Review - Smallrig L-Bracket for Nikon Z6/Z7 Cameras

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A front view of the bottom plate. The 2 screw holes are for an accessory bracket that can support the FTZ adapter. This bracket is sold separately.

Extra gripping and camera protection have been on my mind here lately. There are a lot of options out there of varying degree - quality, price, materials. So many that it can be daunting.

What I have been doing is analyzing what it is I need and going in that direction. For the Olympus PEN-F, I've just wanted something to protect the bottom plate from getting scratched up, same as the Nikon Df. The Nikon Z6 was slightly different in that I wanted to have something that would add a little more vertical grip to the camera.

Final decisions were made on that basis.

How will the Smallrig L-Bracket perform?


Bottom rear showing the arca swiss ridge and centering indicator

First Impression/Unboxing
Even though the Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras have not been out for that long, there are quite a few l-brackets out there for it. Most l-brackets are about the ability to connect the camera to an Arca Swiss compatible tripod head. What I wanted for the Z6 is to add a little extra vertical grip to it. A lot of the top makers left this area off, more than likely to cut down on weight that would be added to have metal across the entire bottom of the camera.

That omission is the reason a lot of the more well known brands were removed from consideration.

Price was also a factor, as the other brands also were, in some cases double the price or more and some were not even tailored to the camera, they were more the universal type.

Not only did I need the extra grip, I had a requirement that the battery compartment be open and not obstructed.

At $69, the Smallrig l-bracket for Nikon Z hit all the marks on paper. The problem was that no one local had one. Smallrig's reputation is good online and their camera cages and other l-brackets get good reviews as well. I decided to take the chance.

I ordered from Smallrig, located in China. The item was listed as back-ordered. Within a few days, though the item had shipped via FedEx and I received the item within 3 days after item marked as shipped. Impressive!

I received a small non-descript brown box. Opening the box, you get a pamphlet from Smallrig as well as the l-bracket, wrapped up very well in 2 layers of bubble wrap.

The fit and finish is excellent. There is not a blemish on this thing. It is solid feeling well worth the asking price.


bottom, you can see additional tapped slots for connecting standard tripod attachments or in my case a BlackRapid ConnectR. You can also see the allen wrench at the bottom as well.

Installation

Smallrig includes an allen wrench with the l-bracket. Not only that, but the bottom plate houses the wrench and holds it in place via a magnet system. Very clever.

Before installing, I removed the side bracket. I didn't want that part, only the bottom plate. I wasn't sure if the side bracket was removable, so I did inquire about this via email to Smallrig before the order. They very quickly responded and informed me that the side bracket is indeed removable.

Using the supplied screw and allen wrench, the bottom plate was installed quickly and easily. It couldn't be any easier than this - which I'm sure every l-bracket is probably just as easy.


this is the area where the side plate of the l-bracket should be

Feel In Hand

Every edge is smooth, not a rough edge anywhere. The bracket gives plenty of distance for your pinkie to rest on it without falling off the edge.

I really do not notice any additional weight either.

This things is darn near perfect! It is 100% what I wanted.

It also gives plenty of clearance for the FTZ adapter. In actuality, the bottom of the adapter does not touch the table top when the Smallrig is installed.


grip side. Looks like some kind of lanyard or strap slot perhaps?

Final Thoughts

I will start out by saying that I will definitely be looking to Smallrig in the future if I ever need/want another l-bracket or camera cage.

This stuff is quality all around and the prices good. Customer service is top notch. I would not hesitate to recommend Smallrig products in the future.

If there are any additional questions about the product, drop a comment below and we can discuss.
 
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Agreed that the stuff is solidly made, and dirt cheap compared to the typical small shop counterparts like RRS and Kirk. Plus they have a much more complete ecosystem including cable clamps, handles, etc.

I have their L bracket on my G9 and there is one thing to be aware of. The distance between the lands of the plate spans 1.564" (39.7256mm), and although that is compatible with some manufacturers' clamps, many others that run on the narrower side (Benro for instance), won't open far enough to accept the plate. You'll need a clamp that can open to 1.485" (37.719mm) to accept the plate.

Seems the Arca-Swiss standard is not really standardized at all, with opening spans ranging anywhere from 34mm to almost 40mm. http://www.afximages.com/stuff/arca-plates-xref.html

So if you have access to a caliper it might be worth checking the span of the Z plate to see if it is the same.
 
