Universal (Tripod) L-bracket for K-5 WITH Grip

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3 Feb '17 Fri Feb 03, 2017 18:13    
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Post Universal (Tripod) L-bracket for K-5 WITH Grip

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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! Wink

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

12 Feb '17 Sun Feb 12, 2017 19:34    
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Post Re: Universal (Tripod) L-bracket for K-5 WITH Grip

Sounds like you achieved what you wanted Shocked Thumbs Up

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 Mr. Green Wink






9 Nov '17 Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:17    
Site Administrator  Site Administrator

Post Re: Universal (Tripod) L-bracket for K-5 WITH Grip

Well, it's only been most of a year, but here's the sequel.

The 100mm QR Plate never arrived when it should have, so I got my money back and ordered another slightly more expensive one 3 months later. And that has never arrived either!!! Shocked So money back again. Crying or Very sad But after 7 months the original ordered one turned up! It was OK, but not the best of finishes, etc. Plus the amount of attachments/clamps, plus the off-centre mounting, and of course gravity conspire to make it all a little too flexy. It will all clamp up OK, and not move when set, so it would do the job alright. Just you have to be careful that it all stays truly square relative to the camera base. But this is only crucial really for panos, and/or if you use the tripod level to level up the camera body.

But in the meantime, I had come across this (ebay). Not an unreasonable price if it would fit, so I risked a purchase. And it did arrive! Smile

First, it does fit on the Pentax K-5 with battery grip. That is it can be adjusted to reach the off-centre tripod mount of the Pentax Grip. And there is still room to slide it further away if you wanted access to the ports on the side of the camera (although I haven't tried using it that way with real cables). The whole unit is well engineered and up to the job, although it is heavy ( but not the 400+g's cited in the ad! Wink ) as would be the above planned combination of QR plates and clamps of course.

The short side of the L gets close to tall enough for pano rotation in portrait mode, but not quite to reach the centreline, so some offset between the tripod head and the L-plate will still be needed.

Overall happy with it, while nowhere close to a $225 custom job, plus postage and customs tax, mostly because of bulk/fit/weight it is fine at < 1/10th the cost. I wouldn't leave it permanently on the camera though, for handheld use.

Improvements I'd like to see if I could would be to drop the allen key in favour of the usual coin-operated screws - or at least removal of the allen key holder for space/weight considerations. It is the same size allen key as both our tripods use after all. And place the tripod mount thread in the plates well off-centre, then you could set the plate that much closer to the inside corner of the L for easier and more stable attachment to the tripod head. The off-centre mount on the short side of the L might still not be enough for a grip equipped camera, so a tad more length on the the short side would be good too.

Will post camera mounted images when I get the chance.


My Own Personal Web Page on PENTAXslr.eu   <-- you can have one too

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