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Hey everybody, I have a question regarding flash diffusers. I've searched and can't really find what I'm looking for. My quetion is what's the difference between a flash diffuser that slips onto the flash vs a bounce card that you just hold in place with a rubber band? Do they achieve the same result of sofening edges of shadows and decreasing the harshness of the flash?.

Regards, Nolan..

Comments (14)

Bayamon wrote:.

Hey everybody, I have a question regarding flash diffusers. I'vesearched and can't really find what I'm looking for. My quetion iswhat's the difference between a flash diffuser that slips onto theflash vs a bounce card that you just hold in place with a rubberband? Do they achieve the same result of sofening edges of shadowsand decreasing the harshness of the flash?.

There are a couple different types of bounce-cards. But both will raise the source of light (towards the subject) a little higher than a basic diffuser directly mounted in front of the flash..

A basic diffuser serves a purpose of "widening" the size of the light source. Thus softening the lighting somewhat..

One method of using a bounce-card is to simply tape it to the top of the flash and then tilt it about 45 degrees up. This serves to provide TWO different light sources towards the subject; both reflected from the card, and then an actual "bounce" from the ceiling. (Note: the ceiling must be LOW and WHITE for this to be effective - and the flash must have sufficient power to still be effective.).

Another type of bounce-card is designed where you first rotate the flash DIRECTLY STRAIGHT-UP. The bounce-card is then mounted at a 45 degree angle to redirect that "straight-up" light towards the subject. As mentioned above this increases the distance between the lens/flash and actual point of the light source the highest, (well, true "bounce" is higher since it comes down from the ceiling). It also provides the widest light source for a softer source than the original diffuser would have..

Each of those three options can be best in different situations..

Regards, Nolan.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #1

If you really wish to make better images with your hotshoe flash, there are basically two good ways..

1. Get a Gary Fong light sphere or another top quality diffuser..

2. Take your flash off your camera and move it to other angles using a diffuser..

Using a bounce card or Sto-Fen type diffuser is better than nothing, but not like the results you'll get doing the above..

For example, here's a shot taking my flash off the camera and moving it a bit to the side..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Here's another with the flash up and off to the side..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Cheers, Craig..

Comment #2

Ok, so the bounce card dosen't necessarily diffuse the light if it's at that 45 degree angle? I'm kinda up in the air about this> my wedding photographer didn't use any kind of diffuser or bounce card.( not complaining, just wondering why) She just kept the head pionted straight forward while shootiing inside and outside. when is it a good time to use the diffuser vs the bounce card. I'm pretty sure you use the bounce card outside to imitate the ceiling and provide fill flash right? And use the diffuser inside? Or is there no wrong time to use both?.

Regards, Nolan..

Comment #3

Bayamon wrote:.

Ok, so the bounce card dosen't necessarily diffuse the light if it'sat that 45 degree angle?.

Yes ... of course it would; the light source would be the size of the card instead of possibly a more central-hot-spot from a basic flash..

BUT ... that would also provide TWO separate light sources, both from the ceiling (bounce), and also whatever comes off the card itself..

It is impossible to predict which source would be dominate, the closer you are to the subject will be more affected by the light from the card..

As far as your wedding, I am not surprised she did not use a diffuser. It is MOST IMPORTANT to get sufficient exposure. Using any type of bounce or diffuser drastically cuts the power of the flash, and thus the useful distance..

Weddings are a huge challenge on a flash, there is usually high/dark ceilings, (thus no bounce will work), the rooms are big; all requiring a lot of power .... and most critically, often the recycle time must be short..

I personally do not usually use any type of diffuser at a wedding, for the above reasons .... and I use the most powerful commonly available, Metz 60 series..

I prefer consistent exposure over quality, except for some of the special images..

I'm kinda up in the air about this> mywedding photographer didn't use any kind of diffuser or bounce card.(not complaining, just wondering why) She just kept the head piontedstraight forward while shootiing inside and outside. when is it agood time to use the diffuser vs the bounce card. I'm pretty sure youuse the bounce card outside to imitate the ceiling and provide fillflash right? And use the diffuser inside? Or is there no wrong timeto use both?.

