Flash Bracket for Canon 580

Kilgoret

Standard Member
Hi All
I want to get a Flash bracket for my Canon 580 Any recommendations. Have seen a lot HK products on ebay. To be honest I am looking at a basic Hama copy for a £4 including P&P. But they have a lot of other models ( L bracket, Rotating bracket) are these really practical and beneficial?
Thanks
Kilgoret
 

tdodd

Novice Member
I have a couple of different flash brackets from eBay in Hong Kong. They do the job they are supposed to, of positioning the flash above the lens when you turn the camera to portrait orientation, but neither one is especially nice to use. There are two main types....

- Camera Rotator, in which the flash head stays exactly where it is while you rotate the camera within the bracket itself;

- Flash Rotator/Flip, in which you rotate everything and then flip or rotate the flash back to where it should be.

I prefer the former. Even within the camera rotator design there are two main mechanisms. One is a sort of cantilever style that sort of lunges the camera into position. The other is with an arced rail and a ball bearing runner that allows the camera to rotate smoothly within the bracket. Given the choice and the money I'd go for the latter option, but they are pricey.

Here are the types of brackets that I have....

This is a camera rotator style with a cantilever mechanism. It is big and bulk and a bit unwieldy and hard to pack/store neatly. Like I say, it does the job, but I don't like using it. In fact, I never have used it on a job. I've just toyed with it at home.

On camera flash rotation bracket on eBay, also, Flash Units, Digital Camera Accessories, Photography (end time 03-Jun-09 18:29:50 BST)


Here is a flash flip design. I have used this on a job, once, but got fed up with it and gave up after 20 minutes with it. I really don't like the flash flip design at all, but it is cheap, fairly compact, and does at least work.

Flash Rotating Bracket fits all camera SLR DSLR UK on eBay, also, Flash Units, Digital Camera Accessories, Photography (end time 28-Jun-09 15:01:52 BST)

The better quality brackets tend to cost well over £100, perhaps nearer £300. Here is one sweet looking bracket, but v.expensive and also heavy. I wouldn't like to lug that thing around at a wedding for hours on end with a 1D3, 70-200/2.8L IS and 580EX II attached, or even just a 24-70/2.8L. And what the frack would I do with my other camera/lens/flash while lugging that lump about?

YouTube - Just Rite Camera Brackets

I was all set to get this as a chrissy present last year but realised that apart from the crazy price - ~£280 I think (not my money at least :) ) - the weight would be prohibitive and it would probably end up as an expensive piece of unused junk. In all honesty I prefer to simply bounce my flash and the nasty side shadows largely, or completely vanish.

If you should decide to get a bracket, rather than simply bouncing with something like ABETTERBOUNCECARD, then don't forget you'll need an OC-E3 flash cord as well. The Canon originals are pricey but the two eBay knock-offs I have seem to do the job well at around half the price.

I'm curious about the £4 Hama bracket. Do you have a link? If it's what I imagine then I think it will prove to be utter pants for quick changes of orientation - fine if you're just going to shoot a ton of stuff in portrait orientation but hopeless for switching back and forth to/from landscape.
 
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Kilgoret

Standard Member
Hi
Thank you so very much for your advice.
This is the link for the cheap 'Hama' copy I mentioned
Flash Bracket for Nikon AI Canon EOS Sony OM PK ... on eBay, also, Flash Units, Digital Camera Accessories, Photography (end time 18-Jun-09 07:29:49 BST)

I have ordered a clone flash cord to sue with the bracket.
Here are some other models and I would be grateful if you give me your opinion.
Flash Bracket for Nikon CANON SIGMA PENTAX SONY OLYMPUS on eBay, also, Tripods Supports, Digital Camera Accessories, Photography (end time 12-Jun-09 18:13:03 BST)

FOLDING CAMERA FLASH BRACKET on eBay, also Flash Accessories, Flash Units Accessories, Film Camera Accessories, Photography (end time 30-May-09 14:05:31 BST)

Must say they don't look particulary easy to handle.

( Note I am not looking at any models above £18 since I don't want to pay import duty:))

On a different note, I thought ( mistakenly) that the idea behind a flash bracket was to move the flash from top of the camera. But you mentioned that the idea is keep it on top the lens.
So basically I need a model that can keep the flash on top lens both in Portrait or Landscape.

Of course Canon do their own for £150+

Thanks

Kilgoret
 

tdodd

Novice Member
A flash bracket serves two main functions that I can think of....

1. Increases the distance between flash and lens in order to avoid/reduce red eye. With DSLRs and external guns this is often not a problem, but when shooting at greater distances the angle between lens and flash narrows and it can become a problem;

2. Keeps the flash above the lens so that any shadows cast onto the background disappear behind/below your subject rather than beside them. The effect you get with flash to the side is something like this....

Bare%20flash%2C%20direct%20-%20portrait_LR.jpg


In landscape mode the flash shadows almost vanish, like this....

Bare%20flash%20straight%20ahead_LR.jpg


The idea of the bracket is to keep the shadows as unobtrusive as possible by keeping the flash above the lens, NOT beside it.. Of course, if you bounce your flash - by far the preferred option - then you don't need a bracket at all....

