Omni Bounce and Soft boxes

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by revolver, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. I am terrible with indoor shooting of people.
    my Son is getting married in a few months and while a "professional" has been hired, I will also be shooting.
    being that my flash photography skills blow, I was interested in these few items.

    2 are for the shoe mount Sigma 610 I have and the other is for the pop up flash

    this one is obvious that I should have

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/359282-REG/Sto_Fen_OM_EY_OM_EY_Omni_Bounce_for_Canon.html

    this one has me very curious

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/752485-REG/Vello_FD_500_Fabric_Softbox_for_Portable.html

    this one is for the Pop up on the K50

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/899545-REG/Graslon_4500_Spark_Pop_Up_Flash_Diffuser.html


    what are your opinions

    thanks
     
  2. Some people swear by these products but from my experience the improvement is very subtle if any, bouncing the flash off the ceiling, wall or large reflector yields better results. I would avoid using the pop-up flash and keep my subjects as far away from walls as possible to avoid any ugly shadows that are hard to remove in PP.
     
  3. I'm not very familiar with that stuff.
    The Omni Bounce should make sense when white walls & ceilings are in reach. - I might buy it but might tend towards the yoghurt cup solutions too, since those seem to divide a lot of light for bouncing and a bit of diffuse light for fill.
    I'm pretty torn about the tiny softbox attachments. - 1st of all: Do you really intend to use built in flash or is it meant to serve as the desperate backup if your Sigma breaks? - I usually have issues with mine not making it past the lens(hood), so I guess enlarging it's surface for that purpose can make sense. - OTOH I am not sure if these minor enhancements matter at all. To get soft light we usually try to have a light source sized 66% of the subject distance; i.e. place a 1m softbox within 1.5m
    Enlarging a flash from point sized to postcard in 1.5m distance shouldn't matter much. - Looking at studio strobes their standard reflectors (for hard light!) are pretty close to the size of your gadged softboxes if not even bigger. - So the main advantage of a softbox would be generating more spill light that hopefully gets reflected back to help with shadows, but the Omni Bounce most likely does the same job?
    If your Sigma unit works fine with the Pentax TTL control, I'd take the remaining time to get a bit more familiar with it and also figure out at what kind of venue you'll have to shoot. A reception with low white ceiling and similar white walls is a piece of cake, just swivel your flash head and maybe use a tiny bounce card for fill.
    If you are facing high dark ceiling and walls or infinity outdoors you are pretty lost and nothing you could walk around with is likely to help much.
    Maybe I am just ignorant towards the importance of the tiny differences that gear can make.
    To battle the shadows Harry mentioned you could use Stroboframe or a similar bracket to keep your more or less softboxed flash above the camera. - I bought such a device but am usually too lazy to pack it.
     
  4. Unless you are very aggressive and work closeto those you are photographing, save your money.
     
  5. I agree with Harry and Jochen.
    If you are not comfortable with your ability to work with flash, shoot (in raw, so you can correct color afterwards) by available light. It will create a look that is different from what the pro will provide, and thus complement the professional work. BTW, before the shoot, make sure the pro knows that you will make every effort to stay out of the way, and will get out of the way if requested. Anyway, that's what I do when I get asked to supplement the professional photography at at wedding.
    Unless you are very aggressive and work closeto those you are photographing, save your money.​
    Just save your money. If you are very aggressive and work close to your subjects, you will be in the way and waste some of the money paid to the pro.
     
  6. Thanks for the responses

    I have already met with and asked the Pro if it was cool that I horn in on the action

    I'll me in a bunch of the shots so there won't be much for me to do anyway.
    I also want to enjoy the day. It's my first child being married so I don't want to miss it because I'm concentrating on getting
    a shot. That's why we got the pro 😀
     
