April 21, 2014

Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 Review

Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 on Canon EOS 550D rear view
The Hejnar PHOTO Universal Modular L Bracket 22 follows the concept of the Modular Hejnar Photo Universal Camera L Brackets previewed some time ago.

Actually the L Bracket 22 is a pre-assembled package of the Hejnar Universal Base 2 combined with the Hejnar Universal Side 2.

There are of course some advantages but also disadvantages in choosing a universal L bracket instead of a Custom / Dedicated L bracket.

A custom L bracket is the best solution, since it is designed to fit like a glove on a specific camera model, providing anti-twist ridges or convex edges and allowing for access of battery or connector doors. The only drawback is usually a higher price.
On the other hand there are a lot of users preferring a Universal solution over a custom one for many reasons. Either because there is no custom made L bracket for a camera, being it an older or not popular model, or because the spontaneous use of an L bracket does not justify the expense, or frequent exchange of camera bodies that requires different L brackets for each one, or simply for the price.

Let's see how the Hejnar universal L Bracket 22 copes with anti-twist and fitting issues and then I'll come back on the benefits of using a universal solution.

The L Bracket

Manufacturer Specification:
Model:L Bracket 22
Length:10.16 cm (4.0")
Height:7.78 cm (3.065")
Width:3.81 cm (1.50")
Thickness:0.95 cm (0.375")
Weight:100 gr ( 3.53 oz)
Tapped Holes:4 x 1/4"-20
Soft Tip Screws:2 x 1/4"-20
Strap Loop:Yes
Color:Black hard coat anodized
Material:6061-T6 Aluminium C.N.C. machined
Made in :USA

Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 - angled-rear view
As all Hejnar Photo products the L Bracket 22 is precision CNC machined from solid 6061-T6 Aluminum blocks and is hard coat anodized in a glossy black color.
The Base 2 plate has a full length dovetail. An elongated slot for the mounting screw runs in the middle, which lets you shift the L side away from the camera body in order give access to the side connectors, either to connect to your computer for tethered shooting or simply insert a remote cable release (more details further down). The Base plate has four 1/4"-20 threaded holes which have a dual purpose. Either to enable mounting the base plate directly on a pod equipped with an 1/4"-20 stud or accept the two included soft tipped screws which act as an antit-wist mechanism.
Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 - base plate end view
A strap mounting hole is present at the end of the Base plate, enabling the attachment of a wrist strap.
Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 - L side plate view
The L Bracket 22 vertical Side is attached on the Base plate via a long M4 hex-socket screw and aligned by two dowel pins, forming the full L bracket. The L side may be removed at will, leaving some weight behind or just for free access to the camera side connectors if needed.
Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 - angled bottom view
An angled bottom view of the L bracket shows better the base plate characteristics, like the hollowed bottom slot in which runs the hex-socket mounting screw, the four 1/4"-20 threaded hoes, as well as the side plate mounting screw. It is also obvious that there are no safety stop screws on either plate.
Hejnar Photo Universal Modular L Bracket 22 - components and tools
The Hejnar L Bracket 22 comes assembled, but as all Hejnar modular L Brackets the vertical plate may be removed very easily and operated as a simple base plate. The package includes: One universal Base 2, one universal Side 2, one 1/4"-20 hex-socket-cap captive style screw 1/4 inch long, two 1/4"-20 hex-socket headless soft-tip screws, one M4 long connecting screw with washer, two 5mm dowel pins and the appropriate Allen hex keys for the included screws. All screws are made of chromed stainless-steel.

Mounting the L Bracket on a Camera
Since this is a universal L bracket, when ordering I had to consider the available side plate and base plate size options. The side plate model was easier to choose as it was determined by the camera side height. However, choosing the right base plate model was somewhat a more complicated task. I had the option either to order a shorter base plate (Base 1) which would probably allow access to the battery door or a longer one (Base 2) which might block the access to the battery door but would enable shifting the plate further away from the camera side and enable for USB cables and/or remote release cables be used in portrait orientation as we shall see in the next section.

