Benro MPB150T is the smaller of the two Multi Purpose L Brackets currently available in Benro's line of Multi Purpose Brackets.
Although these brackets had been announced in Benro's catalogs about two years ago, it is only in the past year that they appeared on the shop selves.
It is also a long time that I wanted to get one for test and review, but something else has been stealing the priority. Finally I decided to get one together with a Benro MPB10 Multi Purpose Nodal Rail for testing, from my local supplier.
My choice for the shorter/smaller bracket was based on the fact that it would better fit as an L bracket on a heavy camera apart from its other uses which we'll see further on.
|Multi Purpose Brackets specification courtesy of Benro web site.|
According to Benro, their brackets are CNC machined and treated to a corrosion-proof system to reduce wear and enhance appearance. And they are compatible to the Arca Swiss® quick release system and accessories.
Using MPB150T as a universal Camera L Bracket.
As mentioned in the beginning, this was one of the main reasons I wanted to test MPB150T. Its dimensions fit perfectly for a heavier gripped camera like the Canon 50D.
Dedicated camera L brackets that fit perfectly to a camera body are nice to have, especially for landscape or architectural photography. But unless you use it most of the time for shooting in portrait orientation, I consider it a waste of money to buy one for each camera body you possess or will acquire in the future.
For occasional use I prefer a universal L bracket that can fit all the camera bodies with or without a Battery Grip, easily removable saving me from carrying or holding the extra weight, whatever it is.
|The dimensions of the MPB150T fit nicely a larger camera with a grip like the Canon EOS 50D + BG-E2N in the photo above. Either in the landscape orientation...|
|...or in the Portrait orientation, permitting ample adjustment and centering of the lens above the ball head pivoting point.|
In both cases the 15cm long rail permits ample bilateral shift for better composition without having to move the tripod.
Testing with a QR clamp
Any QR clamp with a threaded center hole either 3/8"-16 with a reducing bushing or 1/4"-20, will do the job.
My choice this time was the Sunwayfoto DDC-42LR quick release clamp, due to its compact size and unobtrusive Lever release which will not interfere with the knobs of other clamps when the bracket will be installed on top of them.
Benro does have Lever release clamps but unfortunately they don't have a threaded center hole.
|DDC-42LR Clamp aligned and tightened in the middle of the base rail via the existing captive screw. When tightened well the friction between the metal parts does not permit any twisting.|
|In portrait orientation the addition of the extra clamp makes it very easy to move the side rail away from the camera side in order to use the camera connectors for a remote release cable or a USB cable for tethered shooting.|
Attaching a Benro Panorama clamp...
There are two optional positions for attaching a Benro PC-0 or PC-1 Panorama Clamp on the MPB150T L bracket. Either at the top of the vertical rail or in the middle. For both positions the appropriate holes and screws are provided.
a. Positioned at the Top.
Positioning the Panorama clamp at the top of the vertical rail seems the most logical act, as it permits more freedom of movement. A small to medium sized camera body with a short lens may be turned all the way up, for shooting a Zenith point.
|For this positioning you need the M6 hex socket bolt provided with the Bracket or the one provided with the Panorama Clamp as they are identical. The bolt should be inserted in the center hole of the Panorama Clamp...|
|...and screwed in the top M6 threaded hole of the side rail. The Allen key required for the bolt is not provided with the Bracket, but it is part of the Panorama clamp's accessories/tools. The bolt should not be tightened fully yet.|
|Next step is to use one of the provided M6 screws in order to align and secure the Panorama Clamp by one of its M6 threaded holes at the bottom (or better back side in this case).|
|After the Panorama Clamp is aligned and both bolt in front and screw at the back are tightened fully, you have a nice multi row panorama L bracket.|
b. Positioned in the Middle.
Although there is no accompanying literature explaining the purpose of a mid placement of a Panoramic clamp, I can imagine that Benro designers have provided a lower mounting position for better stability when someone does not need to shoot a full 360 degree spherical panorama. As in the case of a very wide or fish-eye lens, where a zenith or a nadir shot are not needed.
|For this positioning, you need the two M6 screws provided with the bracket, in order to fix the clamp on the two braces of the side rail, by the M6 threaded holes on its back.|
|The screw openings have an oval shape, in order to be able to accommodate both Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama clamps, that their bottom holes have different distances.|
|Passing the M6 screws through the brace holes and using the Allen hex key supplied with the Bracket, the Panorama clamp can be aligned and secured in place.|
|And ... ready!|
In this case both Panorama Clamp's knobs have to be oriented facing upwards as there is not enough space between the clamp and the base rail.
Excellent machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
Sturdy construction and stable within the load limits designated by the manufacturer.
Good value for money ratio.
Very difficult to impossible to unscrew the M6 hex screws holding the vertical rail as well as the M3 safety stop screws.
Care should be taken with the supplied 1/4"-20 mounting screw, as it may damage your camera tripod socket threads.
Bracket surface is slippery for mounting on a camera directly as an L Bracket, very prone to twisting.
Thin coat anodizing which scratches off by screws easily.
Comparing Benro MPB150T L bracket to the Giottos MH-680 VR Sliding Plate that I had reviewed in the past, seems to me something like comparing night and day. Benro's bracket makes Giottos' look like a toy, but on the other hand is far more heavy.
I would be much happier with the bracket if the vertical rail retaining screws or the M3 safety screws could be easily removed. I do not understand the reason why, someone at Benro thinks that soaking the screws in "Loctite" (or whatever compound they use) before screwing them, is good. And it seems that this happens with all screws after a point in 2011, as it is a reported problem also with ball head clamp screws. (See the Comments in Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama Clamps Review for more info).
However, it is a very sturdy bracket and despite the inconveniences, I would recommend it as a camera L bracket but with the addition of a QR clamp.
Although it lacks some versatility, for those that would like a simple, easy to assemble and economic total Benro solution, I would recommend it as a Multi Row Panorama head L bracket. Due to its dimensions is most suitable for entry level DSLRs (without a Grip) or the increasingly popular M4/3ds mirrorless cameras
Assemble a Compact Benro Multi Row Panorama Head
I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: © 2012 S.C.Vlachos
Price and Availability:
Indicative price of the Benro MPB150T L bracket is US$
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Benro MPB10 Multi Purpose Nodal Rail Review
Sunwayfoto DLC-42 Quick Release Clamp Review
Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama Clamps Review
Benro B-2 Ball Head Review
Benro A-298 EX (A2980F) Versatile Transformer Tripod Review
Giottos MH-680 VR Sliding Plate