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Subject: "Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?" Previous topic | Next topic
chukbot2000 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Fri 09-Jul-04 10:44 PM
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"Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"


Sugar Land, US
          

I just got my very first external flash ever. It's an SB-800 to mount on my D70. I don't know anything about using a flash, so forgive me for not knowing. When I use the diffuser, the color temperature looks cooler than without a diffuser. Naturally, it doesn't look right especially when shooting people because the skin tones look too artificial. So when should one use a diffuser?

Also, I'm going to take pictures of my first wedding with the D70 and the SB-800 tomorrow. I have found that pointing the flash up 90-degrees seems to yield better indoors performance than pointing it directly at the subject. Should I keep the flash pointed directly at the ceiling at all times during the ceremony and reception? When should it be pointed at -7-degrees? 45-degrees?

I appreciate any kind responses to my amateurish questions!

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http://public.fotki.com/Chuk/

_____________________________
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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
jnscbl
10th Jul 2004
1
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
sorrynoigloos
14th Jul 2004
11
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
TexIndian Silver Member
10th Jul 2004
2
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
chukbot2000 Silver Member
10th Jul 2004
3
     Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
TexIndian Silver Member
10th Jul 2004
4
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
WingSpan
16th Jan 2008
Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
WingSpan
16th Jan 2008
12
     Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
chukbot2000 Silver Member
10th Jul 2004
5
          Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
drjimbob Team Member
10th Jul 2004
6
               Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
chukbot2000 Silver Member
10th Jul 2004
7
                    Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
TexIndian Silver Member
11th Jul 2004
8
                    Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
chukbot2000 Silver Member
11th Jul 2004
9
                    Reply message RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?
WingSpan
11th Jul 2004
10

jnscbl Basic MemberSat 10-Jul-04 02:40 AM
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#1. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

The -7º is for use with an umbrella bracket. 45º comes in handy when swivelling the flash head, such as to the side to bounce off a wall; or swivelled all the way backwards, to hit the ceiling directly above you when you are aiming the camera down in front of you, when shooting the reception table, centerpieces, place settings, etc. There are many other ways to use tilt and swivel flash; these are just examples.

--scott

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Pablo Picasso

--scott

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Pablo Picasso

  

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sorrynoigloos Registered since 15th Aug 2003Wed 14-Jul-04 12:23 AM
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#11. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 1


Anchorage, US
          

The other, and, I believe, primary purpose for the -7 degree setting is to allow camera-mounted flash at closer subject distances. That is the designed purpose for that setting (see, for example, page 100 of the SB-800 manual), according to Nikon. In that situation, Nikon also recommends using the diffusion dome. Some lenses will partially shadow the subject within certain focal length/subject distance ranges.

Stuart
Anchorage, Alaska
http://goeringlaw.com

Stuart
Anchorage, Alaska
http://goeringlaw.com

  

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TexIndian Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Mar 2004Sat 10-Jul-04 06:46 AM
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#2. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 0


Corsicana, US
          

The diffuser is primarily for use when using a wide angle lens (wider than the zoom head will adjust for). I've also used it in very close macro work, but compensation becomes a tricky issue in that mode.

Re: bouncing the flash, this will give a much softer light without the glare, red eye, and unseemly shadows of a direct shot. Bouncing off the wall will give a slightly different look than off the ceiling for the obvious reason that the light is striking the subject from a different direction. The more confined the quarters, the softer the light since it is reflecting all around and onto the subject.

Two things to be careful of: If the wall/ceiling is not white, the light will pick up some of the color of the reflecting surface. Also, if the room has really high ceilongs, it might tax the speedlight to put out enough power.

To be safe until you get the hang of it, I'd aim the flash straight up if the subject is a typical distance from the camera (10-20 feet). In this position, pull out the little white card that's in with the diffuser (put the diffuser back in but leave the card out). While most of the light goes up and back down, some will reflect off this card and will create a 'highlight' that can be seen in the subject's eyes. A photo without this highlight has kind of a bland, unnatural look to it - that's why the card's there.