  7. I am the least comfortable with using flash and I hate the PTTL where the P in Pentax means 'Pathetic' in my book. I use Catus v5 and Nikon SB 24 flash for both of my Pentax and Sony systems. Some modifiers will work better than others and you have to try it before the wedding to work out the logic. It is a chore to use any modifier as it adds weight to the already-heavy gig with flash and likely a bracket. A flash bracket adds weight but I find having a flash bracket make my shooting more steady and stable. As a secondary photograhper, I will try to stay away from bracket. For light modifiers, I rather use something simple and light.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.techtheman.com/2009/08/spectra-light-flash-diffuser-as.html
    I wrote about my experience with the Spectra Light modifier back in 2009, it is very likely outdated and irrelevant but I like this gadget as it is small and versatile with transparent and solid panel where the light can be reflected (solid white or gold) panel or diffused more if the transparent panel is used. It is similar to the small white reflector that most of the flashes come with. My next modifier will be using something like the Gary Fong Light-sphere that look like a light dome wrapping around the flash.
    If I am the main person shooting the wedding or event, I will have no hesitation on firing with flashes with or without light modifier. However, if I try to help out my friend or close relatives on event or wedding picture, I will try to stay low-profile and shoot with available light and only use flash when the main photog is in another venue. Flash distracts both the main photographer(s) as well as the ambience especially in the church and wedding setting. If you have a set of faster primes, you may be surprised with your endeavors. My type of fun outing will be to take 31, 43, 77 limited sets and add a surprise-kick-ass lens with a 135mm. As a secondary photographer, I can stay in stealth mode in a farther distance and not intrude the main photogs. And a fast 135 with a steady hand and SR buy you more than a lunch in the shooting. I usually limit or stay flash-less with primes and use flash with my 17-35 and 28-75 Tamron zooms, I will bring 50-135 if the event is outdoor.



    In one event where I shot casually as guest photographer, I brought a Komine 135mm f/2.8 and that's some kind of kick-ass-suprrise 135 that allowed me to stay behind the main photog(s) and shoot in stealth mode making candid shots
    [​IMG]
    with Komine 135mm f/2.8 and I want his job -- shot behind the main photog(s)

    [​IMG]
    with 28-75 @ 50mm, should have corrected the embarrassing fringing
    [​IMG]
    Komine 135mm f/2.8, I should have kept the prime
     
  8. Ooops... - I wasn't tooting the "available light horn". - I tried it frequently enough and consider it pretty limited. With a wide open wide (I have a 24mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.4 or a 35mm f2 for my FF) you end with 3 folks framed and at least 2 of them OOF. By using flash however you can stop down and get more faces in focus. - The latter seems what folks like to see as a result.
    I'm a long term Pentax user and not getting what Hin means by "pathetic".
    Before I'd bash a TTL system, it should fail doing its job, which I see in "limiting available flash power to avoid over exposure". And I can't accuse the Pentax stuff of that. - It might be essential to dial down the flash output half an f-stop (test your gear!) but still, final exposures are within the range of slightly tweaking RAW files, i.e. "good enough" according to my book.
    If "pathetic" was coined towards the built in flashes: Sure! - But who would fancy marching into a war with just a boot knife?
    Back to flashes: mentioning the Nikon SB 24 isn't really helpful. - It is surely a reliable unit and working great in the hands of those used to it, but I never heard Nikon flashes were Pentax PTTL compatible. I feel seasoned enough to use a Metz 60CT4 or maybe even a Metz 45 with auto settings or manual mode and histogramm chimping or even a flash meter, if I bring several units, but that would mean:
    • I'd be phasing out into shooting mood; i.e. end my socially relevant presence.
    • Mindset and efforts asside I'd still feel unable to "gun down" any event, which I'd blame on a lack of AF speed, high ISO capability and writing speed of my Pentaxes. They are no bad cameras but no match to a pair of D5s or similar.
    That being said, the big question remains: What to use for a few personal shots? - Pentax with reasonably fast longer lenses can do lovely indoor portraits at available light if given the time to focus. - I don't vote for killing those with flash if you have a chance to quickly change settings (RAW, AWB, maunual focus point selection, to hit a front eye, auto ISO capped at a reasonable point like 800 for K20D, maybe 1600 for K50D?) and somewhat promising lighting conditions.
    The other issue is stuff with 3 or more people. - Here I'd bounce TTL flash with a little fill and try to keep my aperture reasonably small. - You can dabble a bit with dragging the shutter; i.e. sync on your 2nd curtain, keep SR on, go down to maybe even 1/15sec for exposure. In doubt I'd use more flash & less ISO in those cases, to keep noise bearable.
    Once you have a general idea which exposure compensation is needed for your TTL flash you can keep it set and fire away. - Dragging the shutter is meant to smoothen out harsh flash look with ambient light. - I'd go for a 1 to 2 stops underexposure of the continous light, to keep the flash my main light source. - Does the K50D offer a nighttime portrait mode? Is it working? - Try it out!
    Flash modifiers as the one you listed mainly add a lot of bulk, by making the built in flash as huge as a compact hotshoe unit and tiny softboxes make the hotshoe flash quite big. I think its that bulk that makes switching from photographer to "guest" and back harder. But yes I vote for the business card sized reflectors behind a flash pointed to the ceiling for bouncing.
    Flash brackets: I see little value in those moving the hotshoe flash to your camera's side. - The stroboframe I was talking about looks a bit bulkier than this one:
    http://1.static.img-dpreview.com/fi...8a.jpg&signature=eGzL3C1lolx36TGmtfXmie+mUII=
    But is meant tio keep the flash straight above any camera cobbled into it and allows flipping from landscape to portrait orientation. to make shadows on walls covered by your subject. - As stated: I amk not eager to cope with its bulk and would miss a 3rd hand to hold fire and focus manual cameras with it. or would need practise to get used to a cable release inside the wooden grip.
    Anything besides camera mounted flash and head swiveling to bopunce it is rather time consuming (setup!) or straining - flash at arms length, camera single handedly. Those techniques are absolutely right to bring home a great shot or 3, but I wouldn't fancy doing them all day long.
     
