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Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Review

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Review - We look at the new Collapsible Lightsphere from Gary Fong.

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Category : Portable Flash Accessories
Product : Lightsphere Collapsible
Price : £58
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible attached to Vivitar flash
We reviewed the original Gary Fong Lightsphere four years ago. One of our comments was that it was big and bulky, and this has now been addressed with the all new Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible, seen above attached to an old Vivitar 283 flashgun.
 

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible: Features

  • Collapsible version of original Lightsphere
  • Folds to a height of 37mm
  • Accepts all Lightsphere accessories
  • Stacking ring design for fewer shadows
  • Grip system to fit most flash heads
The Lighsphere Collapsible works on the same principle as a collapsible lens hood, in fact it has a similar look to the old Hoyarex Filter System Pro hood. The advantage is that you can maintain the big and bulky shape necessary to give good light modification, but make it small for carrying around and storage.

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible: Handling

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible in its compact state
Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible being expanded
In its collapsed state (left) the Lightsphere Collapsible is just 37mm wide. Just push the centre out to expand it to the working size.

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible expanded Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible attaching to a Vivitar flash
When Expanded the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible is a similar size to the original Lightsphere. It attaches to most flash heads using its innovative grip system, seen here being attached to a  Vivitar 283 flash.

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible: Performance

The Lightsphere can be used pointing directly at the subject either in its bare (open) state or with one of the white or amber domes attached in the bare state it doesn't affect flash output and gives a similar reading as a bare flash. With the white dome attached the power is reduced by two stops at a 2 meter distance. An optional Powergrid gives an even more directional light. If you point the flash head upwards and attach the dome the sphere creates a large soft ball of light also with two stops less light than when fired directly.

Lightsphere Collapsible pointing upwards with flash on auto and exposure of 1/90 sec | f/4.0 | 29.0 mm | ISO 100
Lightsphere Collapsible pointing upwards
with flash on auto
Lightsphere Collapsible pointing directly with flash on auto and exposure of 1/90 sec | f/4.0 | 29.0 mm | ISO 100
Lightsphere Collapsible pointing directly with white dome attached and flash on auto

You can see from the test shots that the flash is not harsh when used with the Lightsphere. The shadows are subtle and textures in the hair are picked up well.

Value for money

As with many photography items these days the Gary Fong original lightsphere has been copied by Chinese so there's a cheaper version available. There are also many other light modifiers that are less expensive, but this one does control the light exceptionally well so it's worth its higher price tag.

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible: Verdict

The Lightsphere Collapsible, is unlike many cheaper modifiers - this one works! There are so many that show little difference when used, but the Lightsphere truly softens the light in a very pleasing way. You lose two stops light but that's a small price to pay for the lovely soft light it emits. And these days with cameras with low noise at higher ISOs it's easy to switch from a lower ISO to compensate. Use it with the optional powergrid and it turns into a snoot effect, add the amber dome and you'll warm up your portraits. Buy it in a kit form to save money.
 
  Does what it says on the tin, exceptionally well!

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Pros
Super light modifier
Compact for storage
Grip system fits wide flash range

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Cons
Expensive
Fitting domes to head can be fiddly

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Specifications

Dimensions
Weight119g
Width125mm
Height37mm
Depth125mm

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