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Subject: "Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail" Previous topic | Next topic
Blizzard1287 Registered since 03rd May 2007Fri 07-Sep-07 05:30 PM
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"Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"


US
          

Hi all, I'm in the market for a diffuser for my SB 600 however I'm a bit new to the world of diffusers so I figured I'd ask the local guys here for a little feed back. I'm looking at the Lightsphere II and the Whale Tail and want to know what are the pros/cons of each? Who has had experience with both? I'm a photographer for my college's news paper so I need the flexibility to be able to do anything from portraits to candids to large group shots. Would one be better than the other for this sort of work? Thanks!

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail
Kiron Kid
07th Sep 2007
1
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CK Silver Member
08th Sep 2007
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All American Cutie
08th Sep 2007
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11th Sep 2007
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jrp Administrator
09th Sep 2007
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09th Sep 2007
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jherrel Silver Member
25th Sep 2007
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25th Sep 2007
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bowmah
25th Sep 2007
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25th Sep 2007
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distracted
25th Sep 2007
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Kiron Kid
25th Sep 2007
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01st Oct 2007
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02nd Oct 2007
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02nd Oct 2007
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03rd Oct 2007
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Kiron Kid Registered since 21st Sep 2006Fri 07-Sep-07 09:25 PM
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#1. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 0


UM
          


Check out the Demb Flip-It. ( http://www.dembflashproducts.com/diffuser/ ). It's better, cheaper and easier to use and store.

Kiron Kid

Kiron Kid

"A photograph that mirrors reality, cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit"

  

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CK Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2004Sat 08-Sep-07 06:21 PM
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#2. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 1


Mississauga, CA
          

Thanks,
I was about to post the exact same question this morning. I too have a 600, and was looking for a good diffuser. I've also checked out the website you suggest, and was quite impressed with the bracket available.
Take care,
CK
Nikonian in Ontario, Canada

Take care,
CK
Nikonian in Ontario, Canada

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberSat 08-Sep-07 07:04 PM
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#3. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 2


Northern Virginia, US
          

I haven't used the Whale Tail, but the design is a bit of a knock off of the Demb Diffuser combined with the foibles of the Lightsphere, which I do have. If you'd like to see a head to head comparison of the Lightsphere and the Demb, check out this collage I did a while back.

(VERY large image, just fyi)
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/128/364340241_3596e536ee_o.jpg

I'm a big Demb fan and love that it folds down into nothing, costs around $30, gives great results AND uses less battery power because it shoots the light forward rather than 360 degrees like the Lightsphere, so it takes less power to create the same exposure.

I also like the fact that people have quit asking me about the big piece of tupperware on my flash. (I also think the Whale Tail looks like a toilet, so there's that too!) The Demb is much more professional looking. And I could never get the Lightsphere to stay on my flash...I was forever chasing it out from under tables and bushes, etc. Drove me nuts. Notice how on the Whale Tail, Fong decided to copy the velcro on design from the Demb?

I also worry about the weight and what it does to the flash head and the hot shoe connectors. When I used the Lightsphere on my SB-80dx, it always seemed to make the hinge seem like it was being overtaxed. It didn't feel quite so bad on my SB-800, but I don't like risking it, either.

Oh, and if you want the colored insert feature of the Whale Tail, spend another $20 and get the expanded set of flash gels for your speedlight. The SB-800 comes with a basic set but the extras in the expanded pack are nice!



Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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distracted Registered since 15th Nov 2005Tue 11-Sep-07 02:53 PM
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#6. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

Twila...thanks for posting those examples! I have the Lightsphere and know what you mean about chasing it under tables...can be a touch embarrassing.

I too worry about the weight on the flash and mount. I have thought that from the first time I used the thing and wondered if it would eventually cause damage.

I think I am going to order the Demb. Which model do you have? Do you use the bracket? Do you think the large bracket would work with the D200/new D300? I have been trying to decide how to better my outdoor lighting. I was asking just yesterday about taking strobes into the field and about brackets. I need a good option for group shots but also individual portrait shots.

Beth

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberWed 12-Sep-07 02:57 AM
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#7. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 6


Northern Virginia, US
          

I have the DFD Pro. Joe wasn't selling the Jumbo yet or I would have thought about that one. He says there isn't much difference in output, but I would imagine it probably has a little bit of a wider throw, so it might be nice to have for shooting groups. I really do love how lightweight the DFD is and how you can change the exposure just by angling the card. Love it!

