Flash diffuser/modifier recommendations

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jaime, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Any recommendations for a diffuser for a nikon SB-28?
    I need something that won't block the IR focus assist illuminator and won't be too big.
  2. Size is everything in a diffuser - no getting around it.

    I've tried mini softboxes, and they're a waste of time. Not to mention extremely cumbersome. Mouldable reflectors that strap to the flash are a better bet. They act like an overgrown bounce-card.

    Little clip-on diffusers like the Stofen (or similar) have little effect if the flash is pointed directly at the subject. They only come into their own if the flash is pointed at a bounce surface. Outdoors or in a large dark-painted room, for example, they're ineffective. Whereas a reflective type diffuser will always work.... but the softening of light is a bit minimal. You're never going to get a window-like light from a foot-square source stuck 6" away from the lens!
  3. I only use the StoFen to bounce the light in a room, like a bare bulb.
  4. BTW, I would really like it if the StoFen were a couple inches higher, so it would throw more light to the side.
    I remember reading of a DIY alternative to the StoFen, a frosted plastic rubbing alcohol bottle. That would be taller than the StoFen.
  5. "I remember reading of a DIY alternative to the StoFen, "

    - Something like in this thread?
  6. YES :D
  7. Direct flash is direct flash. A card type bounce reflector gives some softening with little reduction. I bought two plastic ones for my Olympus flash that have a solid rubber band to attach it. Would likely work with other small shoe mounted flashes. Also consider just putting it on a bracket off camera. Brainstorming away as always :)
  8. As Rodeo_Joe stated size is everything but he left out the other key component which is "Distance". You can have a 10 foot diffusor but if it is too far away from the subject it will still be a hard light source. When working with all these gadgets you need to be close to your subjects. Bouncing is by far the king only when the ceilings are light neutral color. When is the bounce card or 3rd party versions used? It used to fill some light in the shadows made by the bounced light as we all know. There are times to not use the card and that would be any candid shot that people are facing each other and not the camera. There is a trick I use and you may or may not be aware of it. I use the pull out white card on my canon flash but I have discovered if I also pull up the clear diffusor about half way so it stays up it will increase the flash fill dramatically. That of course is a matter of taste but it does improve the look in my opinion.
  9. "Bouncing is by far the king only when the ceilings are light neutral color."

    - I have to disagree there. Auto White Balance (or RAW adjustment) on a digital camera can compensate for a ceiling/wall tint that's a long way from neutral. In fact even a 'white' surface will warm the CT of flash considerably when used as a bounce surface.

    Personally, I'll take a pastel blue, pink or yellow bounce over ugly direct flash any day of the week.

    It's also my experience that setting the flash 'zoom' to the broadest beam, or using the pull-out diffuser, gives better bounce coverage and apparently more useable flash power.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  10. Rodeo_joe you are free to disagree as this is a forum and we are all entitled to give our own opinions based on our own experiences and let the readers make there own choice. Light reflecting off of a tinted or colored wall will introduce that tinted color. If that works for you then great.
  11. "Light reflecting off of a tinted or colored wall will introduce that tinted color."

    - And Auto White Balance, or a tweak in RAW processing, will remove it. It's no different from using Tungsten lighting as opposed to daylight or flash.

    I'm not saying you can compensate for, say, a bright red or lime-green ceiling/wall, but a pastel tint is no problem at all.
  12. I HATE having to remove the color cast in a pix. Because when it happens it happens to a LOT of pix, and doing that for each pix is a PiA.
    I just got through editing a school concert. And they had red and blue lights, which put a magenta color cast on everybody, and also was responsible for blowing out the white shirts. Interestingly, once I removed the magenta cast, many of the white shirts were no longer blown out. :)

    That was a shoot that I was glad I shot in RAW.
  13. I've had instances where shots could not be corrected to my satisfaction. I think the problem is that a tinted surface such as a ceiling is absorbing some wavelengths and so those bits of the color spectrum are no longer present (or no longer available in sufficient quantity). What's not there cannot be added back in very easily. So, it all comes down to what the final use is. Ceilings and similar surfaces are certainly easy and are good enough 80% or more of the time but if color will be critical then it's time for a bit more effort.

    I do wish I could buy 20 packs of the little credit card sized WhiBal cards (or just something close enough) to stick around a place prior to shooting. Having these in the image to balance to but inconspicuous enough to not really show can make life easier.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017

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