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"L" Bracket revelation...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. Okay, I know this seems sort of silly, but I just had an epihany of sorts. I took off my L Bracket for the first time in years. My D2x felt like a completely different camera. The L bracket is like a putting your camera in a cage and when you take it off after having had it on for so long it is liberating, exilerating, titalating exciting, almost like the first day when I first opened the shiny brand new box and started shooting with my new D2x for the first time. The camera has a whole new feel. I now know what the ergonomics that everyone keeps talking about means.

    I got my first DSLR about 8 or nine years ago. A D1, and at the same time, I also picked up a RRS L bracket for the Arca Swiss quick release tripod head. When I picked up the D1x about 3 years later, I also put an L bracket on it. Now I have a D2x and before I got the camera, I got the L bracket.

    All of my Nikon D series cameras have always had a RRS L bracket on it. I can't remember ever holding the D without a bracket on it. I just figured, it was a bit of a nuisance to have to screw it on and off when I wanted to use the tripod so it has always been there.

    Well today, I looked at my D2x and the bracket and thought to myself, why would I leave this bulky device which adds unused weight on my camera 100% of the time when about 80% or so of my photography is not on a tripod. I usually know before I leave home if I am going to be doing a shoot which is all or mostly tripod assisted, like night shooting or long lens shooting, or product shots etc. The bulk of my shooting is 70-200 VR or 17-55mm lenses which I mostely hand hold when walking about. If I am going to need a tripod for a tough shot or whatever, it takes a couple of moments to set up the tripod anyway so a few more seconds to screw in the L bracket shouldn't make much difference.

    So from now on, the bracket is going to the bottom of the bag and the camera is nude.

    Seems like no big deal, but I wonder how many of you are in the same boat. Try undressing your camera it can change the whole photography experience.

    Just wanted to share.
  2. Scott
    Almost every picture I take is on a tripod so Ill have to leave mine on. I never seem to notice the bracket but now that you have brought it up it will probably become very visible.
  3. TheKO


    May 3, 2005
    Tampa, FL

    Now your into doing nudes...
  4. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    Well, I leave mine on the camera. I did however get the one that wasn't anodized. I then had mine anodized red, just to be different. It matches the little red swatch on the grip nicely.

  5. Like I said, it is very liberating!!!
  6. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Funny you bring this up, I had a similar epiphany a while back. I have always left the L-brackets on all the time in the past. But it occurred to me that I really only use the L-bracket for landscape shooting and flash shooting. With longer glass I use the lens' tripod collar.

    I've come to realize that the D2x's vertical grip is much more pleasant to use without the L-bracket. So now I keep the bracket off when shooting with big glass or shooting handheld without flash. I still use the bracket for most flash shooting because it's needed for the RRS flash bracket.
  7. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    this is the reason I don't get L brackets I just get a bottom plate, and when I get the D200, I wont be getting the extended grip/battery. I like my skinny camera feel!


  8. I actually like the L bracket and it does serve a purpose obviously. I have just decided that if I am going to use a tripod, the process of setting up the tripod will now include attaching the L bracket to the camera.
  9. The l-bracket is a very fine tool.
    But i also took it of last week.
    I don't need it whole the time.
    It is so easy to mount and it is my bag all the time. BUT the d2x feels much better without it.
  10. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    My L-brackets are not the flimsy mass-produced stuff, but machined from a piece of aluminium no less than 15 mm in thickness. They are the essential part of my field work, and allow the cameras to be mounted in any position. They act as protectors whenever the camera is dropped to the ground, so I can just pick up the camera and continue shooting. They add substantial heft to the cameras which is a good thing since more mass stabilizes the camera, whether the camera is tripod-mounted or used hand-held.

    The L-bracket on my F5 in fact once saved my life, when I became trapped beneath an ice-floe and had to use the camera to crack the ice open.

    I never venture outdoors without L-brackets. Too dangerous. :biggrin:
  11. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Well, a bottom plate wouldn't address my concern about the L-bracket, which is that it makes the vertical grip less comfortable to use. The L-Bracket really is more verstatile though. Not only does it give you more flexibility for shooting verticals but it also allows me to use the same flash bracket with either a lens foot or mounted to the l-bracket thanks to the modularity of the RRS system.
  12. Scott, a very cogent post, thank you. I went on a seminar recently and saw this "famous" (okay, RR) photographer using the L bracket...so I need it...right? I'm certain I must be the only goofball who buys something like this because someone I admire uses it.

    Well, I also have the compact flash bracket which I really like to use at events. When I hand hold and want to take a portrait shot it is so convenient to flop the flash 90% and still have the flash not leave shadows to the right of people. This unit uses a 1/4-20 screw in hole.

