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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

 
gonzogolf
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Jun 28, 2013 22:05 |  #31

Ralph III wrote in post #16070782 (external link)
Hello Gonzogolf,

I will respond directly to your comment and then in general for other’s sake.

The test photos are not a failure if you consider my points, which was two fold.

**First, I wanted to discredit the notion that somehow you must have a portable generator or external battery pack or jack up the FEC significantly, with use of a Stofen type filter. Some folks discredit the use of a Stofen type filter noting it requires more power, yet they wouldn’t hesitate recommending use of a softbox or in bouncing the flash?

I still find the test a failure unless you correct the exposure as Wilt did. I'm not sure who said you need a battery pack or to crank the FEC to use a stofen, but they do increase the power used by the flash and will considerably reduce the life of a set of batteries. I'm no fan of the stofen but they do work in rooms with lots of bounce surfaces, but if you have those, who really needs one? But back to the test. All your results show is that different methods may tax the accuracy of ETTL and I wont argue that point that some methods do fool the system. Comparing a stofen to a softbox, at least a softbox of sufficient size is a bit specious as you have some real benefit for the power loss.




  
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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 29, 2013 05:33 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #32

quote by gonzogolf: "I still find the test a failure unless you correct the exposure as Wilt did..."

Ok. However, you’re missing the points. The original images were meant to demonstrate both exposure as well as quality of light differences and challenges.

I have corrected exposure as well as a few other items, in getting the images as close as possible and what would be acceptable.

1) The bounced flash required the most correction by far. I had to correct WB, Saturation and Exposure. Why? Because it’s distorting colors by reflecting to much tan off our walls and some brown off our furniture. It is also significantly underexposed compared to the others. Why? I don’t know. It’s obviously being fooled in bounce mode whereas none of the others suffered that. There are still a few issues remaining that would be difficult to correct.


2) The stofen-type filter and large bounce-card images required virtually no adjustments. However, in getting the images as close as possible to one another, I did make a very slight adjustment in Saturation on one and a very slight adjustment in Exposure on the other. I then made a slight adjustment to WB on both as doing so on the bounced image alone wasn't enough.

quote by gonzogolf: “I'm not sure who said you need a battery pack or to crank the FEC to use a stofen…”

I made those statements in pointing out some obvious and silly notions in regards to stofen type filters. One of the major knocks is they use up more battery power. Well, yes but opposed to what? Direct Flash? When did battery concern become a greater concern than image quality? In addition, at what point is that going to become a real issue for most folks? It’s not like you’re going to have to change batteries after every 20 pops or so.

Quote by gonzogolf: “I'm no fan of the stofen but they do work in rooms with lots of bounce surfaces, but if you have those, who really needs one…?”

Well, that's a valid point but only if you decide to ignore the obvious and as I've pointed out. What if you desire a nice catch light and what about color cast issues?

If you’re bouncing backwards or to either side you cannot create a catch light in the subjects eye’s minus some sort of reflector or elaborate setup. In addition, if your walls are colored then you can expect color cast issues. These are in fact two things I consider with my own living room and other such rooms.

In this instance, a Stofen can be quite useful. You are bouncing the light but you're also creating a nice catch light as well as overcoming some other issues.


Newly edited images:

1) I didn’t do a re-edit of the direct-flash simply because it was just that poor.

2) The Stofen and large bounce-card originals were very close and required little editing.

3) The bounced flash required the greatest editing and there are still some issues that cannot be easily overcome. A) My daughter is suffering from some skin discoloration/variatio​n due to exposure and color cast issues. She remains underexposed in some areas. I've compromised as much as possible in this regards. If I go one way she becomes even more blow out/washed out in areas. If I go the other way she is further underexposed or otherwise colors can start to become a little unnatural. B) Her eye color and eye's in general aren't as good. C) Bounce-flash doesn’t render a catch light in her eye’s. The little catch light that is showing was caused by the reflection off our front glass door or otherwise from an overhead light. D) Bounce-flash causes some harsh down-ward shadows. It’s not a real issue in this instance but it is creating a mouse or wrinkle under her eye. Bouncing alone is near impossible if she wears a hat.

The bounced flash turned out very good but do note it took a real effort in even making it comparable to the other two! The bounce "image" is better in one regards. It is creating some nice shadow variances. That however is in part due to my daughter having changed her position slightly which allowed that. She is turned a little more sideways in that image (look at her nose) and she kept her chin up a little better (notice double chin in others). She is completely straight on in the other images which makes them a little more flat. I'm confident the other methods could achieve similar results with a minor tweak AND I still wouldn’t have to correct as much in this case….

Take care,
Ralph


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Ralph ­ III
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Jun 29, 2013 05:34 as a reply to  @ Ralph III's post |  #33

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Jun 29, 2013 14:43 |  #34

Bounced wins, IMO.


