Updated: May 3, 2020
Thanks for checking out my review of the brand new Kirk Enterprise Solutions L bracket for the new Canon EOS R.
Now I'm sure most of you reading this will know what an L bracket is and what it's for but for those that don't I will explain.
An L bracket replaces the mounting plate from your camera to tripod head and enables you to switch between portrait & landscape styles while still maintaining a balanced centre weight over the tripod head, Its also a very quick way to switch in between and perfect for panoramas as the angle of arc is dead centre.
If your current head is, for example a ball head you will tilt it to the side but it will no longer be a true centre and again the arc of sweep during a panorama will be much wider.
So in short an L bracket has some good advantages over a traditional mounting plate.
As with mounting plates you can get custom brackets to perfectly fit the base of your camera so it will for example still allow access to a battery compartment or card slot etc.
It will also have a bevel on it which will mean your camera wont twist which as we all know can be very frustrating.
All in all an L bracket makes good sense, now which one to go for ? There are so many on the market ranging from cheap Chinese knock offs on ebay for literally a fiver right up to top spec models like the Kirk Enterprise Solutions L bracket.
More money doesn't always mean better with things but if something was going to hold essentially up to £5000 of equipment (body and long lens plus filters etc) I wanted to have good faith in it that it wouldn't break so after much looking around and reading up I settled on the Kirk Enterprise Solutions L Bracket for the Canon EOS R.
Kirk Enterprise Solutions are an American company that have been going for some 30 years and have been developed by a photographer for photographers and it gave me confidence.
Sadly these were out of stock at everywhere I tried but I placed a back order with Wex Photographic for one and eagerly awaited delivery.
The bracket was very expensive at £120 and I would expect it to be better than good for that price but again the worry about a poor bracket failing with all my kit on was enough to convince me it was worth it.
There were much cheaper universal L brackets from manufactures like RRS (Really Right Stuff) which were absolutely excellent products but weren't customised to the camera (Although I believe RSS is currently making one) I was really tempted to save a bunch of money and go for one of these but decided I would stick to the Kirk one after hearing good things.
So after a week Wex Photographic sent me an e mail to inform me that the product had arrived and been shipped for next day delivery ! I couldn't wait for it to arrive. (Top service as always from Wex)
This is where it all started to go a bit wrong.
It turned up and I opened the box expecting to see a really well packaged premium product but no, it was a cardboard strip that had been heat shrink wrapped to the product, cheap & not very cheerful.
Kirk offer a money back warranty on products if your not happy with them but the packaging was 100% impossible to open without tearing it)
Never mind I thought, L bracket itself will make up for it.
It certainly appeared very well made and very strong and comes with a 5 year warranty so that was a good start.
A nice touch was the recess to allow the cameras OE strap to still be fitted and used while the bracket is still mounted.
It had other neat touches like the allen key fits underneath the mounting plate securely so you always have it with you which is a really smart feature.
The allen key however already had signs of rust on it which wasn't a very good start, although I must stress the L bracket itself looked fine.
Minor detail I thought and fitted it to the camera.
It fitted very well, the bevel was doing its job and holding the camera firmly in place and all the areas of the camera were still accessible such as the battery compartment and the cable release port etc.
It was very firm and all seemed good, that is until I flipped open the screen of the Canon EOS R, It opened and you could turn it around BUT it no longer opened to the full 180 degrees that it used to, it hit the bracket and only gave roughly 165-170 degrees of movement.
Ok so this wasn't the absolute end of the world as I never really used the camera while facing it and needing to see the screen (unlike the thousands of Vloggers who use this camera) but the point was this was a custom fit L bracket for the Canon EOS R and it shouldn't stop you using a function of the camera of which this clearly did.
I could have easily purchased a universal bracket for a fraction of the price of this and got the same result, I was simply baffled at this over sight from someone with Kirk Enterprise Solutions reputation.
I mounted it to my Benro B4 Ball head which fitted seamlessly as the plate was an Arca style one and made to go with this type (and most heads) but one thing was noticeably absent, well two things actually. There is provision underneath for two retaining screws which stop the L bracket from sliding off the tripod head by accident, these ere not included with the L bracket. For £120.00 to not include these two tiny screws is an absolute travesty and I just cant understand why Kirk wouldn't do it which further adds to the feeling of paying way over the odds for a premium product that basically just isn't.
Little things make a world of difference Kirk, please don't cheapen an experience when you charge the earth for it.
The product itself performed well and did what it had to do fairly well and I didn't have any real complaints.
It would be hard to unless the metal used was poor and broke which I didn't feel this would have any chance of happening.
Theres not really much more to say on it as it does its job out in the field quite well, but I can't help but feel annoyed every time I open the screen and it hits the bracket, its just so poorly thought out and should have been mentioned in the descriptions but wasn't anywhere.
Having paid top money for this L bracket I have to say i'm really disappointed in it and shan't be buying anymore products from Kirk Enterprise Solutions.
You might argue that the actual L bracket itself isn't too bad (other than the huge error in design for the screen) but the overall experience of KES products has been a bad one and for that money it frankly should have taken the pictures for you.
TOTAL 26/40 65%
As you can tell it hasn't been my favourite item to review so far and the fairly low score it received is a fair assessment of what is sold as a premium product but sadly falls short in most departments, other than quality.
The design would have scored top marks if it wasn't for the screen issue which was the whole point of buying a custom L bracket in the first place and the item is simply way over priced and there are alternatives out there that I feel could equal the quality for under half the price.
I would urge you to avoid this L Bracket if you have the Canon EOS R and seek one from another manufacture but make sure first it has a full screen rotation facility as it will bug you after a while.
As always, Happy shooting.
*All items reviewed are paid for with my own hard earned money and are reviewed without bias or influence.