custombrackets or diy a custom bracket ?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by piggsy, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    I've been looking at the custombrackets folding S -

    for my E-P5 / FL600R - considering moving to using a shutter release cable and/or second handheld flash setup, and also, there are times when it would just be really handy, I think.

    Are there any alternatives for less than $80US that are as good? Is this a photography thing that is assemble-able out of $5 ebay components I'm not aware of? Does anyone else use something for handheld flash stuff that they like enough to share?

    Second related question: does anyone know if there's anything like a magnetic shoe attachment you can use on a cold-shoe to snap on/snap off a flash from a bracket easily, that is strong enough to, eg, be held upside down for a bit? The FL600R is pretty lightweight and I have absolutely no need of some massive or complicated thing to anchor it, and I'm thinking, surely there has to be something less fiddly and faster than a screw or clip in arrangement?
  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Knowing nothing about flash brackets, but being an industrial designer by trade, that definitely seems like something easily cobbled from hardware store components. The question is obviously the fit and finish and the extent of the articulation you need. As far as attaching the flash, what about just using a tripod adapter and a quick-release plate?
  3. JBoot

    JBoot Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    I own two of the Digital Pro-M brackets for use with my Nikon D750/D700's... by far the best brackets I have ever used....and I'm rough on them using them weekly... nothing even a close second.

    I also own the CB Folding SB, which is similar to what you are considering minus the top horizontal plate for the flash.

    I don't even consider any kind of bracket that is not top quality any longer and have stopped looking past Custom Brackets.... too many others have weak hinges, don't stay put, bend, feel flimsly, bad feel in the hand, bad balance, etc....

    From the sound of it, the bracket you are considering or the CB Folding SB as I have might suit you as well. This thing is absolutely the best quailty, beautiful machining, nice screw lock in the base with cork on top to hold the camera, solid quick release folding mechanism, foam handle, anti-twist cold shoe atop the vertical post, etc.

    I purchased the CB Folding SB so that I could mount an LED light and microphone with my Olypmus E-M5 (almost identicle to the pic on their website). If I wanted to also have the flash on the hotshoe of the camera, I added a hotshoe Y-adapter on the vertical grip of the bracket (there is a coldshoe at the top of the grip on the bracket that the y-adapter went into which then gave me to slightly higher coldshoes). The whole setup folds quickly, is built like an absolute tank... really compliments the quality of the rest of the camera gear.

    As far as your question on quick release for the flash... or any hotshoe mounted item, you just need a coldshoe from what it sounds like you are saying.

    Here is a quick link I found covering a few of their brackets, including the one you are considering....

    Now, with all that said, I don't think you can make anything remotely close in quality to this bracket for $5-10. However, likely you could make something quite functional if you're good with metal work.
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    If you want a very good flash grip, consider the old OM grips, they are available on eBay, often for a very good price.
  5. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Is that this one at the top here -

    or something else? It looks pretty cool but I think I need something different - E-P5 has no PC flash sync cable and I think I'd need to tape on mount a shutter release cable instead on whatever I'm using.

    Do you ever find yourself needing an anti-twist on the camera tripod mount to the bracket itself or is the cork enough? I saw something a while ago that seemed designed for the smaller panasonics (somewhere digging through youtube) which was just a tiny flat piece of plastic with a tiny lip on it, and I'm not sure how CB's own bolt-on camera ATP goes for something like the E-P5 - can't seem to find anything showing how large or how it looks fitted on one of their brackets.

    I'm more looking for something where if I don't actually need to even be vaguely in the right place for the flash to snap on, or fit it from a certain angle, so I was wondering if there was anything with a magnetic bottom :D 

    Ah, this has all given me more food for thought.

    The OM style bracket Ozray mentioned has its own rotating shoe, and in the second part of that video they cover the $350 range of CB brackets, which have a circular rotating section for the camera mount (don't care) ... and the top bracket itself can be rotated in pitch. Hmm. Thinking maybe I should keep it cheap though and maybe get the Folding SB or Junior and just stick a cheap ball head + another plain straight bracket on it.

    Videos were also helpful for another reason - I was trying to work out what the ones where the grip of the bracket was on the right hand side, well away from the shutter, with no actual connector or button for the shutter/rc were for - turns out .. apparently you don't use that grip for anything? Smart buy? :D 

    Second one looks like a handy gadget for cheap too!

    I actually have several cheap L style flash brackets already but they're kind of rubbish - was meaning to use them to attach some LED arm lights (like slightly more hefty reading lamp things, and I got like 8 of them :D ) but in combination it is a garbage setup that I quickly abandoned. So I'm a bit wary of DIYing it but I thought I might as well ask. The little LED lamps come in dead handy for building PCs though :D 
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    That's one of them, but I have this one which is a lot simpler and it also has cable connections that you can get that will work with the E-M1 (PC sync):


    But the simplest and most versatile option with this, or any other, flash bracket is to use the Canon off-camera shoe cord, which is fully compatible with every Olympus flash:

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  7. JBoot

    JBoot Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    With the m43, I don't need the anti-twist and I'm not supporting the weight of the rig by the camera. I have the CB with the grip on the left side (right side grip makes no sense to your point).... it effectively gives me an additional grip to stabilize the camera, as I use this mostly when shooting video.

    As far as magnetic/quick release, for items not needing 'hot' shoe connections, you might be able to make a cold shoe with strong magnet superglued with another magnet glued to the bracket? For 'hot' connections, you will need the proper shoe/cable connection. However, be careful with anything magnetic, as I would worry that one good knock would send your light or mic crashing to the ground.

