A quick comparison between two products designed mostly to perform the same function. In case you’re not familiar with an L-bracket, it’s function is purely to allow rotation of your camera by 90 degrees while keeping it balanced on the X axis of your tripod. This is especially important for panoramas so the camera yaws directly over the center point rather than circumnavigating it, which alters the perspective enough to make stitching the result more difficult or even impossible.
Let’s begin with the camera body. It’s a Fujifilm GFX 50S and it’s a bit unique in placing the battery cover where most cameras have their A/V and USB ports. Because of this, I needed an L-bracket that could easily move out of the way for battery swaps and allow me to easily put it back together without needing to realign it all.
Enter the 3 Legged Thing Ellie. The positives: it’s universal fit, offers a Peak Design compatible base, can move out of the way of the battery without realignment and is multifunctional. It worked fine for me for a few months, however, I soon discovered a few negatives that grew to become dealbreakers: there’s definitely a weight limit and the GFX seemingly exceeds it and it uses 2 screws to adjust the upright when only 1 will do. What do I mean by a weight limit? The upright clearly flexes and moves when I use it in the portrait orientation, ruining alignment between shots. My initial results from using it looked terrible as the flexing caused my shots to come out soft.
These issues caused me to seek out something better so I decided on the fitted RRS version 2 L-bracket for the GFX 50S over the universal ProMediaGear bracket. My experience with the 3 Legged Thing bracket had me gunshy about trying another universal fit system, especially one for $140. The RRS bracket, at $170, is not cheap by any measure but it’s solid. Positives: solid with minimal flex, uses a d-ring screw to adjust the upright, allows unfettered use of the strap clips, clears the battery compartment and fits like vinyl on Scarlett Johansson’s frame. But it’s not perfect: it’s surprisingly heavy, using the wrist strap lug blocks access to the hex wrench and the QD sling adapters are excessively bulky. However, none of these issues are dealbreakers.
I won’t completely fault the 3 Legged Thing Ellie. It could be better; it just isn’t and they have no intention of improving it. I even offered a CAD model for parts to improve it, for free, and they didn’t want it. The one I have will be used on my X-T3 since it substantially lighter and won’t flex the bracket as much. Plus, the dual screw fixture won’t be a problem since the battery is in a more traditional location.
If you own a professional grade DSLR, like the Nikon D850 or Canon 5D, or a mirrorless body such as the Lumix S1 or GFX 50S or anything more massive, I strenuously recommend against the 3 Legged Thing Ellie. It’s just not up to the task. Besides, if you can afford any of these camera bodies and you need a bracket like this, you can afford the RRS L-bracket. I can’t emphasize it enough; the 3 Legged Thing Ellie is a waste of your money and no amount of versatility can overcome its flimsiness.
(Here’s what I mean about the wrench slot. Any use of the wrist strap lug prevents the wrench from sliding in or out. I’m using mine to hold a Peak Design anchor in the photo. The lug should be recessed at the top, not the bottom, to ensure wrench clearance. A really sad oversight. It’s irksome but not a dealbreaker.)