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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

 
Van ­ Gogh
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Jun 21, 2013 19:07 |  #1

Hi everyone.

Just wanna get some info on how to use speedlight stofens (diffusers) properly.

I know diffusers are very good inside as light goes and bounces of every wall, so no shadows created. I also know it should be pointed directly up if the ceiling if it is of proper (white colour) and not too high.

But what if ceiling or wall is not good for bouncing? I have read that in that case u point speedlight with diffuser at an angle thats between straight up and pointed directly at the target, basically at 45% angle. Did i get it right? Would it work? Or just point diffuser straight at targets?

Or maybe a better way? Maybe speedlight with softbox on it pointed straight on target?

An help greatly appreciated !!!


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Curtis ­ N
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Jun 21, 2013 21:59 |  #2

I think you first need to understand how light works, and decide where you want the light to come from. Every venue and situation is different. There is no "right" way. There is only the way that produces the light you want.

I'm not a fan of translucent plastic diffusers. I would rather control where my light goes and decide what surface to bounce it from. An attachment that throws light in all directions may create nice light in limited circumstances but it doesn't give me much control.

You'll find that something as simple as an index card strapped to your flash head with a rubber band offers near infinite options for controlling your light.


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digital ­ paradise
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Jun 21, 2013 23:27 |  #3

Yep. You are in the same situation whether you use the plastic diffuser or not. I can bounce my flash that has no bounce attachment just as effectively if I have some to bounce off. If there is nothing to bounce off it is just as ineffective as the stofen.

A good read.

http://russellspixelpi​x.blogspot.ca …no-need-to-spend-big.html (external link)


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Wilt
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Jun 22, 2013 01:09 |  #4

Lets assign some somewhat arbitrary figures for percentage of total light emitted from a diffuser such as Stofen...25% from each of the larger faces, 12.5% from each of the smaller sides. Now let us examine the distribution in the situation you described:


  1. Head upward: 25% upward, 25% forward, 25% backward, 12.5% out to each side
  2. Head forward: 25% upward, 25% downward, 25% forward, 12.5% out to each side.


So in #1, the 25% upward is wasted by the bad ceiling, and the 25% backward is wasted out the wrong direction; in a small room the 12.5% out to each side might be useable if not badly contaminated by strongly colored walls. So only 25% is truly useful light, when ceiling and walls are poor color or too far...you are wasting 2EV of the light, so consuming your battery faster!
And in #2, the 25% upward is wasted by the bad ceiling, the 25% downward is like wasted as well (blocked by people standing in front of the bounced light), in a small room the 12.5% out to each side might be useable if not badly contaminated by strongly colored walls. So only 25% is truly useful light, when ceiling and walls are poor color or too far...you are also wasting 2EV of the light, so consuming your battery faster!


In short, it does not matter the flash head orientation, you are wasting lots of light, and likely the same amount of light in both cases. So now you see the (lack of) wisdom of the so-called pros seen shooting with those plastic Tupperware things that they paid lots of money for in some cases.

Here is a much less expensive way of wasting light, and more nutritious. https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=15545315&po​stcount=10

And here is a real use of that source...https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=15550109&po​stcount=18

And here is my own collapsible version of an even larger and softer source... https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=15940870&po​stcount=23

Oddly, after offering them for sale on POTN, no one ordered any of these from me. I gotta tell Brad Pitt that no one was impressed by the fact that my modifier would make me look like him in a photo!

;)

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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 22, 2013 07:36 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #5

I've tried all sorts of diffusers such as 80/20 Lumiquest and stofen's over the years and have found as any tool, they do have a place. IMHO.

I pop on the stofen-type filter and aim it at about 45 degree as you state, and viola get good results. It's better than using direct flash, offers enough bounce to avoid harsh shadows and allows a catch light in the eye's. You can't get the catch light in many instances when bouncing, btw. So the stofen filter can be a handy tool.

1) Yes, it eats up more power but so does bouncing when you must turn up the power in order to get good results. It's only a problem if you plan on taking a significant amount of shots and in that case a simple solution would be to bring some extra batteries.;)

2) I like the stofens in fluid situations because there are situations when you just don't have time to figure where you are going to bounce, whether is it going to be sufficient or whether there will be a color cast with such. Some folks are better than others at this though.

3) BTW, I raise the internal bounce card on my flash and then place the stofen on it. This avoids the loss of light through the back and directs more light to the front. In addition, when tilting at 45 degrees you are getting forward light from both the top and front of the stofen. So you're not wasting quite as much light as the "depicted" percentages suggest. If that were the case I'd have to crank up my FEC significantly, whereas in reality I typically only have to do so slightly.

Most pro's will tell you it is best to bounce the flash or to get the flash off-camera. That however is not ALWAYS the case or possible. I'd suggest experimenting to find out what works best for you.