Bare%20Flash%20bounced%20straight%20up_LR.jpg
 
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tdodd

Novice Member
Of the brackets you've listed the only one that appears to accomplish both separation and keeps the flash above the lens is the Roxsen bracket, which looks similar to one of my brackets in some ways, yet also a bit different. To be honest I can't quite make it out. It looks like it has a cantilever camera rotator at the bottom, the same as mine, but I can't figure out what is going on where the upper "beam" joins with the vertical padded section. Is that a folding feature, or some sort of flash flip in addition to the camera rotator function. It seems odd to me.

FWIW here are my brackets (no I do not use an Omnibounce outdoors!)....

20080609_135812_02939_LR.jpg


20090212_174805_03265_LR.jpg
 

Kilgoret

Standard Member
Thank you all for your help and advice.
So if I bounce there there is no need for a bracket. hmm maybe I bought a hot shoe cord for no reason.
By the way , as a matter of interest what's wrong with using an omnibounce ( I assume it does same job as a diffuser? ) outdoors. Would it not works a fill in light?
Kilgoret
 

Mike.P®

Well-known Member
So if I bounce there there is no need for a bracket. hmm maybe I bought a hot shoe cord for no reason.

Depends what you are using it for, I bought mine for macro shooting to get more height on the flash so it sits over the top on bugs and stuff.
 

tdodd

Novice Member
The purpose of an Omnibounce is to spread the light around instead of firing straight at the subject. Indoors that will light up a room (somewhat) and the light will then bounce back again onto your subject and around the room, eliminating shadows and creating a nice soft light. It can be very effective. I do sometimes use an Omnibounce indoors. However, sometimes, depending on the environment, you may do equally well, or better, by simply aiming your bare flash gun at a white wall, maybe beside you, maybe behind you, or a little of each. You can also bounce off the ceiling, but will need to use the little white bounce card built into the 580EX to throw some light directly forward and fill in shadows that might be cast in the eye sockets, under the nose and chin etc..

The problem with the bounce card built into the 580EX is that it is only effective when shooting in landscape orientation. When you go portrait everything points in the wrong direction. A flash bracket will fix that for you, or you can use a home made "betterbouncecard" like those I linked to earlier.

Outdoors there is usually nothing for the dispersed Omnibounce light to bounce back from, so basically you are simply wasting massive amounts of flash power by chucking it up into thin air. The correct way to create softer light and reduce shadows/contrast is to enlarge the apparent size of your light source. Indoors you do can do this by bouncing the light off walls and ceilings. Outdoors you need a softbox, reflector or umbrella. Simply sticking an Omnibounce on the end of your flash gun does nothing to change the apparent size of the source of light with respect to your subject. All it will do is heat up your flash gun quicker, drain your batteries faster and increase recycle times. You may just as well use a bare flash pointed staright at your subject for fill. At least the light will go where you want it and not be wasted.

For macro photography an Ominibounce might offer some advantage in softening the light as it is in truth a smidge bigger than the bare flash, and can also spread light around to bounce back from the environment, although watch for colour casts if everything around is green foliage. It can also weaken the flash, by "wasting" light, which might be beneficial when very close to your subject. That approach does not work for people standing in open spaces at a distance of a few feet or several feet.
 

tdodd

Novice Member
Thank you all for your help.
Kilgoret
No problem :)

By the way, you may still prefer to use a bracket. It is somewhat of a personal choice and sometimes the environment dictates that a bracket is the best choice. It's just that even though I have the brackets I prefer to work without the weight and clutter, at least if I am shooting with two camera/lenses/flash hanging around my neck/shoulders at once. Also, sometimes it is not possible to bounce indoors, perhaps because the surroundings are some horrendous colour that will tint the scene badly. In that case a bracket would be the way to go. The same thing might apply outdoors when there is little ambient light and you are using the flash as a main light rather than fill. Bouncing will not be an option outdoors but you may not want your flash shadow falling obviously onto the background or people near your subject.

Here's one of my shots from a wedding last year. I misjudged my ambient exposure on this overcast/rainy November day and the flash had to work too hard to light my subject. As you will note, there is a strong shadow cast by the flash beside the subject. Here the effect is not too bad but on others, where the shadow is beside the head/face, it does spoil the shot. The irony is that I had the flash bracket fitted but did not position the flash correctly. That may have been oversight or a deliberate decision not to bother. I don't remember. Either way, it was a mistake.

20081130_124258_2359_LR.jpg



So I'm not saying never use a flash bracket. I'm saying that I prefer not to use one if there is a lighter and less cumbersome option.

If you have a look at the lighting forum on POTN I expect you can find several threads on the use of brackets. Here's an example....

Flash bracket for wedding only? - Canon Digital Photography Forums

Here's a current thread specifically about the OC-E3 cord....

Off-shoe Speedlite cords, useful? - Canon Digital Photography Forums

You can also make use of the cord without a bracket, simply by hand holding the flash. See this video example....

YouTube - JACOB the PHOTOGRAPHER model photoshoot bikini Kim (you might want to skip the first minute which seems mostly to be an advert)

Or you could use it simply to place the flash a little off camera for macro or product photography, perhaps mounted to a small light stand, tripod or Gorillapod.
 

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