Expandable L-Brackets that Allows Articulated Screen Movement
Review by Fernando Santos
After hearing their peers praising the many advantages of using an Arca-style L-bracket, many photographers go online and order the cheapest L-bracket they can find. Later, they find out that they can’t open the battery door, or they can’t change the memory card, without first removing the L-bracket. Maybe they also use a camera strap that has a special attachment (like a BlackRapid strap), and the L-bracket doesn’t work with that either. Forget proper use of the articulated screen, connecting an external microphone, or using a remote trigger. All that can happen when you buy a poorly designed universal L-bracket. That’s not what you want to do; instead, you need to get an L-bracket that was specifically designed for your camera body. By the way, if you also use a battery grip, get ready to buy two different L-brackets, because one won’t fit both configurations.
ProMediaGear has released L-brackets for the Canon R5/R6 (the same L-bracket will fit both cameras because they’re physically identical) with and without the BG-R10 battery grip. These L-brackets were custom-designed to give you access to all your camera ports, battery, etc. Also, there are plenty of ways to attach third-party camera straps such as the popular BlackRapid or Peak Design (but you may prefer to use the included QD socket).
Both L-brackets, which are very well built, strong, and sturdy, attach to your camera using not just the 1/4″-20 screw, but also the additional fixing points to get a connection as strong and snug as possible. They also have many 1/4″-20 threads you can use to attach other accessories. The QD socket allows you to use the Magpul (or compatible) Quick Detach system, which is a convenient way to attach/detach a strap from your camera. ProMediaGear also gives you the option to select their proprietary SS2 attachment instead of the QD socket, which is similar to QD but not interchangeable, so make sure you get the right one for you.
In my opinion, one of the most interesting features of these two L-brackets is the fact that you can use the Canon R5/R6 articulated screen fully, without it getting stuck in the L-bracket vertical plate, as usually happens with other brackets. ProMediaGear designed the L-brackets with a vertical plate that’s pushed forward, closer to the front side of the camera, allowing the articulated screen to move freely. While this is very convenient, it brings some problems too, as some lenses have controls that may be harder to reach. On the other hand (no pun intended), you can use that vertical plate as a grip for your left hand.
There are also safety stop screws on both vertical and horizontal plates and on each side of each plate. ProMediaGear provides markings so that you know where the axis of your lens is, which can be particularly important to balance your setup properly, and also if you’re doing panoramas and want to find what’s commonly referred to as the nodal point. Unfortunately, on the PLCBGR10 model (the one for the battery grip), the vertical plate has that center marking in the wrong place, which hopefully will be fixed in a future batch.
Both models include a built-in cold shoe on top of the vertical plate. You can use it to mount a microphone, an external monitor, or any other item that may be attached to a cold shoe socket. This allows you to use the camera’s hot shoe for what it was designed for: a flash. Also included is a nice storage pouch, as well as a 5/32 Allen wrench that attaches magnetically to the L-brackets.
While an L-bracket doesn’t require extensive documentation, these units are part of an expandable system, and it’s important that you understand how you can customize your L-bracket even further. The documentation included in the box for the battery grip model referred only to the non-battery grip model, which is something that ProMediaGear will be able to easily address in the future.
Some people may prefer an L-bracket that’s built from a single piece of metal, which isn’t the case with these ProMediaGear units. In my opinion that’s a plus, as you get the convenience of an extensible and customizable system, without compromising the product’s sturdiness. ■