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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 10 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 12:19
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Flash Diffuser

 
High ­ Desert
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Jan 10, 2018 12:19 |  #1

So - looking to get into a flash diffuser for speed light and searching the forum, there only seems to be the (great) discussion of Gary Fong vs tupperware. First - not interested in Gary Fong (already beat to death in another thread) stuff because it seems to be overpriced for what you get (IMO). I was thinking along the lines of an on camera softbox(??) maybe, or do you think there are better products to use. I do not want to spend a ton of money on the diffuser / soft box, as it may not see a huge amount of use. Based on what I have seen and read so far, the Altura product line seems to a reasonable product line, but again, I have no experience base to judge on. Size wise, I'd like something that breaks down to a manageable size to fit in a Lower Sling style bag. Now that my wish list is there - looking for ideas, pros / cons, recommendations based on personal experience. Thanks all, Mike




  
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Alveric
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Jan 10, 2018 12:48 |  #2

Why do you want one? What are you trying to accomplish?


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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Jan 11, 2018 17:03 |  #3

Basically, Alveric, I am looking for something that will take shadows of shots that can be either in or outdoors. I am now thinking maybe a on camera soft box?? I am not looking to "spread" the light, but more of cleaning up the shot with softer light, but don't want to go real big as portability is a concern at this time.




  
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Alveric
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Jan 11, 2018 17:12 |  #4

I was afraid that was your intention. I elaborate: the portable diffusers for flashguns will not give you soft light, in spite of the manufacturers claims. The only way you can get soft shadows with such items (StoFen, Lumiquest, GaryFlung, Tupperware, &c.) is if the subject is three inches away from it and/or you're shooting macro (yep, for bugs the size of a nickel, a Lumiquest III is what a 120 cm octabox is for a person).

If that is your intention, I'd pass on them.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Wilt
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Post edited 6 months ago by Wilt. (8 edits in all)
     
Jan 11, 2018 17:28 as a reply to  @ High Desert's post |  #5

Fill light is what you are trying to do.

'Soft light' only happens when the light is a distance from the subject which is within about 3 * (max dimension of the softbox/umbrella). Otherwise the so-called 'large source' starts to transition to having the characteristics of a 'small source'...the sun is huge, but because of its distance from us it becomes a 'point source' in casting hard edged shadows.

So using a 5" x 7" so-called 'softbox' only very slightly softens the penumbra (shadow transition edge) when more than 21" away.
Here is a photo showing the shadow cast behind the yellow fruit picker pole, which is caused by a flash using a 5" x 7" 'diffuser'; note the edge of the shadow which is cast by the flash (immediately behind the fruit picking pole, NOT the pole's shadow cast a few feet to the left) is scarcely 'softened'

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Wescott-box.jpg

To show how valueless a small diffuser is in the sun, here is a side by side comparison with
NO fill vs. NO diffuser vs. using a SMALL diffuser. Make note of the hard edge shadow (indicated with the red arrow) without a diffuser, and what change (almost none) from using the diffuser.
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/NoDiffWithDiffarr.jpg

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Canon dSLR system, Olympus OM 35mm system, Bronica ETRSi 645 system, Horseman LS 4x5 system, Metz flashes, Dynalite studio lighting, and too many accessories to mention

  
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Bassat
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Jan 11, 2018 17:36 |  #6

Get a rubber band, and a pack of 3"x5" white index cards. Cheapest, most versatile on-camera flash modifier available. I can do anything with that setup you can do with GF or any other brand of that 'tupperware'. If I set my 'flash diffuser' down and forget about it, I've got a pack of 100 of them in my bag; for about $0.39. I'm old enough not give a FFA if others think I look stupid. I'm going for results, not 'cool'.

Since I moved to 580EX II units with the built in diffuser panel and reflector card, my index cards get a lot less use. I believe the YN-568EX II does the same thing for about $100.


Tom

  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 11, 2018 20:42 |  #7

Size is the key, more accurately apparent size (The combination of actual size and proximity). Small diffusers really won't achieve what you are wanting to do. No matter how innovative or appealing you can't beat physics. If you want to soften light make the source bigger or get it closer or both. If you have nearby surfaces to bounce off of you can get more out of the flash by making the bounce surface become the new light source.




  
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High ­ Desert
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Jan 11, 2018 22:07 |  #8

All very good points here that are going to save me money. I am going to have to learn to work with bouncing the flash, using the built in diffuser, and 3 x 5 cards. Also like the "Black Foamy Thing" idea as that seems to make a lot of sense too. Appreciate the feedback and ideas!!




  
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Wilt
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Jan 11, 2018 23:04 |  #9

High Desert wrote in post #18539103 (external link)
All very good points here that are going to save me money. I am going to have to learn to work with bouncing the flash, using the built in diffuser, and 3 x 5 cards. Also like the "Black Foamy Thing" idea as that seems to make a lot of sense too. Appreciate the feedback and ideas!!

There is NO 'built in diffuser' on the typical speedlight!

  • There is often a 'wide angle lens' that widens the coverage area to be suitable for use with UWA lens focal length. but the light is no 'softer', merely covers a broader area.
  • There is a reflector that you use to deflect light FORWARD to open up the shadows under the chin and in the eye sockets, when the flash is aimed upward to the ceiling so that ceiling bounce does 'soften' the light...that that forward deflection is a SMALL SOURCE (smaller than the 5" x 7" software which I demonstrated as doing virtually nothing in my prior post)

You need to give me OK to edit your image and repost! Keep POTN alive and well with member support https://photography-on-the.net/forum/donate.p​hp
Canon dSLR system, Olympus OM 35mm system, Bronica ETRSi 645 system, Horseman LS 4x5 system, Metz flashes, Dynalite studio lighting, and too many accessories to mention

  
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Bassat
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Jan 12, 2018 02:48 |  #10

Wilt wrote in post #18539146 (external link)
There is NO 'built in diffuser' on the typical speedlight!

  • There is often a 'wide angle lens' that widens the coverage area to be suitable for use with UWA lens focal length. but the light is no 'softer', merely covers a broader area.
  • There is a reflector that you use to deflect light FORWARD to open up the shadows under the chin and in the eye sockets, when the flash is aimed upward to the ceiling so that ceiling bounce does 'soften' the light...that that forward deflection is a SMALL SOURCE (smaller than the 5" x 7" software which I demonstrated as doing virtually nothing in my prior post)

My bad, sorry. I referred to it as a 'diffuser' panel. As Wilt points out, Canon refers to it as a 'Wide Panel'.


Tom

  
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