We’ve all done this: headed out to a fascinating outdoor location for sunset and shot some stunning photos in landscape orientation, using a sizeable ultra-wide lens. Then the thought pops up, “Hey, this would make a great photo in portrait mode too.” The problem is most amateur photographers don’t carry L-brackets. Your tripod ballhead isn’t always strong enough to hold the camera and a heavy lens in a vertical position inside the drop-notch. Try tightening every knob to the max, and you’ll still notice them giving way slowly during a long exposure. Taipei-based Silence Corner came out with a solution a couple of years ago. But their latest Kickstarter campaign for the ATOLL makes it easier and smoother to switch camera orientations easily. It’s sort of like a tripod collar ring for almost any lens.
Key Features Of ATOLL:
- No need to remove the ATOLL while changing lenses (on most cameras)
- You can avoid changing the level of the ballhead and tripod. Just rotate the ATOLL to change the orientation of the camera while staying level with the ground.
- A lot faster than using an L-bracket to change the camera’s orientation (although the claimed 1-second change time might be a bit of a stretch)
- Arca Swiss specification plates
- 180° rotation for most cameras; Silent Corner claims 360° if your camera doesn’t have a battery grip
- Click points at 0°, 90°, and 180° avoids any second-guessing of the rotation angle
- Here’s a handy feature: when you’re mounting the camera under your tripod for macro shots, ATOLL allows you to rotate your camera the right way by turning it 180°. No more looking at your LCD screen upside down in these scenarios.
- Compatibility with a wide range of popular mirrorless and DSLR cameras across brands
Who Is the ATOLL For?
Sports photographers who shoot from the sidelines often have one or more lenses with tripod collar rings. These are invaluable when you want to quickly change camera orientations. I’ve found this incredibly handy when shooting tennis games. Captured some forehands and want to get a full-body of Roger Federer doing a drop volley? Just turn the camera anti-clockwise 90°, and as long as the tripod collar is securely attached to the monopod plate – voila.
ATOLL is extending this simple but precious functionality to those with lenses that don’t have a tripod collar ring (pretty much every lens with a focal length under 200mm). It might be a little more cumbersome than an L-bracket when storing it in your backpack, but it does the same job faster and with more tricks up its sleeve. I see landscape and product photographers finding this really handy in their lines of work.
What Lenses Can Use the ATOLL?
Any camera whose lens mount outer diameter is smaller than the inner diameter of the corresponding ATOLL model can use this new product.
This Kickstarter campaign also has a heightening plate that can align specific camera lenses to the center of the ATOLL ring.
I Think It’s an Exciting Product
I’ve lost count of the times I wished I could take a better outdoor picture in portrait orientation with my tripod ballhead. It’s easy enough for shorter exposures, but even the slightest movement due to a slipping tripod plate or ballhead is enough to introduce shake in a long exposure. ATOLL seems to provide a solution for this by adapting itself to a variety of lenses and cameras and beating out an L-bracket in terms of speed. The center of gravity remains above the tripod when you use this. Rotating your camera by loosening and tightening the ATOLL ring will let you catch more photo opportunities. Unlike some L-brackets, the ATOLL also won’t get in the way of your camera’s tilting LCD.
If you want to support this project, head over to their Kickstarter page.