Maybe we are all influenced to believe that good photographic gear has to be expensive and that low priced ones are junk.
Maybe some manufacturers have tremendous overhead costs or simply rectify prices upwards to reflect a higher status. With the exception of a few manufacturers who still maintain production in the US or EU with high production cost the majority have moved production to the Far-East but continue to charge as before.
Desmond DAFB-01 Flash Bracket is CNC machined in one piece, totally out of Aluminium with no plastic parts, except for a rubber grip around the vertical arm.
The design is simple, nothing sophisticated about it, like hinged folding etc. But its sturdiness, very good machining and finishing are equal to a high quality product. It is light and this simplicity is what probably maintains the cost just under US$ 50.00.
|Total Height:||265 mm (10.43")|
|Total Width inc. Knobs:||150 mm (5.90")|
|Bottom Mounting Hole:||1/4"-20|
|Metal Screw:||1/4"-20 to 1/4"-20|
|Weight:||259 gr (9.14 oz)|
|The top quick release clamp is also equipped with a large chromed-metal thumb screw which may facilitate the mounting of heavier equipment or adapters with an 1/4"-20 thread bottom mounting hole.|
The long 1/4"-20 screw passes through a threaded hole in the middle of the clamp and can be removed at will.
This is a plus, if you want to avoid clamping a hot-shoe made of plastic, still existing on many remote triggers or off-shoe cord adapters.
Base QR Clamp Arca-Swiss® Compatibility
The DAFB-01 base quick release clamp was tested with various camera plates and lens plates, as well as with multi purpose long rails of various thicknesses and widths. Plates / Rails tested were from Benro, Desmond, Fotoporo, Kiwi Fotos, Marumi and Hejnar PHOTO, showing no issues whatsoever.
For the readers that like numbers, I hereunder quote detailed measurements of the clamp Jaw dimensions, so as they can decide whether this clamp is compatible with the dimensions of their plates or rails.
|Clamp Jaw dimensions||mm|
|Steady Jaw Height||04.31|
|Moving Jaw Height||04.50|
|Min Jaw Lip Opening||33.77|
|Max Jaw Lip Opening||39.15|
|Min Base Opening||36.76|
|Max Base Opening||43.81|
The jaw height figures in the above specs are a little less than 5 mm which is considered the middle of the dovetail V cut. All dimensions fall within the average limits though, consisting the clamp compatible with almost any Arca-Swiss® type plates and rails.
Flash QR Clamp Dimensions
|Clamp Jaw dimensions||mm|
|Steady Jaw Height||03.53|
|Moving Jaw Height||03.55|
|Min Jaw Lip Opening||15.50|
|Max Jaw Lip Opening||19.86|
|Min Base Opening||20.18|
|Max Base Opening||24.06|
Both base and flash clamp jaws are quite strong for their size, with very small tolerances so there is no play or deformation of the moving jaw as with some really cheap clamps.
Using the Bracket
Although the role of the Desmond DAFB-01 is somehow predetermined by its shape and orientation of its clamps as a long lens flash bracket, it can be used as a camera attached flash bracket as well but with the existence of a small nodal slide. Placing the flash beam far higher and to the left of the lens axis is an effective means of eliminating red-eye and harsh shadows effects.
On a Camera via a nodal slide
|As illustrated in the photos above, Desmond DAFB-01 is attached at the bottom of the camera (bottom right) via the small nodal slide which allows for side or fore-aft adjustment in order to find the most convenient and balanced position for the bracket. Further it can be hand held or mounted on a tripod head using the nodal slide dovetail.|
The bracket is quite tall, lifting the Canon 580EX II speedlite (in the example above) quite higher than the camera hot-shoe and to the left of the lens axis. Of course an off-camera shoe cord is needed to connect the camera terminals with the speedlite terminals.
On a Telephoto Lens Plate
Which is actually the DAFB-01 natural environment.
As I had explained in the Create an Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket article, 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 barrel itself, interfering to the light beam emitted by the flash.
|In this case, in order to mount the DAFB-01 we need a longer than the lens-foot lens plate, with a double dovetail like the Desmond DLP-100 Lens Plate pictured above. The base QR clamp of the flash bracket can then be attached on the top dovetail...|
|... moving the flash beam far higher than the telephoto lens barrel.|
|When the camera + lens are supported by a ball head as illustrated above, the flash bracket can be attached at either side of the lens. The longer lens plate is very convenient not only to hold the flash bracket, but also to balance the system allowing it to be withdrawn further backwards, since the positioning of the flash in front and higher will increase the front load. Another added convenience is that the flash-bracket grip may be used to guide and position the camera + lens combo on the ball head effectively.|
Further, as the flash bracket stays on the lens collar foot, there is no problem of re-positioning the flash when re-orienting the camera in portrait position within the lens collar.
Once again, an off-camera shoe cord is needed to connect the camera terminals with the speedlite terminals.
Very good machining, finishing and anodizing quality for the price.
Excellent fitting with very small tolerances.
Very smooth operation.
Good quality metal 1/4"-20 to 1/4"-20 thumb screw included.
The vertical arm and horizontal extensions form a wider angle than optimal 90°.
Requires extra nodal rail to fit on a camera.
Although using the DABF-01 with a camera would require the extra cost of a small nodal slide the total would still be lower than comparative solutions.
On the other hand considering the price, I would fully recommend it for use as a telephoto flash-bracket attached on a lens foot, either supported by a ball head or by a more complex gimbal head with a cradle clamp.
As with all Desmond products I have reviewed up to now, the quality offered over the price tag, results in a great value for money ratio.
This review and test was run on a single product sample, using the specifically described methods. Although the findings are good, it can not be used as a rule, unless more samples of the same product are tested. Furthermore, similar comparison tests should be run with comparative capabilities products so as to reach a solid conclusion.
I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2013 S.C.Vlachos
Price and Availability:
Current price for the Desmond DAFB-01 Flash Bracket is US$
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