If you shoot landscapes have been struggling to work all angles of a scene, it might be time to consider buying an L bracket. What looks like a simple piece of metal moulded into a right angle can allow you to maximise your output from shooting in various orientations. In this guide we’ll lay out our picks for the best L bracket for your camera and tell you what to look for in your search. But first, let’s explain a little more about what they do.
What is an L bracket?
An L bracket is an L-shaped piece of metal that cradles your camera along the bottom and on one side. The L bracket has tripod mounts on both sides. This enables you to quickly swap your camera from landscape to portrait format and maintain the same positioning of the camera.
What is an L bracket used for?
An L bracket lets you shoot in both landscape and portrait orientations when your camera is mounted on a tripod. Most landscape photographers mount their camera on a tripod, and most will tell you that it’s much easier to shoot in landscape format than it is in portrait.
Though you can adjust different types of tripod heads to different angles, on the whole, most tripods and heads are designed for shooting in landscape format. Trying to shoot vertically on a tripod shifts your composition and also can destabilise your tripod.
Commercial photographers might use an L bracket like this to help them get many variations of a scene – such as portrait format versions with space for text – to help increase their chances of selling the image.
How an L bracket works
The L bracket attaches to your camera and replaces the quick release plate you would normally use with your tripod. Simple remove the plate from the tripod and swap between landscape and portrait orientation as your needs demand.
The best L bracket is one that has been designed specifically for the contours and button layout of your camera. But these come at a premium. For the more budget conscious, or if you shoot with multiple bodies, you might want to consider a universal L bracket.
Below are our picks for the best L brackets you can buy today.
Best Universal L-bracket for any camera
A universal L-bracket is designed to fit any interchangeable lens camera body design. Of course, you lose some of the finesse of a bracket customised to your specific camera, but if you work with multiple bodies, systems or shoot with an entry-level or mid-range camera, this could be the best option for you. These are our picks for the best universal L-brackets.
3 Legged Thing Ellie
- Base Plate: Adujustable from 95mm – 128mm (3.74in – 5.04in) in length, 38mm (1.5in) wide.
- Material: Aircraft grade magnesium alloy
- Mount: Arca Swiss
The Ellie has been designed to fit as many camera bodies as possible, and features two adjustable rails so you can customise the fit.
This can be done by releasing the two rails so that the vertical plate can be slid out to accurately position it on the side of the camera. As most cameras are different widths, this gives the Ellie the advantage over any other universal L-bracket including the QR11. It enables, a nice snug fit on many cameras.
The two rails don’t just enable you to tailor the fit to your camera; they also allow you to remove the vertical plate.
This verticle plate is symmetrical albeit for a gap slightly up on one side. In each corner is a 1/4-inch thread which is either used for the bolts that attach to the horizontal base or they can be used to attach accessories such as lights, mics etc.
A gap is left open between the bolt holes so a strap can easily be fitted if needed.
What’s more, the design of Ellie has taken into consideration the flip and articulating screens of many of the latest cameras. A slight bevel on the base enables easy access to the screen when needed.
In total, you have eight different options for rotating and flipping the vertical base to suit your camera.
Ellie is milled from a solid block of aircraft grade magnesium alloy. As with any plate you attach to your camera, it features a 1/4-inch bolt. There’s a handy Allen key tool included in the box that enables you to tighten the L-bracket in place quickly and securely.
- Customise to fit any camera
- Accommodates vari-angle screens
- Gaps in the plate allow for cables
Benro BLB1 Universal L Bracket
- Compatibility: Arca Swiss
- Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.9 x 4.5cm
- Weight: 0.13kg
The Benro BLB1 Universal bracket features an Arca-compatible release plate that means it can be used with any Arca style head.
Using an L-bracket has several advantages over mounting your camera directly to the tripod head. First and foremost, it enables you to flip the camera from landscape to portrait without needing to recompose the shot.
This is especially useful if your shooting panoramics when shooting in portrait. By using an L-bracket rather than dropping the tripod head to 90º, the camera’s sensor stays directly above the pivot point.
By retaining the position of the sensor, you cut out any parallax effect which will happen when the camera is off-set, and that means any re-adjustment of the composition is kept to a minimum.