I don't use a bracket, as there's really no need since the flash points upwards and that adds quite a bit of height and since you keep it turned sideways, when you go to shoot in vertical aspect, you just turn the head towards the ceiling. Works like a charm. If you decide to get a bracket I would recommend getting one that will handle the size of the MB-200 or what I would assume would be the MB-300 battery grip accessory just in case you decide to add one of those down the line.




Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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distracted Registered since 15th Nov 2005Wed 12-Sep-07 10:51 AM
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#8. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Thanks...I did order the Jumbo. I also got the bracket. I don't know if I really "need" it but it seemed nice. I did get the larger one as I have the D200 with the grip now and I will hopefully be getting the D300 in November.

How do you power your flash on a bracket...corded? Is there a wireless option and would you recommended it if there is?

Beth

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberWed 12-Sep-07 06:00 PM
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#9. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 8


Northern Virginia, US
          

Since I only use my flash on the normal hotshoe, I haven't had the need for external controller cords. Although, Nikon has an accessory cord just for that. Some people say the cord is a little too long and you have to wrap it around your bracket a bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If it's long enough, you should be able to take it off the bracket and hold your flash out to the side and high to get more directional light if you want it. I think you should be able to use CLS with the D200. You might check out some of the other threads about using CLS.

I did just pick up some wireless transmitter/receivers for speedlights (has a hotshoe built in) so that I can put my flashes on stands and shoot wirelessly. They haven't arrived yet, so I haven't had a chance to play with them. I decided to go that route because I have another older flash - SB-80dx and that's not CLS capable. Plus, I'm used to using wireless triggering setups with my studio lights, so this was an inexpensive addition on a tech I already understand

As far as powering the flash, I *just* picked up a Tuxedo battery pack from Al Jacobs. I haven't used it on a real shoot yet, but in my preliminary testing, so far so good! Great recycle times! And it's actually relatively lightweight for what it is. Quite a bit cheaper than the Quantum version too. Just needed a Quantum M cord that I was able to pick up at B&H. By the way, Al does 2 different battery packs...the Tuxedo and the Black Box, which is a bigger, higher capacity battery. I went for the smaller one Oh, and he has GREAT customer service too!

http://www.aljacobs.com/packtuxedo.htm




Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberSun 09-Sep-07 02:13 AM
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#4. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 0


San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

You may want to take a look at this and this

Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
Join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members that help this happen; upgrade. Join your personal web site to the Nikonians WebRing
Make sure you check our workshops at The Nikonians Academy and the product catalog of the Photo Pro Shop

  

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Blizzard1287 Registered since 03rd May 2007Sun 09-Sep-07 02:26 PM
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#5. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

awesome, thanks to everyone who replied. Apparently there is more to the world of diffusers than i thought.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jherrel Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007Tue 25-Sep-07 02:19 AM
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#10. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 0


Elgin, US
          

I just bought and returned the Whaletail, because the base with the velcro strap is 3/4" longer than my SB-800. The velcro is meant to tighten around the flash. For the price, I expected much better design and fit. I didn't think it was all that stable on the flash. I just ordered a Demb Flit-It Diffuser based on the recommendations of this group.

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
Learn, see the light, capture the essence!

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
See the light, capture the essence!

www.herrelphotography.com
Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Kiron Kid Registered since 21st Sep 2006Tue 25-Sep-07 02:22 AM
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#11. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 10


UM
          

>I just bought and returned the Whaletail, because the base
>with the velcro strap is 3/4" longer than my SB-800. The
>velcro is meant to tighten around the flash. For the price,
>I expected much better design and fit. I didn't think it
>was all that stable on the flash. I just ordered a Demb
>Flit-It Diffuser based on the recommendations of this group.
>
>John Herrel
>Nikonian from South Carolina
>Learn, see the light, capture the essence!


John

I think that you'll be quite pleased with the design and performance of the Demb unit.

Kiron Kid

Kiron Kid

"A photograph that mirrors reality, cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit"

  

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bowmah Basic MemberTue 25-Sep-07 02:33 AM
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#12. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 11


CA
          

Hey John (& others), please do share your experience with the Demp Diffuers + Flit-it. It's been a learning experience reading all this new info about diffusers etc... And any personal experience would be greatly appreciated!


Bowmah
--
"What we have to learn, we learn by doing."
"Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have."

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberTue 25-Sep-07 03:08 AM
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#13. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 12


Northern Virginia, US
          

There are about 3 or 4 other threads talking about the Demb and Lightsphere debate at the moment, so I won't rehash those, but I can tell you that I absolutely ADORE my DFD! The big thing is that it's adjustable on the fly just by tilting the bounce card forwards or backwards. And I love that it doesn't waste battery power to get the same exposure - with the Lightsphere, it's a 360 degree spread so it takes more power to get the same amount of light to fall on your subject (the Whale Tail mimics the Demb and bounces part of the light forward)

The DFD stays on my flash quite nicely and it's so lightweight that it doesn't seem to bog down the flash head. I was always worried that the Lightsphere was going to damage the flash hinge. I know it did damage my SB-80dx a little...like it stripped the cogs a bit.

