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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 04 Dec 2013 (Wednesday) 20:47
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StoFen Diffuser

 
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Dec 07, 2013 01:41 |  #31
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I tried the same thing with the Metz 58 AF-2 and the Westcott 7' parabolic, but that brolly is really not meant to be used with flash guns, in spite of the pictures on the box it comes in.


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talbot_sunbeam
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Dec 08, 2013 07:26 |  #32

I have and use one in appropriate situations. I understand the things that people say who are against them, and most of those have merit. There are times when a stofen is pointless and wasteful, and bare flash is preferable.

If I am in a situation where I can bounce and want natural light, I will do that, and there's no real need of a stofen (or some cases, the stofen can help by spreading the light around a little more than direct flash).

In situations where you can't bounce (say, for nightclub or low-light event photography), you typically want to light the subject directly, and drag the shutter to pull up the ambient lights - this is something I do quite a bit.

I've compared using direct bare flash (either on or off camera) pointing at the subject, to using a stofen at 45 degrees, with various exposure compensation amounts and in almost all cases I prefer the stofen shots - so I still use it in that configuration.

As to why - with the stofen at 45 degrees, clearly some light is being directed away from the subject, whereas direct flash basically all the light is hitting the subject. I *think* what's happening is you get a sort of "feathering the light" effect - it's quite common in photography to not make the lights hit the subject directly, but to feather the light, where the subject is just coming into the edges of the light beam - the light is pointed slightly past the subject rather than at the subject.

This is I guess what is happening with the stofen - it's the only reason I can think of to explain why in my tests I always prefered the stofen at 45 degrees to direct flash, even flash exposure compensated...

Note: I also use it when the flash is put into a softbox as well...

So, for me at least, it has it's uses...



7D, 450D | 17-55, 10-22, 55-250, 50 1.8, 580EXII | YN568II | YN622 x3 | Magic Lantern | (Still) Jonesing for a 70-200 2.8...
Turns out a gripped 7D + 622 + 580exII + 70-200 2.8 IS MK2 is BLOODY HEAVY! Who knew?!!

  
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Dec 08, 2013 11:10 |  #33

talbot_sunbeam wrote in post #16510534 (external link)
As to why - with the stofen at 45 degrees, clearly some light is being directed away from the subject, whereas direct flash basically all the light is hitting the subject. I *think* what's happening is you get a sort of "feathering the light" effect - it's quite common in photography to not make the lights hit the subject directly, but to feather the light, where the subject is just coming into the edges of the light beam - the light is pointed slightly past the subject rather than at the subject.

This is I guess what is happening with the stofen - it's the only reason I can think of to explain why in my tests I always prefered the stofen at 45 degrees to direct flash, even flash exposure compensated...

Your guess is not right. Fortunately StoFen provides an illustration to explain how it works.
Unfortunately the illustration under emphasizes the contribution of the ceiling bounced light, where the size of the 'apparent source' causes light rays to come from many points, causing much less defined edges to shadows. So I took their base illustration and embellished it to better illustrate the principle of ceiling bounce contribution. Think of overcast days, where you see little evidence of your own shadow on the ground.

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Stofenhowitworks_zpsedd1e75a.jpg

The issue is not related to 'feathering', which makes use of the outer areas of light cast by a softbox, for example, in which the outer fringes are less intense than more centrally in the light field, as illustrated here...
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/feathering.jpg

...where the person nearest the softbox is illuminated by less intense light than those farther away. Therefore, the persons farther away, which causes them to be subjected somewhat to falloff of intensity due to distance (although softboxes are not subject to the more rapid Inverse Square falloff as specular sources are) so the entire group is somewhat uniformly illuminated by taking advantage of feathering.

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talbot_sunbeam
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Dec 08, 2013 13:42 |  #34

Wilt wrote in post #16510893 (external link)
Your guess is not right. Fortunately StoFen provides an illustration to explain how it works.

The issue is not related to 'feathering', which makes use of the outer areas of light cast by a softbox, for example, in which the outer fringes are less intense than more centrally in the light field, as illustrated here...
QUOTED IMAGE

...where the person nearest the softbox is illuminated by less intense light than those farther away. Therefore, the persons farther away, which causes them to be subjected somewhat to falloff of intensity due to distance (although softboxes are not subject to the more rapid Inverse Square falloff as specular sources are) so the entire group is somewhat uniformly illuminated by taking advantage of feathering.

