August 22, 2014, 06:36:16 AM

Author Topic: New to flash photography - softbox or diffuser and other must have accessories  (Read 4114 times)

squarebox

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I just picked up my first ever flash, the 600ex-rt and wanted to know if there are any accessories that are a must to bring the versatility of a Flash.  I was thinking a softbox or a diffuser, but to tell the truth i couldn't tell the difference between the two of what they actually do.  Also is the wired cord for the hot shoe something i should get, or would I just be wasting my money?

I don't have a studio, nor am i really interested in getting stands or anything, but would like learn more about photography in general by just getting into it.
5Dmk3 - 16-35L - 24-105L - 70-200L F2.8 mk2 - 35L - 50mm 1.4 - 100L - 600xt-rt

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neuroanatomist

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At the most basic level, what you usually want is soft lighting.  The larger the light source, the softer the light (that's why P&S cameras and dSLR pop-up flashes are so harsh).  So, a bigger softbox means softer light, but you also have to get that light close to the subject.  For on-camera (or on flash bracket) use, the largest softbox that's feasible is something like the Lumiquest Softbox III (8"x9") - anything bigger is just unwieldy and needs to be mounted on a stand.  Personally, I usually use a small Sto-Fen diffuser on my strobes, and bounce them off the ceiling.

Also, getting the light source further from the lens axis helps (close = red eye).  The OC-E3 cord and a flash bracket can be very useful for getting the light a bit further from the axis.

The best place to go to learn the basics is the Strobist 101 blog.
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squarebox

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does one typically use a diffuser for when they are bouncing?  There is a diffuser built in on the 600ex but i thought that was so that it could hit the wider focal lengths. (note i haven't had the chance to read the manual yet, so I realize my question is a little naive)
5Dmk3 - 16-35L - 24-105L - 70-200L F2.8 mk2 - 35L - 50mm 1.4 - 100L - 600xt-rt

neuroanatomist

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does one typically use a diffuser for when they are bouncing?  There is a diffuser built in on the 600ex but i thought that was so that it could hit the wider focal lengths. (note i haven't had the chance to read the manual yet, so I realize my question is a little naive)

In that situation, a diffuser sends a little bit of the light forward toward the subject, while most of the light is bounced.  The 580/600 flashes have a catchlight panel that does the same thing, but since it's at 90° to the flash it only works effectively when the flash is pointed straight up, which is less effective for bounce.
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Flake

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An absolute must for you is the Speedlighters Handbook by Syl Arena, you've paid a lot of money for a complex flash unit & that just can't happen by posting questions on a forum, besides which you'll forget the answers anyway.  The book is a reference and compared to the price of the flash gun it's price is insignificant.  Amazon stock it so treat yourself.  The 600EX is too new to be included in any book as yet, but the priciples remain the same.

Viggo

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My tips and (personal) setup:

Get the book "Light, Science & Magic" and "Sketching Light"
Go through the "Lightning 101" over at strobist.com

My setup:

2x 580 ex II

Radio controlled by Phottix Odin
CP-E3 batterypacks for ekstra power and faster recycle.
Homemade bracket to lay the two flashes on top of a lightstand. (attached to umbrella mount, standard)

1 x 80cm octa umbrella box
1 x 60x90 cm umbrella softbox
A whole bunch of Ball Bungee's in different lenghts for mounting.
5 in 1 reflector with reflector stand.

and practice practice practice.
1dx, 24-70 L II, 50 Art, 200 f2.0 L

eeek

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I would suggest that before you buy any accessories, you buy Neil van Niekerk's book on on camera lighting.  Or at least poke around on his tangents blog.  You don't have to buy anything to get great flash shots.

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squarebox

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Thanx for all the advice.  Greatly appreciated.  looks like i'll get to more reading.
5Dmk3 - 16-35L - 24-105L - 70-200L F2.8 mk2 - 35L - 50mm 1.4 - 100L - 600xt-rt

briansquibb

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Good book is Speedliters by Syl Arena - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334415241&sr=8-1

The equipment you need depends entirely on the shooting you will do.




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