Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?

Started Sep 20, 2009 | Discussions
David Zeno
Contributing MemberPosts: 689
Like?
Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
Sep 20, 2009

Hope I have a good question here.

I saw some photographers yesterday, filming some politicians downtown, and many of the photographers had what to be "L" brackets, and some other shape of bracket, that held the camera flash.

These brackets keep the flash off the hot shoe, but in reality they are still very close to the camera, and point in the same direction.

I got to wondering - what advantage is there in having a camera on a bracket like this ??

I'm still scratching my my head.

Thanks for enlightening me

Dave.

WFulton
Senior MemberPosts: 2,596
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to David Zeno, Sep 20, 2009

David Zeno wrote:

I got to wondering - what advantage is there in having a camera on a bracket like this ??

Assuming you mean a rotating bracket, then a flash bracket allows keeping the flash directly ABOVE the lens, even when the camera is rotated on end to portrait orientaion. Directly ABOVE the lens keeps any direct shadow behind and below the subject (out of sight), instead of overt ugly beside the subject. The bracket simply rotates the flash to be directly ABOVE the lens again.

Here are two sample pictures of the situation:
http://www.tiffen.com/Stroboframe%20web%20catalog.htm

No other particular advantage. The flash head is a couple of inches higher, but the speedlight alone is pretty high (regarding red eye).

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
David Zeno
Contributing MemberPosts: 689
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to WFulton, Sep 21, 2009

Thanks for posting that info. I didn't notice the photographers doing any rotating, but I have seen this before.

I did a fast search with Google, and came across this bracket called "Just Rite" .... this is one nifty bracket. I wonder if this is what some of the pros use... it looks to be very good quality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MjqWuxedug

Dave

WFulton wrote:

Assuming you mean a rotating bracket, then a flash bracket allows keeping the flash directly ABOVE the lens, even when the camera is rotated on end to portrait orientaion. Directly ABOVE the lens keeps any direct shadow behind and below the subject (out of sight), instead of overt ugly beside the subject. The bracket simply rotates the flash to be directly ABOVE the lens again.

Here are two sample pictures of the situation:
http://www.tiffen.com/Stroboframe%20web%20catalog.htm

No other particular advantage. The flash head is a couple of inches higher, but the speedlight alone is pretty high (regarding red eye).

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
BAK
BAK
Forum ProPosts: 18,997
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to David Zeno, Sep 21, 2009

There are lots of styles of brackets, including the ones you saw in the video.

That style are popular with wedding photographers.

But there's another kind that just puts the flash beside the camera, at about the same height as it would be in the hotshoe. There's a soclket that connects it to the camera. (Canon)

I think the benefit of this is primartily one of balance. I can't think of any other reason for buying one.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
WFulton
Senior MemberPosts: 2,596
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to David Zeno, Sep 21, 2009

David Zeno wrote:

I did a fast search with Google, and came across this bracket called "Just Rite" .... this is one nifty bracket. I wonder if this is what some of the pros use... it looks to be very good quality.

Same type of thing, but I'm sorry, I do not know about that bracket. But there are many bracket choices, and each one may vary the way they rotate things in some clever way, but the only one idea and feature present is that the flash stay ABOVE the lens in both cases (landscape or portrait orientation of the camera), so that the direct shadow stays more hidden below and behind the subject... This eliminates that ugly shadow if the flash were to be beside the lens.

If you stay in horizontal landscape orientation and do not rotate camera to vertical portrait orientation, then the hot shoe flash is already ABOVE the lens and then you do not need any bracket. But portrait orientation is popular for walking around the wedding reception to photograph the standing guests.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
nickoly
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,953
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to David Zeno, Sep 21, 2009

David Zeno wrote:

filming some politicians downtown, and many of the photographers had what to be "L" brackets, and some other shape of bracket, that held the camera flash.

These brackets keep the flash off the hot shoe, but in reality they are still very close to the camera, and point in the same direction.

These guys were likely pros who have one objective in mind - get the picture. To achieve this they have two duties:

1. don't run short of light

2. avoid red-eye

Shooting direct helps the former, and using a bracket helps the latter. The further away the subject is, the more important these issues become. An L bracket suffices.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dbase88
Regular MemberPosts: 156
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to nickoly, Sep 22, 2009

as above
avoiding red eye

to position the light so its more natural to the eye

you never see light front on in every day light, it always comes down on an angle

reduces contrast and makes shadows more pleasing when shooting close, esp when using as a fill light, fall off is natural

I just use a simple straight bracket which came with my 580exII. wouldn't mind trying reallyrightstuff brackets however just a bit out of my budget for now

depends on your application a simple off camera flash cord maybe an option, either for use on a tripod or in your hand. Alt you can use the camera on a tripod or in your hand.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Delot
New MemberPosts: 6
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to dbase88, Sep 23, 2009

I recommend this bracket - one of the well regarded by wedding photographers:
http://www.reporterflashring.com/
--
Delot

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
kb2zuz
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,196Gear list
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to David Zeno, Sep 23, 2009

There are two main types of brackets: the rotating/ring, such as the JustRite and Reporter Ring Bracket and (for lack of a better term, I'll call it) the swing style, such as the Stroboframe

There are advantages to both, and at least one disadvantage to each. If you bounce or use a fill card behind the flash, the rotating type will keep the flash pointed vertically at the ceiling for bounce. However if you are not bouncing when you rotate the camera to a vertical position, the flash is still in a horizontal position and if you have your flash on auto zoom it will not fill the frame properly, also wider lenses may not be covered completely by the flash even at the widest setting. Also note that if your flash projects an AF assist pattern (like the canon 580 EX) the pattern may not properly align with the AF sensors in the camera.

The stroboframe will swing the the flash to be over the lens when the camera is in vertical but the also be in a vertical orientation so when doing direct flash, the auto zoom will provide the right coverage as all the light of the flash is used to cover the area being captured by the camera and also the AF points will be roughly accurate. The draw back is if you tilt the head up to bounce, it's pointing at the wall and not the ceiling. You can twist instead of tilting to bounce off the ceiling, but if you are using a fill card, the fill card would point to the wall now.

Basically, if you usually shoot bouncing and using a fill card or a Gary Fong type device, the roting/ring flashes are great. If you are either shooting with direct light, or only bouncing without a fill card behind the flash the stroboframe might work better and be cheaper.

Of course there are other advantages, something the JustRite bracket has built in grip points, tripod quick release mounts and is very well balanced.

Everything in photography has trade-offs, you just have to choose which ones work best for you.
--
Kurt

 kb2zuz's gear list:kb2zuz's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D800 Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Quantum Help
Senior MemberPosts: 1,666Gear list
Like?
Re: Flash brackets - what are the advantages over on-camera flash ?
In reply to kb2zuz, Sep 23, 2009

kb2zuz:

The other type is called flip-flash.

 Quantum Help's gear list:Quantum Help's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D1X Nikon D200 Nikon D300S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads