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Author Topic: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket  (Read 795 times)

shadowblade

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Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:52:51 pm »

Has anyone come across a good way to attach a Godox AD200 studio flash to a flash bracket rather than a light stand? I'm considering putting a rig together to do just that - not to use it at full power, but for the much faster recycle time when shooting it at Speedlight-level power, to use it as fill flash while shooting wildlife or other action at 10-20fps.

There are countless devices to attach Speedlights to light stands, but not the other way around. Obviously, most studio lights are far too heavy to use on a flash bracket, but the AD200 is about the same weight, while being three times more powerful. I know the extension head for the AD200 exists and fits in a hotshoe, but that sacrifices 10-20% power, provides another cable to get tangled and still leaves the question of where to put the body of the flash.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2019, 12:25:26 am »

People are attaching them to rigs. Itís the only system I know of. A rig or cage has many attachment points that would facilitate placing a AD200 in a convenient spot. I wouldnít go near the hot shoe. Itís not strong enough and anyway itís about the worst place for a light that you get.

Personally I would use a talking lightstand if you really want to use this idea.  In other words a person. At least that way you can place the light in a more intelligent manner. Like the wedding guys are doing.
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JaapD

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 12:43:32 am »

I sometimes use the AD200 on the hot shoe, however only though the EC200 extension cord. I first put the remote trigger on the camerasí hot shoe. On top of the remote trigger I attach the extension cord unit, combined with either the standard Fresnel head or the ring flash head.

Regards,
Jaap.
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 02:10:43 am »

I wouldn't attach it to a hot shoe either. I'm also often reluctant to attach a large speedlight to the Sony hotshoe - to me, that's best used for mounting a RF transmitter. I'm talking about a flash bracket, attached to the camera's L-plate (or directly to a gimbal mount). This can take almost anything - usually one or more cold shoes for speedlights. I'm looking to attach an AD200 to it instead - just need an attachment for it that includes a light stand type stud for mounting a flash instead of a cold shoe.

A human light stand isn't an option - they cost plane tickets, consume food and tent space and are liable to complain...

Also, this is fill flash, not primary lighting. So an on-camera position is fine.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2019, 03:09:55 am by shadowblade »
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Kirk_C

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JaapD

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2019, 07:50:00 am »

Applying an AD200 through an EC200 extension cord with remote trigger and fresnel head or the ring flash head gives about the same or even less weight on the hot shoe than a regular Speedlight or letsí say a Godox V1. I put the AD200 in my back pocket then, very convenient. No need for a bracket imho.

Regards,
Jaap.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 12:38:31 am by JaapD »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2019, 08:10:28 am »

Applying an AD200 through an EC200 extension cord with remote trigger and fresnel head or the ring flash head gives about the same or evenless weight on the hot shoe than a regular Speedlight or letsí say a Godox V1. I put the AD200 in my back pocket then, very convenient. No need for a bracket imho.

Regards,
Jaap.

Thatís the route I would take if I wanted to do this. I didnít realize the EC200 uses up 10 to 15% power. Still the AD200 has plenty power so I wouldnít worry about that too much. I am using two of them for product photography in studio and hardly ever even go as high as 1/4 power with them.
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2019, 01:09:36 pm »

Also found this, as well as a few other related products at ProMediaGear.

I'm looking at the AD200 not so much to use it at full power, but to have a much faster recycle time than a speedlight when using it at similar power levels (i.e. 1/4 power or less) or in HSS mode. A Magbeam flash extender can also be attached to the Fresnel head, to provide two to three extra stops of light when using long telephotos. Given that I'd be primarily using this for fill flash, I would be able to use it at fairly low power most of the time. Hopefully, this setup would allow me to use fill flash while shooting continuous bursts at high speed (8-20fps). This would naturally become easier if the A9II or other future camera implements a global shutter, negating the need to use HSS.

The alternative would be just to mount a bank of speedlights onto a rail on top of the camera, firing them simultaneously at low power, to achieve a similar effect. However, this would require a separate flash extender for each speedlight.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2019, 01:31:21 pm »

Typically using HSS will cost around 2 to three stops of power. Factor that in.
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 08:06:33 pm »

Typically using HSS will cost around 2 to three stops of power. Factor that in.

