The Universal Bracket

on February 01, 2018
Putting a bracket on the universe sounds like rather a large undertaking - daily we are being told that it expands ever further from our comprehension - rather like federal taxation reform and the GST. Stephen Hawking understands the universe but has thrown his hands up on the other two... Well, photography is a little easier to grasp. In this case it is the accessory bracket from Sunwayfoto - the DPL-04R model. It is just one of many that Sunwayfoto make for a number of modern DSLR and mirror-less cameras to provide something that the various manufacturers fail to do - a stable basis for the shot. Okay, that's only partly true - every maker has some spot on the underside of their camera body that accepts a 1/4 inch screw - the older 3/8 inch standard that was used in Europe having been long superseded. But the screw socket that accepts this may be positioned in a very poor spot on the under plate and the plate itself may be convoluted to begin with. Trying to clamp the camera well on a tripod may be difficult and the end result may be movement when you don't want it. Apart from this, there is the business of stopping what you are doing to screw and unscrew the tripod in the first place - people being people, there are times when they just can't be bothered to do this, and their pictures suffer for it. Step in the quick-connect shoe on the camera and the quick connect bracket on the tripod. All solved. All solved my eye. In the time I worked behind the Stirling Street retail photographic counter I saw 34,000 different quick-connect systems sold to photographers and every one was different. As soon as the photographer lost the little foot that came with the tripod, they would find out that the maker had gone out of business and no more feet were ever to be made. It was either carve another out of solid titanium, or throw the tripod away and start again. I think we needed a Warren Commission on the Tripod Conspiracy... The final advent of Manfrotto quick couplings and the Arca-Swiss rail and clamp system brought sanity to the business...though I'll bet they are still selling orphan connector systems in Hong Kong or Aden right now. For the rest of us, however, we can deal with our local shops and the big-name systems. This Sunwayfoto bracket is Arca-Swiss size. You bolt it onto your camera, leave it there, and pop it on or off a tripod with the female clamp. The short length of it means that in most cases the area of your camera that has an opening door for battery and cards is unobstructed. It is just as simple as that. The added benefit - which I make use of in my own photo kit bags - is that when you set a camera body down into the bag vertically, it bottoms out on the clamp and not the side of the body. Extra protection just where it is needed, and an extra place upon which interesting accessories ( speed light, hand grip, bubble level, IR illuminators, sighting rifle, etc ) can be clamped. Note also the bar on the left hand end of the picture - you no longer have to attach straps to small pivots on the side of the camera body - that bar will take a terrifically strong woven wrist strap. One final thought: There are frequently bolts on the ends of this sort of clamp that are slightly proud of the plane of the rails - they are there to prevent the assembly from sliding sideways out of the clamp when it is released. A good safety precaution, but an awkward thing as you need to open up the jaws of the clamp to worry the bracket free when you are done. I've recognised that it is actually more dangerous for me to do this on my studio stand than to slide the bracket out cleanly. So I unbolted mine and have stored them for field use. Engineers amongst our readers may also start to do pencil sketches of their camera systems attached to stands and armatures by bolting the side rail and holding the whole weight that way - all do-able, as that is a sturdy casting and a standard threaded socket. Doodle away.