Gary Fong diffuser...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by DepthAfield, May 5, 2006.

  1. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone have any experience with the Gary Fong LightSphere diffuser? His website ( http://store.garyfonginc.com/liiido.html ) makes this accessory look pretty effective, but I’ve grown weary of expensive photo gimmicks.

    Any thoughts on this item?
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I'm not really convinced by the example shots (many of the direct flash shots looked better to my eye!), but it looks as if it would work fine. It's only $50 isn't it? Not too bad really (if it works).

    Rob
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Like what? The Lightsphere is just big, plastic diffuser, like a Sto Fen on steroids. It increases the size of your light source, and scatters it a bit. There's no gimmick, trick, or magic involved. You could get similar effects by duct taping white tupperware or a rolling a tube of white typing paper around your flash head.

    I have 3 flash diffusers that I use regularly. A mini-softbox, a Sto-Fen, and a LightSphere. I use the mini softbox for direct flash, and the others when bouncing the flash. The mini softbox folds up, so carrying it all the time isn't an issue; it just stays in my bag. The Sto Fen is also nice and small, so I carry it all the time too. The LS is big and a pain to carry in my main bag, so I only take it when I know I need to use it: weddings and indoor portraits.

    The LS is better than the Sto Fen because: 1) bigger light source, 2) it always presents the same sized light source to the subject. If I turn the camera vertical, and swivel the flash to bounce off the ceiling, the Sto Fen presents it's small side to the subject. The LS doesn't have a small side.
     
  4. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    No kidding? No magic? Wow.

    I fully understand how a diffuser works, be it a Tupperware bowl, a Sto Fen or low cloud cover. The price of the Gary Fong LS made me a bit leary… Fifty clams is a steep price to pay for a piece of plastic, putting that item on my “possible gimmick” list. If it works well, then it’s worth every nickel. If it doesn’t work well, it’s an expensive gimmick.
     
  5. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    I use a strobosock (adorama), a mini soft box or bounce and just got a Sto Fen but haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. One of the biggest challenges of on camera flash (especially with mulitple people in the frame) is to get nice, even light. Since Matt's already put this LS to the test and feels it's superior to the others, I'd feel pretty confidant that it's not a useless gadget. Personally, I'd buy one just based on his recommendation.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Sorry for the sarcasm, but I just don't understand why this question (particular to GF's Lightsphere) is asked over and over on every photo forum. Everybody raves about the Sto Fen Omni bounce, and ***** about GF's Lightsphere. People seem to think it's supposed to be something fancy, and are disappointed when it arrives and it's just a big piece of color neutral, transluscent plastic that is designed to attach to a flash. It works pretty much just like every other piece of color neutral, transluscent plastic that is put over a flash.

    You can get the same effect by taping a tube of transluscent, white paper around your flash for next to free. The convenience to attach/unattach, and durability of the Lightsphere make it worth $50 to me. My Sto Fen cost $17 at B & H. GF, being the sole seller of Lightspheres, gets to set his own price.

    It works great. The biggest question you should ask yourself is "Will I carry this around with me?" It is bulky.
     
  7. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    I must also apologize for my snotty “No kidding? No magic? Wow.” remark. It was uncalled for.

    I didn’t realize this topic had been covered elsewhere in the forum. I should have done a little research prior to making the original post.

    That said…

    I’m guessing you are the proud owner of one of the first generation(?) hard plastic GF Lightspheres? No doubt the pliable version works just as well, but is somewhat more convenient to pack around.

    My intention is to use the GF diffuser for lighting group portraits (6 to 12 people) utilizing a single Nikon SB-800. Unfortunately, much of this work will be done with poor ambient lighting (school gymnasiums). I really, truly, dearly want to avoid hauling full-blown studio strobes to these events.

    Thoughts?

    Many thanks to all who have responded to the original post. It is much appreciated.
     
  8. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    like matt said (and you agreed), it's just a diffuser. You can make your own, or buy other brands, it's just the small differences that will tip your decision. From what I've seen Gary Fong's diffuser is one of the best 'to buy' diffusers (but then again, i've only seen like four or so total anyway). it's much better than the little plastic caps that go on the ends of flashes, and scatters the light quite well. If you are intent on buying one, I'd recommend looking at some good prices for them.
     
  9. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    Well said and point taken.
     
  10. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I have seen many pros with home-made cardboard diffusers wandering round at gigs - mostly made from boxes of bran flakes - perhaps there's a pattern there? lol

    They look crappy, but will do the job just as well as a $50 tupperware bowl with adaptor.

    Rob
     

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