Friday, April 11, 2008

An Affordable Clamp

So I'm working on developing my strobist kit. One of the things I need to do is get my lights off camera and be able to trigger more then one at a time. Of course I will need a trigger for the flashes but most importantly I need a way to mount them to things. I wasn't too hot on buying a $25 super clamp (Click Here) as I am saving for more strobes and remote triggers. Two clamps would cost me almost as much as a Sunpak 383 flash. So after hanging out on my favorite Photography Forum I was inspired by the do-it-yourself ingenuity of many of its members. This inspired me to make my own clamps. Following is the process I followed and the outcome. Hope you find this useful.

Here are the parts you'll need and the steps necessary to make your own clamps.

1. Get a spring clamp from Home Depot. I went with the Babco generic brand and I figured why spend more on a Pony clamp which is twice the price and has no benefits that I can discern. You can find the clamp at Home Depot for 99 cents (Click Here).


2. You will need to cut a hole in the back handle where there is a pre-drilled hole ready for you to use. As the handle cover is soft I was able to do this with a sharp knife with ease.


3. Know you'll need a few more parts which will allow your flash to attach to the clamp.
  • 5/8" bolt...about 40 cents
  • 5/8" locking washer...about 15 cents
  • 5/8" nut (Click Here)...23 cents
  • Umbrella adapter which hot shoe mount (Click Here)...$16.99. I got mine at Calumet Photo but I'm sure you can find this even cheaper at B&H. I think their Impact brand is $13.99.

4. Now assemble mount for the flash bracket by pushing the bolt through the bottom then placing the locking washer and nut on the other side, tightening everything up nice and tight.


5. Now just screw on the umbrella mount to the bolt. It will tighten up nice and tight for you. Providing the perfect place to put your flash.


6. Finally just put your flash on and hook up your other items like remote triggers and you are ready to go. Below is my 580EX II attached. The bracket holding on to my desk nice and tight.


While this might not be the answer for all situations will provide me a nice sturdy clamp for all my needs for an great price. Only $18.76 compared to $44.94 when using the Bogen super clamp.
(Note: I included the umbrella bracket in my pricing. Taking out the umbrella bracket--which I like to use as it gives me adjustability for the flash--the DIY clamp is $1.77 versus the Bogen clamp at $27.95.)

Regardless of how you choose to ultimately go I would recommend giving this a try. Not only is it affordable but most importantly it is effective. Feel free to let me know if there are any questions.