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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #1
DannyLongIsland
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Default Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

I am shooting a kids fishing event in the beginning of August. Last year I shot the same event but at the time had no off camera flash options. While many pics came out well with just natural light, many could have used so fill to give them a bit more pop. The event is on a dock and will be during mid day. Last year it was overcast which helped, but I want to be prepared in case its not. These will be mostly impromptu type portrait shots, walking about and snapping away while the kids fish. I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a diffuser for something like this. The flash will most likely be hand held, using cybersyncs or an ETTL cord. This is not a paid gig so the parents are just happy to have the pics, but I am hoping to use this as practice for me. And most likely I will not have an assistant. Thanks.
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Last edited by DannyLongIsland : 29th of June 2009 (Mon) at 15:05. Reason: spelling
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #2
Chris
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

I don't think you need a diffuser in the middle of the day in the open sun.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #3
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

I have the ex430ll and I use a piece parchment paper taped to the flash.It works reasonably good at diffusing the flash.It's cheap and easy when your in a bind.
Just a thought.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #4
DannyLongIsland
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Normally I wouldn't have thought I would, but I wasn't sure since the flash really wouldn't be any further away from the subject than arms length. If I can get away without one, thats even better. Thank you both.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

If you're thinking of a "diffuser" such as the Stofen or Fong 'tupperware', I'd say forget it. Those things do little more than waste light (and energy from your batteries) when outdoors.

A large reflector type device - one that provides a significantly larger light source area than the naked flash - may soften the shadows from the flash a bit.

You'd also want a bracket that will keep the flash directly above (or below) the lens regardless of the camera's orientation. An on-camera flash with a large reflector will throw a lot of shadow on one side of folks' faces when the camera is rotated into the "portrait" position.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

^ ...particularly outdoors when there is no ceiling to serve as a bounce surface, so that most of the light from a Stoffen or Fong is sent into the stratosphere!

If you do use a large card, make sure that card captures most of the light from the upward facing flash, so that it can deflect the light forward to the subjet, and serve as a larger apparent light source than the flash lens would.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

I suggest sticking the flash on the hot shoe, no stofen, paper, napkin or anything on your flash; ETTL -1 to -2; camera in manual. You'll capture great shots, and not have to shoot with one hand, and hold a flash with the other.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #8
DannyLongIsland
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Would I be better off just investing in a collapsable reflector and forget the flash all together? Or would that be too cumbersome to use by yourself?
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Gatorboy, that sounds like a good idea. I'll play around with that today before the sun goes down, see how it works. Thanks again to everyones input.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Diffusing light requires that it comes from a larger area than the flash itself. Just putting a piece of milk-colored plastic on that flash doesn't make it larger. You have to bounce into something.

If you have time to experiment, try the extremely cheap disposable plate taped to flash method. Ugly, but works, so you can see the effect of it.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #11
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BronxFireGuy View Post
Would I be better off just investing in a collapsable reflector and forget the flash all together? Or would that be too cumbersome to use by yourself?
If you have three arms, using a reflector to bounce sun might work OK, but then again a metalized reflector would cause your subjects to squint and twist up their faces into a gargoyle face once your third arm had positioned it right! Something out of the SciFi channel.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #12
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

I use the "Walmart Diffuser" with silver reflector tape outdoors and like the results.
http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

^^OHHH, thanks for the DIY
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorboy View Post
I suggest sticking the flash on the hot shoe, no stofen, paper, napkin or anything on your flash; ETTL -1 to -2; camera in manual. You'll capture great shots, and not have to shoot with one hand, and hold a flash with the other.
I'm with Dave as he lists it above. Put the flash on camera and shoot straight on with a negative FEC of 1 to 2. Simple and to the point.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #15
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Default Re: Diffuser for 580 EXII (handheld)

Quote:
Originally Posted by apersson850 View Post
Diffusing light requires that it comes from a larger area than the flash itself. Just putting a piece of milk-colored plastic on that flash doesn't make it larger. You have to bounce into something..
Not quite true...a softbox is merely a 'large plastic milk bottle' that prevents light from coming out except for the forward face!
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