December 15, 2017, 09:05:31 PM

Author Topic: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?  (Read 4851 times)

kat.hayes

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Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:11:17 AM »
I'm completely new to using a 600EX with a 5DM3 for both indoor and outdoor photography.

1. If ceilings/walls are too far away to bounce off and the flash is mounted to the top of the camera, is it better to use a diffusion cap, like https://www.amazon.com/Sto-Fen-Omni-Bounce-Diffuser-580EXII-Yongnuo/dp/B0007DDK7A
OR a mini soft box like this https://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Speedlight-Speedlite-600EX-RT-Panasonic/dp/B003Y30334/ref=pd_sim_421_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B003Y30334&pd_rd_r=ZT02KNCNT340GYNERFSN&pd_rd_w=c8TDv&pd_rd_wg=l9aAD&psc=1&refRID=ZT02KNCNT340GYNERFSN
OR something different entirely?

2. I want to buy something to blend the light from the flash with warm light from outdoors I think CTO gel (1/4th CTO strength). What is the best way to do this? Just buy a gel and wrap it around the dome of the flash OR are there dome caps with the gel built in that I should get?

Thanks in advance.

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Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:11:17 AM »

LDS

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 11:50:44 AM »
Diffusers like the OmniBounce still need nearby surfaces to reflect the light, they just increase the amount of light sent around the flash (that's why the 'bounce' in the name). Without them, they just decrease flash power.

A softbox will soften the light, but the effect is different from bouncing (which also spread the light around the subject, because of the usually large diffusing surfaces - ceiling and walls). It is still more directional, and a lot depends on the size, distance and position of the softbox relative to the subject.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 04:13:15 AM by LDS »

privatebydesign

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 11:58:27 AM »
This could be discussed for days but get these two, and some gaffer tape.

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-FlashBenders-ROGUERESM-Positionable-Reflector/dp/B003UOIMBW

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/45189-REG/Rosco_950SBLUX0103_Roscolux_Swatchbook.html

Take the swatch book apart (it has a plastic screw) and use a little tape to tape it to your flash. If you use gaffer tape it will pull off without any residue left on the flash and can often be reused.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

SecureGSM

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 12:16:03 PM »
Private,

did you mean to say the LARGE version instead? I did not have much success with the smaller version. surface area is too small?:

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUERELG2-FlashBender/dp/B00SYIW756
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 12:26:06 PM by SecureGSM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 12:28:42 PM »
Private,

do you mean to say the LARGE version instead? I did not have much success with the smaller version. surface area is too small?:

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUERELG2-FlashBender/dp/B00SYIW756

No I found the large too heavy and would tilt the flash, fall off or put more weight/leverage on the flash mount than I was comfortable with in an event environment. I do use the large for simple 'one on one' shoots etc. and agree it gives a better fill. But if I could only own one it would probably be the smaller one.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

leadin2

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2017, 12:37:21 PM »
Private,

did you mean to say the LARGE version instead? I did not have much success with the smaller version. surface area is too small?:

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUERELG2-FlashBender/dp/B00SYIW756

They have an XL version too.
Rogue Photographic Design ROGUEXLPRO2 Flash Bender 2 XL Pro Lighting System (Black/White) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SYIVZKO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FsVOzb42MZ61E

As for the mixed temperature from different light sources, maybe this would help.
https://youtu.be/Ix3ec0EkSx8

kat.hayes

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2017, 09:15:11 PM »
I'm thinking of getting the middle sized one:

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUERELG2-FlashBender/dp/B00SYIW756

1. Would you still bounce off walls/ceiling if possible vs. using this?
2. Do you use these in outdoor lighting also?

Thanks everyone!

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2017, 09:15:11 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2017, 09:25:48 PM »
I'm thinking of getting the middle sized one:

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUERELG2-FlashBender/dp/B00SYIW756

1. Would you still bounce off walls/ceiling if possible vs. using this?
2. Do you use these in outdoor lighting also?

Thanks everyone!

1. It depends on your cameras ISO capabilities. If you have good higher ISO then you can afford to lose a bit to the inefficiencies of the bounce, if your camera is more limited then I'd use the Rouge 'direct'.
2. Yes.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

Jopa

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2017, 12:55:57 AM »
I'm completely new to using a 600EX with a 5DM3 for both indoor and outdoor photography.