Hejnar L Bracket 22 mounted on Canon EOS 550D - flush on side
Illustrated above, is L bracket 22 (i.e. Base 2) mounted on a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) with the side plate placed flush against the camera side. As foretold the base plate blocks access to the battery door but gives in return two benefits. One is that the lens centering Φ mark comes exactly where expected and....
Hejnar L Bracket 22 mounted on Canon EOS 550D - Shifted off side
Two, the mounting screw slot is long enough so when shifting the L bracket outwards, the side plate comes to a spot giving appropriate clearance for longer plugs to be inserted in the side connectors. Plus it clears access to the battery door.
The use of soft-tip screws as an anti-twist mechanism seemed to work fine with the specific camera, taking into consideration that the camera base has a relief surface texture.
Somehow, I have a reservation concerning the effectiveness of this method on completely smooth camera bases, which I have to test before commenting.
In any case, I should point out that since these screws act by exercising pressure on the base of the camera some precaution have to be taken for their use.
First they should not be over-tightened and second they should be placed as close to the mounting screw as possible in order to avoid deformation of a plastic camera base. I found that placed in a diagonal pattern with the mounting screw offered best results. If placed away from the mounting screw it is possible that they lift the base plate on their side.



Using the L Bracket
In the following illustrations we can see how the camera can be clamped in an Arca-Swiss® compatible quick release clamp, as well as that by shifting the L Bracket away from the camera side we have enough clearance for a USB plug and/or a Remote Release cable, in order to use it in both landscape and portrait orientations.

Hejnar L Bracket 22 on Canon EOS 550D flush - clamped landscape
The Hejnar L bracket 22 mounted on a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) with the side plate flush against the camera side clamped in landscape orientation.
Hejnar L Bracket 22 on Canon EOS 550D shifted - clamped landscape w/ cables
The Hejnar L bracket 22 mounted on a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) with the side plate shifted away from the camera side clamped in landscape orientation. There is enough clearance for a USB cable and a Remote Release cable to be plugged in the side connectors.
Hejnar L Bracket 22 on Canon EOS 550D flush- clamped portrait
The Hejnar L bracket 22 mounted on a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) with the side plate flush against the camera side clamped in portrait orientation.
Hejnar L Bracket 22 on Canon EOS 550D shifted - clamped portrait
The Hejnar L bracket 22 mounted on a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) with the side plate shifted away from the camera side clamped in portrait orientation.

Detailed Drawings
For a better evaluation, I have included here the base and side plate drawings, so you may calculate whether the dimensions are appropriate for your camera.

Hejnar PHOTO Universal L Bracket Base 2 drawing
L Base 2 drawing with exact dimensions (Click to enlarge).
Hejnar PHOTO Universal L Bracket Side 2 drawing
L Side 2 drawing with exact dimensions (Click to enlarge).

Pros
Versatile universal solution.
Very nice machining and fitting.
Very good finishing and anodizing.
Excellent strength and torsional behavior.
Very good value for money.

Cons
As a universal L bracket the alignment of the lens centering marks may not be precise on both axes.
Battery access door or connector ports may be blocked.
Lack of  safety stop screws may be an issue for some users.

Conclusion
The L bracket 22 being a member of a larger family of universal bases and sides, as I had mentioned in the Modular Hejnar Photo Universal Camera L Brackets Preview, is quite versatile. Since besides permitting the removal of the L side when not needed, it also allows a choice between different bases and sides when a need arises in the future.
The user may combine many L bracket Base plates for different cameras bodies with one L bracket Side to be used when needed on each one, or have one L bracket Base plate with two different L bracket Sides switching between a gripped or non gripped operation of the camera.
The specific combination of Base 2 with Side 2 forming the L Bracket 22 in discussion, is a good choice for medium sized DSLRs or ILC mirrorless cameras equipped with a tripod mounting hole positioned on the same axis with the lens optical axis and centered between the camera base edges.

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
Drawings by courtesy of Hejnar Photo © Chris Hejnar
All Photos: © 2014 S.C.Vlachos

Price and Availability:
Current price for the Universal L Bracket 22 is US$ 90.00 (+Shipping where applicable) and is available as a combo from Hejnar Photo Store, as all other matching Universal L Bracket Components.
Check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon.

Referenced Articles:
New Modular Hejnar PHOTO Universal Camera L Bracket

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