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Thread: Look what I made

  1. #1
    Ranger 9
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    Look what I made

    One thing that irritates me about trying to do fancy "strobist"-style shooting with shoe-mount portable flash units is the Mickey Mouse way you have to attach modifiers to them. Compared to the generally simple, rugged mounting systems used on studio flash units, the various rubber band/hook-and-loop/tape systems are just annoying.

    But yesterday I found a Bowens mount flange that I previously had scavenged off a burned-out flash head we had at our office studio, went out into the garage, and made this:



    ...which lets me do this:



    ...which in turn allows me to do stuff like this:



    Better yet, when I have to do a portable-flash shot at work, now I won't have to lug along a completely separate set of modifiers -- I can just use the same stuff we have in the studio for the AC-powered system.


    The main annoyance is that since I only had one dead Bowens head, I could only make one of these. Why doesn't some third-party manufacturer make this kind of adapter/bracket to fit accessories from a variety of popular studio flash systems? (Alien Bees, Bowens, Elinchrom, Photogenic, whatever...)

    I've got a more comprehensive rant about this, plus a few construction details, on my blog.

  2. #2
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    Re: Look what I made

    Ranger9,
    Very cool and practical.

    There is something like this already in the market, but it appears to be geared mainly toward use of softboxes, and not handling things like a beauty dish. And it is probably a lot more expensive, but worth the look.

    http://www.fjwestcott.com/details.cf...l=accessories#

    LJ

  3. #3
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    Re: Look what I made

    Thanks for the heads-up. That does look similar to what I was proposing, although as you note it seems just to provide a standard "speed ring" for mounting soft boxes, rather than a full accessory flange that could accept a beauty dish, pan reflector, etc., etc.

    Still, a great solution for someone who owns these accessories for a studio flash system and wants to use them for portable flash.

  4. #4
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    Re: Look what I made

    Nice job. About to do something similar for a Elinchrom Rotalux I have coming.

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    Re: Look what I made

    Yeah, it may be more limited. The other thing that I am contending with is how I could use the things you suggested (beauty dish, snoot, even barndoors) with some mounts, like Profoto. Since they mount externally, there is nothing really "standard", though I guess I could just get a tube the same diameter as the Profoto flash heads and mount that much as you have done with your Bowens flange. That would then allow any accessory to be mounted onto the tube, through which the speedlight would be placed.

    Now you have me thinking about heading into the shop and trying something similar. I like the "Magic Slipper" thing in that it was pretty sturdy and did have room to place a PockeWizard or other radio device, if needed, or if the IR got covered on the speedlight. Good concept, now just need to fabricate something that may work for the Profotos.

    LJ

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    Re: Look what I made

    I'm going along the lines of something like this:

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=471030

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    Re: Look what I made

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    I'm going along the lines of something like this:

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=471030
    Need to join for access, as the images are not available.

    LJ

  8. #8
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Look what I made

    Very cool adaptation Ranger! I may copy that for my Elinchrom dishes, as I have both a small and a large and a few extra mounting rings
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  9. #9
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    Re: Look what I made

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Yeah, it may be more limited. The other thing that I am contending with is how I could use the things you suggested (beauty dish, snoot, even barndoors) with some mounts, like Profoto.
    Right, that's a slightly different problem. Studio flash units that accept interchangeable reflectors typically have TWO mounting systems: one for mounting the reflector (or speed ring, or whatever) onto the head, and another one for mounting barn doors, grids, snoots, etc. onto the reflector.

    What my DIY job did was replicate the way the reflector attaches to the head. If I want to use my Bowens barn doors (for example) I'd first have to mount a Bowens reflector onto my adapter, then attach the accessory to that.

    Heads that have an integral reflector would be a bigger headache (no pun intended.) That's the type of problem I have with the old Novatron system I use at home: the reflector is built into the head (or monopack) and barn doors, snoots, etc. fit over the outside of it, being secured by snapping over the rim.

    Since the reflector is part of the head, there's no really good way to attach a speed ring or replace the normal reflector with a pan reflector or beauty dish. So even if I were to fabricate something that replicated the outer diameter of the built-in reflector, I'd still be stuck with the same limitations. That's one reason I decided to "clone" the Bowens mount instead!

    Now you have me thinking about heading into the shop and trying something similar. I like the "Magic Slipper" thing in that it was pretty sturdy and did have room to place a PockeWizard or other radio device, if needed, or if the IR got covered on the speedlight. Good concept, now just need to fabricate something that may work for the Profotos.

    The clever thing about the "Magic Slipper" is that it's adaptable to a variety of flashes. But since you only have to make yours to fit your flash, I'll bet it's pretty easy to make something that will work. The hard part, as you say, will be figuring out how to make a piece that imitates a Profoto reflector mounting flange. That's where the creativity (and cursing) come in! When you figure out something, post pics! Maybe eventually we can build up a "database" of solutions that work for various brands of studio flash heads.

    PS -- My angle bracket has some extra holes in it, and a PocketWizard has a 1/4x20 socket in the front, so it would be easy to attach it to the adapter via a 1/4x20 thumb bolt.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Look what I made

    I have an old Normal 200B and this is an ideal option for it
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Look what I made

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Right, that's a slightly different problem. Studio flash units that accept interchangeable reflectors typically have TWO mounting systems: one for mounting the reflector (or speed ring, or whatever) onto the head, and another one for mounting barn doors, grids, snoots, etc. onto the reflector.

    ...I'll bet it's pretty easy to make something that will work. The hard part, as you say, will be figuring out how to make a piece that imitates a Profoto reflector mounting flange. That's where the creativity (and cursing) come in! When you figure out something, post pics! Maybe eventually we can build up a "database" of solutions that work for various brands of studio flash heads.
    Actually, with the Profotos, there is its mount that fits over the housing tube that contains the lamps. So all that is needed is a tube of similar diameter that will also allow a speedlite to slip into or shine through. The snoots, barndoors and grids do attach to a reflector, much like what you are dealing with, but the Profoto reflectors can slide forward or backward on the tube, so you can adjust the "focus" of the lighting, but other things like softboxes and the beauty dish have their own mounts/speedrings, and would still be usable, I think.

    I think this is doable, once I find the right diameter tube and mount things up in a similar way as you have, i.e., sliding the speedlight into/through the tube, rather than the more upright way the "Magic Slipper" handles things.

    If I get around to the fab, I will post shots.

    The lights with the built-in reflectors are a different challenge, but I think the "tube" concept would work there also, maybe with a mini-reflector of some sort that stuff would attach to or around.

    LJ

  12. #12
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Look what I made

    About the Magic Slipper again: as I said earlier, it looks very well-made and it's clever that it's adaptable to a range of flash units.

    But if all you want to do is connect a shoe-mount flash to a "speed ring" so you can use it with a large studio-grade soft box, all you need is this:



    This, again, is nothing more than a 4-inch angle bracket from a hardware store. In this case I didn't even need to drill any extra holes.

    The reason it works is that I was using a speed ring from i-Concepts, which has a 1/4x20 (US tripod socket) fitting on one side and a 3/8x16 (European tripod socket) fitting on the opposite side. I use the 3/8x16 fitting to attach the speed right to a light stand, and the 1/4x20 fitting to attach the angle bracket to the speed ring.

    Note that by luck, the angle bracket positions my Nikon SB-800 flash so its CLS sensor (round black dot on the side) just barely peeks past the speed ring. If you had a deeper ring or a flash with its sensor in a different location, you might need a longer angle bracket.

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