1. If ceilings/walls are too far away to bounce off and the flash is mounted to the top of the camera, is it better to use a diffusion cap, like https://www.amazon.com/Sto-Fen-Omni-Bounce-Diffuser-580EXII-Yongnuo/dp/B0007DDK7A
OR a mini soft box like this https://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Speedlight-Speedlite-600EX-RT-Panasonic/dp/B003Y30334/ref=pd_sim_421_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B003Y30334&pd_rd_r=ZT02KNCNT340GYNERFSN&pd_rd_w=c8TDv&pd_rd_wg=l9aAD&psc=1&refRID=ZT02KNCNT340GYNERFSN
OR something different entirely?

2. I want to buy something to blend the light from the flash with warm light from outdoors I think CTO gel (1/4th CTO strength). What is the best way to do this? Just buy a gel and wrap it around the dome of the flash OR are there dome caps with the gel built in that I should get?

Thanks in advance.

It may be overkill for what you want (#1), but it's a great and relatively inexpensive solution from Alex_M: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=31674.msg644837#msg644837
Only size of the diffuser matters. Since it's a softbox the light is pretty direct, and may require to crank up ISO a little to avoid "people in the cave" effect :)

SecureGSM

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 03:55:52 AM »
I still use that Godox softbox + Promediagear Boomerang setup occasionally but for portraiture only and only in conjunction with Godox  AD360 II massive flash. The flash is so large and powerful that it makes it imposible to use for on camera applications. 900gr heavy but x6 as powerful as Canon 600RT speedlite.

I since discovered and used successfully on a number of assignments Neewer 16" round flash softbox / diffuser.

$16 that I never regret spending. :)

http://www.neewer.com/imaging-products/softbox/10085803.html

There are number of benefits of using 16" /40cm round on flash softbox:

1. Works great with regular size speedlites on camera
2. Creates attractive round catch lights
3. Lightweight and manageable size.
4. Creates fairly even light pattern
5. There is 12" version available but give it a miss. It is too small and creates harsher and less even light source
6. Extremely portable.

Things to consider:

1. Ideally, your subject should be no further than 5' to your camera else just bounce naked flash of the ceiling
2. You loose up to 2 stops of flash power therefore you will have to increase power of the speedlites output accordingly.
3. You may consider using an additional black hook and loop 2cm x 18cm strap to ensure that softbox attached to the flash properly. You can get hook and loop straps on Amazon or eBay. They cost next to nothing.


It may be overkill for what you want (#1), but it's a great and relatively inexpensive solution from Alex_M: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=31674.msg644837#msg644837
Only size of the diffuser matters. Since it's a softbox the light is pretty direct, and may require to crank up ISO a little to avoid "people in the cave" effect :)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 04:18:38 AM by SecureGSM »

littleB

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2017, 05:43:37 AM »
Since I went the strobist way, I gained some understanding how light modifiers work.

Actually, it's quite easy.
There are two aspects of light: shape and direction.
The flash can be a light source itself, it can be modified via a softbox etc, or it can cause some secondary reflections, like ceiling.

The way light affects the image of subject you shooting can sometimes be more easily understood if you imagine placing yourself in place of the subject.
If subject can 'see' some source of light, that point in subject will be lighted. If some point in subject cannot see any light, it will be dark.

That way, the distant directed flash is almost a point source of light, it is directional, and thus will provide harsh shadows and highlights.
A softbox placed near the subject is quite a big source from the point of view of subject, the light will softer, and also directional, but with lesser degree of directionality, since many points of softbox will be lighting the subject. This will make soft shadows or almost eliminate them.
It's the angular size of light source that makes light soft or hard.
If you place 50 cm softbox  5 meters away from subject, it will be more like point source and thus provide hard light.
If you place the small flash very near the subject, that really happens in macro, even the bare flash will be angularly big, and light will be soft.
So, a light source is affected by distance in two ways: bigger distance make source weaker, and harder.

If you bounce the flash off the ceiling, the light is directed from above, and have big angular size (the lighted spot on the ceiling is the light source for your subject, since your subject cannot see the flash light directly), but there is some light loss by light travelling distance and losses by reflection.

