Flash Bracket

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Flash Bracket

The Nikon CP950 and the CP990 digital cameras have their challenges when trying to mount an external electronic flash. 

rx10a.jpg (57927 bytes)

Click on the photos for larger images.  

By the way, the next two photos of the 990 shown below were taken outdoors with a mirror, then flipped around in Photoshop.

flashbracket1.jpg (57493 bytes)   flashbracket2.jpg (71095 bytes)

I tried several brackets, including those by Nikon, Stroboframe, Paramount, and Bachrach.  The latter are swing arm devices, that I found too ungainly with the camera, and each had to be modified to cut out a section of the bracket to clear the sync cord.

The day after I finished modified a swing arm bracket, the Rx Camera Accessories (formerly called Versatec) bracket shown here was introduced.  I thought that it was a better potential solution than the one I had just worked on, so I got one of the first RX brackets produced.  

There are a few things I wanted in a flash bracket.

  • Allow me to change batteries and Compact Flash cards without removing the camera from the bracket!
  • Eliminate red eye by getting the flash away from the lens.
  • Position the flash over the lens in both vertical and horizontal orientations
  • Be lightweight
  • Be sturdy and easy to swing from horizontal to vertical

The combination of the RX Flash Bracket, a Nikon SB 22 flash, a Lumiquest ProMax Pocket Bouncer, and a small tilt-top adapter provides me with the flexibility that I want and need.  

I often make photos of food that we've prepared for dinner, and this little rig stays assembled and ready to grab a shot with no notice.  Sometimes I'll tape a little diffuser over the internal flash, so the larger flash is the predominant light source.

A good example of the results of this setup are in the scallops and shrimp page.  Notice the soft but defined shadows on the food... not bad for an on-camera lighting solution (I can tilt the entire flash assembly downwards, over the food, as sort of a top light).  The tilt-top adapter rotates into any position, letting me put the flash pretty much anywhere I'd want to.

A couple of months after I got my RX bracket, the company made some small and welcome modifications, and was good enough to send me the updated version, along with the tripod mounting adapter.

rx0a.jpg (40589 bytes) 

Note:  when using the Lumiquest ProMax Pocket Bounce adapter, the flash head should be pointed up, not forward as shown in the picture above. But the photo shows how easy it is to switch from direct flash to a softened flash using the adapter (as shown in the photo with the CP 950).

 rx11a.jpg (88179 bytes)

The new bracket is anodized, is a little lighter in weight, an now has a polymer handle.  The entire system works very well together.

rx2a.jpg (37930 bytes) rx3a.JPG (47778 bytes)

Before the tripod adapter was available, some people were attaching the LCD half of the body to the tripod, and were concerned about the weight of the bracket/flash combination, and the effect on the swivel joint.  Now, with the tripod mount attaching to the bracket, any concerns about attaching to the tripod are resolved

The bottom of the RX bracket slips into the tripod adapter, and is secured with a thumb screw that mates with a detent in the bracket.  The tripod adapter is long enough to that the bracket's handle clears the tripod head when rotated into the vertical position.

rx7a.jpg (83600 bytes) rx8a.jpg (74892 bytes)

One nice thing about mounting onto a tripod using this system is that the flash stays pointed in the same direction as the lens, regardless of how the LCD is tilted.  So, it's easy to point the lens/flash down at a subject, but still have the LCD angled for easy viewing.

rx6a.jpg (71705 bytes) rx9a.jpg (56897 bytes)

The photos above show the original bracket and the new version, along with the new bracket in the "vertical" position.  The changes are evolutionary. Aside from the anodizing and new handgrip, there are other small changes, for example a wider diameter on the tightening pad, the detent for the tripod adapter screw, and an overall thinning of the metalwork (making for an even lighter bracket).

Some folk are nervous about mounting the Versatec bracket on their camera, but my experience is that this bracket is beautifully machined, and an absolute pleasure to handle.  I've never felt that the bracket was insecure, or that my camera was at risk.    

I've made one small modification to the setup, I cut the sync cord to the Nikon adapter in half and spliced in phono mini-plug connectors.  This will allow me to use another mini-plug extension cord if I want to stay wired off camera.  I also wrapped the plugs in velcro and glued a thin strip of velcro onto the back of the movable section of the Versatec bracket, which holds the plugs in place nicely.  

All in all, this is a very very nice flash bracket solution for the Nikon CoolPix line.  It packs small, is beautifully made, and works like a charm. 


Copyright 2000 by Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.
Revised: April 29, 2013

 

All text and photographs copyright 1999 - 2013  Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.