GEAR REVIEW - JUSTRITE ROTATING CAMERA BRACKET
Another of my favourite in-studio gadgets is the Justrite Rotator. Its part of the Justrite Camera Bracket System that's available with an optional stand and flash mount. The beauty of this bit of kit is that regardless of your camera's orientation, the flash remains above the subject for a more natural look. For wedding and event photography using flash on the fly, this is one seriously handy bit of equipment!
It comes in "Pro" and "Lite" flavours with rotators to suit regular DSLRs or those with battery grips. The Lite version is a dedicated flash bracket and rotator minus the quick release plates that are found on the Pro version. This helps to keep the weight down and makes it ideal for photographers who purely shoot events and have no need to remove the rotator for tripod work.
The Pro version, as pictured above, features the two Manfrotto 394 adapters and 410PL quick release plates. The entire assembly can be fitted to a tripod or detach the rotator from the bracket and use that exclusively.
Construction quality is very high, with every part of the bracket being made from solid metal, all apart from the camera mount base which is a robust plastic and the washers that hold the rotator arm in place. Everything moves very smoothly and effortlessly and the camera feels safe and secure upon it. This isn't some cheap and cheerful product from China that will fall apart on you after 6 months - it's top quality engineering.
In the studio I just use the rotator pictured below, on a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with 804RC2 head. It quickly allows me to go from portrait to landscape orientation without making any other adjustments. Prior to this, the camera was mounted directly onto the 804RC2 head. Switching to portrait mode meant I had unscrew the locking arm, then flip the axis on the head to vertical. In doing this, the centre focus point of the camera was shifted considerably to the left. To compensate, the tripod would have to be moved to the right to line everything up again. All very time consuming and inhibiting to the flow of a photo shoot and makes you look a bit unprofessional.
Now I simply rotate the camera from one plane to the other, or any angle in between of my choosing. It's made life so much easier and the shoot goes uninterrupted by such annoyances. Of course, if you're using a 70-200 f/2.8 which invariably has its own tripod bracket, you'll already enjoy this type of freedom. However, if you're shooting with a 24-70mm or 85mm prime lens, you're forced to hand hold or put up with the whole tripod head thing.
I recently did some macro photography and the rotator really came into its own. At such shallow depths of field having to tilt a tripod head to go portrait or landscape and moving the tripod to realign everything would have meant recomposing and focusing the entire shot again. The JRB rotator allowed me to simply switch in a second. Awesome!
I much prefer the JRB system to the Manfrotto or Kirk L Brackets, which must be removed and replaced on the tripod head in order to change orientation. There's been a few times in the past when I've gone to lock the camera onto the Manfrotto 804RC2 (which uses a 323 RC2 adapter) and it didn't insert properly. Had I let go of the camera, mistakenly thinking it was secure, it would have fallen, hitting the floor and potentially costing me hundreds of pounds to repair. It would also of called a quick halt to the photo session. The Justrite does away with this problem. Once you mount the camera via the 1/4" tripod socket, that's it. Job done. Far safer, quicker and more flexible shooting in the studio or anywhere you want to tripod mount your camera.
Their website www.justritebracket.com has just been revamped so be sure to head on over and check out all the product options available. You can see the system in action in the video below and soon discover what a great addition to your studio or event photography this will be. I highly recommend it!