If you use that tiny semitransparent flash cover, it will not change the angular size of the light source from the POV of the subject. Direct flash is very directional, cone shaped, according to zoom setting of your flash. Putting on this cover will splatter some light away from subject, the subject will not see the splattered light, and the only way that splattered light can affect your subject is secondary reflections from nearby light-colored (whitish) objects.

A softbox will have bigger angular size, so incident light will be softer.
Grids shape the light to be very directional, but very limited in size.

Another important aspect is the position of light sources. In on-axis light camera 'sees' what the light source 'sees'. this will eliminate any shadows and thus visible subject shape, regardless what was the light.
If light is used off-axis, the points of subject seen by camera, but not 'seen' by light will be darker, points seen by both camera and light will be brighter, points seen by light but not the camera do not matter (camera cannot 'see' them anyway).
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 05:48:45 AM by littleB »

hne

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2017, 07:52:13 AM »
Since I went the strobist way, I gained some understanding how light modifiers work.

Actually, it's quite easy.
There are two aspects of light: shape and direction.
The flash can be a light source itself, it can be modified via a softbox etc, or it can cause some secondary reflections, like ceiling.

The way light affects the image of subject you shooting can sometimes be more easily understood if you imagine placing yourself in place of the subject.
If subject can 'see' some source of light, that point in subject will be lighted. If some point in subject cannot see any light, it will be dark.

That way, the distant directed flash is almost a point source of light, it is directional, and thus will provide harsh shadows and highlights.
A softbox placed near the subject is quite a big source from the point of view of subject, the light will softer, and also directional, but with lesser degree of directionality, since many points of softbox will be lighting the subject. This will make soft shadows or almost eliminate them.
It's the angular size of light source that makes light soft or hard.
If you place 50 cm softbox  5 meters away from subject, it will be more like point source and thus provide hard light.
If you place the small flash very near the subject, that really happens in macro, even the bare flash will be angularly big, and light will be soft.
So, a light source is affected by distance in two ways: bigger distance make source weaker, and harder.

If you bounce the flash off the ceiling, the light is directed from above, and have big angular size (the lighted spot on the ceiling is the light source for your subject, since your subject cannot see the flash light directly), but there is some light loss by light travelling distance and losses by reflection.

If you use that tiny semitransparent flash cover, it will not change the angular size of the light source from the POV of the subject. Direct flash is very directional, cone shaped, according to zoom setting of your flash. Putting on this cover will splatter some light away from subject, the subject will not see the splattered light, and the only way that splattered light can affect your subject is secondary reflections from nearby light-colored (whitish) objects.

A softbox will have bigger angular size, so incident light will be softer.
Grids shape the light to be very directional, but very limited in size.

Another important aspect is the position of light sources. In on-axis light camera 'sees' what the light source 'sees'. this will eliminate any shadows and thus visible subject shape, regardless what was the light.
If light is used off-axis, the points of subject seen by camera, but not 'seen' by light will be darker, points seen by both camera and light will be brighter, points seen by light but not the camera do not matter (camera cannot 'see' them anyway).

I made some measurements with my YN-685 (same guide number as 600EX) yesterday. Pure luck that this'd pop up.
Bare, full power, 200mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV18
Bare, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV10
Plastic diffuser cap, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV8
Plastic diffuser cap through a 2'x2' Elinchrom Portalite softbox, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV4.5
Plastic diffuser cap through an 8.8"x8.8" knowckoff of a Lastolite McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV4.5

Conclusions:
  • Zoom heads on speedlites are far from theoretical perfection, so don't judge speedlites by the guide number zoomed in if you're going to use them with modifiers
  • A plastic diffuser easily throws three quarters of the light in odd angles. Perfect in a softbox built for bare bulb strobes, good as a substitute for a bounce card (for catchlights with bounced flash) but rather wasteful for anything else.
  • Even a powerful speedlite is nothing against a low-powered studio strobe. At full power through that Portalite softbox, my 100Ws Elinchrom D-Lite RX One would probably measure EV 11 at 2m distance. Gotta measure that later, for comparison

Btw, there are speedlite gel packs that include a rubberized velcro strip with clear gel holder so you can change gels slightly less messy than the otherwise fine gaffer tape suggestion from PBD. I tend to just stick a bit of 1/2 CTO gel under the diffuser (omnibounce knockoff) when placing in a softbox, which is how I mostly use speedlights indoors anyway.
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Backup: 5D II, 17-40/4L, 85/1.8, 100-400/4.5-5.6L, Yongnuo + 622

SecureGSM

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2017, 08:27:56 AM »
unless the speedlite is 360Ws powerful. Introducing GODOX AD360 II  ;)

http://www.godox.com/EN/Products_Camera_Flash_Witstro_AD360IIC_Powerfou&Portable_Flash.html

it is crazy powerful. attached is an example. run and gun with Godox AD 360 II into Godox 16" softbox on Promediagear boomerang at 1/32 of it's full power only.




