Roxie2401 wrote in post #16553137
Thanks - your one comment - "BTW, a Stofen should never be used pointing directly forward,"
Can you say why? I keep seeing what I'll call "Press Photo" people using the Stofen and its usually straight forward.
You got me curious.
As to all the other responses - I sincerely appreciate them and am going to spend more time today reading about diffusers and ETTL.
Thanks to all for taking the time to respond.
What Skip said really - even some professionals don't know how their kits works
All flash 'diffusers' and bounce devices work in the same basic way, and are almost totally dependent on the environment they're used in for the quality of results (though marketers usually forget to mention this). They soften the light by spreading it all around so that a lot of it bounces off surrounding surfaces, making them effectively large light sources, and that's what really softens the light and lightens the shadows.
Easy test - take a portrait outdoors when it's dark. There will be no light bouncing back as there are no nearby surfaces for it to bounce off, and given that a Stofen doesn't actually increase the size of the flash head significantly, the result will be exactly the same as using direct flash without the Stofen. Then take the subject indoors and shoot the same picture in a smallish room with light-toned walls and white ceiling. Aim the gun straight up, and the result will be dramatically different/better/softer. While you're at it, take the same shot with the flash pointing forwards at 45 degrees, and again with it pointing straight at the subject. See how the result changes.
The reason why Stofens should not be pointed straight at the subject, but directly towards the primary bounce surface (ie, preferably a normal height white ceiling) is because they have another good trick to play. They're designed to send most of the light towards the bounce surface, and at the same time send a small proportion directly towards the subject. So you get nice soft light from above, but the direct component lifts the shadows under eyes and chins and puts a nice sparkle in the eyes. Using the pull-out bounce card built in to the flash head works in much the same way.
In the right environment, Stofens work pretty well. There are better devices, offering better results and more versatility (eg Lumiquest QuikBounce) but nothing else is as cheap or easy/foolproof, or as small and robust in a press scrum.
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