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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 07 Dec 2014 (Sunday) 21:22
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Gary Fong Lightsphere kit???

 
MichaelLynn
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Dec 07, 2014 21:22 |  #1

any feedback or better similar product

please share your thoughts and links to something you prefer


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Wilt
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Post edited over 5 years ago by Wilt. (14 edits in all)
     
Dec 07, 2014 21:36 |  #2

You will find little support for the relatively expensive Fong products here on POTN, when they offer little benefit that less expensive (1/10 the price)) alternatives have to offer.

SIZE matters for 'soft light' and if you have no ceiling to bounce off, all the Fong does is to waste light in all the wrong directions...and for ceiling bounce purposes a product like Fong (or Stoffen) offer little that would not be accomplished by pointing the flash at the ceiling with a small white card creating catchlight in the eyes of subjects.

Outside, they (Fong, Stoffen) are both a total waste of light and more rapid consumer of your precious battery power!

I created these somewhat as a joke, to prove a point, and to demonstrate the ease of making a collapsible design (like one of Fong's).

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Equipment/Flashmod-1_zpsec435644.jpg

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Equipment/IceCream-1_zps21548118.jpg
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Equipment/IceCream-2_zps26e19771.jpg

I did a test 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' (actually a 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 shot this again, after dark, outside (nothing to bounce off of) after dark
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/barestofenfeta2_zps1b24ded0.jpg



Shot with Tamron 28-75mm on Canon 40D at 50mm f/3.2 ...

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/IMG_7736.jpg

(This was actually shot to demonstrate the effectiveness of a homemade flash modifier made from the plastic feta cheese container light modifier, not to be a portrait!) Not much softening of the edges of the shadows under the chin which are cast by a relatively small modifier!

[keyword: Feta Fong]

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Iscariotau
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Dec 07, 2014 21:43 |  #3

I got one for Comic Con style conventions and found that it did not help at all. Luckily it did not cost me that much.


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MichaelLynn
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Dec 07, 2014 22:18 |  #4

Thank you guys


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werds
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Post edited over 5 years ago by werds.
     
Dec 07, 2014 22:38 |  #5

I got a collapsible for cheap on ebay. I am also not a professional so take my words with a grain of salt. Many people here will poopoo it and dog it to all ends. But if you view it through the prism of it being a light modifier that doesn't break any laws of physics than you will be ok.

I have used a stofens before and before buying it when I saw it going cheap on ebay I loved bounce flashing with my 580exII and the white card up for catch light. Testing comparison shots with those setups (stofen and just index card on flash) vs the fong I decided I liked the light quality better with the fong. Can you do similar with a cheap homemade item? Sure. But for me the collapsible looked SLIGHTLY less ridiculous than the miso soup container in my pantry, it was much more collapsible and the other accessories allowed cheap and easy modifying of the light as well.

But I also did not expect this to suddenly make my little flash into a studio quality strobe either! Yes, it does eat battery power, and yes there is some adjustment to output necessary. Also - as mentioned in situations without something to bounce off of it is near useless for what it does (but similar applies to most other diffusers as well) the accessories can still make it slightly useful but again set your expectations correctly and you will be ok! Again my personal preference I liked the quality in comparison and boy did i pixel peep!

Also due to the way it works if you have too much distance between you and your subject you may as well put the thing away ;) Also it creates an interesting catchlight in comparison to index cards or the white card built into the 580exii flash. Personally I wouldn't spend much on it, I got a complete kit plus several gels and accessories for just under $30 and am satisfied with the cost performance ratio. Especially when I spend waaaaaay more on other parts in my camera bag!


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mathogre
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Dec 07, 2014 23:20 |  #6

I like the Gary Fong Lightsphere, Powersnoot, and related gear. Do I use it all of the time? No, but then I don't use an umbrella all of the time either. I also use StoFen and Vello diffusers. Watch some of the Gary Fong videos on YouTube and decide for yourself how they compare and if they can work for you.

