SmallRig: SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122

http://www.smallrig.com/smallrig-l-bracket-for-sony-a7iii-a7riii-a9-2122.html

“This product is custom designed for Sony A7RIII, A7III and A9 cameras. Both the base plate and the side plate are of Arca-Swiss standard. It mounts to the camera’s tripod socket and extends 20mm height for more comfortable gripping. The side plate is detachable and slidable as per your needs. Accessories such as hand straps, and Metabones adapter support 1764 could be attached to it, providing more stability….”

SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122

SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122, SmallRig Cold Shoe Mount 1593 and SmallRig Lens Adapter Support 1764

Commentary

I was browsing through the pages of the SmallRig video camera accessories website this morning when I handed upon what appears to be the company’s very first L-bracket, for Sony’s Alpha a7 III, Alpha a7R III and Alpha a9 mirrorless 35mm sensor format hybrid stills/video cameras.

This is an exciting development especially as SmallRig’s design provides for mounting on Arca-Swiss tripods heads or adapters, allows access to the cameras’ batteries, and looks sturdy and well-machined.

L-brackets can come in handy when using hybrid cameras for video and stills, in portrait and landscape format, swapping rapidly from one to the next.

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3 Legged Thing’s QR11 is, apparently, “the world’s most innovative universal L-bracket”.

Some manufacturers such as 3 Legged Thing make universal L-brackets that can fit a range of cameras with varying degrees of usability and ability to easily access batteries, media cards and other essential hardware features but there is no question that custom L-brackets designed to fit their intended camera perfectly are the best option by far.

Regrettably though, custom L-brackets are not always available for specific cameras nor are they always designed and manufactured in the way one might desire.

For example, I am still looking for a good enough L-bracket for my beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 hybrid professional rangefinder-style camera.

The GX8 remains one of my favourite and most-used professional-quality cameras for stills photography and video even though it was supposed to be “superseded” or “updated” by Panasonic with the enthusiast-level Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9, a marketing misstep about which I have written in several articles here at ‘Untitled’.

I and a good many others are still waiting for Panasonic to come up with the actual professional-quality rangefinder-style successor to the GX8.

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L-brackets like this BGX8 for GX8 by Really Right Stuff are invaluable when quickly switching from horizontal to vertical orientation during environmental portrait photography sessions. Tragically, Really Right Stuff discontinued making the BGX8 well before the Panasonic GX8 itself was supposedly “superseded” by the Panasonic GX9.

Meanwhile, getting back to L-brackets, the best GX8 L-bracket so far had vanished from sale just before I discovered it, though its design was far from perfect and was neither as advanced as SmallRig’s solution for the Sony A-series cameras nor as affordable.

Nor did that disappeared GX8 L-bracket offer the option of attaching a special cold shoe for mounting microphones or other accessories off to the camera’s side, or a lens adapter support below the lens while securely screwed onto the L-bracket itself.

I ended up buying a GX8 camera cage from SmallRig as a form of consolation gift to myself, but a cage and an L-bracket are two different things made to solve two different sets of problems even though, as SmallRig has illustrated in its Sony L-bracket product page, an L-bracket can be useful to moviemakers too.

I encourage SmallRig to consider making L-brackets for other cameras.

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panasonic_lumix_dmc_gx8_12-60mmf3.5-5.6_splash_1024px_60%
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is a true professional-quality rangefinder-style camera with weather resistance, a well-sized built-in hand grip and is popular with professional documentary photographers and moviemakers. I am still waiting for Panasonic to reveal the real pro-quality update to this camera as it clearly was not the GX9. I am still looking for an L-bracket for my GX8.

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3 Legged Thing: Why things cost what they cost… – with COMMENTARY

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-things-cost-what-danny-lenihan

“In the last couple of weeks my little brand, 3 Legged Thing, launched a brand new Universal L Bracket – the QR11. For the most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Then, somebody sent me a link to a well known forum, where a conversation had started about the press release for the QR11. The comments were almost wholly negative with more than one contributor stating “You can buy this from **insert website name** for $7″ or “I got one from China for $5 and it works just fine”….”

Commentary:

The above excellent and informative article by Danny Lenihan of 3 Legged Thing is partially in reference to 3 Legged Thing’s QR11 Universal L-Bracket aka L-Plate.

I have been looking for an L-Plate for my still-current Panasonic Lumix GX8 camera for some time and thought I had finally found a good solution in Really Right Stuff’s BGX8 L-Plate, only to discover to my deep disappointment that it was discontinued six months ago.

Really Right Stuff’s now discontinued BGX8 L-Plate for the GX8

The GX8 is a brilliant camera for portraiture and even if the GX9 eventually appears with IBIS and Dual IS per the GH5, I will continue to use my GX8 for tripod-mounted portrait and landscape orientation environmental portraiture due to its lovely sensor.

Why throw away something that works well and keep feeding the camera GAS churn cycle when perfectly good cameras can keep performing for years to come?

My current GX8 “L-Plate” solution

An L-Plate would make shooting in both orientations much easier and surer, quickly swapping from vertical to horizontal and vice versa in a way that is simply not possible by flipping the tripod head from one to the other.

Relying on third party manufacturers to supply custom solutions to common problems that should, perhaps, be attended to by camera makers is prone to all sorts of problems.

A universal L-Plate is a good solution in theory so long as it is designed in such a way that access to all your cameras’ functions are not impeded.

It seems that 3 Legged Thing did not have access to Panasonic Lumix cameras so may not have designed their QR11 L-Plate to fit it, and has not rated it for usability with the GX8 or other Panasonic cameras, or Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 for that matter.

I have managed to obtain a half-baked solution to my problem with the GX8 by purchasing SmallRig’s Cage for Panasonic GX8 1844 but a camera cage is hardly the same thing as an L-Plate.

I can understand camera-users resorting to Chinese cut-price copyists – I have had to do that myself in the absence of decent local product supply or in the presence of situations like this one with Really Right Stuff, but one thing remains constant – every Chinese-made item I have bought so far has failed spectacularly, or has been poorly-made, or is mediocre a best, or is just a lousy copy of the real thing which I have not been able to obtain for whatever reason.

I am hoping upon hope that 3 Legged Thing’s QR11 can work well enough with the GX8 or better yet that they will update it to work with the GX8 without impeding its full functionality, but the fact remains that L-Plates (and cages) customized for each specific camera are the best solution by far.

I would have thought that the whole point of contemporary CNC machining is that products can be made at any time, without having to produce in big batches, and so making even just one more Really Right Stuff BGX8 on demand should not be an impossible or insanely costly task.

Or do I have the wrong end of the stick? Independent in-demand solutions providers like Hejnar Photo prove otherwise.

As the destruction of the incredible and unique Samsung NX1, NX500 and Galaxy NX cameras proves, well-established manufacturers can and do make lousy decisions all the time and small manufacturers like Really Right Stuff are no exception to this.

Or, for that matter, Manfrotto, with their unique but tragically killed-off Lino Manfrotto Collection and Fig Rig product lines as well as other equally unique products like the Xume filter attachment system that appears to have been blessed with some pretty lousy marketing and distribution.