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Better beamer: Flash Bracket Required????

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by jfenton, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    I sore up and down that I'd never use a flash on wildlife shots, but Mikes recent exposes have shown me that I was WRONG (so what else is new?).

    I ordered the BB from Artie this morning.....now the question becomes one of....do I need to spend a bunch of money for a bracket to get the flash up and off of the camera or will it work fine on the hot shoe when using the 500MM and a TC perhaps?

    As I shoot a Wimberly Sidekick, I'm suppose that if I do indeed need one, I should get the Wimberly adaptation for the Sidekick?

    Thanks in Advance....
  2. Jim, my swearing has been, I suspect, very similar if not identical to yours. But I think this is going to be a BB year for me as well.

    I use a Jobu Black Widow and have gotten the Jobu bracket for mine. I believe that all the major mfg's attach in the same manner, the extra holes at the end of the lens plates, so you may want to look at them all before deciding. I like the Jobu because of the flexibility both in height as well as in setting up for multiple flash use. One thing I really had not taken into account is that these brackets put the flash much closer to the "business end" of the lens, rather than the camera.

    A favor please? Once you get your BB I'd like some observations.

    ps. Congrats on the article, way cool :cool: 
  3. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    What is the web site that has your bracket? I have used the Better Beamer for some time but would be interested in your arrangement. I shot with Walt Anderson, the inventor of BB, and he just had it attached to the camera.
  4. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I've wondered about this as well. My understanding is that beamer works by "focusing" the flash more narrowly so that you get more range at the expense of covering a narrower angle of view, which is why it's only recommended for shooting at 300mm or longer. If the height of the flash is different when on a bracket it seems like that might affect how it needs to be aimed/focused. Another thing I've wondered about is what if any metering adjustments need to be made when using "D" lenses since the meter may be making some assumptions about flash range that are no longer accurate.

    I have the better beamer but haven't really used it. The one time I tried it at the zoo I didn't seem to get very good results; I'm not sure if it was because I was too close to the subject or what. I guess I just need to take the time to shoot at a dark wall and test out the coverage and whether adjustments need to be made to flash angle/etc.
  5. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    BTW with regard to brackets I can recommend the RRS bracket. The nice thing about it is that it can be used even with shorter lenses that don't have a tripod collar/plate.
  6. Depending on the animal of what the lighting is like you can get that dreaded eyeshine in the animal if the BB is used and it hits their retina at the right angle...

    If you are using daylight fill flash at the BB then not using a bracket is acceptable...

    I have used it both with and without a flash bracket. There is a better chance of getting eyeshine when the flash is attached to the hotshoe on the camera. If the flash is raised off axis of the lens then there is less a chance to have eyeshine.

    The BB works by using a fresnel lens in front of the flash and causing the flash to be concentrated which allows you to stop down the lens 2 stops. It works great with birds because the fill flash brings out the details in the feathers...

    I use my BB with the wimberley bracket for the sidekick. it eliminates the chance of eyeshine in the animal.. The eyeshine makes the naimal look possesed...

    Retief: On my setup the flash is still closer to the camera body and not the end of the lens...
    Same thing occurs with the RRS brackets I have used previously...
  7. As I noted above, I'd take a close look at all three of the "majors", Wimberly, RRS and Jobu. I did the Jobu deal because I got a GREAT deal as I was buying a bunch of stuff at the same time :wink: , but I think they are all great. For the sake of completeness I will list them all here, not in any particular "order of preference", but just because this the order I did them....

    Jobu Flash Bracket

    Wimberly Flash Brackets

    Really Right Stuff Flash Brackets

    The only one I have seen "in person", but not used yet other than for short testing, is the Jobu, and it is certainly well made and easy to use. I'm sure the others are as well, and I do think the RRS one is the "best looking" of the bunch.
  8. I've used mine without a bracket for years, but you will get 'eye-shine' in some cases, like owls. I'll let those photogs who have used a bracket assure us that the bracket solves this problem.
  9. Thanks, Eric, this is good info. I didn't mean, but didn't state it well, that the flash was AT the end of the lens, just closer to it than when attached to the hot shoe. The Jobu bracket attaches to the lens plate, so I guess, now that I think about it, you could have the bracket at either end of the mount, depending on how you attach the plate, so the bracket could be closer to the body or closer to the end of the lens. Hmmm, I wonder which one is "right" or if there is a "right" way at all?

