which flash diffuser ??

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by CWA_JGEISINGER, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. CWA_JGEISINGER

    CWA_JGEISINGER TPF Noob!

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    was wondering which flash diffuser most recommend for very tall ceilings that are to high to bounce off of.

    the typical sto-fen type?
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/408070-REG/SBM_0104__0104_Supreme_Flash_Diffuser.html

    or the dome type?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Lambency-Flash-...ryZ15221QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    or the softbox type?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Velcro-Flash-Di...ryZ64354QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I'm trying to get everyones opinions on there best solution for shooting in big open indoor spaces with no where to bounce from?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If you don't have anything to bounce the light off off...then the Sto-fen is practically useless. It's main function is to throw some light forward while some is bounced. Which is perfectly fine (a bounce card will do the same thing). A lot of people seem to use them a just a diffuser...but since they don't really enlarge the size of the light source, they don't really make the light softer. They do block some light which makes the flash work harder.

    The dome type are also best used when bouncing the light. Their strength is that they send light out in all directions and by the time it comes back to the subject, it wraps around them and chases the shadows away. With nothing to bounce off of, it's is wasting a lot of light that is being sent away in all directions. It does slightly increase the size of the source, giving somewhat softer direct light...but not by much. A nice advantage to these is that they are round, so it doesn't really matter what direction you are facing when bouncing...so you get similar results in both landscape and portrait orientation. Still, if you don't have walls or a ceiling, I'd skip these.

    A softbox will make the light source larger, which will soften the light. The bigger the softbox, the softer the light...but it also gets more unwieldy the bigger it gets...and it will probably block the IR signal of the flash, which is used for AF assist etc. Also, when you rotate the camera & flash, the softbox is on the side, which may cause side shadows if there are walls behind your subject. (unless you use a flash bracket).

    Personally, I use bare flash a lot of the time. That way, I'm not reliant on a bounce surface. If the opportunity to bounce is there, then I will use it. I do use a bracket for things like weddings.
    I also have a Lumiquest 80-20, which helps to send some light forward while bouncing. It can also be fitted to send all the light forward. I don't use it all that much, but I like it because it folds flat and fits in a bag easily.
     
  3. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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  4. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Mike, mostly.

    1) To me, the Sto-fen is useless...period.

    2) I have a dome, which I find most useful..will explain.

    3) I also have a softbox for my SB-800, which I really like, but only for shorter distances. It diffuses the light really well, but a little too good for shooting somthing like a small group of people.


    Back to the dome... If you don't mind looking like a complete goof, what I have found that works pretty good is to put the dome on, aim the flash head at your subject with the lower "cup" part of the dome wrapped with aluminum foil (shiny side in). This acts like a headlight reflector, forcing more of the light through the top diffuser portion of the dome instead of allowing it to escape in scattered directions. Works pretty good for me.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    It should also be mentioned that when you need a lot of power, you don't want to block or diffuse the light from the flash head. The lens in front of the bulb, acts like a fresnel lens, projecting the light out quite efficiently. But if you diffuse that, you loose a lot of power/range. Probably not an issue when shooting indoors...but it's important when you are shooting outdoors at F16 or with high speed sync.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The stofen isn't completely useless. It acts like a bare bulb sending the light in all directions instead of it just shooting forwards in a beam.
     
  7. CWA_JGEISINGER

    CWA_JGEISINGER TPF Noob!

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    thats what I thought....
    Ive seen people use these and point the flash strait at the subject.



    the reason I'm asking is because I have my first weddings coming up in may and I am looking for the flash setup/diffuser for reception halls and churches with tall ceilings that will give the best results.
     
  8. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    If you are bouncing the flash, that will diffuse it just fine.

    If you want to send some light straight forwards while most is sent up, then tape a piece of white card to the top of the flash so it sticks out a bit.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Diffusers... never use them. I use the bounce card on my SB-800 and if I want a broader/brighter diffused light, just take a piece of white paper, cut it to the right shape and rubber band it to my strobe. Works fantastic.

    www.abetterbouncecard.com has all kinds of nice ideas.

    Stofens or lightspeheres all just drain the battery and do little for quality of light.
     
  10. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour TPF Noob!

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    From my own personal experience, The dome is the best. I use Gary Fongs Light sphereII and I also have a ebay version of his lightsphere 1 (like the one you have linked to. I have tried all kinds of diffusers softbox(junk) a better bounce card(Worthless) IMO The dome unbelievable!!! I can't say I like the one like the one you have posted as much as I like the lightsphereII (the difference is 1 is see threw frosted and II is white) The II seems to diffuse the light perfectly. where when I am using the the I i sometimes have to adjust (weaken ) the flash. but it still is amazing! No exaggerating, it gives very close to studio results. Since I have bought one I have not one time taken it off!here is a link to one of the videos on it. No joke it works exactly like advetized. theres a ton of videos on you tube on it. Best investment I have ever made!
     
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  11. joshhuntnm

    joshhuntnm TPF Noob!

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    I love the world's cheapest diffuser: tape a piece of paper to the flash.
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    The domes can be nice, but they are aren't at their best unless you have suitable surfaces to bounce off of.
     

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