Five Reasons That You Need an L-Plate

I just posted this over at my photo blog — Photofocus. Be sure to visit there for daily news and inspiration about photography.

I just upgraded and added an L-plate to my Olympus OM-D camera… I’d previously used L-plates on my DSLRs, but this is a first for my Micro Four Thirds camera.

  • A Stable Platform — The L-plate lets you easily switch the camera from portrait to landscape in your tripod. As such the camera is always attached to the tripod head with its weight directly over the tripod column. There’s no flopping the camera into a notch slot and hanging it at an angle when you switch orientation. This means less vibration and less chance of the camera tipping over.
  • A Secure Connection — Because the plate connects with a hex nut, it’s in there. You have to use an actual Allen wrench to connect the plate. It won’t accidentally slide on you throughout the shooting day and you don’t need to worry about the camera coming loose.
  • Less Distortion — I got into L-plates because of panoramic photography. As you rotate the camera, keeping it centered over the column makes it a lot easier to get cleaner results. Each rotation keeps the camera centered and as you swing to encompass a wider view, the images overlap more cleanly and stitch together to make better panoramic photos.
  • Reduced Wear and Tear — I often attach camera straps to my L-plate. I also find that the plate itself provides additional protection from bumps and scratches (almost like body armor).
  • Interchangeability — The L-plate use a tongue and groove type connection that’s based on an Arca Swiss plate system. These makes it very easy to move from one tripod or mount to another. A system is just that, compatibility across all your gear.

If you’re serious about getting the most stability from a tripod (particularly if you shoot stitched panoramics), invest in an L-plate.