3D Photography by Brian Greenstone, Austin TX

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HOW TO: Homemade L-Bracket for 350D

L-Brackets are used to mount a camera in the portrait position. We do this with panoramic photography because full-frame fisheye lenses usually have 180º of view along the horizontal field of view, so to capture everything from sky to ground, we need to rotate the camera sideways so that we get 180º vertically instead of horizontally. If you're using a cirular fisheye lens that captures 180º in all directions then you don't need to do this; such was the case with my Powershot Pro 1 / Raynox CF185 monpod setup. But when I bought my Canon 350D that uses a Sigma 8mm full-frame fisheye lens, I had to find a new way to mount my camera on my monopod.

For some strange reason, L-brackets are hard to come by. There are companies (like Really Right Stuff) that make custom L-brackets for specific cameras, but they usually cost over $100 - usually more like $150, are heavy, and only work with certain types of quick release plates. Manfrotto makes a generic L-bracket that has an RC2 quick release plate on the bottom, and it's only $55. But it's still too heavy and large for what I needed, so I decided that the only way to get things done right was to do it myself. For about $6 in parts at the hardware store, I was able to build a really sweet L-bracket which I could attach my favorite Bogen RC-2 quick release plates to:

This took about an hour to put together. It was as simple as cutting my aluminum U-beam into the appropriate lengths, tapping 8 threaded holes to screw on the corner brackets, tapping another hold for the 1/4" bolt on the RC2 plate, and then a larger 1/4" hole to insert a 1/4" x 1" bolt to hold the RC2 base in place.

Here's what it looks like mounted on a ball head with an RC2 base:

And then here is what it looks like with the Canon 350D mounted on it:
This thing is ROCK SOLID and it weighs next to nothing! The aluminum U-beams don't flex at all, and this little bracket could probably support 20 cameras if it had to. The L-bracket itself weights almost nothing. Probably just a few ounces. With the Bogen/Manfrotto RC-2 parts attached it probably weighs a total of 0.3lbs.

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