use of lightsphere in room?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kathleen, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Kathleen

    Kathleen TPF Noob!

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    I just got a lightsphere - clear & so far I've got to say that I love it for fill flash. But I do have a question. In a dimly lit room, with no place to bounce (no white walls or ceilings) can I use the lightsphere and aim it directly at my subject (inverted dome in place/or not?)
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lightsphere is nothing more than a gorified piece of tupperware with an incredibly over-inflated price (besides, I see no reason to light the room *behind* me where the camera cannot see anyways). Use a bounce card for better effects/control.

    I've tried them (lightspheres), and find all that they do is make the flash work harder, shortening bulb and battery life uselessly. A bounce card is way better.

    Visit www.abetterbouncecard.com for a couple of cheaper and superior performing ideas. ;) :)
     
  3. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    in a large gym for unplanned basketball portraits (kindergarteners), I just pointed the lightsphere straight ahead. Yeah it wasted a lot of light, but it worked. Definitely, there are better solutions, but do what you need to.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Google "a better bounce card". ;)
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    The softness of light is dependent on two things. The size of the light source and the distance to the subject.

    When you bounce the light off of walls or a ceiling, the size of the source in increased dramatically, which softens the light. The Fong Dong works by spreading the light all around and hoping that there is something to bounce off of and send the light back to the subject. With walls and a ceiling, it works well. When there are no good bounce surfaces, it wastes an awful lot of light.

    So you could point it forward...and with the dome on, it will soften the light only a little bit because the size of the dome is only slightly bigger than the flash. However, the dome will block/absorb some of the light and spread a lot of it around, in directions that are useless to you. So it's quite wasteful. IMO, you would be better off shooting the flash directly.

    A bounce card does work well, when you are bouncing the light but won't do anything for you if there is nothing to bounce off of.

    With any of these flash accessories, the key is to know when & where they will be effective and when they wont. A good understanding of light is much better than any accessory.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I disagree that the bounce card is useless unless there is an object like a wall or ceiling to bounce off of... the card itself *is* the object that it bounces off of. It increases apparent size of light, dispersing it far more effectively in the direction that is beneficial to the shot better than any lightsphere could.

    Pointing a strobe forward with a lightsphere on it... all it does is eat a ton of energy to disperse light. Does it soften the light? Yes, by eating all the power wasted. A better way to do the same thing is to just lower the power of the flash a LOT and use a bounce card to get the same ending results.

    Finally, I do agree that knowledge is power. :)
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Whether or not a bounce card (by itself) will make the light any softer, depends entirely on the size of the card. It would have to be significantly bigger than the flash head to soften the light. And unless you bend the card to 45 degrees or more, some of the light is wasted by going straight up (out of the flash head).

    The real benefit of a bounce card, is that when you are bouncing the majority of the light (off the ceiling for example), the card will redirect some of the light forward to fill in shadows caused by the light coming down from the ceiling. Other accesories do this as well; the Omnibounce, the 80-20 etc. But the bounce card works really well and can be dirt cheap. Myself, I've been using the Demb Flip-It Pro, which is basically a cool bounce card.
     
  8. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yup, it's all about the size of the card used in relation to the subject distance. A 6x8 card is awesome for something very small and 6 inches from the lens/bounce card. The same card has almost no affect on a person 3 or 4 meters from the bounce card. At 5 or 6 meters there is like, zero "noticeable" difference.

    Subject size, zoom, and cropping also have an affect but that gets complicated to explain. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  9. Kathleen

    Kathleen TPF Noob!

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    Excuse me?? Six inches from the lens?? Are you saying the bounce card is only good if the subject is 6 inches away? Did I misunderstand, if not what's the use of using it?
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    What he meant (I'm pretty sure) is that the difference between using direct flash and a bounce card only (no bouncing off of the ceiling) won't be noticeable unless you are very close to the subject. If you are bouncing off of a wall or ceiling, then a bounce card works great most of the time.
     
  11. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yup, that's pretty much it.

    You can draw (in your imagination) the lines that will define the size/amount of the shadow softness (aka shadow falloff).

    Top View
    [​IMG]



    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
  12. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Here's what Mike is talking about:



    [​IMG]




    .
     

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