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Thread: Off Camera Flash

  1. #1

    Off Camera Flash

    The two ways that I have looked at are flash frames and light stands. Light stands are not as complicated but the flash frames are daunting. What flash frame is the better one, as there are so many out there? I plan on using mine (when I purchase one) on the move so will need something that is both light and sturdy and relatively easy to use. Some I saw were well lacking in most areas and other cost more than the equipment it would hold. Some have the flash straight over the lens, while other are at an angle over the lens and some to the side of the lens. So I thought I would ask the experts here for help to avoid the closet being full of unusable flash frames. I need one that will be compatible with the 60D. Also not looking for one that will break the bank as I am not sure how often it would be used right now. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    First of all, the frame and the stand have completely different uses. I have and use both, and from a cost standpoint they are rougly the same cost

    Starting with the flash frame, I use a Stroboframe, and the reason I bought it is that I don't like the light distribution of on-camera flash in portrait mode. Light will come from the left or right side, and I prefer it to come centred and from above the camera, just like it does in landscape mode. In either mode, it lifts your flash away from the lens axis and reduces risk of red-eye even further. The only thing I don't particularly like when using the frame is managing the sych cord, so I have pretty well permanently tie-wrapped mine to the frame. I could have used "Commander Mode" and used the flash on the frame as a slave, but did not want to do that. I find that I often wear a hat or baseball cap when out with the camera and I move the built in flash with it, causing issues.

    As for the stand, you are really looking at a stand, a clamp (which is the expensive component) to mount your flash on the stand and a light modifier. I use a dual-purpose umbrella; one where I can remove the outer covering and use it as a shoot through as well as a reflector. It's my cheap and portable "studio flash" and will use it as my key light and will have a reflector along as a fill light.

    Both setups cost me around $100Cdn (with all the parts I've listed), not including the flash, of course.

  3. #3

    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    First of all, the frame and the stand have completely different uses. I have and use both, and from a cost standpoint they are rougly the same cost

    Starting with the flash frame, I use a Stroboframe, and the reason I bought it is that I don't like the light distribution of on-camera flash in portrait mode. Light will come from the left or right side, and I prefer it to come centred and from above the camera, just like it does in landscape mode. In either mode, it lifts your flash away from the lens axis and reduces risk of red-eye even further. The only thing I don't particularly like when using the frame is managing the sych cord, so I have pretty well permanently tie-wrapped mine to the frame. I could have used "Commander Mode" and used the flash on the frame as a slave, but did not want to do that. I find that I often wear a hat or baseball cap when out with the camera and I move the built in flash with it, causing issues.

    As for the stand, you are really looking at a stand, a clamp (which is the expensive component) to mount your flash on the stand and a light modifier. I use a dual-purpose umbrella; one where I can remove the outer covering and use it as a shoot through as well as a reflector. It's my cheap and portable "studio flash" and will use it as my key light and will have a reflector along as a fill light.

    Both setups cost me around $100Cdn (with all the parts I've listed), not including the flash, of course.
    Thank You Manfred,
    I will give the Stroboframe another look. Is there a particular model that is better than the others? I guess I didn't look at them hard enough as I did not see one for the 60D.

  4. #4
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Thank You Manfred,
    I will give the Stroboframe another look. Is there a particular model that is better than the others? I guess I didn't look at them hard enough as I did not see one for the 60D.
    Carl - I have the Stroboframe QuickFlip 120 - Model 310-666. It's the medium format / larger DSLR model. I bought it to use with my D90 but with a view to the future, as I knew I would be going full-frame. It works fine with the larger D800 with the external battery pack in place. The Quickflip 350 is okay for most DSLRs.

    Just a quick shot of my setup:

    Off Camera Flash

    Best advice is go to a store and try one.

  5. #5

    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Thanks again Manfred,
    A picture really makes a big difference to me. I will be going down town New Orleans one day this week and will swing buy the camera shop and have a look see.

  6. #6
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Just to add to the confusion.

    I use the Wimberly articulating macro bracket. It may work out to be more expensive than Manfred's, and has the same problem with the cord having to be wrapped up somehow. The articulation gives a lot of flexibility in where the flash(s) are directed and for macro can be used for side, underneath and rear fill lighting as well as direct.

    Here is their website http://www.tripodhead.com/products/f...o-brackets.cfm

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    Just to add to the confusion.

    I use the Wimberly articulating macro bracket. It may work out to be more expensive than Manfred's, and has the same problem with the cord having to be wrapped up somehow. The articulation gives a lot of flexibility in where the flash(s) are directed and for macro can be used for side, underneath and rear fill lighting as well as direct.

    Here is their website http://www.tripodhead.com/products/f...o-brackets.cfm
    If you need the additional degrees of freedom, that makes sense, but if you are primarily using it for portraiture, the additional flexibility gets in the way. I use a Manfrotto articulated arm in some of my video work and at times trying to control the goofy movement can be a real pain in the ...

  8. #8

    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    Just to add to the confusion.

    I use the Wimberly articulating macro bracket. It may work out to be more expensive than Manfred's, and has the same problem with the cord having to be wrapped up somehow. The articulation gives a lot of flexibility in where the flash(s) are directed and for macro can be used for side, underneath and rear fill lighting as well as direct.

