Lustworthy Gear: The Brewer Bracket

Strobist reader Todd Brewer sent me one of his double flash umbrella brackets to test drive a while back, and I have only recently gotten a chance to play around with it. The "El Doble" dual flash bracket is designed to allow you to easily use two flashes in one umbrella, and it works great. It's built like a tank and reasonably priced, currently at $59.95.

(More after the jump.)

What I especially like about it is that it gets the flash heads right next to the umbrella shaft, for much better on-axis coverage. Actually, you may wish to use this bracket with only one flash for just that reason. (I'd swivel the head just a tad toward the umbrella shaft to better align a single flash.)

But why would you want to stick two flashes in one umbrella to begin with?

More power is the obvious reason. The second flash adds one full f/stop of light (all settings being equal) that can put you over the hump when you are trying to balance flash with daylight, for instance.

But you can also gain shooting speed. By doubling up with an extra flash you might have lying around, you can cut each flash's output by half. This halves your recycle time, which doubles the speed at which you can shoot.

The bracket can mount onto a typical umbrella bracket, as shown, but it can also hook up to a Super clamp, for applications such as speedlighting a gym. Again, you can go for more power or faster recycle.

But you do not need to have the flashes firing in the same direction, either. You can angle them away from each other to create a huge angle of illumination for your light. This would be especially handy for wedding shooters who might like to backlight a large reception area from one clamped position.

The flashes mount using (your) typical umbrella shoe mounts, with a 1/4x20 screw. Todd makes low-profile screws available (separately) or you can hit the hardware aisle at Home Depot and fashion your own. Put a wing nut on a bolt that is a little long, stick it through the hole in the bracket and into the flash shoe and tighten the wing nut underneath to secure it.

Any way you use it or mount it, this bracket is pretty sharp -- and built to last forever.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does he get the shoe's for the bracket? Cool iten though

September 12, 2007 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a stroboframe braket

September 12, 2007 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Todd Brewer said...

The Stroboframe shoe referenced above does work, but it has a locating pin on the underside to keep the shoe from twisting, so basically you're locked into only one position on the bracket

This shoe-

lacks the locating pin and allows you to swivel the shoe to allow for better reception of wireless signals if you're using Nikon's CLS or Canon ETTL systems. To me it's a more versatile solution. And its $4 cheaper too...

September 12, 2007 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always thought light dont ADD up but merely gives more even light.

ie: 2 pcs of 100watt is just 2 source of 100watt not 200watt.

isnt that correct?

September 12, 2007 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always thought lights DONT ADD up but merely gives more even light

ie, 2 pcs of 100watts dont give 200watt of light , but merely 2 sources of 100watt light.
Light is more even. Not brighter

isnt this correct?

September 12, 2007 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks an AWFUL lot like this one

September 12, 2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger bmillios said...

The Stroboframe shoe is good, but the Smith-Victor is a little cheaper, and it's available from MPEX:

I got 2 of these brackets - going to try using them at night football games where the light isn't so great - see if I can get some light up under the helmets brim. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll be firing all four flashes at full power, which will slow down my recycle time, but I figure if David can use 2 speedlights at half power to light a basketball gym, then four at full power should provide some help from the end zone corners for half of the field.

For those of you wondering how to fire two flashes from a single Pocket Wizard - get a mini-headphone jack splitter - 1/8 inch male goes into the PW, then there's two female sockets for the synch cords from the PWs. Most of these splitters sold are stereo; I couldn't find a mono splitter cord, I had a stereo splitter laying around, so I tried it, it works. A mono would be better.

September 12, 2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger J. Beckley said...

Michael Bass makes a similar product that comes with shoes and a removable umbrella stand. His is a little more exspensive ($150), but I think you can connect two flashes to one PW w/all three mounted on the bracket

September 12, 2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Matt Given said...

BMILLIOS I routinely shoot night time football under poor lighting. I use one SB28 at 1/8-1/4 power depending on my distance from the ball with usable results. Four flashes at full power should be more than adequate, maybe to much. Post some picks when you try it out.

September 12, 2007 1:40 PM  
Anonymous eika said...

i always thought lights DONT ADD up but merely gives more even light

ie, 2 pcs of 100watts dont give 200watt of light , but merely 2 sources of 100watt light.
Light is more even. Not brighter

isnt this correct?

Where the two lights overlap, it will be brighter.

If you take a 100W light and spread the light out to cover twice the area, then it'll be half as bright, regardless of power.

If you take 2 100W lights and concentrate the beams to a specific area, it will be twice as bright as a single 100W light.

September 12, 2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Peter.S. said...

I do a double bracket "ghetto style" by
putting one flash as usual on the umbrella adapter and the other one attached to a hotshoe adapter and one if these:
Let the strobe hang upside down with the umbrella shaft sticking through the hole in the adapter. Ball bungees keeps it close to the stand.

September 12, 2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger Lee Hammond Photography said...

This looks a lot more solid than the Denis Reggie ($150) model and my ($10) Home Depot model. Thumbs up to the Michael Bass hotshoe to PW cable. He can make one with two hotshoes and one cable.


September 12, 2007 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased the Brewer Bracket and it's fantastic. Great build quality that should last a lifetime. Highly recommended!

September 14, 2007 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Dan Coogan said...

Just ordered a Brewer Bracket based on the Strobist post and the Brewer website. Looks like a good solution for adding extra light power (like when you are using a wide angle lens and can't get the light in close enough). Looking forward to many years of use.

Dan Coogan

September 14, 2007 6:00 PM  

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