Light Sphere

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chris_andro, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. I just recieved a SB-800 for my D70s, and a friend told me to go out and get
    myself a light sphere.

    Can anyone with experience using them, clowd or clear, tell me what sort of
    difference they make vs. the included Nikon diffuser and or bounce card.

    Seems like a very small price to pay, but how are the results?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    The topic of the Light Sphere has been discussed quite a few times here in In particular, check the Wedding Forum and Lighting Forum.

    $40 or so is not a whole lot of money, but that is a lot of money for a piece of semi-translucent rubber/plastic. As a B&H associate calls it: "Gary Fong's Tupperware." Never the less, I did buy one recently just to check it out.
  3. Something much cheaper and adjustable, is the Demb Flip-It. ( ). Very compact, lightweight, adjustable, designed and built well. It's the best of the light modifying devices that I've found and used.

  4. Shun, how wat it?

    I have naively thought of experimenting with making my own "light sphere" from some
    plastic stuff. Could start experimenting with empty water jugs and then see if I could fix
    up something more practical. Of course, if you show up for a paid shoot with a duct
    tape and milk jug contraption or something like that you'd be laughed at. I think Gary is
    a very smart man!
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I did some test shots at home, and the Light Sphere seems to be ok. It does
    make the SB-800 top heavy, which is a common complaint.
    I haven't used it in actual shoots.

    Personally, I prefer to simply use the pull-out white card reflector built-into the SB-
    800; the main disadvantage (as well as advantage) of it is that the card is too
    small, and I can certainly use a larger reflector surface.

    Gary Fong is clearly very successful in marketing.
  6. I have seen and tried dozens of gadgets over the years and found nothing that beats a piece of paper sized and configured any way you like, rubber-banded to the flash head. Camera mounted strobes are weak enough without further diminishing power with diffusion material. The SB-800 comes with its own diffusion dome that works quite well at short distances, if thats the way you want to go. Otherwise the paper rubber- banded to the flash head makes maximum use of the power available for coverage at a distance, and the diffusive quality of the light is quite good.
  7. I've used several diffusers over the years - Sto-Fen, Nikon, Fong, Demb, and they all work to more or less degree. All are better than bare flash, unless you're going for a hard light look. At the end of the day, you have to pick what you like, because they all have at least subtle differences.

    I prefer more straight diffusion than bounce both because of shadows and because I somehow manage to have to shoot in places where the ceiling is quite high or dark (or both).

    Gary Fong is a marketing genius for sure, but that alone won't sustain a business. His products work, and work well. My personal preference is the cloud lightsphere. I have the clear also, but seldom use it. I pack the cloud with a cloud dome and an amber dome (I have the chrome dome, but seldom use it either). I've had the lightspheres for about 3 years now.

    To me, the edge transition of the lightsphere is smoother than the others, I find it more versatile, being able to pop the dome off and use it as a straight flash very quickly, or shoot through the dome. To me, the only downside to the lightsphere is that it's bulky to pack. I've never had a problem with it falling off. When I'm traveling light/compact, I use the Joe Demb unit. The Demb unit usually lives in my G9's bag.

    With either the Fong or the Demb, I like not having to pack a Stroboframe. I still use Sto-Fen and the Nikon diffusers here and there, especially when attaching to a mini-softbox like a Lastolite 15".
  8. D.B,

    "I prefer more straight diffusion than bounce both because of shadows and because
    I somehow manage to have to shoot in places where the ceiling is quite high or dark
    (or both)."

    When the ceiling is too high, dark, colored, or nonexistent, I just tilt the flash head
    forward to the 60 degree mark to begin with, or even the 45 degree mark to get more
    distance. You can keep the flash head upright and just bend the paper forward for
    more bounce effect if you want. Try it.

    In my illustration, I used a simple business envelope, but you can use a standard
    sheet of letter size printing paper or bigger to make a larger reflective surface to
    bounce off.
  9. Robert has the same idea as the Better Bounce Card. Rather than using paper - use white foam from an art supply store. It is flexible, can be turned down, and it doesn't crease at all.
    Check out the video on the Better Bounce Card site. The guy will sell you one if you insist, but he also tells you how to build one of your own for less than $5 or so.
    A Better Bounce Card
    Having said that - I do use a clear Lightsphere and like the results I get with it.
  10. i have to second the demb flip-it. it replaced my lightsphere after shooting one event.
  11. I have the Gary Fong Whale Tale Studio, which is very expensive and which I don't use so far. I subsequently bought the Lumiquest ProMax system, which I like a lot, because there are several different configurations that are easy to switch between. You can do a regular 90deg bounce, you can keep or remove the bounce card with the wrap-around translucent diffuser, you can use the 20% bounce you get from using only the ProMax frame, there are several different colors of bounce cards, etc.

    My favorite so far is using the deflector with NO bounce card AND the plastic diffuser. This means a lesser amount of light goes directly forward and more goes up to bounce off whatever it can. I generally find it gives a good balance of extra light with a really nice softness. I just HATE flash shadow of any kind. If you set your aperture for about what would be a normal exposure without flash then the flash balances better with the environment and doesn't overlight what's close so badly.

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