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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 15 Jan 2014 (Wednesday) 09:46
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Is the gary fong diffuser worth the dough?

 
Ev0d3vil
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Jan 15, 2014 09:46 |  #1

As per topic. Is anyone using it?




  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 15, 2014 09:51 |  #2

no. It doesnt do what you probably think it does. It relies on redirecting light around the room to make the surrounding surfaces act as bounce surfaces. If you have those you dont need the dome in the first place. To make light softer you need to increase the apparent size of the light and the fong lightsphere and the stofen products do not do that. Instead look at a bounce card type of product. I like the rogue flashbender, but the demb flipit, and lumiquest products also work well. They all allow you to bounce some of the light, and redirect a portion to the subject for fill.




  
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Aki78
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Jan 15, 2014 10:11 |  #3

I used to have the replica off eBay. Didn't feel like spending $50+. It works fine.

The weight of it though at least with the replica would turn the 580EXII's head around depending on the position.

I don't know, for the price I agree about using bounce card or just outfitting something else. It's nothing 'incredible' IMO.




  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 15, 2014 10:14 |  #4

Aki78 wrote in post #16607641 (external link)
I don't know, for the price I agree about using bounce card or just outfitting something else. It's nothing 'incredible' IMO.

I think the problem is often that new users are either mislead by advertising or fail to understand the limits of small modifiers. Even the suggested bounce cards provide mediocre light in circumstances where bouncing isnt an option.




  
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Ev0d3vil
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Jan 15, 2014 10:16 |  #5

gonzogolf wrote in post #16607602 (external link)
no. It doesnt do what you probably think it does. It relies on redirecting light around the room to make the surrounding surfaces act as bounce surfaces. If you have those you dont need the dome in the first place. To make light softer you need to increase the apparent size of the light and the fong lightsphere and the stofen products do not do that. Instead look at a bounce card type of product. I like the rogue flashbender, but the demb flipit, and lumiquest products also work well. They all allow you to bounce some of the light, and redirect a portion to the subject for fill.

The flash bender does a better job outdoors than the gary fong thingy?




  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 15, 2014 10:19 |  #6

Ev0d3vil wrote in post #16607655 (external link)
The flash bender does a better job outdoors than the gary fong thingy?

Both are basically worthless outdoors. The flashbender might be marginally better if the subject is within a few feet, but any more than 5-8 feet any softening is probably negated.




  
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sportmode
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Jan 15, 2014 10:21 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #7

I have the Flip-It, but I've experimented with my own version of Fong, and I think Fong works great in most home environments where you have light color walls and ceilings close-by. Because it's spewing light 360 degrees and bouncing off everything, the light is actually pretty soft. It fails when there are no walls close-by, ceiling is to high, or walls and ceilings are not neutral color. Its appeal is it's one of the easiest flash modifiers to use -- you really don't have to think about it.


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JohnCollins
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Jan 15, 2014 14:57 |  #8

I got one several years ago, but quit using it pretty quickly. I find if I have a ceiling to bounce off of and use the little catchlight card built into flashes like the 580EX I get results just as good or better. I agree with Gonzogolf's comment "If you have these, you don't need the dome in the first place." It's a PITA to fiddle with, too, and perhaps most importantly, I think it makes one look like a doofus. :)

I would not spend the dough on it, I learned the hard way. Not bad, necessarily, simply unnecessary. One thing I have not thought about is if you do not have bounce surfaces (say you're outside or in a big hall) and you don't have an umbrella to shoot through, perhaps it might give a more pleasing look than direct flash. I have not tried it.




  
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groundloop
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Jan 15, 2014 22:04 as a reply to  @ JohnCollins's post |  #9

In one of the discussions about the Fong thingy it was pointed out that one of their advertisements showed with and without shots. The 'without' shot was dark and dreary looking, the 'with' shot looked much brighter and cheery. HOWEVER, there were lights in the room that were also brighter - how the heck can a flash modifier make a light bulb brighter? I'd call that false advertising.

AND I'll say that when I use on-camera flash indoors I get very satisfactory results bouncing off a ceiling or wall with an index card behind the flash to throw some light forward. The index card is held on with a rubber band so that it can be slid up or down to control how much light is reflected forward. And most importantly, the index card and rubber band didn't cost a thing.




  
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Bob_A
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Jan 15, 2014 22:45 |  #10

No, it's not worth the dough IMO.

I no longer use any small modifier and look for something to bounce off of instead, shoot landscape and crop portrait to hide shadows behind people and crank up my ISO if necessary to reduce flash output. I sometimes use the popup card on my Nikon SB900 flash to send a bit of light forward while bouncing off a ceiling.


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Sam6644
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Jan 15, 2014 23:05 |  #11

The first time I seen an AP photographer with one on top of his camera I'll stop calling them a gimmick/waste of money.


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Jan 16, 2014 07:42 |  #12

gonzogolf wrote in post #16607661 (external link)
Both are basically worthless outdoors. The flashbender might be marginally better if the subject is within a few feet, but any more than 5-8 feet any softening is probably negated.

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gonzogolf
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Jan 16, 2014 09:03 |  #13

Sam6644 wrote in post #16609458 (external link)
The first time I seen an AP photographer with one on top of his camera I'll stop calling them a gimmick/waste of money.

I got a chuckle out of reading your post as the first time I saw anyone use a plastic diffuser was an AP photographer back in the 80's. A lot of Photojournalists back then adopted the habit of making home made stofen like devices by cutting the bottom from a bottle of rubbing alcohol and sliding it over the face of the flash. It should be noted they didnt do that for any softening but more to get a decent spread of light while working in tight spaces with wide lenses. Most flashes back then did not have heads that automatically zoomed to match the lens width.




  
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Treepwood728
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Jan 16, 2014 09:12 |  #14

I went throught this last March. I asked a friend if he recommended the defuser or the dome (clubs and pool party) for shooting. He said that they are pretty useless in all cases and are mostly gimicky and he felt like where a waste of money. What he said was to buy foam paper and cut it out like a trapezoid. Doing some research for this I found out that a lot of people make bounce cards out of foam paper. One guy even had instruction on how to make a snoot out of his bounce card. The best thing about it was that you just need to spend about 2 or 3 dollars on the foam paper and it works as well as some of the very expensive brands.




  
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sportmode
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Jan 16, 2014 09:57 |  #15

Diffusers do help, if you can keep it as far away as possible from the lens. You're not going to be able to bounce in all environments, but something like a Flip-It can help reduce the shine on the face or the red eyes you get with direct flash. It also helps when you can get more light to the subjects by angling the card. You can do the same with a DIY, and that's OK if you're just shooting family & friends, but if you're in front of a ton of folks who may be your next client, I'd rather spend $40 on something that functions a little better and doesn't look DIY.


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Is the gary fong diffuser worth the dough?
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