New Gadgets for Speedlite Junkies!
Caution: Use of these products may be habit-forming!
By Bruce Dorn | March 26, 2009
With airline baggage restrictions growing tighter by the day, I've found myself with some tough choices when packing for "On Location" jobs. Oh sure, I'd love to drag along my beautiful Bron studio packs and heads but the cost of excessive baggage has become, well, excessiveâ¦
I needed a more compact solution and have turned to speedlites for most of my smaller jobs. I'm sure I'm not the only one doing so because interest in good, solid speedlite work is the topic of much conversation everywhere I go. Whenever I do a demonstration shoot for Canon at one of the big photo trade shows I'm overwhelmed by the interest in speedlites; especially when they're applied with some sort of capable light modifiersâ¦
I'm an unrepentant gadgeteer and more than happy to build any gizmo I need and can't find on the market. Given that a lot of the stuff that is on the shelves is flimsy and poorly designed, I stay pretty busy in the ol' metal shop. After I make and test a prototype I usually commission a short production run to share with other like-minded souls. Let me show you a few of my latest projectsâ¦
Here's something I've been using for quite some time. This is a combination of mdoular specialty pieces in a line I call the Strobe Slippers. Basically, this is an aluminum baseplate with specific mounting hard points for the speedlite, a Pocket Wizard, and an adapter that accommodates an industry-standard six-inch softbox ring. This, along with a QR handle I call the Magic Wand allows for easy stand-mounted or hand-held usage.
I call this tidy little aluminum gadget the Double Header. It works with most shoe-mount speedlites although the latest Nikon flashes are a bit of a problem with their non-standardized mounting approach. Canons and Sunpaks and Metz and Vivitars all work well with the Double Header and offer a great way to double your output with little fuss. The Double Header is drilled and tapped for the industry-standard Â¼-20 threaded stud. It works great mounted on the brass stud included with a Photoflex Tilt Bracket and even better on my own Magic Wand. Here's a couple of illustrations to clarify the usage with a Westcott Collapsible Shoot-Through Umbrella:
If two are good, three are even better. Continuing the theme, I designed another billet aluminum bracket to accommodate three speedlites in a perfect 120 degree distribution. This one is, of course, called the Triple Threat. Check it out:
Just thought I'd share. If you're interested in vastly expanding the capabilities of the lowly speedlite, take a look around my webstore at www.idcphotography.com.
Also, stay tuned for much more on the subject. It appears that I'll be doing some Canon-sponsored Live Learning events this coming summer. We're preparing to hit the road to do weekend workshops on both speedlite and HD video from the new gen of Canon HDSLRsâ¦
Should be educational and fun, too! Can't wait...
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