On camera flash diffuser

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tom beard, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. tom beard

    tom beard TPF Noob!

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    I have a D-90 and a SB-600 speed light. You're all correct in saying that on camera flashes are lousy. If you are at a party or gathering just doing grab shots, and you have a big honkin' flash on top of your camera it can intimidate people. Is there any such thing as an on-camera flash diffuser? Or, could you just cut a piece of white paper the size of the flash surface and stick it on to soften the light? Would it confuse the light meter? At a Christmas party I took a picture of a friend and she ask me if I was studying to be a Paparazzi!

    Embarrassed, Tom Beard
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I have the Gary Fong Puffer and it works good for the pop-up flash.
     
  3. BAmereihn

    BAmereihn TPF Noob!

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    same as fong but 3 colors and $10 [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001D1GGO4/ref=oss_product]Amazon.com: Soft Pop-Up SLR Flash Diffuser for Canon EOS, Nikon, Olympus, & Pentax On-Camera Flashes with White, Blue (Cooling), & Yellow (Warming) Screens: Camera & Photo[/ame]
     
  4. asherexplore

    asherexplore TPF Noob!

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    ive used a spare sock, made a tape bubble.. you can make all sorts of things, use a napkin even.
     
  5. MGriff240

    MGriff240 TPF Noob!

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    Wow, never thought of trying to diffuse the craptastic flash...Here's what I came up with as a sort-of red filter.
    [​IMG]
    Results: (taken in a very dark room...Had to use auto focus because I couldn't see enough to tell if it was focused)
    [​IMG]
    Also tried the napkin idea...
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    There is a common misconception that if you cover the flash with something opaque (plastic, napkin etc) that it will 'soften' the light.
    There are two factors to the 'softness' of light. The size of the source and the distance to the subject.
    Simply putting something over the flash does not increase it's size, at least not in a significant way, so all it does is absorb/block some of the light, thus making the flash have to use more power than it would need without the 'diffuser'.

    The best way to improve your flash lighting when using the flash on-camera, is to bounce the light. If you aim the flash at the ceiling, you turn the ceiling into your light source, which is obviously going to be a lot larger than the flash head...thus, you get softer light.

    Most flash accessories are made to be used in conjunction with bounced flash. The Omnibounce and the Lightsphere for example. They spread the light out, so that it bounces off of the walls and/or ceiling, thus coming back to the subject very soft. That's all well and good, but you need to realize that when there are no bounce surfaces, those type of accessories are just wasting the light & power.
     
  7. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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  8. MGriff240

    MGriff240 TPF Noob!

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    1. Your first statement is true, but a diffuser will help "soften" the light by spreading it out, rather than getting the full-on light.

    2. I believe what he means by on-camera flash is the pop-up flash, therefore you cannot change the position of it.

    O.P, if you're talking about an external flash that's mounted on your camera, then don't mind me. :lol:
     
  9. tom beard

    tom beard TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I was talking about the pop up flash. Sorry for the confusing language. Thanks for all the good tips. TB
     
  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Necessity is the mother of invention. So, get inventive.

    Making the light appear larger is what softens it.

    Mike was right that a diffuser doesn't do that (soften the light), it just spreads light out (diffuses) into areas that don't need it and just wastes power.

    Tom, go read through the blog at www.planetneil.com and become a frequent visitor to www.strobist.com.
     
  12. Sirashley

    Sirashley TPF Noob!

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    actually, two squares of toiler paper folded over and wrap a rubber band around your on-board flash... Works wonders :)
     

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