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Do you use the built-in flash on your camera?


Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2020 2:44PM
Phil, you say the diffuser will have absolutely no effect and you say it sends the light in more directions which one is true?

Now you've said the Gary Fong variation doesn't work outdoors due to no walls to bounce off! Rubbish!

Absolutely no effect ?!

250184_1578667403.jpg





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Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2020 2:55PM
Read what I am saying.... Yes the diffuser spreads the light so that when used where walls etc will bounce the light it will improve the quality. Where there is nothing for the spread of light to bounce off it will still act as a small source and the extra spread will be wasted.

Your example is poor as the top image appears to be ambient light with no flash and the second is correctly used fill flash...

You get soft light from a diffused light source only when that diffused light source is large in comparison to the subject.
A large light source that is distant from the subject appears to be a small light source. The sun is the perfect example of a distant large light source that appears to be small and produces harsh light with sharp shadows.
A cloudy sky is a diffuser that turns the harsh light from the sun into a diffuse light source, and it is about as big a diffuser for any object on the ground as you will ever find.
A diffuser that is as large or larger than the subject to give you soft light when used at the correct working distances. The normal working distance for a rectangular or square diffuser is about 1 to 2 times the diagonal measurement. For a round diffuser it is about 1 to 2 times the measured diameter.
A small 8" hot-shoe flash softbox would work well between distances of 8" to 16" from a subject about 8" in height. Beyond 16" the light would quickly become hard. Since the softbox is so small there would also be considerable fall off of light intensity away from the area directly in front of the flash.
Most small diffusers of the Tupperware type like the OnmiBounce or Gary Fong Lightsphere simply make your hot-shoe flash look like a bare bulb flash, sending light out in all directions to bounce off the ceiling and near by walls. It is this bounced light that gives the hot-shoe flash its softness.
The Tupperware type diffusers will only work well if the ceiling and walls are close. In a large room or outdoors they are detrimental because there is no reflected light to soften the image. All they do is reduce the amount of light from your flash that reaches the subject by 2 or more stops. The batteries of your flash will be exhausted much more quickly as the flash has to put out more power in order to give you enough light.
Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2020 4:15PM
Just as an addition Chris, your example image is misleading, go to the page you have lifted the image from and you will read that for the first image the flash had not recycled and did not fire, the second image is what I would expect from well used fill flash, the Lightsphere is making no difference and the result would have been the same using a bare on axis flash, the photographer will simply be wearing out their batteries quicker.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2020 5:15PM
Just first one I picked from likes of these

Here's another one:

250184_1578676307.jpg



I only want to know one thing please Phil

You say that outdoors the diffuser will have absolutely no effect but you say it sends the light in more directions - which one is true?
petebfrance 8 2.9k France
10 Jan 2020 5:30PM
A question about diffusers.
Here is a crop from a fill-in flash photo using the built-in flash (flash set at minus something or other, EXIF doesn't record it).
184684_1578677184.jpg


It was taken across a table so about 3 to 4 feet away. The crop is full size (800 pixels).
Ambient lighting was quite high but mostly overhead - no red-eye, but annoying highlights. Would a diffuser have softened them, I wonder....
Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2020 5:42PM

Quote:You say that outdoors the diffuser will have absolutely no effect but you say it sends the light in more directions - which one is true?

Chris they are both true... a Stofen, Fong light sphere, even my favourite Flashbender all work the same, the output is spread and relies on wall and ceilings to bounce that spread back, it is a technique from many, many years back, with no walls or surfaces to reflect their will be no softening, there is no fill.

What is the point of spreading the light outdoors when there is nothing for the spread to bounce back at your subject, all you are achieving is a reduction in flash power.

Those type of diffusers do not soften the light because the source is effectively the same size all they do is bounce the light around which gives the effect of softer lighting...
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 12:32AM
Phil so the diffuser sends the light in more directions, I've got a garden hose with one of these heads it does a similar thing with water. I could shoot a strong jet right in your nose or cover your whole body with a fine soft mist. Water would bounce off the greenhouse roof and off the floor indoors, it wouldn't bounce so much outdoors but plenty of it would reach you directly but would land in a different place.