    I agree with OzRay that the little Oly bracket above is very similar and has the shoe built in, which is nice. The only difference to the Custom Bracket is lack of folding capability, which may not matter and price may be much better.
  8. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Reverse-GIS says that's the FL-BK01

    shame they seem to have dropped the rotating flash head from the older style one. Also I can't possibly continue without noting my annoyance at the variety of camera connectors and signalling when this all should have moved to usb or similar almost 20 years ago. Grr :D 

    My intent - which may be stupid here but we'll see - is just to rely on RC wireless for the flash, I've never really experienced this failing to work at the typical ranges I've been shooting at, even if it's just got a view of the reflection of the control flashes from something. Not sure how it would do shooting into bright daylight without being able to see the control flash though, but, that's never something I've used it for. But it would be handy to have a rotating control arm just so it could be done.

    There's the "digital" series of CB brackets which seem similar to the FL-BK01 too

    which are similar minus the sliding bottom.

    Following up I was also looking around for alternate gorillapod style arms for the flash to sit on and found this -

    from venusoptics just launched, and there are cheap-o ones without any actual flash unit on them everywhere already, it turns out -

    which is another thing for me to consider :D 
  9. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    OK so.


    1/4"-20 Tripod Aluminum Screw to Flash Hot Shoe Adapter Fix Digital Device OG
    (many for less but this seemed to have the fastest delivery time from the least dodgy rating seller)

    27cm Flexible Metal Tube+1/4"-1/4" Adapter Screw for Flash Holder Bracket Mount

    1m Wired Black Remote Switch Release Cable RM-UC1

    Custom Brackets CB Digital-SB Camera Bracket
    from Samy's ebay store.

    I guess I'll find out if this assembles into some kind of super voltron flash assembly or a big piece of poo in a couple weeks :D 
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  10. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Extremely happy with the Custombrackets bracket - really it's such a simple thing but is so much nicer than the $5 cheapo L-brackets I had to work with before it's not even funny, just having a tiny bit of thought put into it makes a big difference. One thing that wasn't obvious in pictures was that the cold shoe mount on the Custombracket upright can rotate 360 degrees horizontally, and it can be detached entirely, leaving a standard tripod screw hole - very handy.

    The only weak link in this is the gooseneck - it's actually quite robust and good enough to keep the flash still at any reasonable angle, but the issue is that the weight of the FL600R and Flashdisc is enough to torque and rotate the gooseneck out of the tripod socket (the flash end of it is fine though) - need to secure it better at the bracket end in some way that does not ultimately depend on a rotating screw.
  11. JBoot

    JBoot Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    I am glad that you've sorted it out and completely agree on the quality of the Custombrackets.

    Would love to see a pic of your full setup once you get it all together.
  12. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Some photos - not including the flashdisc which basically makes the whole setup so enormous I would have trouble taking a photo that shows the actual bracket at all :D 


    I have it sitting at the rear here - with the JB wood grip you have totally enough space to mount the CB antitwist plate, without it, I wouldn't try it, there would be nowhere for it to go. I was initially planning not to use the JB with this setup at all but the 60mm's focus limiter being on the left side complicates setting it if you've got no right hand grip - gripping the entire setup by the flat right side of the camera alone is a bit dicey and reaching your right hand over to change it is just annoying.


    The FL600R is sitting on the CB cold shoe here, which has a screw with a rotating lug (perspective makes it look a weird - it's basically an arc shape at the top). The cold shoe sits offset by a couple of cm from the top of the upright and can be loosened at the screw and rotated around 360 degrees horizontally.


    Really love the build quality of the bracket - seriously this has a better finish on it than anything else I've bought to do with any camera so far :D 

    The tripod socket in the middle of the bracket juuuust touches the outer end of the JB grip (this was with a very long screw inserted through it). Tempted to stick another L bracket through this for mounting a constant light or other flash which would then make it more directionally stable when it's on the ground.

    You can stick anything in the upright tripod hole that would fit - here with the gorillapod ball head. Everything I've stuck in the hole has been very stable, with the exception of ...


    this guy, which at 27cm long produces enough angular momentum when weight shifts on it at the top to start loosening its attachment to the screw (the gooseneck > silver double sided tripod screw part is where it goes). I think even something as simple as rotating where it attaches 90 degrees or even just teflon taping the screw would probably stop it, but I've kind of run out of different tripod bits to properly test it. With a full size L bracket sitting on the upright, and the gooseneck attached horizontally to that, and using a nut on the other side, it sits tight. But I want to get something less complicated and heavy before I would use it and do some basic reliability testing before putting expensive stuff on it. The gooseneck itself is up to holding the flash and flash disc steady whereever it's positioned, just, you have to watch it doesn't unscrew itself first.

    ed - and hey I was actually kind of impressed how well the PM2, LM2 flash with a sheet of A4 paper in front of it, and 14-42 kit lens held up taking these photos.
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  13. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Argh, one minor drawback - I hadn't even thought to check this for real because it looked like it would work, but even with the JB grip on raising the camera up slightly, you can't quite get the battery compartment open. Luckily it doesn't need the bracket taken completely off to get to it (you can just rotate it slightly), but that's pretty annoying.
  14. JBoot

    JBoot Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    Wow! Looks great with all the different attachments and I have to agree on that gooseneck mount issue.

    It interesting to see how 'large' the 60mm looks in the picture with that hood ... quite the illusion.

    I don't use any case on my cameras, but still also have the battery door issue, regardless of brand camera.

    With regard to adding another l-bracket to keep it balance, especially when sitting on a table, Custom Brackets does have 'legs' that rotate out on their larger brackets just for this purpose. Take a look at their other brackets and you might be able to copy that without adding much weight.
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