1. mikeyw

    mikeyw

    Messages:
    1,239
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Hi,

    I'm doing a few evening events this summer so jumping between indoor light and summer evening light. I prefer to use fill in flash (SB800) and have achieved good results with the Gary Fong dome. However it's version one and the weight of it often causes it to come off or the top to fall off which is very frustrating.

    Before i upgrade to the latest concertina version i wondered if there were better alternatives out the that people have used ?

    Thanks in advance,
    Mike.
     
  2. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc

    Messages:
    20,425
    Name:
    French Canadian living in Europe since 1989!
    Edit My Images:
    Yes


    Never came close to that dome!

    I use the FlashBender with the Nikon flashes and
    the kit diffusers with the A1's.
     
  3. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    IMO, the only thing of any real use/benefit for on camera flash is a bounce panel. Personally I use a small flashbender w/o any of the gadget attachments... but I'm not sure I would recommend one as they are just too easy to knock out of shape. Maybe something like a LumiQuest would be better...

    Using a dome of any sort outdoors is a mistake... and not a lot of benefit indoors either.
     
  4. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,955
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I like the lumiquest quik bounce.
    But more often; nothing.
     
    sk66 likes this.
  5. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No
  6. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc

    Messages:
    20,425
    Name:
    French Canadian living in Europe since 1989!
    Edit My Images:
    Yes

    :plus1:
     
  7. mikeyw

    mikeyw

    Messages:
    1,239
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I tend to use the dome when there is a reasonably low ceiling and it gives a nice spread of light. Outside i point it direct or use the difuser bundled with the flash. Do people not find the direct flash can be a bit harsh ?
     
  8. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No

    Direct flash is only harsh when not diffused. See the link I posted above, that diffuses and spreads the light nicely, no harshness, it acts just like a soft box [the interior back side is a reflective/silver surface material] It folds up into a small bag and takes up no more space than a small lens when not in use
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  9. PhilH04

    PhilH04

    Messages:
    566
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Flashbender... but no matter what, you are still dealing with a small light source that's really only going to be effectively diffused when close to your subject. You say fill - in flash, so as long as that is what your flash is doing and not competing with the ambient light any harsh shadows should not be too noticeable...
     
  10. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Used outside a dome only wastes light. The light seen by the subject is still small/harsh because all of the light that was spread/scattered never reaches the subject. The key with OnCF is to either use it as fill (reduced power) so that it doesn't dominate the image. Or make the flash *much* larger by bouncing it off of surrounding surfaces; which is what a dome does with *some* of the light. The tiny on camera softbox type things really don't do anything, they are just too small to make any difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    Fraser Euan White and PhilH04 like this.
  11. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No
    The GF dome is about as effective as making a cup from an empty milk carton and sticking it on your flash tbh. I could never understand the hype. Most small speedlight softboxes are useless, yes, but what I linked earlier is not one of them. It is a blatant rip off of the Fstoppers flash disc for less than 1/3 the price. It opens out to a 12" disc which gives out plenty of light for small group shots. It behaves more like a mini shoot through brolly than a soft box really. It folds up and pops out like a reflector disc, I'm sure most would be familiar with those, so it can be that bit larger without taking up much space in the bag
     
  12. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    The effectivity of diffusion is limited to a distance of ~ 3x it's size... you photograph small groups with a fisheye lens?

    [​IMG]
     
    Phil V and PhilH04 like this.
  13. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No

    Diagram shmiagram, I've photographed small groups using a 25mm on an M43 body using that flash disc. I'll go by results in action over diagrams every time.
     
  14. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,955
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Wow, physics gets rewritten in Keith’s world.

    I’ve got one of those discs, I’ll be using it at the weekend and taking it on holiday, but on important jobs, the bigger source is what gets the shots that pay the proper bucks.
     
    PhilH04 likes this.
  15. PhilH04

    PhilH04

    Messages:
    566
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    But Steven is right, its all down to physics, a 12inch soft box is best used up to a max of around 36inches for it to provide diffused, wrap around light. Used as a source for fill illumination it may help a little with a slightly softer edge to any shadow if you overdo the fill....

    Edit... Phil V posted whist I was typing. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    Phil V likes this.
  16. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Wow, Phil remains an elitist snob *shock, horror* ... Seriously, shut up. I just said I tried and tested it, unless you're calling me a liar sit back down like a good child.
     
  17. adrianday

    adrianday

    Messages:
    699
    Name:
    Adrian
    Edit My Images:
    No
    My wife wants to know if the handbag shown in the before and after picture is included.

    And btw, @Cagey75, I think @Phil V's understanding of elementary physics is correct in this particular instance. Unless one of your subjects has the gravitational mass of a small black hole.
     
