A Quick Review: Acratech Extended Universal L Bracket

Camera & Technology

April 11, 2018 ·

Markus Klinko
Universal L Bracket
Universal L Bracket

If you are amongst the photographers who pre-order the latest and greatest cameras before they even ship then you know that dedicated L-brackets are usually delayed by many months, and companies such as RRS (Really Right Stuff), ProMediaGear and Kirk can hardly keep up with demand once they finally bring the new plates to market. In addition, sometimes their initial designs are not as successful as desired, and re-designs take them even longer. By the time that finalized designs are readily available, your next cameras are long announced, and all is back to square one.

There is, however, a solution, and that is to keep a couple universal L-brackets around, to bridge the wait for the dedicated brackets to ship. Without a stable, well crafted L- bracket, using the best flash brackets is an ordeal. To be sure, some lesser flash brackets can be used without an L-bracket, but the market leading system from RRS requires the L-bracket. I have used many types of flashes mounted directly to my cameras, ranging from Broncolor 3200Ws ring flashes to Quantum and various Flashpoint models, mainly the H1200 remote heads. I like to mix flash and available light in this way, sometimes using shutter drag techniques. Or sometimes it is just best to stay very mobile and forgo any stands or handheld lights by assistants.

Unfortunately, most universal L-brackets are not convenient or practical in design, and you will struggle with opening battery doors or connecting cables. Even companies that generally produce terrific gear, have only poorly designed universal L-brackets to offer, for example, Arca Swiss. Their L-Bracket is uncomfortable and gets stuck, and just is overall quite unusable. Do I really want to struggle with a hex key or some tight levers, only to change my batteries? In addition, this bracket also has sharp edges and is just a mess. Kirk makes a somewhat decent bracket, certainly usable, but with some flaws.

There is, however, a California company, Acratech, that makes a terrific (extended) L bracket for cameras with grips. The entire L is made out of one single aluminum piece, and not 2 pieces bolted together, which gives added stability. The integrated Arca-Swiss style Quick Release clamp can be also mounted in different orientations, one major advantage the Acratech has over the Kirk version. Personally, I like to space out the L quite far from the left side of the camera, for better access for tethering cables for example, but also for better grip.

Universal L Bracket
Universal L Bracket

In fact, this bracket feels so comfortable, that a dedicated bracket may not even be needed any longer in certain cases. I currently use the Acratech on my Fujifilm X-H1, a perfect combo, and just as nice as my dedicated RRS brackets for the larger Fujifilm GFX 50S.


Markus Klinko
2018 April

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Markus Klinko

Markus Klinko is an award-winning, international fashion/celebrity photographer and director, who has worked with many of today's most iconic stars of film, music, and fashion. Klinko has photographed the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, and Iman. His editorial clients include Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, and Interview magazine. Brands such as Lancôme, L'Oréal Paris, Nike, Hugo Boss, Anna Sui, Pepsi, Skyy Vodka, and Remy Martin have hired Klinko to create advertising campaigns. His campaign for Keep A Child Alive raised over one million dollars for children with AIDS in just 3 days. Born in Switzerland of French, Italian, Jewish, and Hungarian descent, Klinko spent his early years training to become a classical harp soloist. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Later, Klinko signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics, as well as a management contract with Columbia Artists Management. He received the Grand Prix de Disque for his recording of French harp music, with members of the orchestra of the Paris Opera Bastille. Klinko performed in recitals and as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras around the world. He was also regularly featured in such publications as Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, GQ, The New York Times, Madame Figaro, Stereo Review, and Ongaku no Tomo. After a hand injury, Klinko decided to become a fashion photographer and retired from his international concert and recording career. During that time, he met Indrani, who later became a regular collaborator in her role as his studio's digital post production artist and photo editor. Isabella Blow discovered Klinko's work while at the London Sunday Times and commissioned cover stories from the emerging photographer. Around the same time, Ingrid Sischy, at Interview magazine hired Klinko for various shoots. Iman and David Bowie followed, giving the up and coming photographer a chance to photograph them for their respective book (I am Iman) and album covers (Heathen). From there, he went on to create some of the most iconic album covers of his time, including Beyonce's Dangerously in Love, and Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi. Many of Klinko's famous celebrity photographs can be seen in his coffee table book ICONS (Perseus). Lincoln Center in New York presented an art exhibit showcasing many prints from the book and since then art galleries and museums around the world have featured his work. Klinko has appeared on E! News, Access Hollywood, Fashion Television, CNN's Showbiz Tonight and Larry King Live and has been the subject of the reality show Double Exposure on the Bravo network.

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