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Jun 29, 2013 15:16 |  #35

I must have missed something in between the beginning of the thread and here. I thought the original question was regarding the Stofen softening the light, not whether bouncing it or anything else would soften the light.


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CptTripps
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Jun 29, 2013 15:18 |  #36

It is off track but not as far as it seems, would have to go through the whole thing.


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Jun 29, 2013 15:20 |  #37

Uh, no, I've got a wall I just painted that I need to watch dry:lol:


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Jun 29, 2013 15:31 |  #38

Heh, basically boils down to direct flash with or without a stofen, besides loss of light will there be a difference. The other examples were just that but have no real bearing on the stofen discussion.


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Wilt
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Jun 30, 2013 11:25 |  #39

windpig wrote in post #16076088 (external link)
I must have missed something in between the beginning of the thread and here. I thought the original question was regarding the Stofen softening the light, not whether bouncing it or anything else would soften the light.

you did miss something...the original thread question was 'Which way to point the flashhead with Stofen when no suitable ceiling?'

Answer:
It does not matter, it wastes a similar amount of light pointed straight up (light going backward) or pointed forward (light going down to the floor) and maybe a bit less waste when pointed at 45 degrees since the frontal area seen by subject is larger (by about 1.707x) at 45 degrees.

Then the discussion about ceiling bounce with flash only (in spite of the fact that the OP stated 'when no suitable ceiling'). This is where the thread got onto side tracks.

Outcome:

  • It has some advantage over bare flashhead pointed up...it provides catchlights.
  • SMALL does not soften light; only larger apparent size 'softens'. So if there is no ceiling, there is near-zero benefit to softening from a Stofen.

For example,
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Lensonly.jpg
native flashhead only, or
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Papercover.jpg
via use of a 'diffusing' surface no larger than original lens (example at 3') a la Stofen, minor changes in penumbra (shadow edge transition), and little effect on shadow contrast. Remember, these examples were shot from 3' to emphasize differences...but the changes would be minimal from 10-20'

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/sofbox.jpg
larger area modifier (5" x 7") at 3'

We are now in the weeds (what happened to 'no suitable ceiling' condition of the OP), why even the debate?!
With differing opinions: Which is 'better'?...


  1. Ceiling bounce only:
    Facial 'modelling' due to shadows, no shadows cast on surfaces behind things; but somewhat darkish eye sockets and under chin, no catchlights
  2. Softbox or some form of forward bounce component:
    Catchlights, nice eye sockets and under-chin, less evident shadows cast on surfaces behind things; but little facial modeling due to absence of shadowing


...each individual chooses which Con's to ignore because of the Pro's. Different strokes for different folks.

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Jun 30, 2013 13:42 |  #40

Yesterday, my wife and I went to the wedding of daughter of long time friends from college. The hired photographer used ceiling bounce with flash head slightly reversed upward in the church. Early at the reception, I saw him employ the Lightsphere Cloud (groan) for the first time. I was thinking he'd use it mindlessly during the entire reception.

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/IMG_7841_zpsef585446.jpg

But to his credit, it was not the only lighting technique used. He did employ modifierless flash-only ceiling bounce (but rather mindlessly in other ways, I observed -- note the severe ceiling angles...he shot without paying any attention to the angle of the ceiling surfaces relative to flash position or subject position and modifying the flash aim to best suit the situation. This guy would likely suck at playing pool/billiards, I want to see how his shots came out!) And for somewhat set shots like the cake cut or garter removal, he did use radio remote trigger to fire a flash on light stand thru a translucent umbrella.

I digress to badmouth the event coverage technique which I absolutely detest:
The reception sequence, timing, etc. were ALL changed to suit the PHOTOGRAPHER(s), rather than the photography capturing the event as it occurs (and perhaps pausing the action briefly for lighting position changes, or to adjust position of key subjects for improved backgrounds, etc.). And during almost the entire reception, the MC/DJ was told to make announcements, "Would (so-and-so) please go to the photography room, please." Hardly unobtrusive coverage, he and his team were controlling the event.

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Jun 30, 2013 14:31 |  #41

Wilt wrote in post #16077920 (external link)
you did miss something...the original thread question was 'Which way to point the flashhead with Stofen when no suitable ceiling?'

Uh, ya, that's why my comment. It seemed that the thread devolved into a critique of the bounce looking better. And yes, I agree with you, with regard to making no difference if you aren't bouncing.:D


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Jun 30, 2013 16:11 |  #42

At least discussing bouncing is on the topic of photography, vs. discussing discussions ;)


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Jun 30, 2013 19:14 |  #43

:lol::lol::lol:


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Jul 01, 2013 08:50 |  #44

Wilt wrote in post #16078203 (external link)
This guy would likely suck at playing pool/billiards, I want to see how his shots came out!

good to see this comparison drawn, i've made the same connection in my mind while shooting both billiards and photographic subjects.


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