  9. I hate using flash, too, and always try to shoot with ambient light. But there are times when the ambient light just doesn't cut it. I shot a wedding a few years back that was in an old church with narrow windows. It was a rainy day and the light inside the church was cave-like. In situations like that, a flash is a must. One attachment I've had lots of luck with is the Velo FD-200 Light Bouncer. (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/752433-REG/Vello_FD_200_LIght_Bouncer_for_Portable.html) It's cheap and easy to install ... as long as you don't mind putting sticky hook-and-loop fastener tape on your flash unit. It comes with standard white bounce surface but you also get silver and gold inserts that can be swapped in and out in seconds. Good luck!
     
  10. If you don't have time to practice, go with available light if that is what you are more comfortable with. Not that I'm an available light purist either but I think you should go with what you know when it's important to you.
    I have had good luck with a metz flash and a knockoff stofen diffuser. Also the Gary Fong light sphere works well when used according to the directions as dous bouncing a bare flash when the walls or ceiling allow. I put the flash in its own auto mode instead of P-TTL much of the time and it seems to work very well.
     
  11. I am terrible with indoor shooting of people.
    my Son is getting married in a few months and while a "professional" has been hired, I will also be shooting.
    being that my flash photography skills blow,​
    Your son is getting married. Congratulations.
    You're terrible photographing people indoors.
    Your flash photography skills, "blow."
    Despite all that, you will also be shooting.
    But, a "professional" has been hired. I wonder why the word professional is in quotes. Either you hired a pro or you're not confident in the photographer's professionalism.
    Here's my personal advice. Let me preface this by saying I have photographed plenty of weddings professionally and I'm familiar with the gadgets you linked to. It's your kid's wedding. You hired a pro. Leave your camera at home. Applaud your kid. Hug your new daughter-in-law. Dance with your wife, more than once. Embarrass your daughters with the groomsmen (but not too much). Raise your glass when the best man toasts. Have one (but ONLY ONE) drink too many and not too early in the evening. Brag about the lucky couple to your neighbors. If you contributed $$ to the festivities DO NOT MENTION IT TO ANYONE AT ALL.
    It's your kid's wedding. Enjoy it. If you spend the evening with a camera pressed to your face while you worry about missing this shot or that while you get in the pro's way, the next day all you'll have are memories of stress, but not of the joyous celebration. YMMV
    BTW - congrats.
    - Henry
     
  12. I read ALL the responses.
    Thank you all, there is some really great info in there.

    Jochen, as always detailed and very informative. great points. I'll be playing with the settings rather than adding devices to compensate for my lack of ability.

    Hinman, P on my K50 most certainly does not stand for pathetic. I have also become accustomed to shooting from a distance with my 70-300 and 18-250 as not to get in anyones way.

    with all the input I think the only thing I should probably add to my kit is one of those stofen difusers. I see lots of people using them so I guess the serve a purpose.

    I like the idea of the gold one too as to add some tint to photos.


    Henry,

    I wonder why the word professional is in quotes.

    no disrespect intended. I was meaning to highlight the fact not diminish ( even if she is using a Nikon) lol

    but by and far the best advice given sir, was to leave the camera home and enjoy the day

    thank you all
     
  13. Understanding flash photography takes minutes. Mastering flash photography takes years. That being said; starting to learn with a Sto-Fen diffuser on your flash is a solid start. A Sto-Fen is small, easily fits in the bag and is unobtrusive. I have been shooting with a Sto-Fen and AF360FGZ on camera for a few years. Only recently have I moved on to off-camera flash with radio control (Cactus V6 and Catcus RF60's - thanks to Pentax Forums for introducing me to these).
    Here are a couple of Samples with the K-5II, AF360FGZ and Sto-Fen...
    00drqu-562141884.jpg
     
  14. Here's the second
    00drqv-562141984.jpg
     
  15. very nice Duane, skin tones are natural looking.

