L-Brackets R Us: The Really Right Stuff Solution
The rules and restrictions governing life during the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for my wife and me to have a normal wedding, even a small one, in July 2020. But we weren’t willing to postpone our wedding. Instead, we went virtual. The county clerk where we lived hosted teleconference weddings. When that become an option, we snapped at the chance to set a date. We would figure out the details of our virtual ceremony as we went along.
We had a workaround for the fact that our guests couldn’t travel to be with us. To share the moment with our family, we set up a teleconference so that our parents could watch us interact with the county clerk and get married. Using that teleconference, we were able to hold a champagne toast and enjoy a slice of the wedding cake that my wife baked for us. It was a little cruel that we made our guests watch us eat cake. But we were supposed to be the stars of the show after all. Plus, I think several of our guests were happy that they could attend without putting on special clothes or uncomfortable leather shoes.
We had a workaround for the fact that we didn’t have a catered meal. Like everybody else, we ordered some takeout, which we picked up and ate back at our apartment. We didn’t host a livestream where people could watch us eat our meal—the slice of cake is one thing, but to make non-guests watch us eat dinner is way, way over the line.
On the whole, the virtual wedding experience worked out better than I had expected. The county clerk was very kind and spoke very nicely. Because we broadcast our wedding, we were able to record it for posterity, which we couldn’t have otherwise done. Although we couldn’t host all the people we wanted to see, our parents and families were able to join.
Nevertheless, the workaround for note having a photographer would have been to take selfies. Hardly a good replacement for the great photographer we found. Nevertheless, we had to do something because we weren’t comfortable with that interaction, and we didn’t want to take pictures with masks on. We settled on glorified selfies. Here is how we did them:
The plan was to stage a corner of our apartment as a small studio. Our Fujifilm X-T3 would sit on a tripod, which I would trigger using Fujifilm’s proprietary app. I would make myself familiar with the app from a few days of playing around, and I was already very comfortable using a tripod. I had often used it, connecting the camera to the tripod via a Really Right Stuff L-bracket and an Arca-Swiss plate on the tripod. I had used this set up with a previous camera, and I love how well an Arca-Swiss system works.
The day before the wedding, I set up the scene and decided to take a few practice shots. Uh, oh—I didn’t have an L-bracket compatible with the X-T3. But that’s what B&H Photo is there for. I immediately overnighted the L-Bracket to us, and it was promised to be delivered at noon, a few hours before our wedding.
The next morning, we waited for the L-bracket. I was checking the tracking information on a regular basis. It went from “On its way” to “Your delivery has failed” around 11am. My heart sank. I called FedEx and played the “It’s my wedding day” card. Fortunately, my pleading worked, and the kind FedEx driver dropped off the L-bracket at our apartment door.
The Really Right Stuff L-bracket for the Fujifilm X-T3 worked like a dream. It doesn’t obstruct the battery or memory card doors. This particular L-bracket comes in two pieces, one for the base of the camera and one for the leftside of the camera. Consumers have the choice of ordering the piece for the base of the camera or ordering a set with both pieces. The baseplate retails at $85 while the full set retails at $185. I ordered the full set so that I could make use of the Arca Swiss system whether my camera is in a horizontal or vertical orientation. My view is that it’s not really worth the money to get the baseplate on its own. Without the ability to use the system to shoot in a vertical orientation, the system loses half of its versatility. If the concern is price, one should simply consider getting a quick release baseplate, which would be cheaper than getting a full Arca-Swiss system.
When I saw that the L-bracket came in 2 pieces, I was worried about losing the allen wrench that comes with the L-bracket and the play where the 2 pieces come together. As is typical of Really Right Stuff products, the manufacturing quality is superb, and I didn’t have to be worried. Once the plates are screwed together, the combined L-bracket felt like a solid, single-piece L-bracket. Given my experience with other RRS brackets, I expect this L-bracket to outlast the camera, me, and certainly my photographs. It’s just what you’d ask for in a piece of equipment. One of the allen wrenches in our family toolbox worked as a substitute for the Allen wrench that Really Right Stuff provided. For that reason, I’m not worried about replacing the wrench if I lose it. All in all, I’d probably rather have an L-bracket that comes in one piece, but the fact that this L-bracket comes as a set of two pieces isn’t a dealbreaker by any means.
One of my coworkers was very concerned about the results of our glorified selfies. But with the Really Right Stuff L-bracket and a little luck, everything worked out well. If you’re curious, I have written about the experience of shooting my own wedding, and this post shows a few of the resulting pictures. Please feel free to leave some nasty comments!
There were a few hiccups relating to Fujifilm’s software, but that’s a review for another day.