If you re-read what I wrote, I am specifically talking about scenarios where there is *no* bouncing - there are no walls, no reflections, no bounce back. I understand how stofens work in conjunction with walls and bouncing, and referred to this in my post, but I am not talking about this scenario.

When the stofen is angled upward, the light is scattered more than the direct flash beam, and my subject is on the lower side, therefore is receiving less light or less intensity, which to me looks better, when I've done some tests...



7D, 450D | 17-55, 10-22, 55-250, 50 1.8, 580EXII | YN568II | YN622 x3 | Magic Lantern | (Still) Jonesing for a 70-200 2.8...
Turns out a gripped 7D + 622 + 580exII + 70-200 2.8 IS MK2 is BLOODY HEAVY! Who knew?!!

  
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Dec 08, 2013 13:46 |  #35

talbot_sunbeam wrote in post #16511237 (external link)
If you re-read what I wrote, I am specifically talking about scenarios where there is *no* bouncing - there are no walls, no reflections, no bounce back. I understand how stofens work in conjunction with walls and bouncing, and referred to this in my post, but I am not talking about this scenario.

When the stofen is angled upward, the light is scattered more than the direct flash beam, and my subject is on the lower side, therefore is receiving less light or less intensity, which to me looks better, when I've done some tests...

Have you tried shooting at 45* with the bounce card pulled out? That's what I usually do in those situations as I didn't see a noticeable difference between the built in bounce card and the sto-fen. Granted that's just me.


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Wilt
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Dec 08, 2013 14:00 |  #36

talbot_sunbeam wrote in post #16511237 (external link)
If you re-read what I wrote, I am specifically talking about scenarios where there is *no* bouncing - there are no walls, no reflections, no bounce back. I understand how stofens work in conjunction with walls and bouncing, and referred to this in my post, but I am not talking about this scenario.

When the stofen is angled upward, the light is scattered more than the direct flash beam, and my subject is on the lower side, therefore is receiving less light or less intensity, which to me looks better, when I've done some tests...

But if you look at the top illustration from Stofen, they clearly show the almost 180 degree characteristic of the light field, and the 'feathering' (decrease of light intensity) only occurs BEYOND that wide angle -- nowhere near where the subject is. Anything which goes up (or down) and does not bounce against an adjacent wall or ceiling -- which is what you are specifically ruling out, bounce! -- is wasted light, and no more than that.


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talbot_sunbeam
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Dec 08, 2013 14:05 |  #37

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16511247 (external link)
Have you tried shooting at 45* with the bounce card pulled out? That's what I usually do in those situations as I didn't see a noticeable difference between the built in bounce card and the sto-fen. Granted that's just me.

I have but I don't think I tested that at the time I was playing with it. Good point, it's worth checking out at some point.



7D, 450D | 17-55, 10-22, 55-250, 50 1.8, 580EXII | YN568II | YN622 x3 | Magic Lantern | (Still) Jonesing for a 70-200 2.8...
Turns out a gripped 7D + 622 + 580exII + 70-200 2.8 IS MK2 is BLOODY HEAVY! Who knew?!!

  
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Dec 08, 2013 14:10 |  #38

Wilt wrote in post #16511277 (external link)
But if you look at the top illustration from Stofen, they clearly show the almost 180 degree characteristic of the light field, and the 'feathering' (decrease of light intensity) only occurs BEYOND that wide angle -- nowhere near where the subject is. Anything which goes up (or down) and does not bounce against an adjacent wall or ceiling -- which is what you are specifically ruling out, bounce! -- is wasted light, and no more than that.

I know the theory. :)

(These stofen threads are always a little contentious!)

The illustration is a little off how I'm actually using it - the subject is actually much closer to that lower light beam edge line in the illustration, as I'm generally closer and higher than that illustration puts the subject.

And yes, while light is indeed being wasted that doesn't hit the subject, from my tests in the field, the results were more pleasing to me. It's not just the quantity of light - if I used direct flash at the subject, and pull the flash exposure down so they match, the stofen ones were still better - hence why I still use that method for that scenario...



7D, 450D | 17-55, 10-22, 55-250, 50 1.8, 580EXII | YN568II | YN622 x3 | Magic Lantern | (Still) Jonesing for a 70-200 2.8...
Turns out a gripped 7D + 622 + 580exII + 70-200 2.8 IS MK2 is BLOODY HEAVY! Who knew?!!

