I put it off for a long time and didn’t think they would make all that much of a difference. I was able to do everything I wanted to do without it. Boy was I was wrong! I should have purchased an L-bracket the very same day I purchased my first camera.
An L-bracket is an extremely simple item. It’s a tripod plate that attaches to your camera like any other tripod plate. However, this bracket will wrap around your camera and have another arca swiss compatible bracket on the side of the camera. This will allow you to switch your camera from landscape orientation to portrait orientation with ease.
Why You Need An L-Bracket
In my early days when I wanted to go in to portrait orientation I would just tilt my camera to the side. This works fine but there are issues I ran in to. First of all I would sometimes be limited with the direction I was able to tilt my camera if I needed to level my camera. It wasn’t very forgiving to have the tripod head blocking your camera from moving freely. The second issue is that the center of gravity kind of gets messed up when your camera is basically hanging from the side of your tripod. It’s not like your camera will cause the tripod to fall over, but still, why risk it?
An L-bracket takes care of both issues by allowing your camera to mount on the very top of your tripod. This means you are free to tilt your camera freely without the side of the tripod head getting in your way. And since the camera remains over the top center of your tripod, the center of gravity doesn’t change. Which makes your set-up more stable.
These two images above show how easy it is to go from landscape orientation to vertical orientation.
Which L-Bracket You Should Buy
As with most products, you have choices when it comes to L-brackets. You can get a cheap generic one from Amazon for about $20 or you can get a top of the line bracket from Really Right Stuff for about $180.
Unlike most products, you probably don’t need to buy the top of the line L-bracket. I purchased an L-bracket similar to this one for my D810 and it was great. I currently have this one on my Fujifilm X-T2 and it is perfect. This one is nice because if has a grip built in that makes my X-T2 fit in my hands much better.
This isn’t to say that more expensive brackets aren’t nice. I now have a Really Right Stuff L-bracket on my D850 and it is really nice. It is specifically made to fit my camera so it will not move at all while mounted to the camera. The generic one for my D810 tends to move around a little if the screw comes loose at all.
The bracket on my X-T2 is perfect though. I have no plans to purchase a more expensive one for that camera.