Saturday, 17 May 2008

Spring Clamps



I've had a couple of questions regarding the Spring Clamps which I use to hold up flashes when I'm not using lighting stands. I also notice that some of the searches which lead people to my blog relate to these clamps, so I figured an entry might be of use to people.

First of all, the clamps which I use are sold by Maplin in the UK. You can find them here:

Maplin Large Photography Clamp

They're not as solid as proper clamps which screw tight, but they're much quicker and generally solid enough for most jobs. They have a rubber grip which is shaped so that they fit well on circular tubing, and the rubber stops them spinning too easily. With a 550EX (equivalent to Canon 580EX II) flash on though, don't expect them to hold themselves from spinning! The rubber also goes over the tip of the clamp which means they get a good grip on the edge of a table and such like.

One of the downsides of this clamp is that the flash is pretty big relative to it, so the flash can't sit properly vertically on the clamp. The ball head could be a little bit further from the clamp which would help with this, but it's a problem you can usually just about get around by some creative twisting and turning.

So what are the other options?

The first is to buy a cheap clamp, get a bolt and nut and make up your own with a bit of DIY. If you have a mini ball head from somewhere, you could even make it pretty professional looking.

At the other end of the scale is the clamp made by manfrotto. It's a little dearer, but it does have some nice touches. Major advantage that I can see, from looking at pictures of it, is that it has the ball head right up one of the arms of the clamp, meaning it's easier to make the flashgun clear the clamp when putting it at steep angles. The downside is that it doesn't actually appear to have quite as good a grip as the maplin ones, which have wider jaws and a better rubber grip. On a flat surface though, such as the edge of a table, the Manfrotto MN275 Mini Spring Clamp might grip a little touch better.

I believe that the Manfrotto clamp is also sold as a version with a hotshoe (or a coldshoe really) which is known as the Bogen (or Manfrotto) Justin Spring Clamp.

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