Thursday, January 29, 2009

Custom Brackets Gimbal Up-Close

Custom Brackets is the leading manufacturer of specialized camera support systems. Mainly designing and providing hand held bracket systems for mounting compact strobes, they recently have expanded their line to include a new gimbal system for large telephotos.

Although the CB Gimbal is ideal for long lenses with their own tripod mounts (such as 200mm, 300mm or 400mm telephotos), the gimbal has applications in the studio with the addition of the Custom Brackets Studio Rotating Bracket which easily adds camera rotation to the setup.

One of the most worthwhile advantages of the CB Gimbal is how it effectively and safely distributes weight, preventing sudden and violent weight shifts that can occur with other camera supports when knobs are loosened for adjustment.

The knobs on the CB Gimbal are doubled up to provide independent controls for adjusting the resistance and for locking in place both the pan and tilt axes. They can easily support the weight of a full size DSLR body and lens at practically any angle. The knobs are well designed and easily accessed with the left hand while your right holds the camera. They are also captive knobs - they cannot be loosened far enough to come off the gimbal (A plus for anyone who has lost adjustment knobs for anything in their studio).

The CB Gimbal is modular, allowing it to be packed away using far less space than what it occupies fully assembled. Custom Brackets also promotes the roller bearings as completely maintenence free, never requiring any additional lubrication. Added features also include a bubble level for on-axis mounting and panning as well as degree markings, useful for shooting panoramic compositions.

Although the CB Gimbal was originally designed for use on a Camera Stand such as the Studio Titan Pro 4 Stand, here at Tallyn's we have found a new application as part of the Bogen studio rail system. A setup such as this helps keep your studio floor clear and gives you the versatility to shoot from anywhere in your studio at any angle with the camera fully supported. This setup provides the added advantage of allowing you to shoot parallel to the floor.

The Custom Brackets Gimbal, as well as the rest of the Custom Brackets line of handheld brackets and bracket accessories is available now from If you have any questions, or would like assistance we are available by phone during our normal business hours at (800)433-8685.

Links: Custom Brackets Gimbal on / Custom Brackets line on / Tallyn's Tech Tips on / Tallyn's You Tube Videos

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Camera Shooting Platforms

We have published a new article to our Tech Tips section of our website about full camera stands and their advantages over using a tripod in the studio:

When thinking about camera support systems, many of us might not think far beyond a tripod. And while tripods definitely have their place in the photographer's arsenal, they're designed more for portability and location work, not the studio floor. Try to adjust the height of your camera from six feet down to six inches quickly or try to roll it smoothly along your studio floor - It's just not going to happen.

Introduce a permanent camera stand into your studio and you'll soon realize how sturdy and versatile a platform you can have. You'll gain the freedom to move and position your camera without hassle. You'll project a serious, highly prepared and well equipped image to those in your studio. Combine a camera stand with a wireless triggering system and you can eliminate the camera as a barrier between you and your subject, easing conversation and building rapport.

We have put together a few options that could add a whole new level of flexibility to your studio:


One setup we use in our studio features the popular Studio Titan Side Kick Stand. With a simple Bogen/Manfrotto adaptor plate (028) you can connect any Bogen/Manfrotto tripod head and have a quick, efficient camera platform.

- Quick height adjustment from one foot up to eight feet by way of trigger grip arm.
- A full range of positions are available with Bogen/Manfrotto tripod heads.
- Lightweight for ease of movement across studio floor.
- Inexpensive and cost effective. Can be set up for under $400.

- Most Bogen/Manfrotto tripod heads do not maintain the lens center line when adjusted from landscape to portrait orientation. This may require repositioning the camera stand to restore similar framing. This problem is solved with our second example below.
- Most Bogen/Manfrotto tripod heads place the weight of the camera directly above the adjustment fulcrum, creating the opportunity for dramatic if not dangerous weight shifts when knobs are loosened for adjustment. This problem is also solved with our second example below.
- Studio Titan Side Kick Stands may not have enough weight in the base to support a full size DSLR body and a full-featured tripod head when positioned towards the top of the stand.


