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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Flash Brackets - - - Which type? - - - pros/cons?
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07/11/2007 06:02:11 PM · #1
I have pored over numerous threads regarding flash brackets and the subject is getting a little clearer than mud. It is now as clear as coffee with cream.

Now that I have shot a wedding using only a Lumiquest diffuser, I want to get a flash bracket to mount on my D80 with the SB600. I have read so much about flash brackets today and what I have mainly learned is that there is little consensus on which seems to be the best.

The main complaint that people seem to have is that the flash bracket arm interferes with access to the lens barrel for zooming and manual focusing. The second is that when the camera is oriented for portrait shots, the flash stays oriented for landscape and causes darker areas in either the top, bottom, or both vertical ends of the shot.

What flash bracket do you recommend for the D80 with battery grip and the SB600 flash?

Also, do I need to get a cable to attach the flash to the camera? What other accessories are useful?
07/11/2007 06:12:34 PM · #2
Hey, Robert! :)

My 2 cents, for what its worth. I think flash brackets are bulky and interfere with spontinaity. They make carrying 2 camera bodies impossible. The idea itself is outdated in the industry (none of the big pros use them anymore). And you could spend that money on lenses. :D

Maybe that was just a cent and a half. ;)
07/11/2007 06:22:15 PM · #3
Thanks Cindi, but how do you overcome the problem of side-shadows when shooting in portrait orientation outdoors? That is a huge problem for me now that I am processing the shots from the outdoor wedding. The wedding that I am shooting in St. Thomas in a couple of weeks is going to be outdoors too.

Message edited by author 2007-07-11 18:22:40.
07/11/2007 06:39:06 PM · #4
I bounced flash off the ceiling in both landscape and portrait, using a 580 speedlight, it can twist horizontally aswell as vertically.
Is that what you meant?
07/11/2007 06:51:45 PM · #5
No, my speedlight can do the same.
07/11/2007 07:30:27 PM · #6
Gary Fong's Lightsphere
07/11/2007 07:45:42 PM · #7
Originally posted by doctornick:

Gary Fong's Lightsphere


DITTO

I paid almost $200 for my bracket and then the sync cord and so on.

Tried the lightsphere and the rack has been in the corner gathering dust for about a year. There are a number of videos on the Fong site and the cost is around $50.00. There is also a video of a homemade lightsphere rig on You Tube and the cost of that is about $3.00 (But you get what you pay for.)

07/11/2007 08:16:39 PM · #8
Originally posted by yakatme:

Thanks Cindi, but how do you overcome the problem of side-shadows when shooting in portrait orientation outdoors? That is a huge problem for me now that I am processing the shots from the outdoor wedding. The wedding that I am shooting in St. Thomas in a couple of weeks is going to be outdoors too.


No matter how you position your flash (though bounce is usually best) the best way to get rid of shadow is moving your subject farther away from the background. :)
07/11/2007 09:11:34 PM · #9
Originally posted by idnic:

No matter how you position your flash (though bounce is usually best) the best way to get rid of shadow is moving your subject farther away from the background. :)


I had shadows on the ground to the right of my subjects when I turned the camera (with flash) 1/4 turn counterclockwise.

Originally posted by doctornick:

Gary Fong's Lightsphere


I understand that the Lightsphere is useful in hallways, or at least indoors using walls and ceilings to reflect the flash. Outdoors only about 15% of the flash reaches the subject with nothing to bounce off of. This wedding and reception will also be outdoors on the beach.
07/12/2007 10:17:40 AM · #10
I've built two of these and they basically do the job of a flash bracket as well as a diffuser in 1:

' . substr('//super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/DIYfront.jpg', strrpos('//super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/DIYfront.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

//super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

DONT LOOK AT THE CARDBOARD VERSION, SEE THE FOAM VERSION LATER ON DOWN THE PAGE.

They are GREAT and can fold up easily into my camera bag. I take one with me everywhere I go. The best part is that it took like $10 in materials to make two of the things, and about an hour cutting and sewing it together.

If you do make one, you definitely need to sew it by hand, the sewing machine tears the foam. Someone also suggested gluing them together and if I need to make another one I think I'll try that route.

Message edited by author 2007-07-12 10:18:20.
07/12/2007 11:11:00 AM · #11
Hi Robert, I use the Stroboframe Pro-Rl with the Lightsphere aimed up to bounce if the ceiling is ideal, or aimed forward with the dome on if the ceiling is less than adequate (ie: off-color, chandeliers, other funky ceiling situations). The flash is always in line above the lens, which eliminates all shadows above and to the sides of your subject, but casts a flattering little shadow under the jawline. The camera rotator takes a little while to get used to, but becomes second nature once you do. I heard that Custom Brackets and Jones are nice too, but I liked the feel of this one.

I choose this bracket because of how comfortable it is, and have been using it for over 2 years now most weekends at different events with no problems yet. It has a foam-padded handle that you support the setup with that puts your left hand fingers in a nice position to adjust zoom or focus, while your right hand operates the shutter and rotates the camera. It's fully adjustable to accomodate cameras of different heights, to keep the flash in line above the lens when you rotate (hard to explain here).

One thing I will say is the little flip-out kickstand thingy is pretty much useless once you have your flash/lightsphere on (topheavy), so I took it off and put a quick release plate underneath to set it on my tripod if I need to set it down for a few minutes. You're right, you will also need an off-camera shoe cord with a flash bracket. Hope this helps, good luck.
07/12/2007 11:46:29 AM · #12
I bought the Custom Brackets - Digital Pro. They're mfg. nearby. They reccommended the bracket and handle on the right. That allows me to easily use the zoom/focus rings with my left hand. I've only tested it indoors, not in an outdoor wedding. It produced excellent crips shots 20 feet away. It is comfortable to handle the camera controls.

The rotational feature was not needed, for my zoom lens, it already comes with one, but it's great for other lenses.

The difference between this and the Stroboframe Pro-RI, is the price. And it is very well built to last. Strong and rotates smoothly. You can get an optional RC-2 Bogen-Manfrotto quick-mount adapter, so you can easily switch to using a tripod.

The lightspheres are excellent gadgets, I've heard a lot of good comments, try a $40-50 Lumispere first. Recently I bounced a flash holding/aiming it in my left hand (Indoors), while the camera was on a tripod. Used only a coiled sync. cord. That got rid of all the shadows, and was a nice fill light.

Message edited by author 2007-07-12 11:53:02.
07/12/2007 02:42:13 PM · #13
Hi-ho,

I use a newton bracket, the folding one:

//www.newtoncamerabrackets.com/new_page_24.htm

With a stofen reflector on my 580ex for outdoor events where there is going to be no ceiling. I agree with the other folks though, if you can bounce you should..

Never tried a Fong lightsphere, but have used a similar cheapie diffuser, indoors it was great, but outdoors I was loosing way to much flash output to use it succesfully, I went back to the stofen with a gold insert on the bracket.

I've found the newton bracket to be great the times I've used it, but a camera bracket is going to be one of those things you only need for specific events and situations, you find it does spend a lot of time sitting in the corner.

Cheers, Me.
07/12/2007 02:47:34 PM · #14
i would recommend that you look at just using the flash off-camera entirely. the little stand it came with will attach to the top of a small light stand. if you need to move around, i often use my d200 with an sb800 and i just hold the sb800 out with my arm if necessary.

i've just been doing a lot of on-location portraits these last few days and using the remote capabilities of the flash has been far more flexible than a bracket would have.

ymmv, of course. :)
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