  
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Dec 08, 2013 15:59 |  #39

I just did a sequence, 6' from subject (pumpkin, oiled surface to mimic facial oil), flash exposure with indoor ambient underexposed by -3EV, camera mounted on tripod for identical subject framing.

1. Flash native lens only,
2. StoFen sized 'diffuser' Rosco Hilite flat filter (to mimic StoFen on flash head pointed forward, with little light reflected back from ceiling),
3. 5" x 4" LightSphere-like Feta cheese frosted plastic home modifier

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/barestofenfeta_zpsa3918bff.jpg

I will shoot this again, after dark, outside!

[edit] OK, same sequence, outside (nothing to bounce off of) after dark
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/barestofenfeta2_zps1b24ded0.jpg

Note the shadow appearing at the left side, at the base of the pumpkin...not present with my Feta cheese modifier, but present with the Stofen sized one.

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Dec 08, 2013 21:12 |  #40

MakisM1 wrote in post #16502752 (external link)
I think Wilt covered it pretty well. You can get the upward pointing flash to give you catchlights,, if you tape a 3x5 card (bounce card) to its top (parallel to the flash axis).

Not worth the light loss IMO

You can create your own monster bounce card (Google a better bounce card)

thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by MakisM1 in
./showthread.php?p=165​02752&i=i139097586
forum: Flash and Studio Lighting


catchlights being the least of your problem :D

Here it is in action

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://s37.photobucket​.com …on/IMG_5748setu​p.jpg.html  (external link)

Get a too big bounce card in the wrong conditions for it, makes it no different than a straight on flash IMHO cause I use them all the time.




  
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I ­ Love ­ Cats
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Dec 08, 2013 23:26 |  #41
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OP again.

I spent a goodly amount of time comparing Stofen (vertical & 45 degrees) to bare flash at 45 degrees with and without white reflector panel extended, and bare flash vertical with and without white reflector panel.

I came to two conclusions. The first is that the Stofen diffuser is quite capable of some decent results at 45 degrees. The second is that it is never better than the bare flash at 45 degrees with the reflector panel extended. To summarize: anything you can do with a Stofen diffuser, you can do without it. Most times better without it.

The best (worst?) situation is that where you are flash-illuminating a close subject in a big room. I am referring to the typical well-lit subject/dark background type of shot. Stofen falls flat on its face here. It just robs the flash of too much power. With bare flash and reflector panel extended, head at 45 degrees, I could easily get a well-lit subject at 6 feet, and an adequately lit background at 18 feet. The direct flash bouncing off the ceiling fills in the BG. The Stofen was quite capable of properly lighting the subject. The BG was almost black, easily 4+ stops underexposed. Just in case you are wondering, I used manual flash power set to 1/4 and ISO 400, to eliminate the vagaries of ETTL-II.

The Stofen diffuser is capable of decent results in some situations. In any situation where the Stofen will work, there are better choices that consume less power. That is how I see it. As usual, YMMV.




  
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Dec 08, 2013 23:29 |  #42
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Did you also modify the zoom settings?


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Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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I ­ Love ­ Cats
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Dec 09, 2013 00:03 |  #43
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Fixed at 24mm coverage.




  
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talbot_sunbeam
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Dec 09, 2013 06:09 |  #44

I Love Cats wrote in post #16512494 (external link)
I spent a goodly amount of time comparing Stofen (vertical & 45 degrees) to bare flash at 45 degrees with and without white reflector panel extended, and bare flash vertical with and without white reflector panel.

I came to two conclusions. The first is that the Stofen diffuser is quite capable of some decent results at 45 degrees. The second is that it is never better than the bare flash at 45 degrees with the reflector panel extended. To summarize: anything you can do with a Stofen diffuser, you can do without it. Most times better without it.

...

The Stofen diffuser is capable of decent results in some situations. In any situation where the Stofen will work, there are better choices that consume less power. That is how I see it. As usual, YMMV.

Thanks for this - next time I'm out I'll revisit this and do some more tests and see how it works out for me...



7D, 450D | 17-55, 10-22, 55-250, 50 1.8, 580EXII | YN568II | YN622 x3 | Magic Lantern | (Still) Jonesing for a 70-200 2.8...
Turns out a gripped 7D + 622 + 580exII + 70-200 2.8 IS MK2 is BLOODY HEAVY! Who knew?!!

  
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