...Even a powerful speedlite is nothing against a low-powered studio strobe. At full power through that Portalite softbox, my 100Ws Elinchrom D-Lite RX One would probably measure EV 11 at 2m distance. ...

« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 08:47:41 AM by SecureGSM »

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2017, 08:27:56 AM »

littleB

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2017, 09:12:33 AM »

I made some measurements with my YN-685 (same guide number as 600EX) yesterday. Pure luck that this'd pop up.
Bare, full power, 200mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV18
Bare, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV10
Plastic diffuser cap, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV8
Plastic diffuser cap through a 2'x2' Elinchrom Portalite softbox, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV4.5
Plastic diffuser cap through an 8.8"x8.8" knowckoff of a Lastolite McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2, full power, 24mm, 2m distance, ISO100: EV4.5

Conclusions:
  • Zoom heads on speedlites are far from theoretical perfection, so don't judge speedlites by the guide number zoomed in if you're going to use them with modifiers
  • A plastic diffuser easily throws three quarters of the light in odd angles. Perfect in a softbox built for bare bulb strobes, good as a substitute for a bounce card (for catchlights with bounced flash) but rather wasteful for anything else.
  • Even a powerful speedlite is nothing against a low-powered studio strobe. At full power through that Portalite softbox, my 100Ws Elinchrom D-Lite RX One would probably measure EV 11 at 2m distance. Gotta measure that later, for comparison

Btw, there are speedlite gel packs that include a rubberized velcro strip with clear gel holder so you can change gels slightly less messy than the otherwise fine gaffer tape suggestion from PBD. I tend to just stick a bit of 1/2 CTO gel under the diffuser (omnibounce knockoff) when placing in a softbox, which is how I mostly use speedlights indoors anyway.

Yeah, wall-socket powered strobes are stronger than small battery-powered ones. There is no way small stobe will deliver that much energy, because of smaller power source (batteries) and heat dissipation abilities.
This can be somewhat mitigated by using higher iso, wider apertures, and higher relative power (when big strobe is 1/16 or 1/8, small strobe can be 1/4 or 1/2).
Also, there are mobile strobes of studio-level power, the ones with big lithium batteries.

I was talking mostly about effect of the discussed diffuser on the resulting picture, without attention to required camera  exposure.

old-pr-pix

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2017, 09:39:39 AM »
OP, welcome to the wonderful world of on-camera flash light modifiers!  You will find the variety amazing and the resulting styles and opinions equally interesting.  I'm assuming your 600EX didn't come with a CTO filter (if new it should), or it's not the strength you want.  The swatchbook approach gets you a pile of gels to try; but, I use the Rogue gel pack because I like the rubber band attachment versus tape.  The gels are marked as to Lee #, stops lost, etc. and it comes with an organized carry pouch.  https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/818019-REG/ExpoImaging_ROGUEGELS_U_Universal_Lighting_Filter_Kit.html

For diffusion I grew up using the old PJ technique of pointing the flash up and rubber banding a white index card or envelope to the head to throw light forward and well as bouncing it off ceiling/wall.  That helps avoid the raccoon eyes look.  You might experiment just using the built-in bounce card on the 600EX -- it's a little small, but worth a try.  Beyond the index card, I actually like using the Gary Fong 'Tupperware' diffuser.  It is collapsible, light weight and won't damage the hot shoe if someone knocks into it.  It's not as elegant as other suggestions above but it works for me.  Mine is an older version, here is the current- https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010800-REG/gary_fong_lsc_sm_lightsphere_collapsible_dome_diffuser.html
Two systems:  Canon & Olympus

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Re: Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2017, 09:39:39 AM »