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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #1
bad karma
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Default Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

I was deciding between these two but I am not sure about what to get

White umbrella with black back
http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-Interi...2533367&sr=1-1

Or

Silver umbrella with black back

http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-40-Sil...533367&sr=1-11

Does the white reflective one give off more of a softer reflective light?
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #2
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

I am still pretty new at using umbrellas but....

I believe the white with removable black is designed to be used a a shoot through when the black is removed and a reflective type with the black backing in place.

The sliver reflective umbrella can only be used as a reflective type.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #3
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

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Originally Posted by msowsun View Post
I am still pretty new at using umbrellas but....

I believe the white with removable black is designed to be used a a shoot through when the black is removed and a reflective type with the black backing in place.

The sliver reflective umbrella can only be used as a reflective type.
Thanks! I appreciate the response.

The removable black back on the white leads me to believe it can also somewhat be a reflective as well, otherwise why would they have it, that is the confusing part for me.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #4
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

I use satin white umbrellas (with black covers) exclusively as a reflective umbrella. The ones I use are Photogenic Eclipse units.

These are somewhat unique in that the umbrella ribs are covered with the white satin material. This does not totally eliminate the "spokes" in reflections of the umbrella in the subject, but it helps.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #5
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

The umbrella with a removable black cover can be used either way, reflective or shoot-thru. The silver umbrella will give your image a different tone with more specular highlights, generally harder edges.

The umbrella I really like is the Softlighter. It has a removable cover and a diffusion panel.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

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Originally Posted by Titus213 View Post
The umbrella with a removable black cover can be used either way, reflective or shoot-thru. The silver umbrella will give your image a different tone with more specular highlights, generally harder edges.

The umbrella I really like is the Softlighter. It has a removable cover and a diffusion panel.
Beautiful, however I am confused about how the softlighter wraps around flashes and strobes. If I use a vivitar 285, will it work with it (wrap around the head of the flash) as well? Or is it strobes exclusive

I will also need to buy a light stand and bracket with it correct?
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

The diffusion panel has a knitted sock (for lack of a better description) that pulls down over the flash head or strobe. I've not actually used it with my shoe mount flash units but see no reason it would not work. I could see the sock getting in the way of ETTL command flashes but not a radio receiver.

And yes, any off camera flash you use will require some sort of stand and bracket to attach it. How will you trip the flash?
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #8
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

Silver vs. White is discussed frequently. A silver umbrella is more efficient and is typically used 1. For a sill source, 2. With small flash to maximize efficiency, and 3. For a more specular (mirror-like) quality of light.

If very soft light is what you want to achieve you would either use a white umbrella as reflective bounce light source or as a shoot through. Another advantage of using an umbrella as shoot through is that you can get the diffusion material much closer to the subject. The closer you have you light source to the subject the larger the apparent light source is, as well as more wrap around and softer light.

The black backing is used to contain light and have as much of the light reflecting back out of the umbrella, and again maintaining greater efficiency with the least amount of wasted light or power. Small flashes that don't have a lot of power will benefit from using the black backing.

Silver umbrellas obviously do not allow for transmission but even a silver umbrella that does not have a black or opaque backing will lose some light and lessening its efficiency. This also means that a silver umbrella cannot be used as a shoot through.

There are many uses for a more specular, high contrast light source such as a silver umbrella but for someone that wants to learn about lighting and have the greatest flexibility I would recommend a large white umbrella with removable black backing. This will allow you to have a reflective bounce umbrella and a shoot through. Another way to increase contrast with a white umbrella is create a smaller, more directional light source by simply closing down the umbrella a little. Nothing says an umbrella must be opened fully.

I also use the Photogenic 60" White Eclipse umbrellas and like them very much. They produce beautiful soft light as either bounce or shoot through and the design of the Eclipse umbrella is unique in that it conceals the ribs of the umbrella and creates a more natural looking catch light in the subjects eyes.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #9
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus213 View Post
The diffusion panel has a knitted sock (for lack of a better description) that pulls down over the flash head or strobe. I've not actually used it with my shoe mount flash units but see no reason it would not work. I could see the sock getting in the way of ETTL command flashes but not a radio receiver.