And the DFD folds up flat and takes up next to no room in my already overfilled bag!!

I've used it indoors and out. Outdoors, since there's no ceiling to bounce from, I angle the bounce card at least 90 degrees up, but usually tilted forward a little. I shoot in TTL-BL mode most of the time outdoors and it works great with the DFD. In this one, I had the bounce card aimed at about 45 degrees forward directing the light through the diffuser, SB-800 in TTL-BL mode and the camera in Aperture priority. I love how soft the fill is on this. Even though they were under the porch overhang, there were pretty severe eye shadows. This filled beautifully without blowing out the dress...so it gave nicely controlled spectral highlights!



I've had mine for a little over a year now and it goes everywhere my flash goes!



Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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distracted Registered since 15th Nov 2005Tue 25-Sep-07 10:55 AM
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#14. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 13


US
          

Twila,

I have only used the Demb once since getting it a little over a week ago. I did like it a lot...much better than the Lightsphere. It was so lightweight and in that fact alone was more of what I would prefer.

I do have a question though...since you have been using your a lot longer. A large group, outdoors, sunny day but they are in a shaded area. How would you use the Demb? TTL or TTL-BL? I will be probably 15-20 ft. away iso 200 or 100 if I can get away with it.

Beth

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Kiron Kid Registered since 21st Sep 2006Tue 25-Sep-07 01:27 PM
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#15. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 14


UM
          

>Twila,
>
>
>
>I do have a question though...since you have been using your
>a lot longer. A large group, outdoors, sunny day but they
>are in a shaded area. How would you use the Demb? TTL or
>TTL-BL? I will be probably 15-20 ft. away iso 200 or 100 if
>I can get away with it.


Under those conditions, I don't usually use my Demb unit. Distance alone will sufficiently diffuse your light.

Kiron Kid

Kiron Kid

"A photograph that mirrors reality, cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit"

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberTue 25-Sep-07 02:49 PM
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#16. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 15


Northern Virginia, US
          

I probably wouldn't use the DFD for that either, you'll probably need all the power you can get.

However, if they're not super shaded, a great tip is to have an assistant hold a large 5-in-1 pop up reflector set on the white or silver side, depending on how shady it is, in horizontal position about 3-5 feet directly behind you and above your head. Aim your flash head into that and bounce it off the reflector. That spreads your beam and you get pretty even coverage on everyone. It might look a little weird but it's gonna make for a nice pic! You might need to experiment with setting your flash's zoom head to a wider position so you get the most even coverage over your reflector.



Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Mon 01-Oct-07 01:52 AM
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#17. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 16


St. Augustine, US
          

I had the Fong Cloud diffuser and sold it because it kept falling off. I replaced it with the Whale Tail, and it stays on like glue. The velcro cinch strap makes it really easy to secure. I went to a wedding yesterday, and I neglected to use the Whale Tail. Boy, am I sorry that I didn't use it! Why didn't I use it? Because the professional photographer wasn't using a diffuser, and I didn't want to act like I didn't know what I was doing and left it off the entire night. Not sure if that was pride, vanity, or plain stupidity.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Kiron Kid Registered since 21st Sep 2006Mon 01-Oct-07 02:51 AM
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#18. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 17


UM
          

>I had the Fong Cloud diffuser and sold it because it kept
>falling off. I replaced it with the Whale Tail, and it stays
>on like glue. The velcro cinch strap makes it really easy to
>secure. I went to a wedding yesterday, and I neglected to
>use the Whale Tail. Boy, am I sorry that I didn't use it!
>Why didn't I use it? Because the professional photographer
>wasn't using a diffuser, and I didn't want to act like I
>didn't know what I was doing and left it off the entire
>night. Not sure if that was pride, vanity, or plain
>stupidity.

At every wedding shoot (two this weekend) there are always a few people that ask about my Demb unit. One friend of the bride, was using a Fong unit, but was complaining about how frustrating it was to use. Light loss, falling off, etc. I am in no way bashing the Fong unit. Many users really like it. It comes down to whatever works for you.

