I am a great believer in the benefits to using a tripod to improve the quality of your photographs (naturally this is only of benefit in situations where a tripod does not become a hindrance such as street photography).
I talked about tripods and plates in a previous entry that can be read here . I discussed a number of points in the article including the fact that to consider the system that you are buying into for mounting the camera (or lens) to the tripod. The only truly universal system that is supported by all of the major manufacturers is the “Arca-Swiss” system. This is supported by Arca-Swiss, Kirk, Really Right Stuff and now support from Joby has been added too. Strangely not one of the camera and/or lens manufacturers support this and always fit a “standard” tripod foot when the device warrants a connection for a tripod. However, this is where the various third-party manufacturers make their money so I guess that they don’t mind.
As I wanted to connect my NEX-7 to my tripod that only accepts arca-swiss connected plates I needed to research the options available. Only Really Right Stuff (RRS) offers an L-bracket for the NEX-7; Kirk offer a very basic non-specific plate too. The L-bracket (or L-plate) allows you to change the orientation (portrait-landscape) of the camera and keep the lens axis in approximately the same place. Without an L-bracket you have to use the ball head and this shifts the axis to the left/right and down, this will require you to recompose the shot.
Regardless of whose plate I purchased (RRS or Kirk’s) I needed to order them from the US. Although this is very simple now, it isn’t the cheapest option, you have to pay more for postage and you will be hit for import duty, VAT and an additional postage levy as it stopped the delivery to go through customs. The RRS The L-plate costs $120 + $42.50 (International postage) and by the time that the bracket arrives in the UK with all of the VAT and Custom duty, etc it cost £143.97.
The RRS L-plate for the NEX-7 is of a modular design and specifically designed to mate with the NEX-7 camera. This custom L-plate was designed to fit Sony NEX7’s ultra-thin body as snugly as possible, but still make room for opening and positioning its LCD panel. The gap below the LCD screen provides clearance for the screen to be tilted up or down; with the L-plate installed, you can still hold the camera over your head and swivel the screen so that it can be seen from below.
The dimensions are:
Width = 90mm (3.54 inches)
Height = 62mm (2.44 inches)
Weight = 64g (2.3 ounces)
Here is a quick Un-boxing and first look video that I filmed (using a Sony RX-100) and uploaded to You-Tube:
This is what the plate fitted to an NEX-7 looks like:
More details on the plate can be found here.