The first photo was done with two Speedlite 580EX IIs, each with a Gary Fong Lightsphere. The second was done with a Gary Fong Powersnoot.

IMAGE: http://grahamglover.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v103/p970141794-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://grahamglover.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v160/p1053432383-5.jpg

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MichaelLynn
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Dec 08, 2014 00:14 |  #7

mathogre wrote in post #17319685 (external link)
I like the Gary Fong Lightsphere, Powersnoot, and related gear. Do I use it all of the time? No, but then I don't use an umbrella all of the time either. I also use StoFen and Vello diffusers. Watch some of the Gary Fong videos on YouTube and decide for yourself how they compare and if they can work for you.

The first photo was done with two Speedlite 580EX IIs, each with a Gary Fong Lightsphere. The second was done with a Gary Fong Powersnoot.

QUOTED IMAGE

QUOTED IMAGE

Love the shot with the snoot!!!


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wto203
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Dec 09, 2014 15:25 |  #8

In my opinion I don't believe the lightsphere has much use. Like others have said you're better bouncing the light off a source if there is one and if there isn't anything to bounce off of the lightsphere isn't doing anything but gobbling up power. If you experiment with FEC, bounce and manually adjusting the power of the flash you'll probably be better off.

The snoot on the other hand to me proves more useful. I think its a good fast solution to having an off or on camera speedlite flash "snooted."


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gonzogolf
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Dec 09, 2014 15:37 |  #9

If you take the time to learn about light you'll understand why those don't work. Size of the light the light source at a given distance is what determines softness. Tne fong works, when it works, by spreading light around nearby surfaces making them act as the large light source. If you have nearby surfaces to bounce from you dont need the device. You would be better served by either getting an actual large light source off camera or a bounce card to help shape your bounce techniques.




  
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GeoKras1989
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Dec 09, 2014 15:41 |  #10
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I did some playing around with modifiers when I bought a used 580EX II that came with an attachment of some sort. I can do more with a white 3x5 card and a rubber band, and that doesn't cost me near as much light or battery power. If I accidentally leave it on location, I am out about 2/3 of a cent.


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MichaelLynn
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Dec 27, 2014 01:02 |  #11

anyone else?


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Phil ­ V
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Dec 27, 2014 03:38 as a reply to  @ MichaelLynn's post |  #12

Buy the book 'the speedlighters handbook' by Syl Arena. Once you've read it, you'll know the how and why.

Most people dismiss the small modifiers (for very valid reasons) but some people can use them for great results (see the Mathogre post above).

Buy the book! It's more help than any other money you will spend on gear.


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gonzogolf
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Dec 27, 2014 04:39 |  #13

The problem with posting sample photos taken with the product is the implied suggestion that the photo is good because of the product. Even those of us who dismiss the plastic diffusers will grudgingly admit you can take a good photo using one, but more often than not you can take the same good photo without it using bounce techniques. As for the snoot. A few cents with of craft foam and a rubber band will net you the same results.




  
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groundloop
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Dec 27, 2014 19:50 |  #14

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17323249 (external link)
..... I can do more with a white 3x5 card and a rubber band, and that doesn't cost me near as much light or battery power.....


This ^^^ I've done a lot with an index card held to the back of my flash with a rubber band. You can bounce the flash off a ceiling or wall and control how much light is thrown forward by adjusting how much of the index card is sticking out.




  
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digital ­ paradise
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Post edited over 5 years ago by digital paradise.
     
Dec 27, 2014 22:32 |  #15

I'm going to go with gonzoglf on this one. After taking lighting courses, learning from this site and Neil van Niekerk I gave all of my diffusers which included two lightspheres away.

It is still a small light source as a stand alone and if there is something to bounce off I can just do it with the bare flash.

Just another thought. If you follow Neil's work he will not allow any spill from his flash to touch his subjects. If you use the dome and even if it does throw light all over the place to bounce some hard light does reach your subjects. You would have measure that pretty carefully to see the effects, which may not show a lot but I'll still go with Neil's teachings.


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Gary Fong Lightsphere kit???
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