    Flash forward to last Sunday. I want to take portrait pictures of my grandkids. I have the D2X with the compact flash unit....and an arctech ball head with a RRS quick release holder. PROBLEM: the kids have to leave pretty soon and the bottom of the compact flash holder has a screw hole; in other words the two units are incompatible.

    I know, use the 70-200VR and mount the flash unit on the Arctech ball with the RRS mount.... PROBLEM: the 70-200 will not rotate 90 degrees because the L bracket bumps into the lens mount ring base.

    I know..buy a telephoto plate and mount it onto the bottom of the compact flash unit...PROBLEM: this is getting crazy; now I'm carrying all sorts of anodized aluminum around that I use only for special occasions.

    Anyone have any suggestions not involving paying another $200 or so for a different flash unit holder?

    Second problem. The compact flash unit has cork on its bottom which is not strong enough to keep the unit from twisting on a tripod. You have really cinch the screw tight and since the body is either aluminum or magnesium in the particular spot I risk stripping the threads. Is there something to keep the unit from twisting?

    Why is this important? My quick solution was to connect the L Bracket to the Arctec/RRS bracket in portrait position and the rotate the Arctec/RRS 90 degrees over back to landscape (yeah, I know..is this stupid?) . Oh yeah, I have to rearrange the legs of the tripod so the assembly fits between the two legs permitting a level landscape (phew!). Now the weight of the lens twists the base of the whole shooting match and it slowly droops towards the floor because the cork doesn't have enough friction to hold the lens out straight. RATS! Taking a picture shouldn't be this hard.

  13. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Jeff, I have wondered why some folksw use the L when hanholding the camera and using it in the Portrait presentation. I agree in some instances the L is the way to go, but I only use my camera bottom plate with my smaller, lighter lenses on tripods and the acratech head I have does fine in portrait mode with the lighter camera and lenses, sure it would be easier to flip around with an L, and not have to recompose.

    And the stated use with the flash brackets is excactly a need for the L if I used flash extensively, I would have a Kirk L mounted in an instant, But, I don't do a large amount of studio work, most of my portraiture format is wildlife with the big lenses and there I mount with the lens plates. The extra mass and weight for available light event photography/dance recitals, concerts, etc. where I hold the camera all day without flash (and sometimes night) would be bothersome. The d200 is just what the doctor ordered for me. Sealed Body, Small body, 10+ mp and 5fps raw.


  14. Rich,
    Maybe I misunderstood but if you're using the 70-200, can't you mount the 70-200 foot to the arca swiss ball head and mount the flash to the camera body?

    For me, the only long lens I have is the 70-200mm vr which has it's own rrs foot plate that gets attached to the rrs quick release ball head as do most long lenses so you really don't need it for long lens shooting.

    The next longest lens I have is a 17-55 which mostly gets hand held for outdoor scenic shots and so on when the lighting is forgiving enough to let me shoot at a fast speed. I also have the 28 and 85 f1.4 lenses which work pretty well in low light hand held. If I need to bring the speed down I may mount it and then I will bring out the L bracket which can be attached in seconds. This is handy if shooting indoors especially in natural light. so the L bracket is a great accessory but in my opinion should be considered an accessory like the speedlight. Left on the body, it takes away from the great ergonomics that everyone always talks about so favorably.

    I am not trying to talk anyone into changing what they do, I only bring it up because I somehow recently discovered this after so many years of assuming that it should be attached always and wondered if others have also just sort of taken this as a given without really considering the alternative. That's the beauty of this forum... sharing and discovering. And yes Rich, I have picked up an item on someones recommendation or if they seem successful with it.
  15. I tried that, but the L bracket hits against the foot bracket of the 70-200; can't rotate it 90 degrees.
  16. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    You lost me here, exactly which L-bracket and foot bracket are you referring to? I can't think of any way the L-Bracket would get in the way unless you have a really huge lens foot attached to your 70-200vr. The RRS replacement foot I use is no bigger than the original Nikon foot and doesn't come anywhere near the camera body.
  17. RICH,
    my curiosity is peaked as well. Is it possible to put a picture on the thread?
  18. I have a Kirk L bracket on my D2X and a RRS lens plate on my 70-200 VR and have no problems. Rich, do you have the foot plate mounted too far back? Mine has a couple of position you can attach rome.
  19. Cherokee


    Nov 27, 2005
    L Bracket

    I am interested by your comments. I have just ordered my first L bracket and was thinking that it would be a sometimes thing - not a permanent attachment. I always carry a hex wrench on my person anyway. All of the comments have enforced my thinking. Thanks.
  20. I shoot from a tripod about 75% of the time, so I leave my L bracket on all the time. I really don't find it to be a problem and I guess I'm used to it being there.
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