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A Hack to Shoot Vertically with the ABR800 Ringflash

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You might recall a previous post in which I discussed (what I considered) design flaws of the Paul C. Buff ABR800 Ringflash. Perhaps the biggest problem, for me, was the inability to easily shoot with the camera in vertical orientation. I have since decided to follow another user's brilliant solution.

A solution to attach a camera vertically to the ABR800.

With an L-bracket attached to my camera, I already had partial (but impractical) solutions in hand. Unfortunately, not all L-brackets have 1/4"-20 sockets on the "vertical" side (mine has a convenient gap to allow access to the camera's ports), so I could not mount the camera directly to the mounting plate in that orientation.

The solution was to purchase a quick-release clamp and attach it to the ABR800's mounting plate. Straightforward, really. Once installed, you no longer need to screw/unscrew the camera to the plate each time you use the ringflash; you can simply slide the camera in place, as you would with your tripod head. More importantly is that with an L-bracket, the camera can be mounted in both orientations with the same ease.

Naturally, in this case it is an Arca-type clamp, but you would use whichever format fits your camera plates (Manfrotto, Gitzo, etc.) Keep in mind, though, that a clamp that has multiple mounting holes is preferable to ensure it won't rotate. The Really Right Stuff B2-Pro fits the bill perfectly and is a very high quality product—predictably at a serious price.

The Really Right Stuff B2-Pro attached to the ABR800's mounting plate.

As you can see, two screws were used to attach the clamp firmly to the mounting plate. The top one is a Manfrotto 3/8"-16 (purchased separately) and the bottom one is the 1/4"-20 screw that shipped with the ABR800. (Some drilling was required for the 3/8" screw to fit the opening of the mounting plate.)

The final setup is very solid, very clean and very efficient, but the two accessories together will cost you more than half the price of the ringflash. Since I was already using an L-bracket (an invaluable accessory for my architectural work), I only needed to add a quick-release clamp, so it was a smaller hit on the wallet. I wish there were cheaper solutions, but in any case, I regard this a requirement to work with the ABR800.

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