Steve's Digicams

Modular One

"The Rollbar" Flash Bracket

for

Nikon Coolpix Cameras



Review posted 8/27/00
updated 9/3/02


The Rollbar

Modular One has just introduced The Rollbar flash bracket for the Nikon Coolpix 950, 990, 995 and new 4500 digital cameras.  Designed to be used in conjunction with the Nikon AS-E900 flash shoe/sync cable assembly and a Nikon-compatible speedlight.

The $49.95 bracket positions the flash up away from the camera to eliminate annoying redeye problems but still keeps it directly above the lens. The padded handgrip gives you a secure hold at all times of the camera and flash combination.



The Rollbar

The Rollbar is now compatible with the new Nikon Coolpix 4500 if you either buy the Rollbar 4500 System or purchase the CP4500 Bracket for your existing Rollbar 950 or Rollbar 990/950.

The Coolpix 4500 is the best yet for external flash as Nikon put the flash sync connector on top of the lens unit rather than on the underside. No more tightly stretched sync cords and it stays up and out of the way of the LCD and viewfinder.



The Rollbar

You can buy the CP4500 Bracket for $6.50, it mounts on the bottom of the Coolpix 4500 and lifts it slightly and offsets it so the lens unit can swivel properly.



The Rollbar

Crafted from machined aluminum to give you a strong but lightweight mount for even the biggest Nikon speedlight.  It's annodized black to match the camera and to give you year's of worry-free service.



The Rollbar

The camera is secured to THE ROLLBAR using a knurled stainless steel screw that quickly spins in and is "snugged down" with a large three-pronged knob that's easy to tighten and loosen.



The Rollbar

The Rollbar attaches to the Coolpix's tripod socket and gives you full access to both the CompactFlash card slot and the battery compartment without having to remove the camera from the bracket. There is a tapped hole in the bracket should you wish to mount it on tripod.



The Rollbar

You can purchase the $59.95 Auxilliary Frame which allows the camera and flash to be used vertically and also gives you a mounting point for a standard cable release.

The Rollbar and the Auxilliary Frame can be purchased at the same time for just $99.95.



The Rollbar

The AS-E900 flash shoe mounted on the Auxilliary Frame and configured for portrait mode shooting.



The Rollbar

When the Auxilliary Frame is coupled to The Rollbar you still have full access to both the battery compartment and the CompactFlash card slot.



The Rollbar

There are dayglo leveling vials mounted on the horizontal and vertical arms of the Auxilliary Frame. The tripod mount is at the nodal point of the Coolpix 990, line up the horizon with the leveling vials and get those "perfect" panorama shots.








Steve's Conclusion

The Rollbar is one of only two flash brackets that allow you to change batteries or CF cards without removing the camera first. The other bracket is the Versatec, but some people worry that it puts too much strain on the camera's swivel joint. The Rollbar answers that problem by using the tripod socket as its point of attachment.

As well an excellent mount for the Nikon Speedlight, the Rollbar gives you a solid, stable grip to an often awkward camera & flash combination. Besides doing exactly what is was engineered to do, the Roolbar is a very professional looking bracket that compliments the design of the Coolpix.

The advantages of The Rollbar:

  • Rugged and light construction.

  • Flash placement directly above lens in both portrait and landscape modes.

  • A standard shutter release can be used with the Coolpix 990 (with Auxilliary Frame)

  • Bounce flash (with appropriate Nikon speedlight) is prefered for more "natural" looking flash pictures.

  • Flash photography is now possible with the wideangle and telephoto adapter lenses that normally block the camera's builtin flash

  • Freedom of movement in the lens section for high or low level shots.

  • No need to remove the bracket to access the CF card or batteries

  • Easily change the flash shoe for landscape or portrait mount.

  • Leveling vials for both portrait and landscape panorama shots.

Having used the Nikon flash bracket and a lot of other regular photo flash brackets I can tell you that this is a better way to do it. The results have been excellent with the flash "up and away" from the lens, it significantly reduces redeye problems. And of course you have much greater flash coverage range using an external flash.

Not having to unscrew the bracket everytime you want to change the memory card or the batteries is priceless. If you're looking for a highly functional and reasonably priced flash bracket for the Coolpix 990 - The Rollbar is one of the best out there.





The Rollbar

Before (Nikon builtin flash) and After (The Rollbar and SB28 bounce flash)




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