- Quick height adjustment from one foot up to seven feet by way of adjustable cross arm.
- Full range of position available with Custom Brackets Gimbal Head.
- The Custom Brackets Digital Format Studio Bracket maintains the lens center line when adjusted from landscape to portrait orientation.
- There is far less chance of dramatic if not dangerous weight shifts when knobs are loosened for adjustment because of how the Custom Brackets Gimbal is designed (with the fulcrum above the camera body).
- The Studio Titan Pro 4 Camera Stand has the weight and stability to support a full size camera with the Custom Brackets Gimbal and Studio Bracket combination at it's maximum height.

- This system is not easily transported out of the studio or from one location to another.


Finally, we have adapted the use of the Custom Brackets Gimbal & Studio Bracket setup for our Studio Rail Systems. Obviously, this isn't an option if you don't have a rail system, but for studios already trying to eliminate the floor clutter of stands and cables, this setup is a natural extension of that idea.

- Quick height adjustment within the range of rail system panograph.
- Full range of position available with Custom Brackets Gimbal Head, including strait down (with the film plane parallel to the floor).
- The Custom Brackets Digital Format Studio Bracket maintains the lens center line when adjusted from landscape to portrait orientation.
- Because of how the Custom Brackets Gimbal is designed (with the fulcrum above the camera body) there is far less chance of dramatic if not dangerous weight shifts when knobs are loosened for adjustment.

- This system requires a studio rail system for installation.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Canon Error 99 Overview

Roger Cicala from has put together an excellent overview of the infamous Canon Error 99. It's a great read for anyone who wants to know as much about their equipment as they can absorb or for anyone who's suffered this error in the past.

For this and any other repair or replacement issue we are always ready to help and provide our best recommendations. Basic information about Tallyn's Repair/Replacement policy is on our website, or call us at 800-433-8685 and ask to speak with Ted.

Canon EOS 40D gets update

The new firmware update to Version 1.1.1 for the EOS 40D incorporates fixes and improves the battery indicator, self cleaning sensor errors, Direct Printing issues, AF-assist beam when using a Speedlite and functionality of the camera's sync terminal. Download Version 1.1.1.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Canon 5D Mark II LP-E6 batteries

Tallyn's received a shipment of Canon 5D Mark II LP-E6 batteries on Friday. They all sold very quickly over the weekend but we have more on the way. These batteries have been largely out of stock at Canon retailers for about a month. Our price is only $75.00.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Saving Off-Camera Shoe Cords

Over the last several months we have had many customers call us trying to resolve an issue with their off-camera shoe cord. They have a tendency to break or wear out where the plastic shoe mounts to the bracket. The reason that the shoe mount rails are made of thin plastic. The way to reduce the risk of breaking off the off-camera shoe cord is to connect it via the 1/4-20 thread. The screw mount is much more sturdy.
See the two examples of Custom Brackets mounting plates below. The first shows the universal "FT" shoe mount and the flimsy plastic connection. The second example is the much more reliable "FCN" plate.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

5D Mark II Firmware Update

From Canon's Website:
Firmware Update Version 1.0.7 improves and mitigates the following two types of image quality phenomena that occur under certain shooting conditions.
  1. "Black dot" phenomenon (the right side of point light sources become black)
  2. Vertical banding noise

Firmware Version 1.0.7 is for EOS 5D Mark II cameras with firmware up to version 1.0.6. If the camera's firmware is already version 1.0.7, it is not necessary to update the firmware. When updating to Firmware Version 1.0.7, please also update the Digital Photo Professional (new version 3.5.2) and Picture Style Editor (new version 1.4.2) software.

Firmware Version 1.0.7 and software updates can be downloaded at:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Custom 2010 Turbo Spot Patterns

Tallyn's Custom F-16 Turbo Spot Plus patterns for 2010 seniors are now in-stock and available from our webstore. These custom patterns will give you a new up-to-date option for graduating seniors.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II Update

As of the end of last week we have fulfilled all of our pre-orders for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II 24-105 Lens Kits.  As of this posting, we have one (1) kit on our shelves available for immediate shipment.

Body Only packages have been much slower in coming from Canon than the Lens Kits have been. For those of you still waiting on your pre-order, please be assured that we will contact you personally as soon as your camera becomes available. In the meantime, you can email me, to find out your specific position in line.