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Thread: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

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    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    OK, pop(up) quiz!!

    In the absence of a hot shoe mounted flash....is it worth getting a diffuser for my Canon RebelXS/1000D. Something like the Gary Fong?(http://www.garyfongestore.com/puffer...-diffuser.html)

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    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Gareth,

    I don't have any experience with a pop up diffuser,but I use some of this companies products.Have a look.
    http://www.lumiquest.com/softscreen.htm

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    I make a diffuser for my popup flash usng an old 35mm film canister. The milky-white cans can be cut to fit over the flash and work well for a diffuser.

    Pops

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    OK, pop(up) quiz!!

    In the absence of a hot shoe mounted flash....is it worth getting a diffuser for my Canon RebelXS/1000D. Something like the Gary Fong?(http://www.garyfongestore.com/puffer...-diffuser.html)
    In my opinion they're 1 stop removed from a waste of time.

    Assuming it's a key light then quality light is all about (a) how big the light source is, (b) how close it is, and (c) what direction it's coming from ... shooting a flash into a shoot-through umbrella off to the side a few feet away from the subject produces a directional light that's probably around twice the size of the subjects head and shoulders (assuming a people shot here), where as a "naked on-camera flash" produces a tiny light source that's totally in the wrong place; with a diffuser attached it's STILL a tiny light source that's totally in the wrong place.

    As a fill light it's still not ideal - and with a diffuser it can actually be useful, but personally I STILL avoid on-camera flash. At the end of the day, there's just no substitute for a wireless transmitter - a couple of flash units - and either a couple of shoot-through umbrellas or a couple of diffusers ... but obviously that's a "not insignificant" investment.

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    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    yeah i absolutely agree with the value of a properly set up studio lighting. But what about when you're at a wedding etc? There's too much movement for no flash. Can the effects of a pop up flash be mitigated in post processing?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Hi Gareth,

    Another quick answer;
    A pop up flash is a fairly weak device at the best of times, plus using it a lot shortens your main camera battery's life. Putting a diffuser on makes it even less bright, the larger the light spread, potentially the less far it will illuminate successfully. That said, as Colin says above, it's still relatively tiny and in the wrong position, even for a wedding.

    Hence the need for off-camera flash, preferably not mounted on the hot shoe, but on a bracket to the side (and above). Unless it is a "hammerhead" design which is like that anyway.

    Can you do anything in PP?
    Well I guess you would use fill light to bring up the shadows, but clearly you risk bringing up noise too.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Hi,
    All is a compromise between... and between.None of us could appreciate,instead of You,advantages or disadvantages of the utilisation of a diffuser.Some time I use a "Matin" one like this
    Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?
    Below You see many subtle differences
    Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?
    Thank You for reading
    Radu Dinu
    Last edited by Radu Dinu Cordeanu; 3rd September 2010 at 08:26 PM.

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    I guess Radu's diffuser would work fine for closeups.

    I don't use flash a lot, but inspired by the "Light Scoop", I tried a much cheaper diy model that works fine. It's a piece of aluminised cardboard, glued to a clothespin, that can be attached to the camera front plate under the flash. It directs the light upwards, and creates a bouncelight. At ISO 800 and f5,6 the exposure is OK if the room is not too large.
    http://www.ifokus.se/Images/ImageVie...ForumGroup%234
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 3rd September 2010 at 08:53 PM.

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    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    I guess Radu's diffuser would work fine for closeups.

    I don't use flash a lot, but inspired by the "Light Scoop", I tried a much cheaper diy model that works fine. It's a piece of aluminised cardboard, glued to a clothespin, that can be attached to the camera front plate under the flash. It directs the light upwards, and creates a bouncelight. At ISO 800 and f5,6 the exposure is OK if the room is not too large.
    http://www.ifokus.se/Images/ImageVie...ForumGroup%234
    Thats a really clever idea! I never thought of creating my own bounce flash cheers

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    yeah i absolutely agree with the value of a properly set up studio lighting. But what about when you're at a wedding etc? There's too much movement for no flash.
    There are a number of options for professional wedding photographers ...

