Off-camera flash bracket advice?


Dangermouse

Link Posted 31/08/2010 - 20:57
I'm looking at brackets and cables to move my flash off the hotshoe (as I've read that this will improve the results). So far, I've found this bracket and this cable.

Anyone have either/any thoughts on either? I want to keep camera and flash in one unit rather than having a camera in one hand and a flash in the other (hence the bracket), and that cable looks pretty decent for the money.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

Mannesty

Link Posted 31/08/2010 - 22:24
If you are familiar with the Pentax AF400T hammerhead gun, you can make one that is very similar, and far more sturdy than your proposed options above. You haven't said what flash you have, but . . . .

What you could use, is:-

1 x Pentax Hot shoe grip
1 x Synch cord F
1 x Hot shoe adapter F
1 x Flash bracket and collar from an AF400T flash (mine came with one)

The above gear will work with an AF500FTZ or AF540FGZ, but the hot shoe grip needs a modification in the form of a hole being drilled where the digital pin would otherwise short to ground.

If you have an older TTL flash, like the AF280T, the Hot Shoe grip needs no modification, but will require this 4P synch cord B cable instead of the hot shoe adpater and the cable listed above.

The flash bracket in your link is very flimsy. I have the twin flash bracket made by the same people in the same materials etc.

The downside is, it will probably take you some time to find all the parts I've listed, but it will last a lifetime.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 31/08/2010 - 22:47

Dangermouse

Link Posted 31/08/2010 - 23:21
The major snag for me there is price. I realise the Pentax gear will be in a different league to cheap ebay stuff, but £20 for bracket and cable is very persuasive when compared to the total cost of that gear.

I may buy the cable for now and look at alternatives for the bracket, as I've seen more solid ones with fewer joints (I think Jessops of all people offer one that places the flash in much the same place as that Pentax one).

I'll be using an AF240Z for now, I really wanted P-TTL contacts to future proof it as if I ever upgrade to a more recent flashgun (not likely given the prices) as the flash I have supports Program mode and works with the K-m in this mode. I realise manual gives more control, but I'm still getting to grips with using the additional light at the moment so it's staying on P!
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.
Last Edited by Dangermouse on 31/08/2010 - 23:25

Mannesty

Link Posted 31/08/2010 - 23:34
If you are patient, you can probably pick up an AF500FTZ flash for less than £100. I'd say that's as versatile a flash as you are likely to need. It's not P-TTL capable, only TTL and manual, but it'll teach you manual flash control for sure and coupled with the other items I mentioned above, it makes a formidable and versatile hammerhead gun.

With the AF540FGZ flash, you'll have a P-TTL hammerhead.

ANother option is to use an AF360FGZ in wireless P-TTL mode. The Hot Shoe grip will still need modifying but you won't need any cables as long as your camera can do wireless flash using the onboard flash as a master or controller.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Dangermouse

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 00:00
cardiff_gareth wrote:
That cable looks good Matt, is it safe for the camera / flashgun ?

Might get myself one also

Can't see why it wouldn't be, it's just an extension cable after all. I'm not too sure about those pop-out locking prongs, there's a hole for one of them to engage with on the K-m hotshoe and I hope the other is sprung rather than attempting to bore through the hotshoe when you turn the locking lever! It's held together with plain crosshead screws so if it is a problem I can easily open it up and remove the offending parts, or just not use the lock.

I will be trying it on my old Super A and AF200SA before it goes anywhere near my K-m, a multimeter will also be waved around. That will enable me to check the program contacts work as the Super A will display the aperture along with the flash ready light.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

layingback

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 08:18
These are really solid brackets. Ones in better nick than this often appear. They are really big and solid - for use with 6x7? Also offers a rotating socket for the flash which is useful if your flash only tilts, and a thumb operated cable option - although I've not figured out how to employ the latter with a DSLR.
My PENTAX Page

gartmore

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 09:09
By coincidence I was using exactly the same set up as Mannesty describes at the weekend. Thanks for the tip about drilling a hole, Peter, I'm using a bit of insulating tape.






Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Last Edited by gartmore on 01/09/2010 - 09:10

Mannesty

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 14:04
So is that a Hot Shoe Adapter F you have between the Hot Shoe Grip and the Samsung flash?

I didn't mention that configuration . . . because I didn't think of it.

The Synch Cord B plugs directly into the AF500FTZ and AF540FGZ flashes but with your configuration you could use any old flash.

One thing I forgot to mention is that there are two types of these flash brackets. One is rigid plastic, but not rigid enough. The other is aluminium and much stronger and very rigid.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 01/09/2010 - 14:10

gartmore

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 15:45
Mannesty wrote:
So is that a Hot Shoe Adapter F you have between the Hot Shoe Grip and the Samsung flash?