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  • #3
Agreed that the stuff is solidly made, and dirt cheap compared to the typical small shop counterparts like RRS and Kirk. Plus they have a much more complete ecosystem including cable clamps, handles, etc.

I have their L bracket on my G9 and there is one thing to be aware of. The distance between the lands of the plate spans 1.564" (39.7256mm), and although that is compatible with some manufacturers' clamps, many others that run on the narrower side (Benro for instance), won't open far enough to accept the plate. You'll need a clamp that can open to 1.485" (37.719mm) to accept the plate.

Seems the Arca-Swiss standard is not really standardized at all, with opening spans ranging anywhere from 34mm to almost 40mm. http://www.afximages.com/stuff/arca-plates-xref.html

So if you have access to a caliper it might be worth checking the span of the Z plate to see if it is the same.
I do not have access to calipers, but I do know that it will not fit in my Benro video tripod head, which is Arca Swiss, but it does fit in my other, "normal" tripod head. The opening mechanisms are slightly different.
 
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@gryphon1911, I believe you are using the FTZ to adapt lenses. When I was considering the SmallRig, one thing I noticed is that they make a Lens Adapter Support (part #2244) for FTZ users. Do you see that as a useful add-on?
Not really... But the largest lens I have right now is a tamron 70-200/2.8.

Perhaps it has some use for video. I do know that it makes the bottom of the l-bracket and the bottom of the adapter the same height. Some people might find that desirable.
 
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I am happy with the bracket itself; it is very well made and significantly improves stability when mounting on a tripod in portrait orientation.

The Lens Adapter Support is also good, but the design favors users who leave the FTZ mounted on the body. Interchanging F-mount for Z-mount lenses requires tools when the Lens Adapter Support is in place.
 
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I have one too, and love it. I keep the side bracket on, but found out that it blocks access the 10-pin port when mounted in portrait mode on a ballhead. Not a deal breaker. I use am OPtech strap and it attaches to the right side of the plate and to the right side eyelet of the Z6.
The FTZ adaptor is for lenses that are long/large and have no mounting hardware of their own. Not a concern for me.
I too got mine from China, and got it fast! Discovered B&H are a distributor.

I love mine!
 
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I just ordered one from eBay that has a side extension to help with cables.
You are a lifesaver, and a great photographer (y)
I went to the SmallRig website to see what it was you were just bought, and I saw that the L-plate that I , and the rest of you have, does indeed afford clearance so you can use a 10-pin cable when in portrait mode on a tripod. There is a second screw under the plate, loosen it and the side bracket slides out 24mm, enough to accommodate the 10-pin plug (in my case, a wireless remote).
Thank you Allan, and thank you SmallRig.

My inference was probably due to reading something on the internet that said it was no dice with a plug because of Nikons design!
 
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I have one too, and love it. I keep the side bracket on, but found out that it blocks access the 10-pin port when mounted in portrait mode on a ballhead. Not a deal breaker. I use am OPtech strap and it attaches to the right side of the plate and to the right side eyelet of the Z6.
The FTZ adaptor is for lenses that are long/large and have no mounting hardware of their own. Not a concern for me.
I too got mine from China, and got it fast! Discovered B&H are a distributor.

I love mine!
Nick, you can get more clearance for the connection ports. There's a screw in the base that permits adjustment of the side bracket.
 
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You are a lifesaver, and a great photographer (y)
I went to the SmallRig website to see what it was you were just bought, and I saw that the L-plate that I , and the rest of you have, does indeed afford clearance so you can use a 10-pin cable when in portrait mode on a tripod. There is a second screw under the plate, loosen it and the side bracket slides out 24mm, enough to accommodate the 10-pin plug (in my case, a wireless remote).
Thank you Allan, and thank you SmallRig.

My inference was probably due to reading something on the internet that said it was no dice with a plug because of Nikons design!
Glad we helped each other.
 
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Messages
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Something else that this bracket does is it has enough clearance to permit removing the FTZ adaptor from the camera while it is mounted on a tripod. I've read several great reviews where they complained that this was a shortcoming of the Nikon design.

For example in the link Karen provided elsewhere, https://www.nationalparksatnight.com/blog the author writes, "When I mount a camera body to a tripod and want to take off the FTZ adapter and lens, the FTZ mount gets in the way. To remove the FTZ mount and lens, I have to take the camera completely off the tripod, then swap lenses. This is definitely annoying."

SmallRig scores!
 
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