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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 21 Jun 2013 (Friday) 19:07
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Speedlight "Stofen" Help

 
CptTripps
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Jun 23, 2013 22:17 |  #16

Although the gel holder is nice, mine has been doing this ever since making a DIY bounce card.

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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 23, 2013 23:09 as a reply to  @ CptTripps's post |  #17

homemade bounce card, copied from a post i made a few weeks ago.

i have used it with the head rotated upward in portrait mode and rearranged the modifier, but for the purposes of this thread wanted to show it's use if only the camera was rotated, run and gun mode, if you will.

the light is more pleasing with it rotated upward, and even moreso if the subject is more than 4 feet from the camera and light source.

the foam sheet was 12x18 so i cut it in half and made two, it was originally made for a nikon sb28 so it just barely fits on my 580EXII, really, i need a rubber band to keep it on. Probably need to go buy another sheet and fix that.

oh, I mentioned earlier that the craft store velcro wasn't very sticky and kept coming off. The cheap stuff is the black velcro, the white velcro is much stickier stuff i got at the hardware store, and cut to size.

there is no velcro on the flash itself, the foam stays on there just fine.

cheers!


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PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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ElliotD
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Jun 24, 2013 00:52 |  #18

These things in my experience just eat light. Mine is in the junk drawer.




  
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CptTripps
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Jun 24, 2013 04:54 |  #19

That is darn near exactly the template I used but I put black on the other side.


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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 26, 2013 20:10 |  #20

Hello OP,

You are going to get a lot of different opinions on this subject, as seen already, but I contend there is a use for all. Some photogs note the stofen is good for garbage only, due to eating up power, but on the other hand they wouldn't hesitate using a softbox?:rolleyes:

Given that, loss of power isn't really the major consideration is it.

Getting the shot is the first major consideration and making the best of it in a given situation is next. Please keep in mind not all the advice you'll be given will apply to you or most folks. Some photogs have quite a bit of equipment and plenty of time to setup for what they do...

We on the other hand have two daughters, a cat and a newborn in our immediate family. Consequently, there isn't always time to set up some elaborate multi flash setup with use of umbrella's and softboxes while figuring flash ratio's and loss of light, etc. For us, it's often just a matter of grabbing the camera in hopes of getting some good spontaneous shots.

---------------

In regards to stofens, reflectors and straight flash.

1) I've always found the reflector type diffuser, such as the LumiQuest QUICK BOUNCE (external link), to render the best results. The Quick Bounce is very versatile in that it allows portrait and landscape shooting as well as some bounce if desired. Reflectors are not always convenient though and can be a distraction in some instances.

2) Stofen filter. These do not typically render results quite as good as a reflector but are most often better than straight flash. They are really handy and very unobtrusive. I often leave one on my flash (in bag) for those spontaneous and quick moments.

3) Straight flash. This isn't typically the desired method as results can often be unflattering (red eye, flat subject, harsh shadows). That's not to say you cannot get great results with straight flash but generally speaking not as good as other methods...

Ya'll will have to excuse my oldest daughters lack of interest. I interrupted her show for some quick examples. All shots were taken with the same camera settings and flash in ettl mode, no editing.

**The first photo is straight flash. It is very unflattering and flat. It's also suffering from red eye which is much more prominent than depicted. There is typically harsh shadows with straight flash but for various reasons those aren't showing in this example. You can however look at her dolls shadow for comparative purposes.

**The second photo is with the useless Stofen filter, as some say. BTW, the results are significantly better than the straight flash and equal to best overall. There is no red eye and enough light bounces off the walls/ceiling to avoid harsh shadows. Just FYI, I did up the FEC by 0.3 as I wanted to compare it to the direct flash output. That was a minimal adjustment yet the output result was very good in comparison.

**The third photo is also excellent. It was taken with a large bounce card the size of the Lumiquest Quick bounce. There is enough spill-off light bouncing off the walls/ceiling to avoid harsh shadows. It also renders a very nice catch-light in my daughters eye's such as the Stofen. This shot and the Stofen were equal and rendered the best results by far.

**In the fourth photo, I bounced the flash directly off our cathedral ceiling behind me. It's better than direct flash but still isn't near as good as the reflector or Stofen in this instance. The WB would require some adjustment due to the bounce adding to much of our tan walls to the image. The nice catch light in my daughters eye's isn't possible with bounce either.

Anyhow, just experiment.

God Bless,
Ralph


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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 26, 2013 20:11 as a reply to  @ Ralph III's post |  #21

last two


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CptTripps
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Jun 27, 2013 02:15 |  #22

I think if #2 had more light it would look just like #1. The shadows are no softer, there is just less light.

I could be wrong and perhaps an equal exposure would show that better. I did enjoy your write up and views.


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a_roadbiker
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Jun 27, 2013 09:49 |  #23

The only one without the doll's shadow is #4. The WB could be very easily corrected in LR, I'd be curious to know which WB setting was used on your camera. AWB would be my guess.