The other advantage, especially for heavier cameras, is that the full weight of the camera stays directly above the tripod rather than off centre. This helps to provide the steadiest base possible ready for you to capture pin-sharp images.
- Superb build quality
- Affordable price
Manfrotto L-Bracket RC4
- Maximum height: 152.5cm
- Minimum height: 37cm
- Weight: 400g
It’s one of the pricier options on our best L brackets list, but the Manfrotto L-Bracket RC4 is a robust piece of kit. It’s one of the heaviest L brackets on this list, but it’s magnesium body is well made keeps your camera secure, thanks to its anti-rotational pin and plate system.
Like the 3 Legged Thing Ellie, the Manfrotto L-Bracket RC5 can extend to adapt to the size of your camera, making it very versatile.
Other handy features include a precision ruler and a levelling bubble.
- Very reasonably priced for its quality
- Provides stable platform in any conditions
- Adapts to any camera
- Heavier than other L-brackets
- Can seem a little fiddly
Best L-bracket for Sony cameras
Getting an L-bracket customised to the shape of your Sony Alpha camera means you can guarantee access to the ports and compartments on your camera at all times.
Gitzo L-Bracket A
- Material: Machined from a single piece of aluminium with no joints or bolts
- Portability: Four strap attachment points
- Port Accessibility: Easy access to all cable ports even in portrait position
Gitzo has machined the L-Bracket from a single piece of aluminium so there are no joints or bolts. That and the thin profile helps to keep the bracket’s weight down to just 77g. According to Gitzo it’s the lightest L-Bracket of its kind on the market.
The L bracket has a lip along its front edge that fits perfectly around the front bottom edge of a camera such as the Sony A7 III. It means the plate is kept nicely in position on the camera and neither can twist.
The outer edges of the L-Bracket are shaped to fit in an Arca Swiss type tripod head. Consequently, it’s compatible with the Gitzo Traveler A tripod head without the need for the quick release plate.
Helpfully, there’s a housing for a hex key (supplied) built in to the bracket. This is useful for ensuring that the camera is really securely fastened into the bracket.
There are also four fixing points for straps on the bracket. As a result, if you plan on keeping it in the bracket, it’s worth removing the strap lugs from the camera – they’ll rattle otherwise.
- Camera fits securely
- Arca Swiss compatibility lets you swap quickly
- Strap lugs can rattle a little
Best L bracket for Nikon cameras
For Nikon mirrorless users, there is no better option than 3 Legged Thing’s remarkably lightweight and all-access-giving Zelda, which was developed in collaboration with Nikon itself.
3 Legged Thing Zelda
- Weight: 67g
- Mount: Arca Swiss
- Material: Magnesium alloy
Nikon invited 3 Legged Thing to work on the Zelda for its first full-frame mirrorless cameras, so the Zelda is the result of a collaboration.
As the 3 Legged Thing Zelda is specifically designed for the Nikon Z6 and Z7, it doesn’t require any adjustment to fit. These two cameras have an identical shape and control layout so the Zelda fits them equally well. Critically, you have complete access to all ports, compartments and controls with the bracket mounted.
The Zelda is milled from a block of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy. It attaches to the camera via a 1/4-inch-20 stainless steel ‘Stagsden’ bolt. But that’s not all. There’s a locator pin that fits in a reciprocating hole in the base of the camera. This precise design ensures that the Zelda stays perfectly still on the camera.
The Zelda L-bracket has an Arca-Swiss compatible shape, which means it can be mounted in Arca-Swiss type tripod heads. Arca-Swiss type heads are widely available and it’s the design that 3 Legged Thing uses for its own tripod heads.
A 1/4-inch-20 thread on the vertical arm of the bracket allows accessories such as a microphone or a sling-strap to be attached.
Another 1/4-inch-20 thread on the base of the Zelda allows it to be mounted on other devices. For instance, should you need to, you can attach a quick release plate to mount it on a non-Arca-Swiss tripod head.
3 Legged Thing has also designed the Zelda around the Z6 and Z7’s strap left lug. As a result, you can use the standard strap if you wish although you might like to follow the link to take a look at some alternative camera straps.
- Locking pin keeps the camera steady, even with a heavy lens
- You can change the camera battery with the bracket on
- Very lightweight