What is a L-bracket?
A L-bracket is a peace of metal which serves about three functions:
- It makes it possible to mount the camera in portrait orientation on a tripod
- It is a more solid connection to the camera than quick release plates because it has a much bigger area of contact to the camera.
- It increases the size of the grip and makes holding the camera easier.
For me an L-brackets has improved the everyday experience of my Sony Alpha 7 and I think too few people know about L-brackets so I want to share my experience in this post.
How does it work?
Lets have a look at some images:
Here you see my a7 with attached L-bracket on a tripod
Most l-brackets are compatible to the Arca Swiss system which is used by about any better tripod head.
L-brackets have two rails so you can mount them either in landscape orientation as shown above or in portrait orientation as shown here:
There are universal L-brackets which can be used on my cameras and L-brackets which are made for a specific camera model. The one I used is of the sencond kind.
In this image you see that it increases the grip area, my little finger rests much more comfortable on the camera when the L-bracket is attached.
My L-bracket limits the downward movement of the LCD screen by a few degress, I would guess that you can move it downward by 45° without and 40° with the L-bracket attached.
It also makes the camera heavier and bigger. If you just spent $800 for a the Zeiss 2.8/35 to keep the camera small and light it doesn’t make much sense to attach a 130g peace of metal which adds Xmm of height and Xmm of width to the camera.
For my landscape photography always use the L-bracket, I sometimes use a tripod and I always have a camera bag with me so the weight isn’t a problem.
I detach the L-bracket when I wan’t to bring the camera to a social event where I usually have my camera in one pocket of my jacket and a smaller normal lens in annother pocket.
Cheap vs. Expensive Models
I use a cheap adapter from a company called Mengs which I have never heard of before and it seems to be available only in Germany. I paid 50€ for it because I was a bit hasty, today it sells for 30€ at Amazon.de (affiliate link) I wouldn’t be surprised if all the cheaper models in the $20-$50 bracket came from the same Chinese factory but that is speculation.
I am very happy with my copy, it fits very well, the machining is done well and I haven’t really found a flaw in the year I have used it now.
I think the precision of the production and the engineering is much less critical with a L-bracket than with adapters, and based on my experience I see little reason how a more expensive product could improve my experience.
You can buy a much more expensive model from Really Right Stuff which has a fancy mechanism which makes it possible to use a HMDI cable even when the camera is mounted in portrait orientation. But to be honest I can’t imagine one application where that is needed and it makes it more heavy and expensive. If you can imagine such a scenario please tell me.
The 50€ I spent on my L-bracket were a very good investment and today you can get one for half that much.
The L-bracket has improved the handling of my Sony a7 quite a bit and makes especially the handling of larger and heavier lenses weighting more than 500g easier.
I also like that I don’t have to worry about quick release plates any more.
For those benefits I paid only a few bucks and I have to deal with a bigger and heavier camera but in most scenarios this is not an issue and when I want just the a7 and a small lens I can detach it in 30 seconds.
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I think the Neewer L-bracket available in the US is very similar to the one I use. You can by it at Amazon.com.
In Germany I can recommend the Mengs L-bracket which I own
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25 thoughts on “Useful Accessory for the Sony Alpha 7: A L-Bracket”
Great review. I can reccomend this grip as well, I use it on my a7II: http://amzn.to/1SKY2Px
Thanks Phillip, just ordered one. It seems to be being sold under various names/prices on Amazon, all looking as though they come out of the same factory.
Do you have problems using it with a cable release in vertical mode on a tripod, or do you use the self timer instead?
I use the self timer
Bracket is really good, though I think a slight “shave” to allow full down tilt of the LCD screen is well worth doing.
I went for the cheapest version on Amazon, (Andoer™) only £11.35 and it seems identical to all the other more expensive ones, so thanks again for the thumbs up Phillip. Until now I had used an even cheaper “universal fit” L bracket that I’d “adapted” to the A7, this is much better.
…belay that about the “shave”, not really do-able, but I can still easily live with a slightly restricted down-tilt.
Glad to hear that. I wrote the article because this very cheap peace of gear has improved my camera a lot and too few people use L-brackets in my eyes
I’m also thinking about getting one after your recommendation. I just have one concern: does the L-bracket limit your ability to access the battery compartment or the little flap on the side for charging etc? Do you have to remove it every time you want to charge the camera / swap batteries? Maybe you could add a picture for this, that’d be much appreciated.
Thanks for the info,
Regards – Pete.
no, you can access the battery door and the USB and HDMI port as well.
Phillip, I am looking into purchasing the Neewer bracket for the A7II. I would like for you to get the referral commission but do not know if you will get it if I use the link for the A7 bracket. I could not find a contact email so I had to post this as a comment.
Thanks for all your work on the site,
Thanks very much for a comprehensive and impartial review of the lenses.
I am in the process of buying the a711…Are you living in Germany?
If so, can you tell me where in Germany is Memmengen,the makers of the Novoflex adapter is there.
Hi, well done. But as an additional user experience. Mengs is good because in the grip end you can attach your strap if needed (I have) and secondly while I use Sirui clamps there is a small security lock on the clamp that works with Mengs also.
Hi,just bought a Mengs L braket identical to the one you have here in your review but battery door does not fully open and the battery has to be forced out with the risk of braking the small door on the long run. Is it the same with the model you have or had ?
they absolutely look identical. same brand,same writings etc.
With cheaper products there is usually more variation
Would you please tell me if this support Neewer L is valid for my camera Sony A7 S…?
I mean the support that is indicated on your Amazon link. It indicates that it is for the camera model: A7 and A7 R.
Well then I would be interested in that little add-on.
A deferential and pleasant greeting
b: Deica-r …d:D´
¿Serías tan amable decirme si este soporte Neewer L es válido para mi cámara Sony A7 S…?
Me refiero al soporte que está indicado en tu enlace de Amazon. Es que indica que es para el modelo de cámara: A7 y A7 R
Pues entonces estaría interesado en ése pequeño complemento.
Un deferente y grato saludo
It will also work on A7s.
The one on the top of the mountain is me.
This month that photograph is here:
I model and climber usual Dani Caxete.
Thanks for your help
If you want any help that, here in Madrid, is in my possibilities, let me know by mail.
A deferential greeting…d:D´
[El que está en la cima de la montaña soy yo.
Este mes esa fotografía está aquí:
Yo modelo y escalador habitual de Dani Caxete:
Gracias por tu ayuda
Si deseas alguna ayuda que, aquí en Madrid, esté en mis posibilidades, házmelo saber al correo.
Un saludo deferente d:D´