  10. Well with the Wimberley setup it goes on the back end of the long lens plate and is close to the camera body...

    The flash still hits the target the camera is focused on even if it is elevated above the lens or camera.
  11. This is excellent information. Eric, your answers are particularly "enlightening" (forgive the poor pun). I have a Kirk flash bracket and seldom have used it except for some macro work. Will start working with it as eye shine has been a recent annoyance. One thin I notice with my BB is that the fresnel lense is bowed and not flat when attached, seems the two sides are not far enuf apart to me. . Based on what I am reading here it would seem that the fresnel lense should be "flat" or straight across. Any ideas on that?
  12. But I'll bet if you reverse the lens plate, so the holes are toward the "front", it will then go on the "front" end :wink:

    Not sure why I put mine on that way, just seemed like the "thing to do". Any reason you can think of to do it one way or the other?
  13. Well, Dave when you got the BB you got the extra shims correct? Did you attach those per instructions? It is not a problem to have the Fresnel lens with a slight bow outwards. Mine does the same thing... In regard to the Kirk bracket you have to see how it fits. With the sidekick it would be sideways hanging off the left side of the lens. After attached. With the newere RRS or Wimberley brackets they are a nice quick release fit and a easy install and remove...

    I can shoot a few images of the setup and show you sometime this week when I set things up...

    Retief, The lens plate I have is from Wimberley and only fits on the lens in one direction.. It cannot be reversed. Also, the Flash bracket from Wimberley and RRS do not use the screw holes, but are a quick release that fits in the dovetail of the lens plate.. a nice quick setup and take down...
  14. The lens plate on my 500 is a Wimberly as well, and it is really easy to reverse the plate, just take it off the lens and flip it around. The plate I have is the Wimberly P-50. As the Jobu screws on at the holes in one end it is just a matter of which end you position the holes at. My guess is that to add a quick release to the Jobu would not be a huge deal, and I can sure see how it that would be easier to use in the field. Since the Wimberly and RRS are quick release, you could then position the bracket where convenient, correct? Further forward if you were doing some "close to ground" level work for example?

  15. Actually retief, For the lens i have I got the replacement foot and it only fits on one direction...

    Not necessary for close to ground level work to move things around... The way it is setup it still will hit the target with the flash when it fires...
  16. My Solution

    My Solution is a home built one for $10, parts from a local hardware store, and the sc-29 flash extension cord added to it.

    Works great, now all I need to do is to paint it black...
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    View attachment 23689
  17. bill t

    bill t Guest

    With long lenses you should use a bracket. I use the Wimberley and much prefer it over the RRS. Its modular and breaks down which means it travels easily. You will probably find you also need the extension post to eliminate the eye shine in some birds / distances. GBH are some of the worst. I would recommend ordering it from Wimberley direct.

    As for using the beamer, use only on lenses of 300mm and above, and when the subject is more than 40’ – 50’ away. Set zoom on flash to 50mm, watch this as the flash will go back to 105mm when switching t/c on and off. Keep in mind the beamer makes the flash output about 2 stops stronger than it is. Some Canon folks prefer to use the beamer regardless on subject distance. With Nikon flashes I have found the flash too much for my taste.

  18. Eric, you note "foot" in your last message and that explains it all. I use the Wimberly lens plate as they don't make a replacement foot for my Sigma. Luckily the Sigma foot is nowhere near as tall as the Nikon in the first place.

    Bill, anytime we find a bird closer than 40' in my neck of the woods we get nekked and have a party :eek:  , ok, not quite that bad but nearly. Have you tried using this on any moving subjects, or only when you have a static subject?

    I saw the Andreas Beast of Brackets in person a while ago, and it is truly a work of art. I'm surprised he hasn't gone into business selling them :wink:
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