Regards, Nolan.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #4

Thanks for clearing that up for me, I think I'm over analizing it..

Thanks..

Comment #5

Look around your home..

Do you have lots of lamps, each with a different style shade or reflector or cover?.

Every one of these changes the light differently from every other one..

Same with diffusers. You pays yer money and takes yer choice..

As for your wedding photogrpaher... for many years, the top weddingphotogrpahers used a staight ahead flash ontop of a bracket on top of the camera, usually adjustable so that the flash was above the lens regardless of whether the picture format is horizontal or vertical..

The idea was to get clear, crisp photos (the straight ahead part) with the shadows thrown down behind the people, so the pictures look "clean.".

BAK..

Comment #6

So straight ahead with no diffuser isn't a bad thing? Im going to my brothers wedding and I thought it would be a good chance to learn, I would like to do some outside shots with them, just wondering if I need anything else for my SB 600..

Comment #7

This useful posting on flash and flash bounce and cheap ways to get good results was posted before. Afraid I can't recall the poster's id - but thanks :.

Http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/.

The 'How to Build A Better Bounce Card" is very good - view that if you do nothing else..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #8

Defusers are soooo useless, it's 100times better if you can bounce your flash off something instead of buying a defuser.

Trust me.

Michael, Londonhttp://www.michaelxuereb.com.

Cheers!..

Comment #9

MichaelXuerebcom wrote:.

Defusers are soooo useless, it's 100times better if you can bounceyour flash off something instead of buying a defuser.

But it is still very different looks..

And bounce requires more flash power than a diffuser, (which requires more power than basic flash) which means less effective range and greater recycle time and shorter battery life..

Trust me.

Michael, Londonhttp://www.michaelxuereb.com.

Cheers!.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #10

Flash is complicated..

Outdoors, straight ahead flash is usually dialed back, in the sense of negative flash exposure compensation, and most clients are happy with this look..

Indoors, using a difusser makes for softer, less contrasty shots with the flash as the main light source, and it is just a matter of taste whether the people that count like the softer diffused look, or the sharper straightahed look. The pictures are equally sharp; it's shadows and highlights and tones that are"gentler" with a diffuser..

BAK..

Comment #11

Bouncing is ok, just unreliable and unpredictable. Most of the time a good diffuser is the tool, and much of the time you bounce with them. Good reflectors are also important..

The best diffusers are even better in that you can adjust for white balance and focus. An example would be a soft box or shoot-through umbrella..

Try a Gary Fong Cloud with an amber ring, setting your WB to incandescent to match incandescent ambient lighting and see why bouncing is often a poor choice..

Cheers, Craig..

Comment #12

Diffused light is light that is scattered and the only way to do this is through uneven surface or textured material....

Basically, the plastic diffusers use what looks like a frosted glass to redirect the light into multiple angles thus softening the effect and giving it a more pleasing look..

A bounce card can do this if the surface is textured but if it isn't you're more than likely just providing a bounce point for the specular lighting (you would use this when outdoors with nothing to bounce off of)..

Coincidentally, Polarizers work on a similar principle in that they diffuse the light coming into the camera..

Bayamon wrote:.

Hey everybody, I have a question regarding flash diffusers. I'vesearched and can't really find what I'm looking for. My quetion iswhat's the difference between a flash diffuser that slips onto theflash vs a bounce card that you just hold in place with a rubberband? Do they achieve the same result of sofening edges of shadowsand decreasing the harshness of the flash?.

Regards, Nolan.

'The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.' Abraham Lincoln..

Comment #13

Pete Perry wrote:.

Polarizers work on a similar principle in that theydiffuse the light coming into the camera..

No, they don't, this is totally wrong..

There are countless reference sources on the web, just Google for masses of info...

Comment #14

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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