I just tried out the new flash bracket at a convention last weekend. I always like trying unique setups that do not really fit into intended design parameters. Using a Custom Brackets CB Mini flash bracket, I was able to get a compact convention setup where it functions in both landscape and portrait, while not requiring a camera bag making it quick to access. It is also very compact and keeps the camera’s flash connector safe from having a large weight on it.
2023 Update: A viewer asked me if the Custom Brackets CB Mini would work with a pro camera. The larger camera I have on-hand is the Nikon Z5. That video is over 11 years old but funny enough I still have the bracket! (and it looks like CB still sells it)
To demonstrate my setup, check out these photos below:
As you can see, the camera flash is pointing up around 45 degrees upward with a diffuser. This allows for a good amount of diffuse and bounced fill light indoors.
The setup consists of:
– Pentax K-7 with battery grip
– Sigma EF-530DG Super flash with Stofen diffuser
– Short adjustable flash shoe extension (generic Adorama brand)
– Custom Brackets CB Mini flash bracket
– A sturdy camera bag strap
– 4 key rings
When I use the camera vertically, which is 80% of the time at conventions, I hold the setup with the flash above the camera, and use the Sigma 530DG Super’s pivoting mechanism to have the flash point around 45 degrees upwards. It works really well, but does make my camera grip’s buttons useless. The benefit of having the grip on there is that it gives my left hand something to hold on to and also means I don’t have to switch out batteries as often. Getting a good vertical layout was my primary goal as I photograph people at the conventions.
Both the horizontal and vertical work well thanks to the dual pivoting nature of the Sigma flash. It’s important because you don’t want to take vertical shots when the flash is positioned directly to the side of the lens as that can produce unnatural lighting and shadows. It should be noted that when I use the diffuser, I need to crank down my exposure to -2 in camera.
I attached a camera bag strap to the bracket. It’s an almost perfect way to hold the camera for easy access and long periods of time. The lens is facing my body around the waist, so all I do is pull the camera up to my face in one fluid motion to take a shot.
The major positives of this bracket is that it is well constructed, designed such that the flash will not pivot (very important), and allows for a compact setup where the flash is not connected directly to the camera.
For $50, the bracket is a bit expensive in my opinion, but it does work really well for my intended use. It’s not the standard L bracket design, so it gets more points in my book for being unique in a good way. I’m certainly glad I bought it.