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 Post subject: Gary Fong lightsphere
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:17 pm 
I've toyed around with the idea of buying one of these Gary Fong lightsphere, for times when I have no suitable surface to bounce light off. Off-camera lighting is great, but there are many times when I just do not have the time to set up and the thought of getting good quality light with an on-camera flash is tremendously appealing. Of all the flash modifiers on the market, it looks like the Lightsphere gets the best reviews.

Having said that, most reviews I've seen have complained about how much light you lose when shooting through a Lightsphere. That makes me slightly nervous, but ... I came across this posting on ebay and will you look at that group shot! Now I understand that you can't trust everything you read on the internet, most of it is hearsay, and you should take whatever an ebay vendor says with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, that group shot makes me wonder if online reviewers are making a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to the reduced flash output when using the Lightsphere.

Does anybody here have experience with this device?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:28 pm 
pgtips wrote:
good quality light with an on-camera flash is tremendously appealing.


thing is, you just don't.

the "good" light is just an effect of that light of the flash bouncing around everywhere in a room - given that the walls/ceiling is white...

Don't believe those "it magically enhances your light" stuff.. it's not true.

I'm not saying that there is no use for that tupperware, because there certainly are occasions where it can be handy, but don't expect any miracles from it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:57 pm 
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So...you're paying almost 50 bucks for a white piece of plastic that will make a slightly bigger light source and scatter light everywhere?

Let's start from the beginning:
A diffuser will not give you a soft light source. All it does is scatter light. You still need a white wall to become the light source.

The softness of light is entirely related to your light source. The bigger your light source is in relationship to your subject, the softer it will be. The gary fond sphere thingie used in the group shot will still give an extremely harsh light. If no walls were nearby, the sphere would be useless (and even eating 1/2 stops of light).

Your best bet is to find something large that fits on your flash, and get close to your subject. I myself fitted a white Canon bag over my flash, which worked really well. And looked rediculous, I'll give you that.

If you want soft light from your on-camera flash without bouncing, get one of those small lumiquest softboxes. If you want to bounce....get a cheap diffuser (or sto-fen if you must).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:07 pm 
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I wrote a review on the GF a year and a half ago. I don't know what happened to the pictures but I must have deleted them. sorry. That review is here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7735

I gave it a pretty good review then, but I feel I have improved my photography a lot since then and I wouldn't give it as high of a grade now.

Since then, I have bought a set of 3 StoFens, white, gold and, green and a westcott shoot through umbrella.

The gold and green StoFens are so you can balance the flash light with the ambient light. With the gold I can set WB to tungsten and have a balanced light from my flash when in a tungsten lit room. (The green is a waste btw don't buy one. Floro Lighting is much more daylight balanced now then when they designed it and is more or less obsolete from my experience so far. Even when WB is set to Floro, it overcompensates to ugly green with the green StoFen.)

The off camera with the umbrella is my preferred method at home now. For $25US + $15US you can have a umbrella and a umbrella adapter which is about what you pay for the GF. Another $30US for some ebay triggers + $35 for a light stand (I use an old tripod I had from film days) and you are off camera strobin it.

When I don't want to take the time to set up off camera lighting or when I am walking around, I find the StoFen's provide nearly as good lighting as the GF and are much more portable. They travel more compact and they don't fall off the flash ever. Not to mention how much more stealthy the StoFen's are compared to the big bowl.

I haven't ever used a lumiquest softbox like Citruspers suggested, but I can definitely see the advantage of one. Both the GF and the StoFen's scatter light all over and having a softbox on flash would help with directing flash.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:30 am 
I skipped on the GF lightsphere, since I can just bounce it off the ceiling or if I want directed soft light, I'm better off using my shoot through umbrella.

The Stofens and Lightspheres are rather gimmicky.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:38 am 
To PGtips

Hey buddy,

I actually own a GF Lightsphere P2 Clear with a cloud dome and an amber dome..

Honestly, the thing does make a good difference in my opinion when it comes to flash photography.