  18. Cagey75

    Cagey75

    Messages:
    6,919
    Name:
    Keith
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Does your wife watch over your shoulder while you're on here often? :thinking::LOL:

    I can only say my experience ladies
     
  19. soeren

    soeren

    Messages:
    927
    Name:
    Soeren
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Well maybe it's a matter what's considered good results. Some like hard light and if used as fill it can work great.
     
    sk66 likes this.
  20. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,955
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Hilarious.:dummy:
    It’s not as if science couldn’t predict the results exactly.:thinking:

    The rules of physics are only ‘elitist’ if you live in a cave or you believe in magic beans. I could tell you exactly what those shadow patterns look like, it’s really not complicated and (like I said I have one too).

    As with all things, it’s whats ‘acceptable ‘ for the OP, personally I’d rather use the flash disc than the Fong dong, but I’d also rather use a bare flash bounced, a bare flash handheld or indeed a much bigger modifier. All depending on exactly where I’m at, and what the output is to be used for.
     
  21. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

    Messages:
    2,308
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I've recently been getting into using flash, mainly for fill in purposes in daylight, and have also been using a dome type diffuser (a £9 inc postage one off eBay, just to try). The main thing I like is its portability. I can wander round without my camera looking like a lollypop man or that it's got a 'here's one we made earlier' from Blue Peter strapped to it. I find the light from my 'cheap copy' dome is quite even and if I need a bit more 'poke' I can fit the solid white dish reflector to put more light out of the sides rather than half of it going out through the top when using the chromed partial dish reflector.

    The bendy and disc type diffusers also look useful, and if I were using flash in a less mobile setting such as a wedding or indoor function then I'd be giving those a try too; however, I do like the portability of the dome type diffuser when fitted, and the flexibility the different inset dishes give. As for the scorn some people seem to heap on the dome diffuser, I doubt Martin Parr would be using one if it didn't work. I suspect he's weighed up the portability advantages/disadvantages of different diffusers and probably also their 'profile' when taking candid shots in public? I imagine he'll also know the limitations of the dome diffuser, and when and when not to use it, and with which insert dish. I think the dome diffuser is a good accessory if used within its limitations, I don't think it's the answer to every situation, but then again, neither are some of the alternatives, particularly once portability (when fitted) becomes a significant factor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  22. Brazo

    Brazo

    Messages:
    2,284
    Name:
    Mark
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Anything is better than bare flash.

    Bare flash is better than nothing (sometimes).

    I use a flash bender and get excellent results with on camera flash. Yes I can get better results with off cam flash but if your in a field and just want a bit of fill in a flash bender with reduced flash output is damn near perfect.
     
    sk66 likes this.
  23. Tori_T

    Tori_T Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,416
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Come on folks, keep it civil please.
     
  24. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    There are a few things that are commonly misunderstood/misattributed as "creating soft light" with small diffusers (of any type). The most common is that all of the light that does not directly hit the subject (normally called "spill" or "contamination") bounces off of surrounding surfaces filling in shadows from different directions... works just like a diffusion dome. You see this all of the time where someone is using small umbrellas from too far, but they get really soft/flat light results. They think it's the umbrellas doing it when it really isn't... might as well turn the lights around and light up the room.

    The second is that the modifier can reduce the power causing the flash to act more as fill... might as well just reduce the power rather than waste it.

    And in your scenario, it is possible that it is causing a greater/more even spread of light wide enough for a group at 50mm effective... if your speedlight doesn't have a wide enough zoom, then the WA screen provides the same function (may be more/less wasteful).
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
    HoppyUK and Phil V like this.
  25. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I can see it providing "evenness," it's not uncommon for a speedlight w/ a fresnel lens to project a notable hotspot at certain zoom positions/distances... but that is different from "softness/wrap" that diffusion is typically used for.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  26. mikeyw

    mikeyw

    Messages:
    1,239
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Im still non the wiser guys - too many opposing views here.

    I tried direct with the bundled diffuser and didnt care for it, the dome pointed up gave me a far nicer light on faces and lifted the background shadows as well to some extent.

    The flash disc looks interesdting but not exactly discreet - how does it go down at events for those that have used it ? - i get enough ribbing walking around with the fong dome on :)
     
  27. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

    Messages:
    2,308
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    OK, at the risk of personal derision I've included a photo that shows what I like about the cheap dome diffuser I've been using recently. It's a 'reject' photo from a trip to a living museum, so ignore the composition, subject pose (he was talking to someone at the side of me at the time, and raised his hand just as I took the shot!) and depth of field. It's also taken on film, so don't go pixel peeping, and the kodak Ektar 100 I was using isn't very good for skin tones either! It was just a grab shot taken without much thought.

