There are two details in the L Plate design that differentiates it from the majority of universal plates. One easily spotted and one not so obvious unless you get tipped off.
The break in the dovetail of the vertical plate strikes you at first site. This a feature, intended to allow for angled cable release plugs to be used without removing the vertical side, is usually found on custom L plates but it is the first time such a break is encountered on a universal plate.
The not so obvious detail lies in the design of the dovetails which are fully Arca-Swiss® compatible, yet even with RRS® lever clamps.
As I have mentioned in another review recently, there are advantages but also disadvantages in choosing a universal L bracket instead of a Custom / Dedicated L bracket which would fit a camera like a glove.
But still, there are a lot of users preferring a Universal solution over a customized one knowing that there are some compromises involved. For many the prices of custom L plates/brackets are prohibitive. For others the spontaneous use of an L bracket or frequent exchange of camera bodies do not justify the expense. There are also cases where simply no custom made L bracket exists for a camera, being it an older or not popular model.
The Desmond DAL-02 in question here, comes a step closer to custom designs with its dovetail break feature, which put together with the modular design, the Desmond quality control and low budget pricing make it a considerable candidate.
Packing & Contents
|Although a low budget product, the DAL-02 comes in a recycled carton box with a small sticker bearing the product model and bar-code.|
|The L plate is snugly fit into the carton box, wrapped in a thicker and harder than usual nylon zip-lock bag, while in a smaller zip-lock bag exist two Allen hex keys.|
The L Plate
|Base Plate Length:||100 mm (3.70")|
|Total Length:||110 mm (4.33")|
|Internal Vertical Plate Height:||69 mm (2.70")|
|Total Vertical Plate Height:||79 mm (3.11")|
|Width:||3.81 cm (1.50")|
|Thickness:||9.5 mm (0.375")|
|Weight:||89 gr ( 3.1 oz)|
|Tapped Holes:||1 x 1/4"-20|
|Safety Stop Screws:||4 x M3|
|The vertical side plate sports two M3 safety stop screws, which is not very usual on universal brackets.|
|The bottom view of the base plate reveals the hollowed out part as well as the two M3 safety screws at both ends of the plate. The 1/4"-20 captive mounting screw has both a hex socket and a slot to meet different user preferences. A noteworthy detail is that the threads which allow the captive screw to be inserted in the captive slot is positioned in the middle of the slot, in this way permitting the optional use of a D-ring screw which has a larger cap, if the user prefers.|
The Plate Components
Mounting the L Plate on a Camera
Considering the dimensions of the base and side plates of the DAL-02, is best suited for medium to large camera bodies which utilize a Remote Release cable with an angled plug which sticks on the camera side like the Canon N3 plug. Therefore, I chose to test and illustrate it mounted on a Canon EOS 7D body which is large and fulfills the requirements. Other similarly sized cameras are the Canon EOS 5D, 5D II, 50D which also have their N3 socket approximately in the same position.
Nevertheless, the L plate may be also compatible with smaller size camera bodies but would probably block access to the battery door at their bottom. This is mostly the reason I give as much detail as possible so the potential user may check the dimensions and the compatibility with his/her camera beforehand.
|When Desmond DAL-02 L Plate is mounted on the Canon EOS 7D feels like at home since it fits almost like a custom L plate in all respects. It allows access to all connectors and doors as we shall see next.|
Using the L Plate
Further down, we can see how the DAL-02 may be clamped in an Arca-Swiss® compatible quick release clamp, both in landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical) orientations. Either mounted flush against the camera side while enabling the use of a Remote Release cable with an angled plug, or shifted away from the camera side in order to have more clearance for an additional mini-USB plug for tethered shooting in portrait orientation.
Versatile universal design.
Exceptional machining, finishing and anodizing quality for the price.
Excellent strength and torsional behavior.
Safety Stop screws on both plates, total 4.
Full Arca-Swiss® and RRS® lever clamp compatibility.
Excellent value for money.
Absence of lens centering marks on both axes.
Battery access door or connector ports may be blocked on specific cameras.
Both comments in the Cons above, apply de facto to all universal L plates/brackets designs, therefore should be judged accordingly.
The DAL-02 L Plate is a good choice for medium to large sized DSLR cameras, especially Canon EOS models which utilize an angled Remote Release Cable plug; and all equipped with a tripod mounting hole positioned on the same axis with the lens optical axis and centered between the camera base longitudinal edges.
Considering the Desmond quality standards proved constant in time, combined with a very low price tag, I can say that the DAL-02 offers excellent Value for Money!
Note: The DAL-02 Modular L Plate presented in this article was kindly offered by Desmond Photographic Distribution, USA for evaluation and review.
I hope you found the review useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2014 S.C.Vlachos
Price & Availability:
Current price for the Desmond DAL-02 L Plate is US$ 41.00 (+Free Shipping in the US) and is available from Amazon.com
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