Flash Diffuser

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Biker Dave
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Flash Diffuser

Post by Biker Dave » April 30th, 2013, 9:42 pm


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Kevin Price
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Re: Flash Diffuser

Post by Kevin Price » May 1st, 2013, 12:28 pm

Hi Dave,

I've seen that flash modifier in the past and it looked interesting, though I don't own one myself. Modifying my flash is something I'm always working on to improve and expand. The set-up seems fairly bulky; with the grids, dome diffusers, and fresnel lens add on's it does not seem very herp friendly. It would be a good system for a location photographer that is not concerned with packing it and hiking with it. Another thing about the system, and many other off camera systems, is that it works very well with the flash in manual mode but might not in just TTL mode. The examples showed the model at the beach with varying light levels to bring out the sky and to isolate the model. Manual flash mode works very well in those situations because you can add or subtract just the right amount of light that you want, both through the camera (f-stops, shutter speeds) and with the flash. Shooting in manual flash mode takes a little practice and some trial and error. You'll learn a lot about your camera and flash, but it may be too much work for some people.

I'm not saying Harbor Digital Design is out to confuse or trick anyone, but many of the adds of that sort are shot with the flash in manual mode by a pro photographer who is very knowledgeable and experienced in shooting that way and they make it look like anyone can do it.

Recently I had found a flash diffuser that I thought was the best I'd seen. It's called the Graslon Prodigy Dome Flash Diffuser http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control ... &A=details and is made of hard plastic with a reflective interior to bounce and spread the light evenly (according to the manufacturer). It looked tough enough to stand up to heavy road cruising as well as being stored in my backpack on long hikes. I took my camera and flash to a local camera store who had it for sale and tried it out. None of the employees had yet to use it and they were all curious about how it would look. I was very disappointed in it, and I wanted to like it! I had to add over 2 stops of flash compensation just to light up the subject. I shot with bare flash and with that diffuser in E-TTL mode. I could not get the flash with that diffuser to even come close to what I was getting shooting just a bare flash. I shot it in manual mode as well and the results were better, but it took shooting in manual mode each time to get what I wanted. I didn't want to work that hard with it, I can get that with everything else.

If you can, try it out first. Hopefully someone here has it, or has used it, and can give you much better advice. I've been using a Westcott Micro Apollo diffuser and am happy with it, though it's not as soft of a light as I'd hoped for, it does spread the light out better than a Sto-Fen omnibox, but not significantly so. It's hard to beat the Sto-Fen for ease of use, toughness, cost, and reliability.

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chrish
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Re: Flash Diffuser

Post by chrish » May 1st, 2013, 1:30 pm

The idea of this Harbor Digital system having a fresnel and a diffuser attachment is very intriguing to me. I shoot a lot of birds and a fresnel is on my wish list.

One of the thing you have to be careful of with big diffusers is that they can spread light directly onto the flash sensor and therefore fool the TTL system.
That might have been what was happening in Kevin's situation. When you switched to manual, the flash/camera stopped reading light into that sensor and therefore worked properly.
The Black Box system Dave pointed out comes with a version with a black bottom panel to prevent this, but that might reduce its diffuser capability?

I can't imagine going back to the pre-TTL days. I did that in the 80s, and it sucked. TTL was the greatest invention since the SLR!

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Kevin Price
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Re: Flash Diffuser

Post by Kevin Price » May 1st, 2013, 5:02 pm

Chrish, interesting about the light possibly being directed back onto the flash, I'll have to experiment with that further. I fully agree with you on the TTL issue! I'll use manual flash, but only if I have to depending on what I'm shooting, and almost never herp related shots. As for the fresnel lens attachment, I've been looking at getting a Better Beamer attachment. It would be interesting to see how well the Harbor Digital version compares. I'd imagine at longer ranges it may be outgunned by the Better Beamer, but as part of a modular system it may be the way to go.

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