I have noticed that it more evenly distributes light when taking a picture and softens it so it's not so harsh.

I've used my built in camera flash and then my sb-600 and then the sb-600 with the lightsphere and I've definitely seen a difference in the reduction of shadows that can be seen with bad or harsh lighting

Once again this is another persons personal experience, I'm not encouraging nor discouraging you from your decision. Just a friendly opinion with my experience on this product.

Plus, it comes in handy if you're shooting a wedding/engagment or something like that and you can't set up umbrellas just because it's too time consuming. You'll be missing out on all the picture opportunities. haha

Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:00 am 
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Pete_Nukho wrote:
To PGtips
Plus, it comes in handy if you're shooting a wedding/engagment or something like that and you can't set up umbrellas just because it's too time consuming. You'll be missing out on all the picture opportunities. haha

Cheers


this is really interesting, i have a wedding coming up which i am photographing for a friend and got a flash with a Gary Fong Diffuser free and i was wonderinng wether to use it or not? the only equipment ill have is my D60, a tripod and sb600 with diffuser.

most of the photos will be in rooms and maybe dance hall.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:16 am 
My advice : use it! :) It beats direct flash anytime.
What diffuser do you have for your SB-600?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:50 am 
To Neil...

I have an SB-600 as well and I'm telling you it works amazingly on the flash. One thing that definitely comes in handy and can make a really nice effect inside a banquet hall is the Amberdome for the light sphere. It adds a very nice ambiance to the pictures and provides more of a tanned skin tone on your subjects.

If the banquet hall has high ceilings, don't put any kind of a dome on it, just use the lightsphere.

If you want to use the dome, don't be afraid to point at your subject, the lighting in the banquet halls are usually pretty dim so you'll be able to get away with it without over exposing the picture so much...Just as long as you set the correct settings on your camera of course.

My advice in this scenario, try using the program mode on your camera unless you're a bit more experienced, then I would say move on to the Shutter and Aperture priority.

Check out youtube, Gary Fong has a couple of tutorials you can check out with how to use the lightsphere and he puts himself in a few different scenarios so you can get an idea of how the pictures may come out.

Best of luck to you and I hope you can post the pictures from the wedding

=) Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:47 am 
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Its a gary fong cloud diffuser, not sure what 'dome' or 'top' it has on it, only won it on ebay yesterday, heres the pic of it...

Image

i think it might be an inverted dome one, only by looking at the pic tho.

well i do have a chance to test it out in a local pub near me, the rooms are very small with head height ceelings, the ceelings are white with balck beams accross them (oldy cottage style) few of the wallas are dark red paint, any sugestions on how i should practice with the gary fong diffuser in that situation?

ive seen loads of you tube vids which have help, would value sb600 and differuse users help too!

oh and if anyone has any sample pics of the diffuser in action, i'd be greatful!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:31 pm 
I have 2 samples for you:

-this was made with the SB-600 off-camera,somewhere on the ground to my left,to compensate the lack of light that the sunset was providing. the 2 lights merged perfectly
http://sykeye.deviantart.com/art/Infini ... -141918422
-& this was made indoors,in a small room
http://sykeye.deviantart.com/art/Protege-moi-137454312
you can see here the beautiful lighting of her face & hair,without harsh shadows


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:27 pm 
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love both pics there razvan, specially the one of the girl laying down, i cant wait to take flash pics with no sharp shaddows that the pop up causes!

thanks for the samples.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Most pics look like they mostly used the flash for fill light, which indeed eliminates shadow, but the sun is still the main light I think?

I still stand my ground: unless it's a softbox, a lightsphere/diffuser is not a holy grail. Also see my thread about diffusers :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:14 pm 
Citruspers wrote:
I still stand my ground: unless it's a softbox, a lightsphere/diffuser is not a holy grail.

look at my photos & tell me what could a softbox could have done better for those scenarios. :) of course,a softbox is incredible,because you can use for larger portraits as well. a softbox can be ALL your light. :) in my first example,I couldn't handle the lighting without the sunset's help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:29 pm 
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what is a soft box?

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