Good luck,
Ralph


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Wilt
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Jun 22, 2013 11:46 |  #6

Ralph III wrote in post #16054284 (external link)
1) Yes, it eats up more power but so does bouncing when you must turn up the power in order to get good results. It's only a problem if you plan on taking a significant amount of shots and in that case a simple solution would be to bring some extra batteries.;) ...[

The Stofen simply wastes so much more light -- to the back and to the sides -- than a flash head aimed upward at the ceiling with no modifiers.

Ralph III wrote:
3) BTW, I raise the internal bounce card on my flash and then place the stofen on it. This avoids the loss of light through the back and directs more light to the front. In addition, when tilting at 45 degrees you are getting forward light from both the top and front of the stofen. So you're not wasting quite as much light as the "depicted" percentages suggest. If that were the case I'd have to crank up my FEC significantly, whereas in reality I typically only have to do so slightly.

The above information outlines a more useful configuration, which minimizes the light loss backward away from the subject.

A Lumiquest 80/20 and similar products do similar elimination of the backward moving light, while retaining use of the ceiling bounce. And the forward component of light which bounces forward from the larger surface area of the Lumiquest helps to open up shadow areas (eye sockets, under the chin) which occur from ceiling bounce.

As the OP described a situation with bad ceiling, then even the configuration used by Ralph is not a great idea either. A softbox which is 5x7" or larger can be considered for softening the light from the forward facing flash head, but ETTL for some odd, puzzling reason can do strange things with exposure during softbox usage even though ETTL metering is reading the preflash.


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Jun 22, 2013 12:26 |  #7

Wilt wrote in post #16053803 (external link)
Here is a much less expensive way of wasting light, and more nutritious.


:lol::lol::lol:


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Van ­ Gogh
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Jun 23, 2013 18:09 as a reply to  @ windpig's post |  #8

Damn this is very confusing, no consensus I guess, but thats the beuty of photograpy.

By the way guys when u say pointed at 45 degree angle do u mean pointed straight at the face?
And what about Gary Fong Lightsphere type of softboxes? Are they better than stofens? ANy experiences?

Thanks for any help.


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windpig
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Jun 23, 2013 18:36 |  #9

The only thing these things are good for is killing light, and I use a Stofen on occasion for that if I'm shooting low ambient light and I can't dial the flash low enough. I may try the Stofen with a BD mounted, maybe closer to bare bulb distribution.


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airfrogusmc
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Jun 23, 2013 19:27 as a reply to  @ windpig's post |  #10

Heres the way I use my stofen.
Its also great for holding in gels.
I tested a lot of different defusers and for what I do this seems to give me the best quality of light from anything else I've tried.

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_9344.jpg

Heres the set up. This is with the Metz 58 and Nikon gels fit perfect. I use strobist gels the same way for my 580. This is for tungsten. I use the flash as true fill about a stop or a stop and a half down from the ambient light. I gel so my strobe match the ambient and being set as true fill I am sometimes shooting at 1600, 3200 and even 6400 ISO. The backgrounds stay nice and bright and the eye sockets are brought up by the fill light.
IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4441.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4442.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4443.jpg
I block the light from coming out the front of the stofen so as not to get hot spots on foreheads which I was getting before I used the tape.
IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4438.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4437.jpg

And the sides to the bounce card are left unblocked.
IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_4436.jpg



  
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airfrogusmc
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Jun 23, 2013 19:30 |  #11

And the really important part, results.

tungsten available light and flash gelled for tungsten

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_7511.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_7498.jpg



  
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Van ­ Gogh
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Jun 23, 2013 21:28 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #12

Thanks guys really important tips so far.

The thing is thta you are guys saying stofens/diffusers are pretty much useless, just loss of light, but if there are no walls/ceilings (or dark like in clubs) I don't wanna firs flash straight at people, so I was wondering what to do when no bouncing is possible.

From what I am getting from replies is fire it straight, but I really don't thing thats a good option.

P.S. The above pictures are amazing !!!


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
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Allen ­ K
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Jun 23, 2013 21:34 as a reply to  @ Van Gogh's post |  #13

Like the others have said, if there is nothing to bounce off of, use a homemade bouncecard.


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airfrogusmc
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Jun 23, 2013 21:35 |  #14

Theres also a difference when I went with a gel and no stofen and a gel and stofen. There were less hot spots with the stofen. When the is nothing to bounce off of the large card is the fill and is very soft if you are close to the subject. Loss of light is no big deal when I am shooting at 3200 ISO and f/3.2 but fact there are less hot spot with even slightly softer quality to the light is big to me. And again it really holds the gels in very nicely.




  
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joeblack2022
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Jun 23, 2013 21:42 |  #15

airfrogusmc wrote in post #16058345 (external link)
Heres the way I use my stofen.
Its also great for holding in gels. I tested a lot of different defusers and for what I do this seems to give me the best quality of light from anything else I've tried.

Hey that's a great idea, instead of marking up the flash with velcro you can buy the cheap knockoffs on eBay and go to town! :)


Joel

  
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