by Ali Jennings | Courtesy of Camerajabber
Everyone needs an L-bracket, from studio work to capturing the great outdoors it all becomes easier. The benefits are numerous.
But there has been a historical problem, price and fit. The 3 Legged Thing QR11 address this with a universal design, but there were improvements to be made. Now the design has been honed and the 3LT Ellie has arrived.
The Ellie has been designed to fit as many camera bodies as possible, and unlike its predecessor, the QR11, it features two adjustable rails so you can customise the fit.
As with the QR11 and Zelda, Ellie is milled from a solid block of aircraft grade magnesium alloy. As with any plate you attach to your camera it features a 1/4-inch bolt. There’s a handy Allen key tool included in the box that enables you to tighten the L-bracket in place quickly and securely.
What makes an L-bracket so useful is the ability to flip the camera so that you can go from landscape to portrait easily without altering the angle of the horizon in the image. To enable this and supply maximum compatibility, the L-bracket has the Arca-Swiss shape.
So far this is all pretty standard L-bracket stuff, but where the Ellie takes a dramatic detour on the design is that you can customise it to your camera.
This can be done by releasing the two rails so that the vertical plate can be slid out to accurately position it on the side of the camera. As most cameras are different widths, this gives the Ellie the advantage over any other universal L-bracket including the QR11. It enables, a nice snug fit on many cameras.
The two rails don’t just enable you to tailor the fit to your camera; they also allow you to remove the vertical plate.
This vertical plate is symmetrical albeit for a gap slightly up on one side. In each corner is a 1/4-inch thread which is either used for the bolts that attach to the horizontal base or they can be used to attach accessories such as lights, mics etc.
A gap is left open between the bolt holes so a strap can easily be fitted if needed.
The gap in the sides of the verticals also enables cables to be routed through and gives you slightly more access to any ports.
What’s more, the design of Ellie has taken into consideration the flip and articulating screens of many of the latest cameras. A slight bevel on the base enables easy access to the screen when needed.
In total, you have eight different options for rotating and flipping the vertical base to suit your camera.
Taking a look at the horizontal base plate, that can be adjusted from 95 mm – 128 mm (3.74 -inches – 5.04-inches) in length and is 38 mm (1.5-inches) wide.
Vertically, the height is fixed at 85mm (3.35-inches) and again is 38mm wide.
One of the biggest issues with designing any piece of universal equipment is the fit. After all, a Nikon D850 is far larger than a Sony A7 III or Canon EOS R, so a one size fits all approach is always going to be hard.
How to fit the Ellie
Before attaching the Ellie to the camera, a little adjustment is needed to get the best fit. I found it best to start by loosening the two bolts on the horizontal base so the vertical section could be moved, but with some friction.
Then the horizontal base plate can be attached to your camera, making sure that the base doesn’t cover the battery flap and easy access to flip out screen is possible when needed.
With the base firmly in place, attention can then be directed at the vertical plate. With eight options for the orientation of the plate, it’s worth first considering if any of the side connectors will be needed. Do you want to use the mic, USB or other port? If so, ensure that the door protecting the port is open.
Then look at where the cables need to fit, then flip and rotate the vertical section as required.
To do this, you can pull the entire section out of the horizontal plate, unbolt the longer threaded bolts, rotate or flip as needed and reinsert.
Once back in place, push the vertical plate to meet the side of the camera and tighten the two smaller bolts underneath.
On most DSLRs, the vertical plate has been designed to fit just under the strap lugs, on Mirrorless cameras’s such as the Sony Alpha series the vertical sits snug up against the lug, with a slight gap between the L-bracket and camera body.
Using the Ellie
With the L-bracket in place, it can then be attached to any Arca Swiss compatible head in either the vertical or horizontal keeping the same alignment in relation to the rotation of the tripod whatever the orientation.
When you’re shooting stills, the L-bracket has the obvious advantage of being able to flip the camera from landscape to portrait quickly and without having to drop the tripod head 90º. It’s not the drop that’s the issue so much as the time spent getting the horizon level again and the fact that the lens angle changes.
Although the Ellie is a universal bracket and not a 100% perfect fit for all cameras, it was good enough to give the same performance as a purpose made the bracket, just at a fraction of the cost.
The snugness of the fit might not have always been there for all cameras, but the bright orange aesthetics looks great.
Shooting video is where I found the Ellie coming into its own as a product. I could easily fit my monitor alongside the camera using the 1/4-inch bolt, and that was a huge help.
Likewise, it’s exceptionally easy to add a light or mic through the 1/4-inch attachments.
I use several cameras depending on what I’m doing and swapping and changing the Ellie from one camera to the other was a quick process. Release the sliders and adjust the base length to suit the camera’s width.
When it came to filming on the Sony A7 cameras, it was nice to be able to position the gap in the side of the Ellie for cables to run through. Having the ability to neatly attach a monitor on the other hand, instantly made the Ellie a must have.
The fact that the fit isn’t 100% isn’t an issue; it stands slightly proud of the side due to the strap lug, but the gap doesn’t affect the performance or use of the Ellie, it’s built solid, you’ll find no flex or weakness in the construction.
One thing you will need to do is make sure that the rubber flaps for the ports on the camera you need are open before fixing Ellie in place.
This also isn’t an issue on the Sony A7 III as most of the flaps will have already fallen off, but on the A7R and S, it’s just something to be aware of.
Ultimately the Ellie is an exceptionally well thought-out and designed piece of kit. It’s not 100% when it comes to fit, but on functionality, it excels.
What makes the Ellie a winner is a weight and price, at 96g it adds very little overall weight to the camera and costing just £64.00 it’s a bit of a bargain.
I now #Ihaveellie do you?