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Without an umbrella bracket we have nowhere to put our speedlights on our stands. Like stands there are a million choices out there and we are going to go over the ones we recommend for the backpacker's studio. Your choice is going to come down to two things, size and price! Both of the umbrella brackets we recommend have pros and cons and we are going to go over them so that your decision is a little easier.
Read More to see what we think:
Before we begin we'd like to clarify something. There are a couple of things that you can go cheap and chinafy in the backpacker's studio and we'll mention it, but UMBRELLA BRACKETS ARE NOT ONE OF THEM! The umbrella bracket is where your nice and expensive flash unit is going to be on top of. No sense in saving a couple of dollars and possible destroying your expensive unit later. The price difference between great and crap is only about $10.00 so think before you buy. Both these umbrella brackets have made it through the abuse that we give them (which is a ton).
So with that out of the way, let's begin!
The first umbrella bracket is our tank, the Manfrotto 026. When I say tank, I mean tank. The Manfrotto is the Rolls Royce of umbrella brackets. It's solid metal, sturdy and pretty much indistructible. This is the best umbrella bracket we have ever come across. It has huge handles so adjustment in the dark is easy by feeling. Each adjustment is a different type of lever which will prevent loosening up the wrong one. THAT'S COOL!
The price is decent when you thing about how rugged this baby is, only costing about $30.00 which is not bad. So if this thing is so great why do we recommend something else. Well like everything in life, it has some cons. And because of those cons we have another recommendation.
The Manfrotto cons are pretty cut and dry. The first is this sucker is HEAVY! All that ruggedness comes with a price. No joke this thing weights almost as much as the stand it sits on. So if you want something light, this is not the way to go. The other con is that it's expensive because it does not come with a cold shoe. So after spending $30.00 on the Manfrotto 026 you have to add another $10.00 for a cold shoe! Without the cold shoe you are dead in the water if you are shooting with speedlights!
We recommend the Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapter as THE CHOICE! Again, this is a very crucial part of your mount and spending less will only lead to disaster later. It's only $10.00 and you just saved your expensive flash unit from a painful death.
So as much as we love the Manfrotto 026, these two cons have forced us to look at other options. Especially when we are trying to save some weight!
The other option is the Impact Umbrella Bracket. This baby is about 80% of the Manfrotto as far us ruggedness goes. The Manfrotto is extremely rugged so 80% is still much better than any of the Chinafied ones. This Impact Umbrella Adapter is also very lightweight and much smaller than the Manfrotto 026 while maintaining a solid metal body. This is great news for portability.
Not only is this baby very well built, but the Impact is also CHEAP! Oh yeah, you can get the Umbrella Bracket with the Cold Shoe for a total of $25.00. Now that's awesome! The downside is that the adjustment levers are all the same size and feel, so unlike the Manfrotto adjusting without looking can get complicated. Although with a little bit of practice you should be fine. The coldshoe it comes with is almost an identical copy of the Stroboframe above, so that a major plus! This Impact is basically your all in one solution!
So like always to make it easier to purchase, here is the run down:
Buy the Manfrotto 026 if you like to buy things only once (this baby will last forever) and you do not mind the weight or the price. (Don't forget you need the coldshoe for this to work with speedlights)
Whichever of the two you decide you are going to be extremely happy with the purchase.
Now get off the computer and go take some photos! Don't forget to use the links from above to help us out. Post your images on our flickr group or on our forum!