August 14, 2011

Create an Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket

Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket full setup overview
The usual problem when shooting with a long telephoto lens using a flash either for fill-in light or to freeze motion, is a darker spot or shadow at the lower part of the photo caused by the telephoto lens itself interfering to the light beam emitted by the flash.
Here comes the need of moving the flash unit forward using a flash bracket.
Longer telephoto lenses have collars, then a flash bracket attached on the collar foot assists further by keeping the center of gravity close to the tripod's pivoting axis removing the flash from the camera top, thus maintaining the camera/lens balance.
More to that, when the camera is turned in the portrait position within the lens collar, the flash will remain always on top.

The idea of creating a Telephoto Flash Bracket was based on the Boling C-shaped Flash Bracket which I have reviewed earlier.

Kiwi Fotos LP-100 100 mm Lens Plate
One prerequisite of materializing this idea, is the existence of a double dovetail long lens plate like the Kiwi Fotos LP-100 100 mm Lens Plate which I have reviewed in the past...
Kiwi Fotos LP-100 Lens Plate on lens collar foot
...attached on the lens collar foot.

Attach on a long lens plate by screw
This is the most economical solution for attaching a flash bracket on a long lens plate.

Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S base view
The original setup of the Boling C-shaped Flash Bracket.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S base screw removed
In order to attach the flash bracket by screw, we need to reverse the orientation of the S-shaped base and remove the base captive thumb screw.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket S base orientation
Then straighten the C-shape bracket with the S-shaped base and remove the flash socket from the bracket. An extra 1/4"-20 screw 3/8" or 1/2" long and the appropriate Allen hex key are needed.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket screwed on LP-100 lens plate -bottom
Just passing the screw through the center hole on the front end of the long lens plate...
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket screwed on LP-100 lens plate -top
...all we need is to screw and tighten it in the 1/4" threaded hole of the flash bracket S-shaped base.
The rubber cover on the flash bracket prevents it from twisting.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket screwed on LP-100 lens plate -full view
And ready!
Although this method is the most economical, it also has some shortcomings. If you need to attach or remove the flash bracket continuously for transport, you should always have an Allen key handy and screw/unscrew the flash bracket, for packing the lens.

Attach on a long lens plate by clamp
A more versatile solution is to attach a small clamp on the flash bracket permanently, or at least for as long as you want to use the flash bracket. In this way the bracket can be slid on and off the front edge of the long lens plate at will and with minimum effort.

Hejnar Photo F012 Quick Release 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 attached - bottom
Using the provided by the clamp manufacturer 1/4"-20 flat screw and Allen hex key simply screw the clamp on the S-shaped base longitudinally. In this case the bracket's S-shaped base orientation must be kept in original state.
Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket w/ Hejnar F012 QR clamp attached - top
The provided 1/4"-20 screw has the proper size for fixing the clamp on the bracket without protruding much.
Is obvious here, that the flash shoe socket is removed and a rubber flange is put as an anti-twist mechanism ready to accept the flash remote cord socket which we'll see later.

Horizontal use on a ball head

Canon EOS 50D+BG-2EN + EF100-400L-IS-USM w/ LP-100 plate on ballhead
With the camera/lens combination balanced on the ball head clamp...
Canon EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate closeup
...and by having a longer lens plate than the lens collar foot, with double dovetail ...
Canon EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate w/ Flash bracket clamp - closeup
It is very easy to slide in the small flash bracket clamp on the top dovetail of the protruding part... 
Canon EOS50D +EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate w/ Flash bracket - full
...and tighten it in place.
Canon EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate / Flash bracket regulation
The C-shaped bracket, with the help of the base thumb screw, can be positioned closer to or farther from the lens to allow for better handling.
Canon EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate / Flash bracket regulation -2
The flash bracket can be clamped on the long lens plate, at either side of the lens. This is a matter of choice for convenience.
Flash bracket top screw w/ rubber flange detail
As mentioned previously the flash shoe socket is replaced with a rubber flange to act both as a spacer ...
Flash bracket top screw w/ off camera flash cord hot-shoe mounted
as well as an anti-twist mechanism between the bracket and the off camera flash cord hot shoe.
Flash bracket w/ off camera flash cord mounted - overview
After connecting the other end of the off camera flash cord on the camera hot shoe...
Canon EOS50D +EF100-400L-IS-USM +Flash bracket+580EX II - full view
we are ready to mount our flash and shoot !



Vertical use on a side Gimbal head
The C-shape of this flash bracket is very versatile because it can be also used at a vertical position, in case someone wants to clamp it on a lens plate fit on a side gimbal head like Wimberley®'s Sidecick, Benro's GH-A / GH-1 or one like my alternative gimbal head which I have described in Create an Alternative Gimbal Head.

Canon EOS50D +EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate side mount on gimbal
Here the camera/lens combination is attached on my alternative gimbal head , by the lens foot turned sideways.
(The only difference you may find from my original gimbal head idea is in the replacement of the Benro B-2 ball head with the Triopo RS-3 ball head, which serves better for the purpose, having less knobs and due to its shorter stem giving me a better balance on the center of the tripods panning axis.)
Canon EOS50D +EF100-400L-IS-USM +LP-100 plate side mount on gimbal closeup
The camera/lens combination is balanced on Benro PC-0 Panoramic clamp which serves for the backward-forward tilting.
Flash bracket clamped on LP-100 side - detail
Once again the small flash bracket clamp is slid on the top - or better now inward - dovetail of the protruding part of the long lens plate and tightened securely.
Flash bracket clamped on LP-100 side - full view
Since the C-shape bracket comes on top, the thumb screw that will secure the flash cord socket has to be moved in the middle of the "C" so as to fix the flash on top.
Flash bracket clamped on LP-100 side w/ off camera flash cord
After screwing the flash cord socket on the bracket and securing the other end on the camera's hot shoe...
Flash bracket clamped on LP-100 side - regulation
...we can use the S-base thumb screw (which very conveniently has come to the side) to regulate the height of our bracket.
Canon EOS50D +EF100-400L-IS-USM side +Flash bracket+580EX II - full view
Add your flash and go....

Considering the very low cost, a Tele flash bracket like this, is a great value for money!

I hope you found this idea useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: © 2011 S.C.Vlachos

Prices and Availability:
Prices for the Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket range between US$ 9.00 and 29.00 depending on supplier from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk,
The Hejnar QR Clamps are available for US$ 45.00 from Hejnar Photo store

In the meantime mini 1"-1.5" Arca style QR clamps have been introduced from Chinese manufacturers and are also available for vary low prices from Amazon.com or Amazon,co,uk

Check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon.
Please consider using above link(s) at Amazon to make your purchase and help support this site.

Referenced Articles:
Baling C-Shape Flash Bracket Review
Kiwi Fotos LP-100 Lens Plate Review
Hejnar Photo F012 1,5" (3,8cm) Quick Release Clamp
Benro B-2 Ball head Review
Benro A-298 EX Versatile Transformer Tripod Review
Create an Alternative Gimbal Head
Triopo RS-3 Ball Head Review

Relevant Articles:
Create a Versatile O-Shape Macro Flash Bracket
Desmond DAFB-01 Arca Compatible Flash Bracket Review

2 comments :

  1. Pretty cool..what was the total cost of materials used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Back in 2011 the cost of C-shape bracket and QR clamp was about $ 65.00 + shipping, still 1/3 the price of relevant solutions. Nowadays, you can build it for less than half with Chinese parts.

      Delete

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