Even when the source is the same size, modifiers such as diffusers, grids, snoots and reflectors can and do soften the light. The direct light, no bounce required, just like the garden hose head etc.

250184_1578702533.jpg



Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 8:51AM
Chris you are sadly mistaken if you believe that the extra spread makes the light softer, it does not, take the sun as a big example, it it a huge source but is far away so appears small and it sends light in all directions yet on a clear day the light is still harsh. I have worked professionally with light for over 40 years and I can assure you that I know what I am talking about, but I realise it is impossible to even attempt to explain the facts of physics to you so this is my last word...

Railcam 13 802 2 Scotland
11 Jan 2020 1:04PM
This is getting boring. Phil04 is absolutely right. In the three girl example, the Gary Fong fill seems softer because it is not as bright. The LightSphere is absorbing light so giving less exposure, not softer light.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 1:33PM
" seems softer" Railcam? What's the difference between softer and seems softer? That seems to contradict Phil's firm assertion "absolutely no effect"

Sun's a good example Phil and according to you if you put a diffuser in front of the sun, say a cloud, just like on a flash, it will have absolutely no effect?

Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 1:40PM
For goodness sake Chris.... you cannot rewrite the laws of physics, that is what we are talking about... I refer you to an earlier post of mine...

You get soft light from a diffused light source only when that diffused light source is large in comparison to the subject.
A large light source that is distant from the subject appears to be a small light source. The sun is the perfect example of a distant large light source that appears to be small and produces harsh light with sharp shadows.
A cloudy sky is a diffuser that turns the harsh light from the sun into a diffuse light source, and it is about as big a diffuser for any object on the ground as you will ever find.

A diffuser that is as large or larger than the subject to give you soft light when used at the correct working distances. The normal working distance for a rectangular or square diffuser is about 1 to 2 times the diagonal measurement. For a round diffuser it is about 1 to 2 times the measured diameter.
A small 8" hot-shoe flash softbox would work well between distances of 8" to 16" from a subject about 8" in height. Beyond 16" the light would quickly become hard. Since the softbox is so small there would also be considerable fall off of light intensity away from the area directly in front of the flash.
Most small diffusers of the Tupperware type like the OnmiBounce or Gary Fong Lightsphere simply make your hot-shoe flash look like a bare bulb flash, sending light out in all directions to bounce off the ceiling and near by walls. It is this bounced light that gives the hot-shoe flash its softness.
The Tupperware type diffusers will only work well if the ceiling and walls are close. In a large room or outdoors they are detrimental because there is no reflected light to soften the image. All they do is reduce the amount of light from your flash that reaches the subject by 2 or more stops. The batteries of your flash will be exhausted much more quickly as the flash has to put out more power in order to give you enough light.

Because the light is more spread out by using a stofen or a Lightsphere does not make it softer, all it is doing is wasting that light and using up your batteries.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 2:28PM
Let's reframe this a little bit, I will concede some things to you as well.

Please remember it was you who started arguing with me.

I would sometimes use a Rizla paper on the pop up flash to soften the light, when I mentioned this you came in with "Actually the only way to soften light is to create a larger source"

The Rizla paper creates a larger source you can create an even larger one by doing something like this:

250184_1578752782.jpg



Is that right or is that wrong? This has nothing to do with batteries and wasted light with no walls to bounce off.


Quote:you cannot rewrite the laws of physics
Actually you can. Einstein did it when he modified Newton's Gravity with General Relativity.
Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2020 2:40PM

Quote:Is that right or is that wrong?

That actually looks a neat solution to bouncing the built in flash.... I wasn't trying to argue simply correcting an incorrect statement. Tissue or similar over the flash head does not make the source large enough to be soft and would only give relatively soft light at macro distances...

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