I fool around with the Stofen and use it when I need it. I have a Fong Lightsphere too, but seldom use it. I prefer bouncing the flash from a white/neutral colored wall, but when that isn't available I use the Stofen. Plus it's much easier to carry around and looks less goofy than the Fong.

JIm

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gonzogolf
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Jun 27, 2013 10:00 |  #24

The failure of the test above is that all of the images are exposed differently. Its difficult to tell the difference in the changes in quality of the light, when the quantity is so different.




  
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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 27, 2013 16:38 |  #25

gonzogolf wrote in post #16069572 (external link)
The failure of the test above is that all of the images are exposed differently. Its difficult to tell the difference in the changes in quality of the light, when the quantity is so different.

Hello Gonzogolf,

I will respond directly to your comment and then in general for other’s sake.

The test photos are not a failure if you consider my points, which was two fold.

**First, I wanted to discredit the notion that somehow you must have a portable generator or external battery pack or jack up the FEC significantly, with use of a Stofen type filter. Some folks discredit the use of a Stofen type filter noting it requires more power, yet they wouldn’t hesitate recommending use of a softbox or in bouncing the flash?

In my examples, straight flash is clearly the brightest while the bounce flash is clearly the weakest. The later would require the most FEC out of all the setups. The Stofen and large bounce card examples fall in between and would only require a minimal FEC adjustment.

**Second, I wanted to show that the Stofen filter can be a very useful tool and even preferred at times.

_______________


I’ve take thousands of photos in our medium sized living room (18x24ft) with cathedral ceilings and other such rooms and this is what I’ve concluded.

1) Straight flash is the poorest option: It can render very harsh shadows, unnatural hot spots, flat images and red eye. It can give a skeleton or deer in headlights look at times.


2) Bounce flash is a poor choice in this case also.

a) It cannot render a catch light in the eye’s as it must be bounced backward or to the sides in this instance.

b) Using bounce only can cause stronger or color cast issues due to varying wall colors. Yes, that can be corrected but it is something to consider.

c) I could bounce the flash slightly forward with use of a bounce card but then you’re at option #3.

3) A Stofen filter or large bounce card with spill-off works best in this instance. It allows a very nice catch light in the eye’s, it renders a softer light (vs. straight flash), it eliminates harsh shadows because it also utilizes bounce and it eliminates red eye due to being tilted upward and thus high enough to avoid such.

I realize my original image examples are not drastically different, or appear drastically different, but there are quality differences to be seen and points to consider. The differences are often quite pronounced though.

I’ve further cropped the straight-flash image (first) and Stofen-image (second) in better highlighting some differences as one commented they couldn’t tell. A) The straight flash image causes some unnatural hot spots on my daughter face as well as her hair. Overall color doesn't look good. B) She is also suffering from some red eye. This isn’t very noticeable until you compare it to the Stofen image and the difference is pretty drastic. C) Though this is a poor example for showing harsh shadows such can be seen with her doll and in some highlight (hair) variations.

The Stofen image is softer, it avoids harsh shadows, the color is better and there is no remnants of red eye. My daughters eyes and hair look much better and natural with the Stofen as does her doll (look at the hair highlights/shadows).

I’m not a Stofen advocate but it’s silly to say they are useless garbage when they can be quite handy at times.

God Bless,
Ralph


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Wilt
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Jun 27, 2013 17:04 |  #26

gonzogolf wrote in post #16069572 (external link)
The failure of the test above is that all of the images are exposed differently. Its difficult to tell the difference in the changes in quality of the light, when the quantity is so different.

I tried to make the four comparisons somewhat balanced for exposure and color temp. The sequence is as originally posted
1. straight flash, 2. Stofen, 3. Lumiquest, 4. Ceiling back-bounce.

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/lightmodcompare_zpsbcfb82fa.jpg

Even before the test, I would admit that the Stofen works in certain circumstances, and is not 'useless'.

But all too many folks use them when they waste light in useless directions: ( to the back), frequently usedless directions (to the sides), and sometimes useless directions (colored or absent ceiling),
rather than to remove them or to employ a better modifier (e.g. head aimed upward into a large 45 degree white card or Lumiquest, or fired thru a softbox as soft direct source)

I am surprised to not see a more visible difference between the small Stofen and the larger area of the Lumiquest...perhaps it was used wrongly?! One should be able to see greater softness of shadow edges with a larger area device like the Lumiquest or my Fetachess bowl...As I demonstrated via the link earlier, something cheaper than the Stofen and which is (more importantly) larger in size makes a much more visible improvement over the tiny Stofen. I would have expected the Lumiquest to be somewhat more similar to my Fetacheese modifier!

https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=15550109&po​stcount=18

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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 28, 2013 10:45 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #27

quote by Wilt: "Even before the test, I would admit that the Stofen works in certain circumstances, and is not 'useless'.

