plate, if you want to go from landscape to portrait, you have to adjust the tripod head, putting your camera off-center and in turn, reduce the effectiveness of your tripod.
While this may not be essential for some photographers, if you photograph anything that requires precision, then it’s a must. If you’re a long exposure photographer, it’s a must. If you photograph panoramas and want precision, then it’s a must.
With an L-Bracket, you remove the camera from your tripod while in landscape, and mount it on its side, in portrait. That way the camera is still centered.
With anything, there is a disadvantage and in this case, it’s bulk. An L-Bracket will surely weigh more and will add more bulk to your camera. It might also interfere with other accessories. For example, some L-Brackets may not have an extra screw hole at the bottom which means you may not be able to use a sling strap. But others do offer that. I use Spider Holster products 100% of the time, so I actually have their Spider Pro Clamp which will connect to my L-Bracket and allow me to hang my camera from my hip quickly and easily on the fly.
So while there is a disadvantage, there are also ways around it.
So I encourage you to try out an L-Bracket. Go to your local camera store and try it. Go to a trade show and try it. See what you think!