    Here is their website http://www.tripodhead.com/products/f...o-brackets.cfm
    Thanks Trevor,
    Wow! I like simple and the stroboframe fills that bill plus it is much more affordable. Thank you for the link and your time to answer my question. It could be what someone else is looking for.

  9. #9
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Carl, like Manfred I use a Stroboframe bracket. The advantage to this bracket is that the flash is kept over the lens whether the camera is in the landscpe or the portrait mode.

    However, unlike Manfred, I use a Camera Flip bracket rather than the Flash Flip model. I virtually always bounce my flash. When switching from horizontal to vertical camera positions with the Flash Flip model, the bounce flash is pointing in the wrong direction and must be reoriented.

    Off Camera Flash

    Note: I am using the Camera Flip bracket in both of these illustrations (because I don't own a Flash Flip bracket) but, am using it in the Flash Flip mode for the above image.

    Additionally, when using the Flash Flip Stroboframe, the entire unit must be rotated when switching from landscape to portrait positions.

    The Camera Flip bracket keeps the flash above the camera in both vertical and horizontal positions but, the flash is always oriented correctly for bouncing in both positions. Additionally, the entire bracket doesn't need to be turned and the hand grip is always in the vertical position.

    Off Camera Flash

    Off Camera Flash

    When my camera/flash is on a bracket, I like to use the top bar as a carrying handle. The above bracket has a moveable bar and I was attempting to determine how I could make it unmoveable so it would be steady as a handle. I thought of drilling and using a screw and also considered Superglue when I found this Stroboframe model on eBay for $15 USD. It was used of course!

    Off Camera Flash

    I snapped it up and love it. I don't use a battery grip but, there might not be room to twist the camera when using such a grip.

    I always use an off camera cord when shooting with a bracket. The fact that my bracket doesn't move the flash when shooting makes it easier to just wrap the cord a turn or two around the bracket to keep it out of the way.

    I could use the the 7D wireless mode of flash sync but, have found that it can be problematic when shooting outdoors. Whether the wireless mode works or not depends on the brightness of the sun, the direction of the sun and the distance o my subject.

    However, the sync cord approach always works.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 30th July 2012 at 02:33 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Carl, like Manfred I use a Stroboframe bracket. The advantage to this bracket is that the flash is kept over the lens whether the camera is in the landscpe or the portrait mode.

    However, unlike Manfred, I use a Camera Flip bracket rather than the Flash Flip model. I virtually always bounce my flash. When switching from horizontal to vertical camera positions with the Flash Flip model, the bounce flash is pointing in the wrong direction and must be reoriented.

    Off Camera Flash

    Note: I am using the Camera Flip bracket in both of these illustrations (because I don't own a Flash Flip bracket) but, am using it in the Flash Flip mode for the above image.

    Additionally, when using the Flash Flip Stroboframe, the entire unit must be rotated when switching from landscape to portrait positions.

    The Camera Flip bracket keeps the flash above the camera in both vertical and horizontal positions but, the flash is always oriented correctly for bouncing in both positions. Additionally, the entire bracket doesn't need to be turned and the hand grip is always in the vertical position.

    Off Camera Flash

    Off Camera Flash

    When my camera/flash is on a bracket, I like to use the top bar as a carrying handle. The above bracket has a moveable bar and I was attempting to determine how I could make it unmoveable so it would be steady as a handle. I thought of drilling and using a screw and also considered Superglue when I found this Stroboframe model on eBay for $15 USD. It was used of course!

    Off Camera Flash

    I snapped it up and love it. I don't use a battery grip but, there might not be room to twist the camera when using such a grip.

    I always use an off camera cord when shooting with a bracket. The fact that my bracket doesn't move the flash when shooting makes it easier to just wrap the cord a turn or two around the bracket to keep it out of the way.

    I could use the the 7D wireless mode of flash sync but, have found that it can be problematic when shooting outdoors. Whether the wireless mode works or not depends on the brightness of the sun, the direction of the sun and the distance o my subject.

    However, the sync cord approach always works.
    Thank You Richard,
    That looks even better. Just the camera moves leaving the flash stationary, some body did their homework very well for that one and has a few more dollars in his pocket for his work. The best part is that it still looks like a simple to use item.

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    It is very simple to use but, I would try it with a battery pack (if I intended to use one) because it might be a tight fit with the off camera cord attached to the hotshoe.

    There are several available used on eBay right now...

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=...&_osacat=89161

  12. #12

    Re: Off Camera Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    It is very simple to use but, I would try it with a battery pack (if I intended to use one) because it might be a tight fit with the off camera cord attached to the hotshoe.

    There are several available used on eBay right now...

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=...&_osacat=89161
    Thank You Richard,

    I don't have a battery pack and not interested in one right now. When I bought the camera I bought an extra battery and have never had to go to the second battery yet.....I will check those on ebay out. Thanks again!

  13. #13
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Off Camera Flash

    I don't use a battery pack either since I most often shoot with two cameras and sort of divide the shooting between the camera wearing the 17-55mm f/2.8 OS lens and the other with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens mounted (my last check was about 2/3 of my shots with the 17-55mm and 1/3 with the 70-200mm but, this varies with the type of shoot). I have extra batteries for each camera and have never needed to switch batteries in the field. The only positive thing I can think of about a battery pack is the addition of a shutter release button in the portrait mode. However, the extra weight of a battery pack would impact my carrying a pair of cameras.

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