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Have you considered a flash bracket?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Uncle Frank, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Virtually every event photographer uses a flash bracket. They're designed to raise the flash and center it over the lens, whether in landscape or portrait orientation. That helps control shadows by locating them behind the subject.

    Nice theory, but I never bought one because I couldn't figure out how they worked from looking their catalog pictures. I finally bought a CB Junior from Custom Brackets, and now I kind of understand :) . I've penned this article to help similarly geometrically challenged photographers who might profit from owning a flash bracket.

    Here's a picture of my new bracket. I've added some notes to help identify important elements.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Didn't help? Maybe these pictures will.

    View attachment 11999

    Here's a sample using this setup. Since the flash is high above the lens, shadows are mostly behind the subject.

    View attachment 12000

    View attachment 12001

    This isn't a recommended setup, because it will result in shadows along side the subject.

    View attachment 12002

    View attachment 12003

    Now that we have the flash directly above the lens, the shadows are much less intrusive.

    View attachment 12004

    Note that I tried to create worst case examples by locating the model about 18 inches in front of the wall. If she were 3 or 4 feet in front of the wall, you'd have barely noticed the shadows.
  2. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    And where might one acquire one of these fancy brackets?
  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Have a like setup, my Stroboframe Press-T, the only problem

    with this setup is the camera's tendancy to twist on the cork base. Do they offer an anti-twist plate for it? RRS has a solution I plan to try out. It's used in conjunction with their L-bracket. It's a small base plate that locks down the camera via it's L-bracket to the Stroboframe, preventing this very annoying twist I speak of.
  4. BH Photo has them for $90.
  5. Re: Have a like setup, my Stroboframe Press-T, the only prob

    I bought and returned a Strobo before I decided on the CB Junior. The Strobo has a flat cork plate, and the camera twisted on it, no matter how hard I cinched it down. This hasn't been a problem with the CB Junior, probably because there are 4 cork strips, which gives it a lot of edges that grip the bottom of the camera.
  6. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    I use the Custom Brackets QRS 35-h (I have a stroboframe camera flip too). The thing with brackets that flip the flash, is that it makes bounce flash rather difficult.

    The bracket looks cool though. I really like it's small size.
  7. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi frank-

    the design is similar to the stroboframe pro-t and press-t. you need an anti-twist plate with the stroboframe, which is a bit of a pain if you're using it on different cameras.

    the nice thing about this bracket is the extra depth that allows you to set it down and it's balanced. my pro-t tends to tip forward.

    one drawback of a flip bracket is cable management. i've pinched the cable a couple of times when i went from vertical to horizontal. they're also a bit off-balanced when in the vertical orientation.

  8. I was worried about that too, since the flash is "sideways" when I'm in the portrait mode. But then I realized that the swiveling head feature of the sb800 allows me to shoot in bounce mode, and it's no more difficult that tilting the flash head up in the landscape mode.

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  9. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Frank...thanks for the great review and tutorial. I need to buy something like that someday and I would consider that same product. Your the best, Frank! 8)
  10. You're right about the Strobo. I think it's because they use a flat piece of cork on the mounting platform. But with the "cork strip" approach on the CB Jr., I haven't had any twist problems. It would have been better if they had used something like neoprene strips, though.

    I gave the rig a test ride at dance class last night, and it will take some getting used to. It's quite a load, with The Beast on it... about 5 1/2 pounds of camera, lens, flash, and bracket. Cable management wasn't a problem after I developed a routine of pushing the coils to the side at the same time I flipped the flash bar. I purposely did a lot of quick transitions from portrait to landscape mode, and found it intuitive and easy. And the extra height on the flash kept shadows from being a problem.

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    View attachment 12007
    View attachment 12008
  11. It looks to be very light weight, unlike the two 'iron Betsys' I have. You know, in this game we're almost like mountain bikers on the weight issue.
    Thanks for the tute Uncle Frank.
  12. dagored


    May 4, 2005
    Uncle Frank,

    What cord are you using SC -28 or 29? Anything additional for the bracket?
  13. I'm using the sc29, since the d70 doesn't offer the option of using a PC cord. You really don't need anything other than the CB Jr. and a screw to mount the hotshoe on the sc28/29, but I bought the anti-twist plate for the flash. If you get it, you won't even need a screw for your hotshoe.

  14. I asked the question about the PC-sync cord in the Technical discussion forum, and the SC-11 (short) or SC-15 (longer) won't let you shoot in iTTL mode, or any TTL mode for that matter... so the only realistic options are SC-28 (or the older SC-17 that the SC-28 replaces) or the SC-29 with the added AF assist.
  15. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Excellent post Frank. I'm curious whether this helps reduce red eye issues?

  16. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Good point. I kinda overlooked that - I guess what I should have said was it makes bounce flash more limiting. But its a rather small compromise for the ease of portability of the smaller unit.
  17. Moving the flash further away from the lens reduces red eye issues... but, to be honest, I've never had a case of redeye with the sb800 mounted in the d70's hotshoe.
  18. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Uncle Frank,

    Can I have the next dance :lol:


  19. Uncle Frank do they have a model that would put the extra handle on the left side of the camera, that way you would have two firm grips, one on the camera and the other one on the handle of the bracket?

    If you want to change that cork use the rubber from a bicycle air chamber, that's cheap. Buy the way I always have a piece in the kitchen to open jars. And you can see in my new avatar, i used it also to tie my paddles in place in the canoe so to have a resting place on my shoulder to carry the canoe.
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