When I was researching replacing my tripod a couple of years ago, I wanted a better solution to switching from the Horizontal to the Vertical and back. The tripod I was using had a ball head but needed to be moved 90 degrees to one side to photograph a vertical composition. Once I did that the camera needed to be re-leveled and really tightened down so it would not move. Of course, the lens position would change in the rotation which required moving the tripod or adjusting the ball head.
I asked around and one of my photography buddies told me about using an Arca Style Quick Release (QR) system which was becoming a standard. As luck would have it, he was coming up to my area and he showed me his setup. I was impressed enough to put the Acratech GV2 Ballhead/Gimbal Head he used into my next year’s photography budget. I ordered it along with a Kirk Enterprises L-Bracket for my Nikon D700 camera a few months later.
So, what is an L-Bracket? This is how Kirk Enterprises describe them:
Right-angle quick release “L-brackets” fit the base of your digital or film camera, allowing easy access to its battery pack or I/O ports. Quickly release, turn, and remount your camera for either a horizontal or vertical shot – no more flipping your tripod head on its side or upsetting your shooting position.
Using these two pieces of equipment on my tripod legs was very freeing. No more added stress when switching between horizontal and vertical compositions. The L-brackets are designed such that little adjusting is needed when flipping between the two orientations. You will notice in the product images below how the L-Brackets leave open the battery compartment.
Here is the L-Bracket in action. I first photographed Tiffany Falls in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in the horizontal position.
After I took a few, I loosened up the Acra Quick Release and flipped the camera in the vertical position and tightened it. Took less than 10 seconds before I was back photographing. With my older equipment, I would be fiddling with it for minutes and become frustrated. Not good.
The less I can concentrate on what my gear is doing and more on what I am photographing, the happier I am. The L-Bracket and Arca QR system does exactly that.