Tips & Techniques page 6


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Do It Yourself Ring Flash

by Ted Post


Side view.



Side view.



Front view.




1. At this website are two videos that give detailed step by step instructions:,80.msg112.html#msg112

2. A detailed parts list and one page diagram can be found at this website:

Parts List:
1. 10 ½ clamp reflector light from Home Depot, around $10
2. 4” X 5” vent coupler reducer in heating and plumbing, around $5.00
3. 1- ¼ x 1/8 x 36 inch metal bar, also at home depot, a couple of bucks
4. From Target store in housewares, a packet of chef mate cutting mat, 4 pack, $5.  You just need the white mat
5. Black electrical tape
6. JB weld epoxy
7. A can of flat black paint
8. 6- 6” cable ties
9. Reflective heat tape

1. Place the clamp light face down on the table and then take the 4” end of vent coupler and place it over the center hole of the light and trace it.  Then take tin snips and cut out the hole.
2. The vent coupler is then inserted thru the hole 4” end first.
3. Take the JB weld epoxy and weld the couple to the light.  Let it dry and sand.
4. Take the reflective heat tape and line the inside of the clamp light and the outside of the vent reducer.
5. Place your flash head on a piece of paper and trace the head and cut it out.  Place the paper on the outside of the clamp head near the edge and trace it out and use the tin snips to cut it out.  Then use the black electrical tape to line the hole and fit your flash head in the hole.
6. Paint the outside flat black.
7. Take the white mat board and place the clamp light on it and trace out the outer ring and then the inside vent reducer hole and cut out.
8. Attach the mat board to the clamp light by drilling holes in the edge of the clamp light and mat board and attach with cable ties.
9. Attach the flash head and then figure out the bends on the steel bar to attach the flash, tripod and clamp light together.
10. Attach the steel bar to the clamp light with a bolt and nut.

It is strongly advised to watch the videos, as it shows how to do this step by step.  The video shows the unit self contained and handheld, I modified the steel bar to attach to a tripod mount.  I also used nut and bolt to attach the bar to the clamp light instead of rivets

For camera club members, I have plenty of JB weld epoxy, reflective tape and paint that you can have.





by Ted Post



You can spend $50 bucks for a "Better Beamer" Flash X-tender™ for wildlife shoots or for about $8 you can build your own.

The flash extender is used to throw a catch light onto the animals when you are taking photos of them with a long lens.  You generally power down your flash about -1 stop.

1. The lens is a Fresnel magnifying lens, wallet card size. You can purchase the wallet credit card size magnifiers from Michaels or Hobby Lobby for a couple of bucks.  Or buy a 8 ½ x 11 sheet and cut it down to 4” x 6”.

2. The Fresnel lens needs to be 6” from your flash head, based on what the commercial models are. The smooth side of the lens should face your subject

3. For the support I used the plastic kitchen mat cutting boards. Just about anything that is light and semi rigid will do.

4. You then cut out the two support arms, length about 7 ½ ‘ to attach to your flash head. The height is your Fresnel lens at one end and the flash head at the other.

5. I just attached the Fresnel lens to the support arm with electrical tape so that it can be folded. The other end I attached to the flash head with Velcro.

6. You’re done, about one hour.


Other Information:

How it works:  It focuses and concentrates the output of the flash into a narrow beam via the Fresnel lens (pronounced  fray-NELL) that is positioned in front of the flash.  Thus allowing shooting at greater distances and shooting with smaller apertures because the light doesn’t spread out as quickly over the distance.  This then provides a fill flash for opening up darker areas and can give you a catch light in the subject's eyes.  One review said although it is recommended for focal lengths of 300mm or greater, when used at close range it reduces flash recycle time enabling a rapid succession of shots to be taken.   

One note of caution, since a Fresnel lens works as a magnifying lens, there have been reports of melted plastic and heated lenses when used in direct sunlight.  There could be something to those reports; I have read where Fresnel lenses are being used in solar energy to concentrate sunlight (with a ratio of almost 500:1) onto solar cells.  One reviewer said they keep a cloth over the Fresnel when not in use.  

Welcome to DSLR Tips & Tricks DIY Ghetto Flash Extender

This information about the commercial version: Better Beamer or Flash X-tender™ will extend the distance of your flash range. It also allows for faster refresh rates and reduced battery consumption, creating a better chance of catching the action when it happens. It's lightweight, simple to attach with the velcro strap provided, and conveniently folds flat for packing.  Sold by several of the Suppliers in our Links page 4 under Manufacturers and Suppliers.

Better Beamer Flash Extender Review




Additional Tips & Techniques pages:

   - IMAGINATION by Jim Pittman


- Test images used to Calibrate Monitors

 - TCCC Wildflower Fieldtrip Guides

- Surrealistic Image Enhancement with Elements 6.0

- Do It Yourself Flash Projects by Ted Post - You are Here



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