Things We Love: An L-bracket Obsession


Confession time. Are you sitting down? My L-bracket obsession has gotten so bad that I recently purchased an L-bracket for a camera I didn’t yet own. In the photography world, many of us are afflicted by G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) but rarely does the disease progress to the point where you accessorize cameras you don’t own. My friends, I have disturbingly reached Stage 4 L-bracket GAS.

3 Legged Thing; QR11-LC Universal L-Bracket (<em>left</em>) and Dedicated L-Bracket (<em>right</em>)
3 Legged Thing; QR11-LC Universal (left); Dedicated L-Bracket (right)

What is an L-bracket and why am I obsessed? The L-bracket is, at its name implies, an L-shaped device that you attach to your camera. It is used when you are shooting on a tripod. Its primary purpose is to allow you to rotate your camera from landscape to portrait perspective (horizontal to vertical) without having to roll your tripod head 90º or try to find that notch on your ball head so that you can shoot vertically. The L-bracket is usually designed to connect to a tripod head’s quick-release (QR) system. Most have the common dovetail mount we call “Arca-type compatible.” (Some tripod brands, like Manfrotto, have proprietary QR plates and those manufacturers usually sell L-brackets that are compatible with their tripod head QR system.)

Gitzo L-Bracket for Sony a7R III and a9 Cameras
Gitzo L-Bracket

Am I too lazy to roll my tripod 90º? Apparently I am. You might think that the L-bracket is a solution to a non-existent first-world problem, but, after you use one, you will struggle to go back to shooting from a tripod without one. I promise. Being able to detach your leveled camera, rotate it, and reattach onto your tripod head in just a few seconds is so much faster and easier than rolling the tripod 90º and then trying to re-level your camera.

Kirk L-Bracket for Fujifilm X-T3 (Black)
Kirk L-Bracket (Black)
Kirk L-Bracket for Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Battery Grip
Kirk L-Bracket with Battery Grip
Kirk L-Bracket for Fujifilm X-T3 (Silver)
Kirk L-Bracket (Silver)

Now that I have sold you on the L-bracket (or perhaps just appeared pathetic in my self-diagnosed illness), let me talk about some of the finer points of purchasing an L-bracket.

Many companies make custom L-brackets for specific camera bodies, and there are also universal L-brackets that you can use on multiple cameras. The advantage of the custom L-bracket is that they are usually designed to let you access the different ports and doors around your camera, as well as not interfere with things like articulating LCD screens. Having to remove an L-bracket to swap your battery or memory card or plug in a remote shutter release kind of defeats the convenience factor of the L-bracket.

Acratech Universal "L" (left); Arca-Swiss L-Bracket (right)

Of course, not every L-bracket is inexpensive and many photographers, in their constant search for ultimate image quality, upgrade their camera bodies every couple of years. Gone are the days of owning and using a camera for a decade or more. A relatively expensive accessory that will only work on one specific camera for the limited amount of time one uses that camera may make for a tough sell. If you aren’t an everyday tripod shooter, but you want to have the absolute blissful pleasure of using an L-bracket on those days when you are shooting with a support, the universal L-bracket might be a reasonable long-term, multi-camera/multi-year investment.

Really Right Stuff B5DMkIV-L Set L-Plate for Canon 5D Mark IV
Really Right Stuff B5DMkIV-L Set L-Plate for Canon 5D Mark IV
Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Fujifilm X100F
Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Fujifilm X100F
Really Right Stuff L-Plate for Fujifilm X-H1 Battery Grip
Really Right Stuff L-Plate for Fujifilm X-H1 Battery Grip
Really Right Stuff Ultralight L-Plate for Nikon D850
Really Right Stuff Ultralight L-Plate for Nikon D850

Let me know, in the Comments section, if you want to chat about L-brackets all day, every day. For those of you who are worried about my GAS affliction, I thank you for your concern and I promise to let you know if I decide to start buying L-brackets for cameras that I will never own or use.

Sunwayfoto Custom L-Bracket for Sony a7R III and a9
Sunwayfoto Custom L-Bracket

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.


a rookie question - what will keep my camera (esp with longer lens) from slowlytipping towards ground when I'm taking vertical shots on a tripod?  It may simply be that I need a new tripod.  If so, does ball vs plate mount matter?  And would an L Bracket help stabile the camera as well?  I switch back and forth between horizontal and vertical a lot  --and while my current gear is ok for horizontal, vertical shots are a mess. I end up holding my camera with one hand, trying to make adjustments and shoot with the other.  help.

Hi Sandy,

Far from a rookie question...and actually a very good question!

I have a couple of possible solutions for you:

The first solution is that you likely need a new ball head with a higher load capacity (or your current one is simply worn out) and needs replacing. Generally speaking, if you are getting movement, in any axis, with your rig, it is a load capacity issue.

And, yes, an L-bracket might save the day as you can leave the ball head in the horizontal position but flip the camera/lens 90 degrees. This keeps you from having to rotate the ball head 90 degrees which really causes physics to win the battle with the tripod head.

Another culprit might be the physics of your kit's center of gravity. With a large, heavy lens on a camera, you shift the CG forward into the lens body and not all tripod heads can handle the shift. This is why a lot of larger lenses have their own tripod (or quick-release) attachment points to help minimize the CG shift.

If you don't mind, please share your camera/lens combo and current tripod and tripod head and that will help me diagnose further.

Thanks for your question and thanks for reading Explora!



You kind of missed the best part of an L bracket. The balance on the tripod stays the same when you don't have to throw a camera's weight off once side to go vertical. And a decent L bracket will keep the center point of focus in the same spot when changing from vertical to horizontal and back. 

Hi Art,

Yes, those are great benefits that I failed to mention! Thanks for the backup!



I am looking for an L bracket for my Nikon d7500, and since I just wanted to test if it worth or not, I would like to try something inexpensive but valid first, on BH website there is this specific L bracket for the d7500 Is there any chance you can recommend something good but less expensive? Thanks!

Hi Sebastian,

We definitely do not carry every brand of L-bracket out there, so search the internet and see what you can find!



Take a look at these L Brackets:

B&H # UU1132R004

B&H # CAC2038



I have not been able to find an L bracket for a Canon 6D Mark II with a battery grip.

Hey Robert,

Would this one fit?

You could also go with a universal bracket. Let me know if you need some pointers and we can figure it out together.

Good luck!