Kiron Kid

"A photograph that mirrors reality, cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit"

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Mon 01-Oct-07 11:56 AM
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#19. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 18


St. Augustine, US
          

You are right about the light fall off. I feel that it works best with close up shots. I will look into the Demb unit. I just bought an SB-600 to use on one of my other cameras, and perhaps I will buy the Demb for that flash and then make comparisons.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberMon 01-Oct-07 06:25 PM
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#20. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 19


Northern Virginia, US
          

Yeah, the Lightsphere can work well in small spaces because it uses the whole room for bounce, but I really do feel that for general use, the DFD is better.

I bet you'll have fun doing comparison tests. I love doing that kind of thing Besides, at $30, you really can't go too far astray and if you decide you don't like it as well for your style of shooting, you can easily sell it for close to original price!



Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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bowmah Basic MemberTue 02-Oct-07 04:30 AM
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#21. "RE: Lightsphere II vs Whale Tail"
In response to Reply # 20


CA
          

>Besides, at $30, you really can't go
>too far astray and if you decide you don't like it as well
>for your style of shooting, you can easily sell it for close
>to original price!

Unless you are already tempted by the Demb bracket as well! Then the price goes up!


Bowmah
--
"What we have to learn, we learn by doing."
"Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have."

  

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JFL Registered since 03rd Mar 2007Tue 02-Oct-07 02:23 PM
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#22. "Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 10


CA
          

Unfortunately, I find that we get very little information about the Whaletail now (compared to the LS) as the thread gets hijacked by people using the DEMB.

While it is fine for you to prefer that system, could another thread be started where people wanting to praise their DEMB purchase do it amongst themselves and for others to read?

Now, back to the topic. Could we have more information from users using both Fong's products? I am interrested in close and mid portrait samples.

Thank you and sorry for interrupting,

JF

  

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RicD Registered since 03rd Jul 2006Wed 03-Oct-07 03:01 PM
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#23. "RE: Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 22


Marietta, US
          

Flip-it! is a terrific product, and Joe Demb is a pleasure to deal with. Yes I do own and use the Flip-it! as well.

Sometimes cost is a factor. If so do go to http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/ watch all the videos. I've made a few of these; they work quite well actually.

In another thread I've also posted this same response.

RicD, Atlanta metro

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Wed 16-Jan-08 01:19 PM
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#27. "RE: Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 23


St. Augustine, US
          

I just received my Demb diffuser today and have taken the following three pictures. The first is with the Demb diffuser using both the reflector and the diffuser.

The 2nd is using the Fong WhaleTail with the white light reflectors.

The third is using the WhaleTail using the yellow reflectors.

Both diffusers do a good job to my unprofessional eye. You can see the difference in color between the Demb and the WhaleTail with the white reflector. The WhaleTail colors are more true to life. Obviously the picture with the yellow reflectors makes my Golden Retriever look more golden.

However, I do notice that in the Demb picture the colors seem to blend together better, whereas the WhaleTail colors appear a little, what shall I say, smudgy. (Look at Wrigley's forehead in the three shots and you should see what I mean). I have looked at the full resolution originals, and the smudginess is not there. My conclusion is that this phenomena occurred due to re-sizing the images for uploading.

If you want to travel with a small, foldable diffuser then the Demb has my vote. If you want to be more creative by having the different color reflectors, and the insertable colored gels, then the WhaleTail carries the day.

BTW, thank you Wrigley for lying still while I took my shots!

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberFri 05-Oct-07 06:27 PM
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#24. "RE: Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 27


Northern Virginia, US
          

Graham, if you add the cost of the Demb and the $20 set of color filters for the SB-800 or 600 speedlights, that's still significantly less than buying the Whale Tail...or you could go to Rosco's website and order the FREE pack of sampler gels and just velcro them onto your speedlight to change colors.



Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Fri 05-Oct-07 08:48 PM
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#25. "RE: Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 24


St. Augustine, US
          

This is very true. Can you post a link to Rosco's website?

Thanks!

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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All American Cutie Basic MemberSat 06-Oct-07 03:23 AM
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#26. "RE: Initial question is between 2 products"
In response to Reply # 25


Northern Virginia, US
          

http://www.rosco.com/us/filters/swatchBookRequest.asp?type=roscolux

It may take a while to get them though. Folks over at The Strobist have had waits anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. So do keep that in mind.

When B&H has them in stock, you can get them for a penny with any order
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=search&A=search&Q=&shs=rosco+swatchbook&ci=0

And this is the filter set for the SB-800, 600 and 80dx
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?shs=sb-800+filter&ci=0&sb=ps&pn=1&sq=desc&InitialSearch=yes&O=productlist.jsp&A=search&Q=*&bhs=t




Enchanted Light Studios
~ Twila from Northern Virginia ~

  

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