Universal (Tripod) L-bracket for K-5 WITH Grip
- Site Administrator
Having got myself an up-to-date tripod - my old bent-aluminium Slik was too flimsy and my vintage Hannimex cast alloy job too big/heavy - I was after an L-bracket.
L-brackets are pricey, but exact equivalents are available direct from China for under a fiver. However they are sized only for a K-5 without a grip. There was a company in USA making ones for the gripped K-5, but it was $225 and now is out of production. Would probably be cheaper to buy a used gripped Canon or Nikon for which you can get cheap L-brackets!
The 2 problems are:
- A grip forces the tripod mount to be off-centre with respect to the lens axis, but Pentax went over the top to accommodate a 6xAA option
- Universal L-brackets are too short (at the side) to be anywhere near on lens axis when in portrait orientation
Well, I've found a cheap/simple way around the first, and have just ordered a few parts in an attempt to solve the second.
Getting an L-bracket to reach the tripod mount
Clearly if using the camera in portrait mode you want the grip positioned so that the repeated shutter button, etc, are at the top, not the bottom of the mounted camera. That means the L-bracket has to go the "long" way to the tripod mount, so that the side part is on the left of the camera (when looking from the back).
Checking all of the available cheap Universal L-brackets on ebay, I selected an 'MPU100' style bracket, but chose this one because it specified that it was 105cm long. But they may well all be that size.
I calculated from the drawings and images that it would fall short and it does: you can just see the start of the tripod hole at the very end of the slot in the L-bracket. With care and the use of a neighbour’s stand drill I drilled a new 4.5mm hole beyond the end of the slot - to ensure that I wouldn't get any break-through or walking when drilling close to the slot. Then extended the slot into the new hole and finally opening up it up slightly to match the 4.7mm width of the existing slot with a Dremel and hand files. A quick covering of the exposed shiny alloy with a black Sharpie hid most of my handiwork.
I have 2 grips, a Pentax original and a replica. The L-bracket attaches - just - to the replica with the supplied screw although the D-ring can catch on the deeper part of the bracket. But it won't tighten at all on the Pentax original. Solution is simply to switch from the supplied D-ring to a simple screw. Means using a coin to attach, but it does mean there is no D-ring to catch. My 3LT tripod came with a non D-ring screw, so I simply switched them over.
Note a side-effect of Pentax's extreme placement of the tripod mount means the L-bracket is only attached at the very end. So while the small pads at one end are compressed by the screw the others at the other end are not so compressed. This is actually much less of a problem on the Pentax original than the replica, possibly the tripod mount isn't set quite as upright on the copy?
But it is secure and works as intended, and it was less than a fiver.
Mounting the L-bracket to allow correct axis alignment in Portrait
So while it now mounts in Portrait mode, it still suffers in the same way as tilting the ballhead: the lens axis is way off the tripod mount access. But this was the same with that $225 version from the USA. To avoid this, tt used a second mount on the portrait side, a bit like a sliding rail. Set me thinking ...
I've just ordered a Quick Clamp and 100mm Quick Release Plate. I'm hoping that attaching clamp to the top of the 100mm plate, and then attaching the plate to my ballhead, I'll be able to attach the camera and L-bracket sufficiently off-centre such that the axises line up! Update to follow ...
And the extra kit will be attached to the tripod's ballhead rather than the camera, to be used in both portrait and landscape modes, which should be an improvement over the $225 custom L-bracket - as well as over $200 cheaper!
And it seems to me that the 'double' clamps/plates might mean a better balance option for using long lens and TC's without a lens foot.
My Own Personal Web Page on PENTAXslr.eu <-- you can have one too
Sounds like you achieved what you wanted
Personally I like the Novaflex Pano system. It can do just about anything and the clamps are quick and secure. Some Chinese clamps tend to slip. Worth keeping an eye on ebay for bits especially the big L bracket.
The girl at the bottom of the page shows how to do a selfie the proper way
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