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Author Topic: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?  (Read 1660 times)

FunPhotons

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When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« on: January 31, 2013, 08:08:56 AM »
You know, those cheap little frosted white plastic boots that go on the end of your flash?

I was at an event this week with a hired photog to capture portraits and the event. I was surprised to see he didn't use a softbox or umbrella, he just had a 580ex on a stand with a bulb diffusor. The photos are being used for PR and are pretty important, each one had to get approved, so I would have thought he'd have a more elaborate kit (I stupidly didn't think to ask him). I got to chimp some of the shots which looked good, so maybe he knew what his business was, but I haven't had good luck with those things, no matter how easy they are to use. Am I missing out on something?


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When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« on: January 31, 2013, 08:08:56 AM »

Wildfire

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 12:51:10 PM »
You can see what David Hobby has to say about these: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101-bare-tube-style-lighting.html

TexPhoto

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 01:42:37 PM »
I crack up laughing when i see these being used outside, pointed straight up!

I use one when i am indoors and the ceiling (and hopefully walls and floor are white.), especially when I am shooting very wide.

Lawliet

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 03:04:35 PM »
Whenever the flash is supposed to fill a volume with light instead of throwing it at something.

pwp

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 04:11:13 PM »
I guess you're referring to the Stofen style diffusers. http://www.stofen.com On occasions they're just the right tool for the job, often in a smaller space with low white ceilings and white/light coloured walls not too far from the subject. They have the singular advantage of taking up no room at all in your bag. Another higher quality diffuser that sprays light all around the room is the Gary Fong Collapsible Lightsphere http://www.garyfongestore.com/ Quite nice light in the right environment but boy do they chew the batteries up.

Skillfully used bounce flash is often your best solution in the right room but having tried out just about every compact diffuser on the planet, I've found the Demb Flash Diffuser Pro from Joe Demb http://www.dembflashproducts.com/ delivers good results in varying environments. They are compact, power efficient, very cleverly designed and reasonably priced.

Yes, isn't it a laugh when you see shooters working outdoors with their speedlights aimed up towards the clouds. Of course none of us have ever inadvertently done that...

Back to the OP; the guy you were working with who used the diffuser you described may have been using just the right tool for the job. It depends almost entirely on the physical makeup of the room you are working in and the type of output your client needs. With practice you can assess this in a heartbeat.

-PW 

Zlatko

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 04:40:21 PM »
I crack up laughing when i see these being used outside, pointed straight up!
You can laugh, but as a "bare bulb" it does send light in all directions, even when pointed straight up.  Pointing it straight up outdoors works fine if the intention is to give the subject a tiny bit of extra light in the eyes, perhaps a catchlight in the pupils, but without subjecting them to a flash pointed directly at their eyes (which would likely cause them to blink more).  Of course, it won't work well for farther subjects.

bvukich

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 05:09:05 PM »
I crack up laughing when i see these being used outside, pointed straight up!
You can laugh, but as a "bare bulb" it does send light in all directions, even when pointed straight up.  Pointing it straight up outdoors works fine if the intention is to give the subject a tiny bit of extra light in the eyes, perhaps a catchlight in the pupils, but without subjecting them to a flash pointed directly at their eyes (which would likely cause them to blink more).  Of course, it won't work well for farther subjects.

I often do it, and that is a major reason why (430EXII & Sto-Fen).  Also, when the flash is down and forward (and ETTL) the camera automatically meters for direct flash, but if you go up one notch it will automatically switch to metering for fill.  It's just one of my shortcuts in rapidly changing conditions.

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 05:09:05 PM »

digital paradise

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 08:35:42 PM »
I crack up laughing when i see these being used outside, pointed straight up!

I use one when i am indoors and the ceiling (and hopefully walls and floor are white.), especially when I am shooting very wide.

Common. The are doing a great service by helping air traffic control guide planes to the landing strip.

digital paradise

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 08:41:43 PM »
Before taking lighting courses I spent a lot of time and money trying to find the latest and greatest on flash diffuser. Some are OK if used within the scope of what they were designed to do. There is no miracle super diffuser or other magic bullet  out there. Light is simple just simple physics.

I always try to bounce but will direct flash if I have no other options. Flash goes on my bracket and I crank up the ISO. 

Good info to ponder over.

http://russellspixelpix.blogspot.ca/2008/11/flash-diffusers-no-need-to-spend-big.html
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 08:43:44 PM by digital paradise »

TexPhoto

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 08:56:58 PM »
I crack up laughing when i see these being used outside, pointed straight up!
You can laugh, but as a "bare bulb" it does send light in all directions, even when pointed straight up.  Pointing it straight up outdoors works fine if the intention is to give the subject a tiny bit of extra light in the eyes, perhaps a catchlight in the pupils, but without subjecting them to a flash pointed directly at their eyes (which would likely cause them to blink more).  Of course, it won't work well for farther subjects.

I often do it, and that is a major reason why (430EXII & Sto-Fen).  Also, when the flash is down and forward (and ETTL) the camera automatically meters for direct flash, but if you go up one notch it will automatically switch to metering for fill.  It's just one of my shortcuts in rapidly changing conditions.

My normal Flash compensation setting is -1, and i am normally shooting in aperture priority.  I find this a great place to start with the flash, and if it's too much I just drop to -2.  The advantage of this over the diffuser is the flash is going off at 1/8 or even lower power and can thus fire as fast as the camera. With the diffuser and aiming strength up, your going to dump 1005 energy and only be able to shoot every 2-4 seconds.

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 10:02:48 PM »
I have used it to fill light when the ceiling was high and not too reflective. Oh, my diffuser is a white plastic bag :)

I keep one and a rubber band in my camera bag. You may laugh, but it does the job...

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 10:07:43 PM »
To bounce light everywhere in a room but I tend to do real bare bulb on strobes and less on speedlites.

brad goda

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 06:40:16 AM »
the answer would be ...
any time you want the light to be diffused... making a wider dispersion of light.
physics to be mentioned size of diffuser to distance of subject... what the diffused light is bouncing on its reflective value to the distance of the subject.
the white kleenex does the same... and yes it has the similar color diff like the stofen.
a small white balloon .... plastic bag... foam coffee cup... on and on...
seriously ...my favorite is the lumiquest bounce. I use a stofen with the top cut out and the lumiquest bounce tapped on it. dosnt fold but its rigid and removable to apply CTS when walking into changing lighting situations.... 3200K = +CTS full... 4000K FL = +CTS half w 20 green and so on...

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Re: When do _you_ use a bare bulb diffusor?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 06:40:16 AM »