I didn't mention that configuration . . . because I didn't think of it.

The Synch Cord B plugs directly into the AF500FTZ and AF540FGZ flashes but with your configuration you could use any old flash.

One thing I forgot to mention is that there are two types of these flash brackets. One is rigid plastic, but not rigid enough. The other is aluminium and much stronger and very rigid.

Yes it is and an Fg in the hotshoe.

I have a ridiculous number of Pentax flashguns: 2 x AF400t, an AF280t, an AF240ft, an AF400FTZ, the Samsung badged one in the photo and a 1960s one for the Spotmatic the name of which escapes me. I still think it a shame that the current DSLRs don't support TTL which I find more consistent than P-TTL.

There are actually a few more AF400t brackets, I have one with LX strap lugs and there was a 645 one too.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

Dangermouse

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 16:47
My collection is similar, but a little less useful. I have:

AF200S
AF200SA
AF200T
AF240Z

The AF200S would go with my ME Super if I need a flash, the AF200T will be handy as a second flash if I ever want to trigger it remotely as it has manual power settings via a switch on the back. The AF240Z is my main flash as it seems pretty good with the K-m.

I also have the bracket for a Cobra D650 or similar, but not the flashgun itself. I have considered buying one of those instead but I don't know if it supports Program flash (it appears to be TTL or the old ME-S era Auto mode).
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.
Last Edited by Dangermouse on 01/09/2010 - 16:51

prsjnb

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 20:00
I recently purchased a double flash 'macro' bracket from them to experiment with. The aluminium used is rigid, but a little on the 'soft-side', so you need to be careful not to overtighten the clamps. Otherwise, their flash brackets are good value for the money. Unlike many Chinese sellers, shipping was remarkably swift; about a week in my case.

I purchased a cable for off-camera TTL flash from these people
link. Although a little more expensive than the one you have seen, the quality was excellent (on a par with the much more expensive Nissin cable which I also have) and it works faultlessly with my Metz 48 AF-1 and my Pentax AF 200T. Also arrived very quickly.

Jon
Last Edited by prsjnb on 01/09/2010 - 20:01

Dangermouse

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 20:52
I've now ordered the cord, and I'm still looking at brackets. Found a couple of solid-looking fixed ones from a UK seller for £10, they put the flash above and to one side of the lens (in about the two o'clock position when viewed from ahead). Is that useful or will I be wasting flash output up there?

Also bidding on an AF160 for my ME Super after realising how tiny they are, a pocket flash for a pocket camera (when it has the 40mm lens attached!)
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

Mannesty

Link Posted 01/09/2010 - 23:44
Dangermouse wrote:
... they put the flash above and to one side of the lens (in about the two o'clock position when viewed from ahead). Is that useful or will I be wasting flash output up there?

That's typically where a hammerhead style gun would be, and it's not wasting flash output at all. With the flash in that position you need (almost) never need to worry about red eye.

My recommendation as illustrated by Ken Gartmore would produce a very similar configuration which almost replicates an AF400T flash, one of the best analogue TTL flashes Pentax produced. The AF500FTZ is better however because it's much more versatile and more powerful.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

gartmore

Link Posted 02/09/2010 - 06:49
It is worth looking out for an AF400t, I got one of mine on eBay for £39 which is the same price as the Hotshoe Adapter F I think! It also came bundled with a load of other bits and bobs like the hot show grip in the picture and some LX cables which I sold on.

My original one has the immensely useful mains adapter which allows shooting at 3 FPS. I also invested in a Quantum battery pack (not cheap at £250 or so but mine came from eBay for a lot less) but gives over 1000 flashes per charge with recycling times of less than 1 second.

AF400t link

Peter, I have no experience of the 500FTZ, why do you think it is more versatile?
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Last Edited by gartmore on 02/09/2010 - 06:57

Dangermouse

Link Posted 02/09/2010 - 08:22
What about the Metz 45 CL-1? I see those going for £50 or less fairly often and I suspect there may be a module to support program flash, like my AF240Z does. I've just seen one for about £40 with flash, bracket, mains adapter, battery pack and sync cord which looked in good condition.

I just don't see much point in buying something like an AF400T when I can't use anything other than the manual mode. The Metz unit presumably has a similar power output, is a hammerhead gun, and would only need a simple module to connect to the K-m. The sync cord I've already ordered will still come in handy as it provides a PC socket.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.
Last Edited by Dangermouse on 02/09/2010 - 08:23
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