Flash Diffusers

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kbuyers, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. kbuyers

    kbuyers TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for something to help soften my flash when I'm doing portraits. Does anyone have any recomendations for a specific kind of diffuser or other product?

    Thanks,
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    What flash?

    Popup: Gary Fong Puffer

    Otherwise check into the Gary Fong Lightsphere
     
  3. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Lookie there, 9 threads below yours... with sample pics!

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...gallery/191337-lighting-bounce-diffusers.html

    :D

    Get an external flash and forget the expensive (or even cheap) defusers. Learn how to bounce the flash and use a simple bounce card and you'll get the results you're looking for.

    If you're talking about one of those devices that fit over your pop-up flash like the Gary Fong Puffer, you'll do far better with an external flash. The puffer will soften your flash somewhat but it won't change the fact it's directly over your lens so you're still not going to be able to control the shadow it casts all that well. The results won't look very professional, just a little better than bad (which is what a bare pop-up flash is).

    Do you have the budget for a good external flash like the SB800 or 580EXII?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Hey Karen,
    Welcome to TPF. This subject comes up a lot, and a search on the term flash diffusers yielded over 11 pages of hits for me The Photo Forum - Photography Discussion Forum - Search Results

    One thing to note: flash diffusers make the flash softer at close distances, and are great for such things as insects, flowers, coins, and other close-up subjects which are small. But, beyond about 10 to 15 feet, a speedlight flash that uses a slip-on diffuser, does not have anywhere near the softening effect that it does at closer ranges.

    There are many products: Sto-Fen Omni Bounce, Lumiquest products of many types, the Gary Fong brand of products (numerous models), as well as air-inflatable soft boxes from PhotoFlex and other brands, and also small fabric softboxes from various manufacturers.

    One person whose opinions on this subject opf flash diffusers deserve special attention is Big Mike: he answers a lot of questions about flash diffusers, and he tries to drive home the point,over and over, that a diffuser only soften light when it is a large source, relative to the size of the subject,and distance from light-to-subject. If you wade through the threads, you'll find sample photos, and a lively discussion about flash diffusers. For the record, I like StoFen OmniBounce, Nikon's own StoFen look-alike, and the PhotFlex air-inflatable soft box. As well as what is called a "bounce card",and then, umbrellas or bounced flash.
     
  5. kbuyers

    kbuyers TPF Noob!

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    I was just given an external flash from a friend, but haven't had the time to do much with it. I saw a photographer at an event the other day that had what I'm assuming is the Gary Fong Puffer you're talking about over her external flash. Would you recommend doing something like that? What have you found works best?
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The Puffer is for built-in (pop up) flashes. The Lightsphere is Gary Fong's overpriced tupperware for external flashes. :roll: :lol:

    When it comes to flash accessories, there really isn't a best. Some of them work well in some situations, but are completely useless in other situations.
    Many photographers (myself included), tend to end up with a collection of different flash accessories.

    The only thing that works in all situations is a good knowledge of how light works :er:
    As InTempus mentioned, learn how to effectively bounce your light. That will make a bigger difference than just adding an accessory. (hint: most of these accessories are made to be used while you are bouncing the light).
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Is that a complement or a warning? :lol:
     
  8. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    What about using flash outdoors? Would any of these work well for those situations?
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Since most accessories are made to help you when bouncing the light (Omnibounce, Lightsphere, bounce card etc), the won't help you when used outdoor (unless you have a surface nearby that you can bounce the light off of.

    In most cases, when you're outdoors, you will be shooting the flash directly at the subject. In this case, the only way to make the light softer (if that's your goal) is to enlarge the source (and move the light closer to the subject). This is where an umbrella or a softbox are helpful. Obviously, these typically aren't something that you use while the flash is sitting on the camera's hotshoe (although there are small softboxes for that).

    Another issue is that if you are shooting outdoors is daylight, you may have to use a smaller aperture to control the exposure (especially if you are limited to the max flash sync speed). Smaller apertures require more flash power. So it's typical that when shooting outdoors in daylight, you need a powerful flash...especially if you are competing with direct sunlight. Most flash accessorizes will rob you of some light...and you may need all the power you can get.
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You can do the same as the Gary Fong crap with a pic of card
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    David Honl also makes some pretty decent light modifiers for speed lights.
     
  12. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Good info... I've been leary (read: scared to death) about diving into the world of flash but alas, it's a necessary evil me thinks. :D
     

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