    - If you have to have an on-camera solution then one would attach an external flash like a 580EX II and attach something like a Lightsphere to it, or as an alternative, bounce the light from the 580EX off of a reflector / wall / tuxedo etc

    - If you have an assistant then there is simply no substitute for an off-camera flash firing into a shoot-through umbrella (both on a hand-held pole), controlled by a wireless trigger

    - If you're shooting a ballroom or the likes then some photographers even use studio strobes

    Can the effects of a pop up flash be mitigated in post processing?
    Dave mentioned using fill light (which is of course quite correct), but a professional wedding photographer isn't just looking to reveal shadow detail, they're also looking to impart a direction to the lighting.

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    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    i wasnt thinking about professional occasions. I was a guest at a friends wedding last weekend, and was wondering if a fong-style diffuser would have made any difference.

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    i wasnt thinking about professional occasions. I was a guest at a friends wedding last weekend, and was wondering if a fong-style diffuser would have made any difference.
    A Fong Puffer probably wouldn't have made a big difference as the end result is still a very small light source; the lightsphere on the other hand lights up the entire room whilst throwing about 20% of the light forward - but - if you're not the official event photographer then using that kind of equipment would be considered seriously inappropriate.

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    thats true. Flashing in front of the bride is a definate no no

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    thats true. Flashing in front of the bride is a definate no no
    Ha Ha

    Seriously though, I think that just about any wedding photographer will tell you that "uncle joe" with an DSLR at a wedding is a royal PITA; the additional flashes (even from P&S cameras) are distracting - and when a relative tries to "tag along behind" the official tog then subjects often don't know where to look - and - it slows things down a LOT (and already timing is usualyy VERY tight) - and - it potentially does the official tog out of income in that he doesn't sell as many prints (but does all the work setting up the shot). It's also been the cause of conflicts on the day ... the ONE DAY that you don't want arguments between the official tog and guests and sometime having to get the B&G to "sort out a relative". I believe that many official tog actually have it written into their contracts that guests are not allowed to use their own cameras.

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    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    i was very aware of not getting involved in any of the pro shots. So took lots of pics of other guests instead. And concentrated on personal quirky shots that he wouldnt be able to get.

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    I would recommend that anyone who can possibly afford it get a hotshoe flash and learn how to use it for natural looking shots. Yes, bounced flash (with or without a bracket) can look natural if combined with a reflector diffuser.

    A Canon 580EX or 430EX (series) flash is great as are the 550EX and, to a lesser degree, the 420EX. The 270EX is not (IMO) an all around flash, although it is nice for specialty shooting.

    If a photographer cannot afford a Canon flash, there are several 3rd party brands which are popular. The most popular is the Sigma line of flashes although the Yongnuo units seem to be gaining in popularity. I shoot with an older 550EX and a 420EX and have no problem achieving good lighting when I bounce and use a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro ( www.dembflashproducts.com ).

    I have been told that there is a diffuser/reflector available in the U.K. that is very much like the Flash Diffuser pro but, I don't know its name.

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    Re: Pop up flash diffusers..do they really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    I was a guest at a friends wedding last weekend, and was wondering if a fong-style diffuser would have made any difference.
    The Fong would not have been all that helpful on the PuF.
    The Radu Dinu shield is a good idea. A white handkerchief draped is OK in an emergency for a little bit of Close Fill when shooting indoors.
    The PuF is best utilized for Emergency Flash Fill outdoors in Sunlight. To do this use direct PuF.
    On most DSLRs is good for about 6ft at EV ≈ 14, 15. (I use Canon).
    You need to experiment and sometimes dial down the Flash Comp.
    Works best for ¼ profile and Back-lit/Top-lit Subjects.


    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    thats true. Flashing in front of the bride is a definate no no
    What Camera and Lenses are you using?
    It is very likely you could have gone sans flash and captured OK images with the correct technique – even if you only had a kit zoom lens: I am quite serious.


    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Seriously though, I think that just about any wedding photographer will tell you that "uncle joe" with an DSLR at a wedding is a royal PITA; the additional flashes . . . etc
    As Colin stated, the main issue is the distraction of the Formal Group and the subsequent time loss during the formal or semi formal shots. It really eats into the time and the Subjects (i.e. the B&G) are part of six zillion “formal” photographs and can get fed up quickly in the confusion. The point is each person with a camera experiences what they have taken - eight or ten shots – but if there are twenty people – that’s can be easily 200 flashes from different angles all in the five minute window to get the formal Wedding Party on the Church steps – add to that, many of the anxious friends shout for attention - “cheese” or “sex” – which is monotonous after the 50th effort.

    There is no easy answer to it. Good people, communication and management skills are the best approaches, IMO.

    WW

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