    I used the dome with the solid white dish cap fitted and pointing straight upwards on a Canon Speedlite 430 EX II as fill flash; the walls were a cream/magnolia colour and the shop was lit via a large double shop window about 15 feet behind me and the small opaque window in front of me (with bright sunshine outside), and the ceiling was probably about 12 feet high. I like the fact that despite all the glass and reflective surfaces there's no trace of flash reflection in them, with the exception of the corner of the 'Seagull' petrol tank. Considering it was just a single, camera-mounted flash, I think it's created quite nice, even, soft light, and I can't see any harsh shadows.

    Furthermore, I could easily put the dome diffuser on the flash whilst in the shop, despite the presence of other visitors to the exhibit, and I didn't feel too conspicuous wandering around with it on, as I would have done with a giant white 'Mickey Mouse's ear' strapped onto the flash. So there you go, that's what I like so far about the dome diffuser, plus the fact that it only cost £9 including postage!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    mikeyw likes this.
  28. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    22,168
    Name:
    Richard
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Lumiquest QuikBounce is my favourite speedlight accessory. It works well indoors (can also be used outdoors), bounce and direct ratios can be adjusted by zooming the flash head, it doesn't waste precious light out of the back, fast and easy, horizontal or vertical framing, packs flat. Some refreshingly bull-free info in Lumiquest tutorials, too.
    https://lumiquest.com/collections/bounce-devices/products/lumiquest-quik-bounce

    Rogue FlashBender is also good and best of all is the Black Foamie Thing that costs pennies but needs a little knowledge and a suitable environment to work in (eg a white-walled corner/ceiling is perfect).
    https://neilvn.com/tangents/about/black-foamie-thing/

    The Fong LightSphere also works well but is expensive, cumbersome, and looks rather comical. The problem most enthusiasts have with Fong though is the misleading advertising claims. Many other manufacturers are just as guilty, but take this example where the Fong LS is apparently working magic
    https://picclick.com/Gary-Fong-Ligh...user-For-Nikon-182075652255.html#&gid=1&pid=7

    What's making the difference there is a) all the soft light being bounced back from the ceiling and walls, and b) the shutter speed has been dropped to pull up the ambient light, brightening the background and candle, and warming the colour. You would get exactly the same result with a plastic milk bottle over the flash (seriously*). Or a £3 Soften-type diffuser cap, or one of many other similar devices. See Steven sk66's post #24.

    If you want to see what a flash diffuser is really doing just by itself, take it outdoors at night, when there is no ambient light or ceiling/walls to bounce the light back. Compared to indoors in an average room, the difference is dramatic ;)

    *DIY plastic milk bottle flash diffuser - cut off the top and shape it around the flash head, secure with BluTack or tape etc, turn the flash head vertical (y)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  29. IainDunbar

    IainDunbar

    Messages:
    6
    Name:
    Iain
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
  30. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    22,168
    Name:
    Richard
    Edit My Images:
    No
    If softer = better, then the bigger the better - but that's not for on-camera use. The problem with on-camera accessories is that as they get bigger you quickly run into practical difficulties of size and weight.
     
  31. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,955
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    There’s no magic bullet. Nothing you can buy will be easily transportable and turn a speedlight into a giant softbox.
    Thousands of forum posts have been written on the subject.
    The best money you can spend is the £10 on the speed lighters handbook.
    Only knowledge will help
     
  32. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    It's very hard to say much definitive about the effectiveness/results. Did you try w/o the flash or other methods to compare results? In a situation like this my preferred method is backwards bounce and I have to think it would have worked at least as well. What were the other settings?
    What I can say with some certainty is that the speedlight added very little to the image and I doubt it would have looked much different if it hadn't been used at all.
     
    welly and Phil V like this.
  33. Mozthecat

    Mozthecat

    Messages:
    319
    Name:
    Jon
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Just be forewarned The Speedlighters Handbook is out of print and only available used, first edition is widely available, second edition is like rocking horse s#£&.it is however a useful book...
     
    Phil V likes this.
  34. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,955
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Well then I don’t mind mentioning that there’s a PDF available online. ;)
     
  35. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

    Messages:
    2,308
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I seem to remember reading that the third edition is in preparation and should be about later this year. At the moment, even the first edition in good clean condition is fetching £20+. Mind you, I expect the third edition will be around £30 or £40 when it's published.
     
  36. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

    Messages:
    2,308
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I was using 100 ISO film at the time and the available light in the shop would have dropped the shutter speed too low to have given anything like enough depth of field for a hand-held shot. Hence the use of flash. I didn't take a comparison shot without flash for that reason, and because I only had 36 shots of Ektar 100 to play with that day.