Hence the attempt to put a bigger flash on the camera. Global shitter will be a huge boost when it finally comes, for all sorts of reasons.
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Kirk_C

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2019, 09:30:22 pm »

Hence the attempt to put a bigger flash on the camera.

But if that were a viable solution I think you'd see it being done. You don't in my experience. At least not a major sporting events, press events or Paris runway shows where rapid fire flash is de rigueur. You do see Nikon SB-910, SB-5000, Canon's 600 EX RT speedlights powered by Bolt external batteries and the like. The last runway show I was at I saw quite a few Profoto A1s and now the A1X.

The Nikon SB-5000 is rated for 100 continuous flashes and is going to need to cool down before you fire it again. The Canon is close to that level of continuous use without burning up.

I'm using the Profoto B10 which will give bursts of 20 without a misfire or change in output/color temp.. It's not on camera, but on a compact stand beside me or in the hands of an assistant. That's the most compact option that's viable. If I need more power or faster recycle then I use the Broncolor Siros 800L or the Broncolor Move if space isn't limited to a monoblock.












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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 12:04:06 am »

But if that were a viable solution I think you'd see it being done. You don't in my experience. At least not a major sporting events, press events or Paris runway shows where rapid fire flash is de rigueur. You do see Nikon SB-910, SB-5000, Canon's 600 EX RT speedlights powered by Bolt external batteries and the like. The last runway show I was at I saw quite a few Profoto A1s and now the A1X.

The Nikon SB-5000 is rated for 100 continuous flashes and is going to need to cool down before you fire it again. The Canon is close to that level of continuous use without burning up.

I'm using the Profoto B10 which will give bursts of 20 without a misfire or change in output/color temp.. It's not on camera, but on a compact stand beside me or in the hands of an assistant. That's the most compact option that's viable. If I need more power or faster recycle then I use the Broncolor Siros 800L or the Broncolor Move if space isn't limited to a monoblock.

I've seen it done with wildlife. It was a small studio flash (bigger than an AD200, but smaller than a full-size unit) attached to a video cage on a camera, with a cable to a portable battery pack on the shooter's belt. Reflector was a custom CNC job, with a high-polish inside and a Fresnel lens attached to the front (not sure whether this was off-the-rack, taken from another non-photographic device or another CNC job). She was using it in short bursts at high speed, probably 10-15fps for 1-2 seconds at a time, as fill flash, shooting birds with a long lens on a monopod. Considering the size and weight of the setup, it actually didn't seem too unwieldy.

I'm hoping to achieve the same thing using the AD200, without having to resort to custom CNC-produced parts. At the moment, it looks like precisely aligning the flash along the axis of the lens might be the hardest part. Speedlights do this automatically - just put it in the hotshoe, set it to point straight forward and it will stay there. It would be easy enough to do in a controlled setting, aiming at a wall and making gradual adjustments until the flash hits the centre of the frame, but much harder for a flash that needs to quickly come on and off the frame in the field.

I've also heard of photographers using AD200 and AD360 units on-camera (well, technically off-camera, but attached to the same frame as the camera) in the field for wildlife, although usually for more reach or direct illumination than for rapid-fire fill flash.

There's no reason to do it for sports or fashion. Distances in fashion and press events are shorter, so high flash power is less necessary, while sports photographers can often set up much more powerful off-camera flash units on ceiling or other out-of-the-way mounts - the tennis or basketball court isn't moving anywhere. Getting rapid-fire, high-power fill flash at faster than the camera sync speed would appear to be a unique wildlife photography challenge.

Incidentally, it looks like you can mount a Profoto B10 on-camera if you want: https://www.promediagear.com/BBX-BOOMERANG-FLASH-BRACKET-For-Weddings-and-Portraits-for-Canon-Nikon-Sony-Pentax-Olympus_p_196.html. I can't find a flash extender that works with round flash heads, though, or an off-the-shelf reflector that narrows a bare bulb's light output into a 10-degree-or-less beam for long telephoto use, so have limited interest in them for this purpose.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 12:07:45 am by shadowblade »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2019, 01:39:52 am »

Shadow what about the Godox V1? Itís only a third the power if the AD200 but has the built in ability to zoom within limits with the lens. And does so automatically. By all accounts a good piece of kit and supported by a host of useful accessories. Certainly more compact than the AD200.

The other route could be a AD400 with the remote head. Loads of power but of course convenience is certainly compromised.
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2019, 02:23:39 am »

Shadow what about the Godox V1? Itís only a third the power if the AD200 but has the built in ability to zoom within limits with the lens. And does so automatically. By all accounts a good piece of kit and supported by a host of useful accessories. Certainly more compact than the AD200.

The other route could be a AD400 with the remote head. Loads of power but of course convenience is certainly compromised.

The V1 is out - it only zooms to cover 105mm and can't take a Better Beamer or Magbeam-type flash extender to narrow the beam further for greater intensity. The V860II is much better in this regard - it zooms to 200mm and can take a flash extender for longer reach.

When using a flash extender, you don't need the ability to zoom - the Fresnel lens does that job for the flash unit.

I've certainly thought about putting a whole bank of speedlights on a rail on top of the camera - it would definitely be versatile, allowing the same units to be used in tandem as fill flash, or with one on-camera for fill and another on the end of a hand-held boom as the key light when shooting small nocturnal animals on night wildlife walks. But what turned me off that option was the need for each flash unit to have its own flash extender. Four rigid flashlights on top of a camera is one thing, but four floppy, loosely-attached flash extenders would just be unwieldy.

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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2019, 02:32:16 am »

Out of interest. Where are you planning on deploying this rig? What continent, country or reserve or is it a general technical idea for future trips?
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2019, 03:19:06 am »

Out of interest. Where are you planning on deploying this rig? What continent, country or reserve or is it a general technical idea for future trips?

At the moment, it's a general idea, aimed mostly at wildlife trips in southern and eastern Africa. My next wildlife-centric trip will most likely be Madagascar, where distances are much smaller and night photography using off-camera flash at short distances for small nocturnal animals are much more likely, making speedlights a better option there (although the ability to shoot rapid bursts of fill flash at 1/256 might still come in handy). But lines of sight in east Africa are long, animals are relatively distant and lighting is often harsh (or, at sunrise and sunset, shadows are dark), making long-range fill flash useful. A speedlight at 1/4 to 1/1 power (depending on distance and ambient light) can usually do it for single shots, but can't keep up with bursts to capture action. So this is more about firing speedlight-strength bursts on full auto rather than trying to blow out the sun.

Hopefully, by the time I next head there, Sony will have an A9III with global shutter. That alone would make flash units seem several stops stronger, as well as quadrupling my battery life.
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Kirk_C

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2019, 09:47:27 pm »

I've seen it done with wildlife.

The best guys I know who shoot wildlife wait for the light. I do know a couple that carry Elinchrom ELB400 packs with the speed head that they mount on a bracket at times.

I met this guy last year. He's waited days for some of these shots and the natural light, perfect background etc..

https://www.instagram.com/thebirdbox27/
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shadowblade

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2019, 10:40:47 pm »

The best guys I know who shoot wildlife wait for the light. I do know a couple that carry Elinchrom ELB400 packs with the speed head that they mount on a bracket at times.

I met this guy last year. He's waited days for some of these shots and the natural light, perfect background etc..

https://www.instagram.com/thebirdbox27/

I don't have the luxury of going halfway around the world and coming back with no shots due to uncooperative lighting. I'm not competing with those people who sit in the same spot for days to get one shot of an animal - I have itineraries to keep up with and need to keep on the move. If the lighting's bad on a particular day, I need to find ways to make it work. This means flash.

Also, many of the most dramatic lighting situations are the very worst for this - just after sunrise, just before sunset and in strong backlight. You end up with a great angle of light, but the shadows are lost in the dark. I've found that fill flash makes a lot of these lighting situations far more workable.  I'm just trying to extend its range and shorten the recycle time.

Any idea how they align the Elinchroms with the lens, without a lengthy calibration period each time?
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2019, 12:50:41 am »

I doubt they are aligning that precisely. They are aiming. And if itís that dark the new modeling lights will give an indication. As will a single flash. I bet there is a fair spread of light working with these systems. Be surprised if it was laser like in its precision.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Attaching a studio flash to a flash bracket
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2019, 02:31:12 am »

Actually SB I must admit to an ulterior motive when asking when and where you are going to be deploying this rig of yours. I am going to Tanzania in August and wanted to make sure I would not be anywhere near. It is going to be super annoying for anyone else in the area I would imagine.
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