And yes, any off camera flash you use will require some sort of stand and bracket to attach it. How will you trip the flash?
Perfect, thank you!

I actually had an idea about buying a reflective umbrella and then some rip stop nylon combined with some velcro strips to make my own "softlighter" but I think I may end up just simply getting this for the sake of convenience.

I will be using modified cactus transmitters for the off camera flash

I appreciate your answers. Do you have any shots you can share that you've taken with the softlighter?
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #10
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMR Design View Post
Silver vs. White is discussed frequently. A silver umbrella is more efficient and is typically used 1. For a sill source, 2. With small flash to maximize efficiency, and 3. For a more specular (mirror-like) quality of light.

If very soft light is what you want to achieve you would either use a white umbrella as reflective bounce light source or as a shoot through. Another advantage of using an umbrella as shoot through is that you can get the diffusion material much closer to the subject. The closer you have you light source to the subject the larger the apparent light source is, as well as more wrap around and softer light.

The black backing is used to contain light and have as much of the light reflecting back out of the umbrella, and again maintaining greater efficiency with the least amount of wasted light or power. Small flashes that don't have a lot of power will benefit from using the black backing.

Silver umbrellas obviously do not allow for transmission but even a silver umbrella that does not have a black or opaque backing will lose some light and lessening its efficiency. This also means that a silver umbrella cannot be used as a shoot through.

There are many uses for a more specular, high contrast light source such as a silver umbrella but for someone that wants to learn about lighting and have the greatest flexibility I would recommend a large white umbrella with removable black backing. This will allow you to have a reflective bounce umbrella and a shoot through. Another way to increase contrast with a white umbrella is create a smaller, more directional light source by simply closing down the umbrella a little. Nothing says an umbrella must be opened fully.

I also use the Photogenic 60" White Eclipse umbrellas and like them very much. They produce beautiful soft light as either bounce or shoot through and the design of the Eclipse umbrella is unique in that it conceals the ribs of the umbrella and creates a more natural looking catch light in the subjects eyes.
Thank you Robert, that cleared up any confusion I had to the benefits of both. Considering the advantages of using a shoot through, I really may end up going with this setup more so than a reflective for the sake of allowing the flash source to be much closer, as well as giving that wrap around effect. This gives me a lot to consider. I've favorited your post to reflect back upon before making my decision. Thank you! Can't appreciate it enough.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #11
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

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Originally Posted by bad karma View Post
Thank you Robert, that cleared up any confusion I had to the benefits of both. Considering the advantages of using a shoot through, I really may end up going with this setup more so than a reflective for the sake of allowing the flash source to be much closer, as well as giving that wrap around effect. This gives me a lot to consider. I've favorited your post to reflect back upon before making my decision. Thank you! Can't appreciate it enough.

My pleasure man. Any other questions, just ask.
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Old 27th of September 2008 (Sat)   #12
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Default Re: Silver reflective or white reflective umbrella?

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Originally Posted by bad karma View Post
Beautiful, however I am confused about how the softlighter wraps around flashes and strobes. If I use a vivitar 285, will it work with it (wrap around the head of the flash) as well? Or is it strobes exclusive

I will also need to buy a light stand and bracket with it correct?
There are many ways to use a shoe-mount flash with Photek Softlighters or generic equivalents. Here's one setup using two umbrella swivels and a cheap Softlighter clone:



Note that this is an over-engineered solution. There are easier ways to do this but I was experimenting with the bits and pieces I had on hand on a rainy day. I offer the photo just to illustrate that using a shoe-mount flash is certainly possible.

And speaking of Softlighters, if you like the concept but not necessarily the price, be aware that there are numerous clones available from Amvona.com as well as from eBay vendors. I have two sizes of Photek Softlighter as well as three generic clones. They all work similarly though the Photek is the best built.

Dave F.
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