August 10, 2011

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket Review

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket overview
The Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket is originally marketed for small DV Recorders, that do not have a hot shoe,  in order to enable the attachment of a small continues light.

However, shape, size and modular construction gave me a lot of ideas for using it as a DSLR camera flash bracket. Considering also its comparatively very cheep price made it even more challenging for a hands on test.

The Bracket

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket box
The bracket costs a mere USD 17.00 shipped insured ! and comes in a retail box inside a self closing nylon bag. 
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket side
It is comprised by two aluminum parts, one C-shaped (thus the name) that is supposed to hold the flash unit and one open S-shaped that holds the bracket serving also as a connector to the DV recorder or better the camera as in this case.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket thumb screws
All parts are held together by captive 1/4"-20 thumb screws, which have also an 1/4-20 female thread in the bottom so the whole set can be attached on a tripod.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket flash cold shoe
On top of the C-shaped part exists a plastic part with a universal metal flash cold shoe.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket at 90°
Between the various positions that this bracket can be fixed, I found more convenient the 90° degree angle between the S-shaped and C-shaped parts.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket rubber flange detail
Between the two metal parts exists a rubber flange that prevents friction between them serving also as an anti-twist mechanism. (The small sticker on the inside says C-shaped bracket for miniature camcorders ...slide fix up and down...)
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket logo detail
A big BOLING sticker dominates on the outside.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket dimensions drawing
Dismantling the bracket we can see that the S-shaped part has a rubber covering on the side that will be attached on a camera with a honeycomb texture and on the other side there is a slot that permits moving the C-shaped bracket by 30mm. The distance between the mounting holes is 73mm.
The C-shape part has a 120mm opening convenient for most lenses and the distance between the side to the end of the slot on top is 63mm. Total weight 96gr !
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket flash socket parts
A closer look at the flash socket and its relevant 1/4"-20 thumb screw.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S-part components
Closer look at the S-shaped part with the two 1/4"-20 thumb screws and the clear rubber flange.



Using the bracket...

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket mount on EOS 400D tripod socket
The simplest way to mount the Boling bracket on a camera is to screw the base thumb screw in the camera tripod socket.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket mount orientation
According to the side someone prefers to turn the camera for portrait position, should the C-shape bracket be attached. It can be fit either on the right or on the left side of the lens.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket mount on EOS 400D - top view

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket on EOS 400D w/ off camera flash cord
Next step is to attach a remote flash cord on the camera and the bracket's flash socket. Then you can use the flash in either the vertical...
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket on EOS 400D w/ off camera flash cord - portrait
...Or very conveniently by releasing a little the thumb screw move it sideways for use in the portrait position.

Adding a Quick Release Clamp
Since most of my photographic gear are equipped with Arca® compatible Quick Release plates and rails, replacing the bottom 1/4"-20 thumb screw with a small quick release clamp was an obvious next step.

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S base view
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S base screw removed
For use with a clamp, we need to reverse the orientation of the S-shaped base, remove the base captive thumb screw and choose an appropriate clamp.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR clamp
I have chosen the Hejnar Photo F012 1,5" (3,8 cm) Quik Release clamp as it is the narrowest and lightest in my possession adding only 84gr to the bracket, for a total of 180gr.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR clamp - 2
Using the 1/4"-20 flat screw and Allen hex key provided by the clamp manufacturer...
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR clamp attached
...simply screw the clamp on the S-shaped base longitudinally.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR bottom
The provided 1/4"-20 screw has the proper size for fixing the clamp on the bracket without protruding much.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR top
Since there are not any alignment pins on the bracket base, we need to align the clamp and tighten the screw. The rubber on the bracket base will prevent it from twisting.
Canon EOS 50D w/ dovetail plate attached
With a camera dovetail plate already attached on our camera...
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ clamp mount on EOS 50D - bottom
...all we need is to tighten the clamp in place.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ clamp mount on EOS 50D - top
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ clamp mount on EOS 50D & off camera flash cord
Next step is to attach a remote flash cord on the camera and the bracket's flash socket. Then you can use the flash in either the vertical...
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ clamp mount on EOS 50D & off camera flash cord - portrait
...Or very conveniently by releasing a little the thumb screw move it sideways for use in the portrait position.

Conclusion
The Boling C-shaped flash bracket is a very convenient, low priced gadget for easy turning the flash from landscape to portrait position for amateur use.
However there are some weak points and limitations which should be mentioned.
It is not very convenient for continuous change of orientation between landscape and portrait mode if you are on the move.
The flash socket is designed for fitting flash units directly on top and screwing them securely with their thumb wheel or other mechanism. When fitting a remote flash cord on the bracket flash socket it is not so secure and I would recommend to remove the bracket flash socket and screw the flash cord socket with the 1/4-20 thumb screw directly on the bracket.
Further the size of the C-shaped bracket does not permit its use with a battery grip attached on the camera.

But more ideas coming in further posts, where you can see how it can be used in creating a Telephoto Flash Bracket or a Macro Flash Bracket.
I hope you found this review helpful, thank you for viewing.
All photos © 2011 S.C.Vlachos

Availability:
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk,

If you are interested in the product please consider using above link(s) to make your purchase and help support this site.

Hejnar QR Clamps from Hejnar Photo store

Referenced Articles:
Hejnar Photo F012 1.5" (3,8cm) Quick Release Clamp

Relevant Articles:
Create an Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket
Create a Versatile O-Shape Macro Flash Bracket

9 comments :

  1. Hi, i bought the same flash bracket, but everytime i want to do vertical photo taking on tripod it's feel unsafe/moving, please give some ideas. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. i bought the same c-shape bracket but everytime i want to take vertical photo using tripod it feels unsafe - anything to tighten my dslr on the bracket/tripod to keep from moving?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fearghus, if you can describe a little more your setup (camera, lens, tripod) and what do you mean by vertical (i.e. do you tilt your camera in the drop notch of a ball head? ) then I will have a better idea of how I can help.
      If you can put a link to a photo of your setup and what you are trying to do, it would be even better.
      Regards, Sotiris

      Delete
  3. Hi Sotiris, thanks for your reply. here's my setup. i have a C-shape bracket, Canon 1000d DSLR, 18-200mm lens and a Jusino AX-225S tripod.

    yes, i would like to take vertical photo just like you describe - tilt my camera in the drop notch of a ball head

    this photo here's exactly what i want to do since i cannot rely 100% on the screw provided by the c-shape. however, i am not sure which any other tools suitable to buy for my tripod before i can have a "vertical photo + flash on top of camera"

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Hos30AcKKfk/UBNHrryK6II/AAAAAAAADhM/fc8qin4xFNo/s1600/Benro-MPB10-015.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fearghus,
      Do you have a battery grip on your 1000D as the camera in the photo you linked?
      According to your answer and since the 18-200 is quite large, I'll try to figure out a more compatible and economical solution for your gear.

      Delete
  4. Hi Sotiris,
    No i dont have battery grip. is it okay if i buy a "Benro PU-85 Universal Quick Release Plate" and scew my 1000d and c-bracket at both plate ends?
    thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fearghus,
      If I get it right, you mean to replace the S-shaped part with a PU-85 plate.
      Since the lens barrel is on the same level with the camera bottom, I don't see it possible to mount the C-bracket on the other end of the flat PU-85 QR plate under the lens.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Check the "Availability" section at the end of the article.

      Delete

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