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03-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #1
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Tripod Ball Head Advice: "L" Brackets

When using a tripod, I've been seeing more and more use of "L" brackets to move the camera from landscape mode to portrait position...............are any of you using this approach or are you happy with swinging your ball head down to 90 degrees for a portrait shot.

I have a K5 and a pistol grip Manfrotto 322RC2 head and am thinking of getting something like a Vanguard BBH 200 or Really Right Stuff BH-40 head.....

Any thoughts?

03-05-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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As I recently picked up a ball head, I've been contemplating this, too. Who makes them, or what's the correct term to search for on Ebay?
03-05-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
As I recently picked up a ball head, I've been contemplating this, too. Who makes them, or what's the correct term to search for on Ebay?
I haven't looked on eBay yet, but at the Really Right Stuff site this is the link.......

Really Right Stuff - Item Listing

This is high-end.............I'm looking for advice on other alternatives...........
03-05-2012, 11:36 AM   #4
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I went with a standard (non-L) plate when I first bought into the RRS/Arca-Swiss system, thinking, as you are, that it's easy enough to change the orientation of the ball head. Didn't take me long to wish for an L-plate, which I now have. For macro or close-up work, of which I do a lot, changing the head position means moving the tripod and adjusting the height to keep the camera position the same. And with my ball head the portrait position slot only goes down to horizontal, which on numerous occasions made me have to redo the tripod position. The camera also balances better with the weight over the ball head.

I went with RSS. Really expensive stuff, yes it is. But oh my, it is beautifully crafted, and the custom plates fit your camera like --- custom plates. They don't make one for the K-5/K-7 with battery grip, a common lament.

QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
what's the correct term to search for on Ebay?
Arca Swiss plate (assuming you want to go with that system, which is the most universal).


Last edited by baro-nite; 03-05-2012 at 11:38 AM. Reason: addendum
03-05-2012, 12:20 PM   #5
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Are there any other sources for L plates? RRS makes lovely items, but oh, the cost! Any amateur machinists out there?

Wouldn't it be nice if Pentax made one. Or perhaps a rethinking of what a DSLR should look like. Consider the 645n. It has two tripod sockets obviating the need for a L plate, and is that feature ever handy! Two quick release plates and you're good to go at a cost of maybe $30 for the two, and you probably already have one. Maybe we need the K ? to look more like the 645d. Another benefit: No one would mistake it for a Canikon!
03-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Are there any other sources for L plates?
Mestos plates can be found on eBay. Hejnar is another eBay seller of Arca-Swiss stuff, but I'm not sure if that includes L-plates. I'm sure there are others.
03-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #7
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I use a L-plate on one of my cameras for portrait mode on a ball head, its much better than swinging the ball down sideways as you retain the same user charactistics as when normally mounting a camera, the camera is far better balanced, and has greater movement.

Some pics of mine in this thread. The one I got was a Sunwayfoto brand, for ocecamera on fleabay.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/174187-my...lots-pics.html

03-05-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Mestos plates can be found on eBay. Hejnar is another eBay seller of Arca-Swiss stuff, but I'm not sure if that includes L-plates. I'm sure there are others.
Thanks for the tip!
03-05-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Some great info in this thread, thanks! Seriously though, $140+ for a simple metal bracket is nuts. Luckily, based on terms used here I found a Chinese knockoff for about $10, which is much more my speed. IDK what I'd do without direct from China merchandise.
03-05-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
$140+ for a simple metal bracket is nuts
Diminishing returns with increasing price perhaps, but I can attest that the RRS plate forms a connection so solid it seems like it is built into the camera. Anyway, what would Chinese knocker-offs do without something to knock off?
03-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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I also have RRS L plate, it forms great around the K5. It's like it's part of it. Also it works great with the pentax wrist strap. Much better than the iffy plastic bit that pentax provides.

One advantage of L plate that has not been mentioned is the with L plate the camera is much higher then it would be if I t was just on it's side. Also you get more freedom in manoeuvring the camera.
Since I'm quiet tall, I do enjoy the extra height.
03-05-2012, 06:57 PM   #12
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Based on the great feedback on this thread about RRS gear, I ordered the BH 40 ballhead, L plate and mounting plate for my 70-200 lens.........I got great service from the RRS staff also.........I can't wait to get this new gear....
03-05-2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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L Plates are awesome, I use a Kirk L-plate for K-5/7. Improves tripod stability a lot when shooting in portrait mode since you aren't messing up the center of gravity being over the center of the tripod. I think you've made the right choice by getting one. Enjoy!
03-05-2012, 07:43 PM   #14
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I went to an L bracket a couple of years ago - and now just leave it mounted all the time. When doing stitched panoramas its much easier to have the camera on the center of the tripod (to be absolutely pure you need a rail so that the lens front is directly over the tripod center pivot point - the nodal point), however for most panoramas having the camera mounted on the tripod center works pretty well (unless you have something significant in the foreground then you suffer from parallax).

I use a Kirk K20 L bracket and now getting another Kirk L bracket for my K5. Its $129 I believe. I like it a bit better than the RRS and the Acratech. There are a couple of other vendors for L brackets, but these are the main ones. It all boils down to personal preference since they all work very well.

03-14-2012, 06:05 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I use a Kirk K20 L bracket and now getting another Kirk L bracket for my K5. Its $129 I believe. I like it a bit better than the RRS and the Acratech. There are a couple of other vendors for L brackets, but these are the main ones. It all boils down to personal preference since they all work very well.

I just got the kirk L-bracket for the k-5/7 and love it. There's only one thing you may want to consider and that's the way it goes around the rubber door on the left side....you'll have problems getting it open with the bracket attached. Because I don't really use any of those ports, it's a non-issue for me, but thought you might want a heads-up on it.
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