Diffusing and using Gels with a 600EX?

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
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.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
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.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,411
432
119
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.
 

SecureGSM

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
926
58
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
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,411
432
119
SecureGSM said:
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.
 

leadin2

EOS T7i
Apr 3, 2017
55
0
SecureGSM said:
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

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
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!
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,411
432
119
kat.hayes said:
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.
 

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
kat.hayes said:
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

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
926
58
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.

Jopa said:
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 :)
 

littleB

EOS T7i
Jun 29, 2017
64
7
Russia
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).
 

hne

Gear limits your creativity
Jan 8, 2016
299
16
littleB said:
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.
 

SecureGSM

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
926
58
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.



hne said:
...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. ...
 

Attachments

littleB

EOS T7i
Jun 29, 2017
64
7
Russia
hne said:
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

EOS RP
Dec 26, 2011
369
21
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
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
SecureGSM said:
unless the speedlite is 360Ws powerful. Introducing GODOX AD360 II ;)
High-power barebulb flashes have been available for a while. Sunpak, Norman, Lumedyne, Quantum QFlash have been available for years (and IMHO the latter inspired the Godox). IIRC the Sunpak used AA/C batteries, the others use external batteries to allow for more powerful units.

After all they resemble the flashbulb devices which were still used until not long ago when high power were required, and battery-powered high-power flash units were not available. IIRC, my Canon A-1 manual still reported the FP sync speed...
 

SecureGSM

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
926
58
yes, all fair points. Profoto B2 is another great example of powerful portable on-location flash unit.
Godox 360Ws portable flash works great for on location shooting with a large softbox ( 1.2m - 2.0m in diameter) with plenty juice to overpower the afternoon sun. Godox radio enabled barebulb flashes are well built, light, capable and may serve as inexpensive alternative to Profoto B2 range if very slight colour variation from shot to shot was acceptable (+/- 50K). in studio, I use AD360 II as a hair light with key and fill lights being a pair of Godox AD600BM battery powered strobes. the entire setup works flawlessly as a system and saved me literally a package. my other portable flash is Godox 685c radio controlled speedlite that is light enough to be used as on camera flash when I run and gun and conditions permit bouncing or shooting into the Neewer 16" round flash diffuser.
LDS said:
High-power barebulb flashes have been available for a while. Sunpak, Lumedyne, Quantum QFlash have been available for years (and IMHO the latter inspired the Godox). IIRC the Sunpak used AA/C batteries, the others use external batteries to allow for more powerful units.

After all they resemble the flashbulb devices which were still used until not long ago when high power were required, and battery-powered high-power flash units were not available. IIRC, my Canon A-1 manual still reported the FP sync speed...
 

SteveM

EOS 80D
Jun 29, 2016
138
0
There is no right answer. For the cost of the modifiers, buy a Stofen and a Softbox and see which you like under which conditions, experiment. I shoot a lot of crowded public events where my general choices are the Stofen (small size and fits in a pocket) and the very good 'Fstoppers flash disc' - only available in the US now I think. This is well worth checking out, again, for its its quality and portability - wish I'd bought 2, I'm in the UK.
I believe the 600ex comes with 2 filters, get familiar with these first and see if you actually need anything else.
Also check out Neil Van Niekerk's book on 'On Camera Flash' - it is hard to put a price on knowledge, but this is by far the most useful and practical book I have read.
I have several modifiers, buy a few, they are cheap compared to the mklll and 600ex, play with them and see which you like vis-a-vis results and portability. Don't underestimate portability, if you have to cart it around all day.
Neil Van Niekerk has a useful modifier as well, costs nothing, his 'black foamie thing' - as highlighted in his book.
 

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
SecureGSM said:
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.

Jopa said:
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 :)
A while ago I tried the original modifier from fstoppers https://www.amazon.com/Fstoppers-FlashDisc-Portable-Speedlight-Softbox/dp/B00KHBZ85E but for some reason it didn't give me much satisfaction with results. I just checked the specs - it's 12". Maybe those extra 4" of the Neewer modifier will make a difference. IMHO they should have made a 7' disc - no compromises LOL!
 

SecureGSM

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
926
58
Jopa, nothing will at this size unless you shoot macro at 1' to the subject :)

I follow the following light modifier size rule:

optimal camera to subject distance equals or less than sum of linear dimensions of the light modifier
i.e. for 80 cm x 80 cm square softbox optimal distance to subject equals or less than 1.6m
for 1.2m octagonal , deca hexagonal or round softbox optimal distance to subject equals or less than 2.4m

therefore for the 40cm round softbox optimal distance to subject is 80cm only. 1.5m is not ideal and really pushing it but I would say somewhat acceptable in run and gun situations.

at US$7.37 price level you might as well give it a go :)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Neewer-16-40cm-Softbox-with-Grey-Balance-Card-for-Canon-Nikon-Neewer-Speedlight-/381453820183



Jopa said:
A while ago I tried the original modifier from fstoppers https://www.amazon.com/Fstoppers-FlashDisc-Portable-Speedlight-Softbox/dp/B00KHBZ85E but for some reason it didn't give me much satisfaction with results. I just checked the specs - it's 12". Maybe those extra 4" of the Neewer modifier will make a difference. IMHO they should have made a 7' disc - no compromises LOL!