REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

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Dalton Lund
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Location: Hamblen County, TN

REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by Dalton Lund » January 19th, 2013, 7:38 pm

I had some free time, so I thought I'd write up a quick review on Graslon's latest product, the Spark. The Spark is a pop-up flash diffuser, that mounts via the hot shoe on your DSLR. The idea is to bounce the light from the flash around the mirrors on the interior of the Spark and then project them outward through a piece of opaque plastic, creating a larger light source that is softened. The photo below (that I graciously borrowed from Graslon) shows this idea.

Image
1079233913 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

I received my Spark about two weeks ago via UPS/USPS Mail Innovations after purchasing the product off Amazon for $34.99. Shipping was free and fast, showing up at my door 5 days after my order was confirmed. It was shipped in a standard cardboard box, and inside that was a white cardboard box from Graslon. Inside this box was another box (just kidding, it was the Spark). It was bubble wrapped, and an instruction booklet was provided. I'm not sure these instructions were necessary, considering you just slide the Spark into the hot shoe, but hey, it was nice of them.

The Spark is made of what seems to be molded plastic, very lightweight, but doesn't feel extremely sturdy. I wouldn't pick my camera up by it for sure. The white plastic in the front appears to come off, but I'm afraid to try in fear of snapping something unintentionally.

Overall Construction - 8/10

Image
DSC_2785 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

Image
DSC_2788 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

Image
DSC_2789 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

Image
DSC_2791 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

The Spark performs much better than expected. The image quality makes it well worth the price. The Spark effectively softens shadows, and reduces glare considerably. I have not had this out for herping yet, due to lack of activity, but I anticipate it performing exceptionally well, especially when photographing amphibians. I will update once I get it in the field. I've taken a sample photo of an unattractive vase I had to show the shadows, or lack thereof.

Performance- 10/10; Best you could ask for from a pop-up flash.

Without the Spark
Image
DSC_2780 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

Nikon D70s
Nikon 50mm AF-D
1/125th
f/3.2
ISO 500

With the Spark
Image
DSC_2775 by Dalton Lund, on Flickr

Nikon D70s
Nikon 50mm AF-D
1/125th
f/1.8
ISO 500

In conclusion, I think the Spark is an excellent product that is well worth the cost. It makes the most of the pop-up flash, and effectively diffuses the light from it. I recommend this to anyone that is in the market for a pop-up diffuser, who lacks the funds for a speedlite such as a SB-600 or 430 ex, etc. Kudos to Graslon.

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Dalton Lund
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Location: Hamblen County, TN

Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by Dalton Lund » January 22nd, 2013, 6:22 pm

Chris,

Would you mind linking this in the sticky for me? Thanks :D

WW**
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Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by WW** » January 22nd, 2013, 8:41 pm

Thanks for that very useful review.

Two questions:

1. How much light do you lose by using this? That would be important for Macro work where depth of field matters.

2. Is the difference in colour tone between your two photos due to the diffuser or some other factor?

Thanks for posting this review!

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Norman D
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Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by Norman D » January 22nd, 2013, 9:01 pm

Why did you use f3.2 without diffuser on one photo and f1.8 with diffuser on the other? Seems like an inconsistent comparison. They both need to be shot the same constants (same camera, same lens, same shutter speed, same aperature, same iso, same focal length, same subject, everything the same except one with flash diffuser and one without.

bgorum
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Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by bgorum » January 23rd, 2013, 4:27 am

Norman D wrote:Why did you use f3.2 without diffuser on one photo and f1.8 with diffuser on the other? Seems like an inconsistent comparison. They both need to be shot the same constants (same camera, same lens, same shutter speed, same aperature, same iso, same focal length, same subject, everything the same except one with flash diffuser and one without.
I wondered about that too. I kind of assumed it was the answer to WW**’s question, the diffuser cost almost two stops of light. If the camera was in program or shutter priority automatic, then it would compensate by choosing a larger aperture for the diffused shot. Am I close to correct here?

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chrish
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Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by chrish » January 23rd, 2013, 7:03 am

Thanks for this review. I put it on the links page.

Interesting gadget and I hope you will update the review with some field experience when the weather and activity level allows. It would be good to hear how "field hardy" you feel this piece of equipment is.

In regards to Wolfgang's question, I have noticed that many of these plastic flash diffusers appear to warm up the light a bit (giving an orange/yellow color cast). It is an easy fix if you find the color balance unnatural. Of course, it could be argued that the undiffused flash is a bit cold (blue). I have a couple of Stofen Omni-bounce diffusers that do the same thing, particularly if I shoot through them straight (as opposed to bounced which is how they are intended to be used).

Chris

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Dalton Lund
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Re: REVIEW - Graslon Spark 4500 Flash Diffuser

Post by Dalton Lund » January 23rd, 2013, 4:35 pm

The diffuser warms the shot up quite a bit, plus the wall is an off white color. I needed the aperture wider open because of the lack of light; it does require a bit of compensation for the same exposure.

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