But all too many folks use them when they waste light in useless directions: ( to the back), frequently usedless directions (to the sides), and sometimes useless directions (colored or absent ceiling),
rather than to remove them or to employ a better modifier (e.g. head aimed upward into a large 45 degree white card or Lumiquest, or fired thru a softbox as soft direct source)

I am surprised to not see a more visible difference between the small Stofen and the larger area of the Lumiquest...perhaps it was used wrongly?! One should be able to see greater softness of shadow edges with a larger area device like the Lumiquest or my Fetachess bowl...As I demonstrated via the link earlier, something cheaper than the Stofen and which is (more importantly) larger in size makes a much more visible improvement over the tiny Stofen. I would have expected the Lumiquest to be somewhat more similar to my Fetacheese modifier!"

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/...9&pos​tcount=18

Hey Wilt,

To clarify, I didn't use a Lumiquest. I folded the edges of a piece of 8.5 x 11in typing paper in making a large bounce card about the size of the Lumiquest Quick Bounce. The results would have been very similar had I used the Quick Bounce with one or both doors opened.

I've owned the Quick Bounce and really like those units btw. I sold mine recently in funding some other gear but will look to get another one soon.

---------------

In this case however, given room size and layout, the Stofen type filter gets the best results (or equal) yet it is easiest to use. Just throw it on your flash, direct the flash upward and shoot away.

1) It is utilizing bounce by throwing enough light around the room in avoiding harsh shadows and in softening the light source.

2) The light being directed forward makes for a very nice catch light in the eye's and good overall exposure. In this instance, it really only takes a minor FEC adjustment as demonstrated. I can raise the flashes internal bounce card if I want to avoid loss of light out the back of the Stofen. That however isn't necessary in this case and actually desired given my cathedral ceiling.

My only point was to show they can be a very useful tool. I agree they are not preferred in many instances and folks should remove them or use a different modifier or none at times.

My wife was watching "4 weddings" last night and the pro photog was using a Stofen outdoors in full sunlight for a wedding in New Orleans.:( I mean he's the pro but I would have just use straight flash in that instance. All you're doing is adding fill and the Stofen is nothing but a battery drain in that instance.

God Bless,
Ralph


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SkipD
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Jun 28, 2013 11:37 |  #28

Ralph III wrote in post #16072876 (external link)
My wife was watching "4 weddings" last night and the pro photog was using a Stofen outdoors in full sunlight for a wedding in New Orleans.:( I mean he's the pro but I would have just use straight flash in that instance. All you're doing is adding fill and the Stofen is nothing but a battery drain in that instance.

Ralph, I've seen quite a few "professional photographers" (meaning that they are paid for their work) who quite apparently don't understand what they are trying to do in certain situations. What your wife saw was one of those.


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joeblack2022
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Jun 28, 2013 12:59 |  #29

SkipD wrote in post #16073049 (external link)
Ralph, I've seen quite a few "professional photographers" (meaning that they are paid for their work) who quite apparently don't understand what they are trying to do in certain situations. What your wife saw was one of those.

I've seen someone use a Fong Lightsphere from the back of a very large conference / banquet hall and chimp the results with a puzzled look on her face.


Joel

  
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waterrockets
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Jun 28, 2013 16:43 |  #30

Wilt wrote in post #16070849 (external link)
I tried to make the four comparisons somewhat balanced for exposure and color temp. The sequence is as originally posted
1. straight flash, 2. Stofen, 3. Lumiquest, 4. Ceiling back-bounce.

QUOTED IMAGE

Even before the test, I would admit that the Stofen works in certain circumstances, and is not 'useless'.

But all too many folks use them when they waste light in useless directions: ( to the back), frequently usedless directions (to the sides), and sometimes useless directions (colored or absent ceiling),
rather than to remove them or to employ a better modifier (e.g. head aimed upward into a large 45 degree white card or Lumiquest, or fired thru a softbox as soft direct source)

I am surprised to not see a more visible difference between the small Stofen and the larger area of the Lumiquest...perhaps it was used wrongly?! One should be able to see greater softness of shadow edges with a larger area device like the Lumiquest or my Fetachess bowl...As I demonstrated via the link earlier, something cheaper than the Stofen and which is (more importantly) larger in size makes a much more visible improvement over the tiny Stofen. I would have expected the Lumiquest to be somewhat more similar to my Fetacheese modifier!

https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=15550109&po​stcount=18

It's all in the eye of the beholder, but I think the bounce flash is much nicer than any of the others.

The point about the doll shadow seems to have been dropped, but it's a good way to demonstrate the harshness from the direct lighting of the first 3. The lighting on her neck is also not flattering in the first 3.

I use a black foamy thing or a white foamy thing in these cases. I would probably bounce the cathedral ceiling behind me and let about an inch of the white foamy remain visible to the subject to throw in a small amount of direct. These $0.99 flash modifiers can be complicated though.


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Speedlight "Stofen" Help
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