    Backwards bounce - towards two multiple-paned glass shop windows? Given that I was using film so I couldn't fire off a couple of test shots and chimp, I don't think I'd have wanted to risk the light literally going out of the window, or spurious reflections showing up in the glass fronted and topped surfaces of the display counter. Also, I think the chap playing the part of the shopkeeper might have got a bit hacked off with me firing several shots to try various bounce angles, not to mention the other visitors to the museum who wanted to look round the shop without some big mook with a camera monopolising the place. Hence the one shot take.

    What were the settings? No EXIF file with my film camera, so it's from memory. Somewhere around 1/80th at f/5.6 (I should have used AE and gone for f/8 to give slightly more depth of field). Flash and camera on ETTL (no ETTL II on this camera) with no compensation used on either.

    The speedlite added just enough to the image to provide some detail in the darker areas of the shelving and the darker areas of the chap's clothing to stop them looking an underexposed mess, and retained a lot more detail in the window at the back, which would have been totally blown out without the flash. In all, this gave pretty much just the amount of fill flash I was looking for; subtle and so it wasn't obvious flash had been used.

    As has been said, the dome diffuser is just another tool in the box and there's no magic bullet; no single thing will work in every situation. However, quite often when doing documentary style photography it's not possible to use multiple flash units, large or cumbersome diffusers, or to chimp away to check the results and modify bounce angles, positions, etc. until the desired effect is obtained. That's what I like so far about my cheap dome diffuser, it's fairly portable and can give some nice looking results.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
    mikeyw likes this.
  37. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I wasn't there so it's very hard for me to say, but if there was a good bit of wall/ceiling above the glass, or in the corner, then yes... backwards bounce would probably have worked just as well. Bouncing the flash is not necessarily any harder or more complicated than using the dome... point it somewhere so it is scattered/made much larger and let TTL figure it out.
    If there was that much glass behind you then you must realize that a good 25-50% of the light the dome was putting out was also going out through them.

    That's all good and fine... the question is "why?" The window still looks blown out to me. The settings indicate light levels about equivalent to an overcast day/open shade. And you gave no indication of any reason why the flash would have only added fill levels. To my mind that means either flash wasn't really needed/used, or it was highly inefficient and couldn't add more. If the camera exposure was set manually that would dictate how much flash was added by TTL metering; if so, how much offset did you dial in and why?

    FWIW, I'm not entirely against using domes. Nikon speedlights come equipped with them (stofen type) and I've used them when it suited me. But there is nothing magic about them, and they are often so much more wasteful as to be nearly useless. It's understanding what they do and why it works that matters, and that's what allows you to use the dome (or anything else) effectively/intentionally.
     
    Phil V likes this.
  38. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

    Messages:
    2,308
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    From memory the windows went up to the ceiling (or very close to it), so no corner or partial wall to bounce off. Yes, from where I was standing probably about a third of the light from the dome would head towards the window... leaving two thirds of the light to do its job as fill flash, unlike if I'd fired a flash backwards at the windows, where that loss ratio would have most likely been the other way round.

    The window is a lot less blown out than it would have been with no flash at all. As for the rest of this, I've already provided most of that info, and the flash had plenty left - I could tell by the recharge time which did not indicate full discharge had occurred.

    I don't think a light source as small as a stofen type diffuser can really be compared with a full-size dome. The dome I have isn't one of the opaque white ones like a stofen, it's almost see-through with vertical striations to diffuse the light. Used with the various cap/lid insets I don't think the dome I have is as wasteful as you perhaps believe.

    Anyway, I'm enjoying exploring its strengths and weaknesses, and comparing it against bounce type flash use. So far the dome seems to cast less shadow than bounce flash, certainly in smaller rooms or those with low ceilings; but then again, shadow might actually be preferable depending on the effect the photographer is after, so it's horses for courses. I've never claimed that this sort of dome diffuser is magic, or better than a large reflector/diffuser in terms of putting out soft and even light. However, as I've pointed out, it's a bit more portable than most add on diffusers that are large enough to do a similar job. That was the appeal for me, and so far it's given me the £9 I paid for it (inc postage!) back in entertainment value just trying it out! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018 at 7:16 PM
  39. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    6,035
    Name:
    Steven
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    The size and shape of the dome is pretty much entirely irrelevant. Don't confuse diffused lighting (wrap) with bounced lighting (fill). The only thing a dome does is redirect the light in every direction (the various caps just reduce how much goes out the top)... it's still bounced flash, just more "uncontrolled."
    For any dome to provide diffused lighting/wrap you would have to be working at a macro scale from very short distances...
     
    Phil V and HoppyUK like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice