Sunday, 12 September 2010

DIY Budget Tripod Mount for a Bowens S-Type Speedring

Last week I made an impulse purchase. I needed a new softbox and I wanted one with a grid. I had been planning on getting a pop-up softbox, either an EZ-Fold or a Westcott Apollo, but I found the EZ-Fold to be a bit flimsy and some people had told me that they had found that it was tricky to angle the apollo. Not only that, but neither are particularly cheap. So I was procrastinating and then when I was buying something for my wife made an impulse purchase of this Dynasun 60x90cm lightbank.

What the hell was I thinking? I wanted an pop-up softbox and then bought myself a traditional softbox with a bowens s-type mount. I didn't even have a clue how I was going to mount the damn thing to a lightstand. But when it arrived I noticed that the holes for the struts were about the same size of the larger tripod mount. So I did some googling to see if I could figure out how to put a thread on the holes which would allow me to attach the ring using an umbrella mount.

Tripod mounts come in two sizes. The 1/4 British Standard Whitworth, which is the size that will screw into the bottom of your camera. Or the 3/8 British Standard Whitworth which you usually find on the tops of light-stands. To make the threads in the sockets on the speedring you need a 3/8 BSW tap. You also need a tap vice, which you us to turn the tap in the hole. The tap and the vice can be bought on ebay for round about a tenner.

Using the tap couldn't be easier. Just insert the tapered end into the socket and start turning clockwise. Every now and then give it a half turn back to clear some of the clippings and keep going till you hit the bottom. It simply unscrews and that's it done. I made a short video so you can see just how quick and easy it really is.

With the ring mounted on a light-stand you can use a clamp to mount a flash in the hole. I prefer using a clamp to an adaptor because I have the clamps with me anyway so it means I don't have to carry any extra bulky kit with me. Its bad enough carrying the clamps.


So having solved the problem of mounting the softbox I just had to find a quicker method of assembling it. I figured that out too. I can assemble the softbox in around 30 seconds. If you have seen my previous softbox assembly video you'll be a bit skeptical, but the secret is to have the softbox pre-assembled with just the speedring detached. You can have it rolled up in your bag ready to go. Just unroll it, attach the speedring and you can have it set up on a light-stand as quickly as an ez-box. It doesn't look like someone sat on it either.

Here is a video of me popping mine up.


  1. The link to the Dynasun on Amazon looks like its broken.

  2. That's an unfortunate side-effect of the international amazon links. There is no equivalent product on so the code that creates the link doesn't work

    If you are not in the UK and want to see the Dynasun you can view it here

  3. impressive stuff! thanks for sharing the story and tutorial...can't wait to arrive home to do one of this!