    I took a few shots of my Son and his soon to be wife for a save the date photo and while we did fix it up a bit this is the original shot


    00drr4-562142384.jpg
     
  16. with natural lighting I did a little better with my sister at her wedding

    (K100D)


    00drr9-562142484.jpg
     
  17. I apologize for the wrong and negative wording for PTTL and I don't mean to belittle the brand that I like. I personally feel underwhelmed with PTTL when it comes to consistent flash power with Pentax K10, K20, K-7 and K-5 experience. Maybe K-3 and K50 get better on PTTL. I have inconsistent flash metering in both AF360 and AF560. I have better luck with AF280 using Auto mode and I have come to grips and now use remote flash trigger using Cactus v5 and use any flash in manual mode with 1/2 to 1/64 power setting. Auto mode is my preferred mode over PTTL when I can't get a consistent flash metering when I bounce with flash mounted on hot shoe. I am not a professional making a living off from photography but an enthusiasts who are attached to Pentax ergonomics, unique limited lens series, and overall well-thought-out designs built for photographers. However, flash and AF are something that I do struggle with Pentax gear.

    I am novice with flash but I prefer to use flash with bounce indoor shooting especially in events to lift up shadows and keep iso at good level for details. I find shooting with available light not adequate for some situations but it is crucial not to distract the main photog -- it is a balance act and situation can arise to dictate the flash usage. As I mention before, I will use available light for ambient atmosphere and try best NOT to distract the main photog in an event such as a wedding. I would imagine the hired photographer may have a difficult time to dodge the dozen mobile phone pictures with flashes and if there are few more guest photographers with flashes on, it will add difficulty for the main photog.
     
  18. You can spend all sorts of money with flash diffusers etc etc. These may make some difference, but in general you need a big cumbersome one to make a significant difference.
    You can bounce the flash from walls and ceiling - but only really useful if the ceiling is actually reflective and not oddly colored. Also the result will not resemble the look of your wedding as it bathes everything in daylight diffused light - ambient light will be greatly diminished.
    So I would do flash on camera and set the ISO or drag the shutter to allow some ambient light to show too. A flash bracket is nice for portrait orientation shots, but more cumbersome. As the groom's father you won't want to be festooned with a camera and flash bracket, so I think that is out.
    Frankly, as Henry P suggests I would leave it to the pro and enjoy your day. If you must takes some shots, I would be tempted to take a simple point and shoot camera for the odd snap. Then you won't have a camera around your neck whenever someone takes your picture as you can put it in your pocket when not in use.
     
  19. HinMan

    No need to apologize, thats your experience and I appreciate the input.

    "flash and AF are something that I do struggle with Pentax gear. "

    is that to mean that other brands, Cannon and Nikon are better with their flash/AF than Pentax from your experience?


    " I find shooting with available light not adequate for some situations but it is crucial not to distract the main photog"

    Ive become good at timing my shots with a real Photog as to use their lighting and not to distract them ;)
     
  20. I agree Robin

    but......My P&S is an Olympus Pen ELP 3 lol
     
  21. I reconsidered all those novelty items and just got a regular Sto Fen diffuser, I see them on all sorts of flashes in all sorts of environments ( people like me, semi Pro's Pro's and on the red carpet ) so I guess they are good for something.

    I also got the gold and green one ( the green seems more blue but....

    I dont see a lot of difference with the white one.

    The green/Blue one adds a funky tint but this one is meant for use with florescent lighting

    but the Gold one!!!

    now that adds some rich tones and actually Diffuses...

    only snapped a few shots of nothing in particular and will give them some time over the next few days.

    I just have to get better overall with being able to adapt to changes in light and my settings as some of you have pointed out.


    thanks for all the dialog
     
  22. "what are your opinions"​
    1. I totally agree with the great advice given by Henry Posner who was too professional to plug his company (B&H Photo) so I, as a long time customer, will do it for him.
    2. I cannot follow that great advice because I have a miserable time sitting passively through a wedding. When I photographed my daughter's wedding, I enjoyed it immensely.
    3. When I shoot weddings professionally for others, I use 1 to 4 remotely controlled flash units with a variety of light diffusers. The only time I might use a diffuser as small as the pop-up one you listed, is for a ring shot close-up.
    4. When I shoot weddings without flash, I use fast lenses (f/1.2, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8), high ISO (800 up to 25,600), custom white balance, and camera support (tripod and/or monopod).
    https://flic.kr/p/mNMpxv
    00dtys-562621884.JPG
     

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