An Arca-Swiss Style L-Bracket for the Panasonic G1

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by oris642, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. oris642

    oris642 Mu-43 Regular

    An Arca-Swiss Style L-Bracket for the Panasonic G1

    This is my contribution to all the stuff I have learned from others on this forum!

    Having moved from a 4x5 view camera to a Panasonic G1, I looked forward to paring down my former 20-pound backpack of equipment (which was light for 4X5, BTW) to something lighter and smaller for my trip to China. I’m a landscape shooter, so I need to hold the camera steady for up to 30 seconds (waterfall shots, etc). The G1’s light weight meant using my Feisol carbon fiber tripod would be – well, silly.

    Because of the smaller sensor and resolution of the Panny G1 compared to the 4x5 (where a scanned slide gave a 200 MB file!), and my fondness for panoramics, my requirements are:

    - a backpack that is small, gives fast access, comfortable to wear all day, and holds all my equipment (G1, 9-18 14-45 45-200 lenses, tripod, Lee filter system, flash, AND a laptop)
    - a tripod with a leveling & panning head that fits INSIDE the backpack, so that it doesn’t scream “photographer”
    - a combination of low weight and sturdiness

    An Arca-Swiss style mounting system is essential for landscape shooters. This allows for fast and secure mounting of the camera on a tripod. In addition, holding the camera in a vertical position while shooting panoramics gives me 4,000 pixels instead of 3,000 pixels if panning horizontally. 4,000 pixels divided by 300 dpi = 13.3 inches high. I print 12” x 36” panoramics, using Ikea’s RIBBA 12” x 36” frames.

    The first part was finding an L-bracket for the G1. No L-bracket, no sense in looking for a panning head! After looking at www.acratech.net , www.kirkphoto.com and www.reallyrightstuff.com , I discovered that nobody makes an L-bracket for the G1.

    And no wonder, as there are doors everywhere: on the left, right, and the bottom. The moveable LCD screen complicates matters further. And it’s small. Therefore I did the next best thing: I modified a Really Right Stuff Universal L-Bracket MC-L: http://reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/Itemdesc.asp?ic=MC-L&eq=MCL-001

    The usual way to mount the bracket is with the vertical part on the left side of the camera (looking at the G1 from the rear). But to give the bracket an edge to butt against (so that it doesn’t twist), one has to move the LCD out of the way first. I wasn’t sure if I would like that, so I modified the bracket to be mountable both with the vertical on the left and on the right. Now that I’ve tried it both ways, if I had to do it again, I think I would modify it only to mount on the right.

    If you do this, you cannot get to your SD card or battery. But then the battery and card lasts pretty long, and taking it off is not too much of a chore. Fortunately the RRS bracket’s stainless steel mounting screw is captive – which means it wouldn’t fall out when it’s loose.

    Time: about 2 hours
    Tools: metal files (round, flat), emery cloth, center punch, drill & bits, masking tape, can of compressed air
    WARNING: Please read the whole article before you start drilling/filing!

    Procedure:

    1) Remove battery and lens from camera. Cover sensor with the cover that came with the body.
    2) Remove the strap bracket thingys. Put them in a zip-loc bag and put it away.
    3) Mask the front of the bracket horizontal ledge with masking tape to mark where you need to file down the ledge. Test fit every now and then. Keep the camera away from the filing area! Use the canned air to blow the chips off the bracket before you test fit.
    4) Drill the blind hole in the vertical of the bracket to clear the strap holder(s). Do your best to estimate where you need to remove material.
    5) When it all fits, go over all the edges with the emery cloth until smooth.

    Pictures R0010939, 941, 940 and 943 shows what was removed from the bracket. Picture #R0010940 shows 2 holes drilled in the vertical – you don’t need to do this (I made a mistake). If you only modify it to fit right, you only need the bigger blind hole near the center. I started by center punching where I thought I needed the blind hole, started with a 1/8” drill bit, and worked up to a 5/16” bit. WARNING: this is a blind hole – for strength, I drilled it as deep as possible without it coming through the other side! #943 shows the hole’s depth; #950 shows that it doesn’t come through on the other side.

    Bracket Facing Left (Not Recommended, YMMV)

    Pictures #952 & 953 shows mounting the bracket facing left; to do that, you need to rotate the LCD out of the way first. Picture #956 shows you can’t close the LCD flat; BE CAREFUL and don’t force anything; you could break the hinge to the LCD! Picture #957 shows the limited movement of the LCD when it’s opened; it also can’t rotate horizontally if, say, your tripod is too short. That’s why I don’t recommend you mount it facing left, even though this is the “normal” way!

    Picture #955 shows the clearance between the left side and the left vertical. That’s why I said you don’t need to drill a hole to clear the left strap holder!
    Picture #961 shows that if one cuts off the last part of the bottom of the bracket, one could get access to the battery. I have not decided to do this yet, and since I’m heavily leaning at mounting it right instead of left, I’ve left my bracket alone.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. oris642

    oris642 Mu-43 Regular

    Bracket Facing Right (Recommended, YMMV)

    The pictures below show the bracket facing right (again, looking at the G1 from the rear.) Note (Picture 948) that the mounting screw had to be moved one slot over from the left mounting described earlier.
    Picture 951 shows the rear of the camera. When the bracket is on the right it makes the handgrip area much bigger – which I find is actually not a bad thing! In fact, I find it now actually easier to hold the camera. Picture 950 shows why the blind hole had to be drilled to clear the strap holder.

    That’s it! Next time I’ll tell you which backpack I found that suited my needs.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  3. Rich M

    Rich M Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Mar 2, 2010
    That is so AWESOME...I wondered if any enterprising individual would figure it out.....I couldn't.

    I did something similar for the GF-1 using an RRS-L bracket from my old Canon 10D. I just had to change the length of the mounting screw....not a major mod like yours.


    rrs_1.

    Regards....R
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    very cool stuff , inventive, and super practical


    thanks
     
  5. GreenH

    GreenH New to Mu-43

    9
    Aug 19, 2010
    Modifying other Camera brackets

    After searching for L-brackets for the Panasonic G1, I came across your post. I think I may do the same thing. Did you try looking at modifying other barckets, e.g., one for the Canon G10?

    I was looking for the bracket on B&H's site but could not find it. Do I have to order from: Really Right Stuff - MC-L: Universal L Plate

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  6. oris642

    oris642 Mu-43 Regular

    Hi Steve, I never looked at the G10 bracket. I ordered right from RRS because of their generous return policies (although so does B & H).
     
  7. GreenH

    GreenH New to Mu-43

    9
    Aug 19, 2010
    Many thanks

    I loved the Banff pictures. Did you post your China ones yet?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  8. MikeB10

    MikeB10 Mu-43 Regular

    FYI.....Kirk does make a standard plate and L Bracket for the GF1..... Kirk Enterprises : Camera Plate for Panasonic DMC-GF1.
     
  9. oris642

    oris642 Mu-43 Regular

    No, there's 740 of them, and I've kept them private (for now).
     
  10. oris642

    oris642 Mu-43 Regular

  11. GreenH

    GreenH New to Mu-43

    9
    Aug 19, 2010
    New RRS Bracket

    Eric,

    Thanks for posting the note about the new bracket. I think it should work for the G1 as well although they don't mention that on the site. I just received the MC-L today so I'm going to see about exchanging it. Because of the lip on it, the MC-L needs modification in order to be used since it is not wide enough to allow connecting to the camera even with the LCD folded in.

    Thanks again,
    Steve