John Westbrook
A Nikonian in Texas

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chukbot2000 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Sat 10-Jul-04 10:54 AM
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#3. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 2


Sugar Land, US
          

Great tips, John. I forgot to ask about the card. I didn't realize the the flash would be so effective from such a long range when pointed straight up. I will also definitely pull up that card. This flash is amazing!

_____________________________
Chuk
http://public.fotki.com/Chuk/

_____________________________
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TexIndian Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Mar 2004Sat 10-Jul-04 12:06 PM
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#4. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 3


Corsicana, US
          

Thanks, Chuk. You can tilt the light forward a bit as the subject distance increases - just imagine the path of the light as it goes up and down again. The neat thing about the speedlight's tilt and swivel abilities is when you flip your camera up for a vertical shot - you can move the flash head to a position to get the same lighting (although you lose the card's effect in that position). Before going to the wedding, try a few experiments till you're satisfied. Ain't digital neat - free trials!!

John Westbrook
A Nikonian in Texas

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WingSpan Basic MemberWed 16-Jan-08 01:18 PM
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"RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"


Gainesville, US
          

I have had VERY good luck using the diffuser in the oddest way. When dealing with an area with a reasonable ceiling height, I turn the flash head around backwards with the diffuser attached, as shown in the photo below (of a fellow photographer that I learned this trick from).

It gives some amazing results!

Richard

My Photo Gallery

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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WingSpan Basic MemberWed 16-Jan-08 01:18 PM
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#12. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 0


Gainesville, US
          

Here is a sample photo done in this manner, of a large group in a very dark hotel ballroom. The ceiling height in the ballroom is about 12-14' (It is a tray ceiling), and is painted white.

The flash was an SB-800, with the head slightly tilted backwards as shown in my previous post.

Camera: Nikon D2H
Lens: Nikon 17-35 f/2.8 AF-S
Exposure: (Manual Mode*) 1/50 @ f/4 @ 800 ISO
Flash Mode: TTL w/ Zero Compensation

* Note: I often set the camera in manual mode to a shutter speed and f/stop that is workable for me, and then let the speedlight just take care of giving me enough light. This way I don't have to worry about blurred shots from too slow of a shutter speed and I also can easily get the DOF needed. The Nikon speedlights are amazing in how they just take care of the rest of the equation and give me exactly the amount of light needed!

Richard

My Photo Gallery

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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chukbot2000 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Sat 10-Jul-04 03:49 PM
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#5. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 12


Sugar Land, US
          

Bouncing the flash slightly behind sounds like a great idea. I bet I'll be the only photographer at the wedding tonight having his flash pointed behind me. I can't try it out now, since I'm stingy and all my batteries are fully charged and I dare not squeeze any juice out of them until the big event.

I am really glad I got this flash, then, and hearing praise about its wonders is filling me up with confidence. I, too, was considering shooting in manual mode (which I haven't touched until I got this flash) because the flash makes it so easy! You're right, the speedlight will take care of everything else. I was considering a much less expensive, or even a 3rd party speedlight, but I keep hearing about people saying how we need to go with the more expensive SB-800 because it'll make a big difference. Luckily, I won't ever know the difference from using an inferior flash--at least until Nikon releases an newer speedlight.

I'll be going to a wedding tonight and next Saturday. Be sure to check my pictures the day after on the link below!

_____________________________
Chuk
http://public.fotki.com/Chuk/

_____________________________
http://chucktography.smugmug.com/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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drjimbob Team Member Awarded In Memoriam for  sharing countless hours of his expertise no matter how simple or complex the question, and especially for his eternal good nature. Charter MemberSat 10-Jul-04 06:12 PM
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#6. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 5


Bowie, US
          

Chuk - I may be naive, but do you really want to try out a new technique at the wedding? If it were me, I'd want to see how it works before using it on a job (presumably its a job).

A BAD DAY BEHIND A NIKON (OR NIKON-HYBRID DSLR) BEATS A GOOD DAY BEHIND A DESK - Bob Tomerlin
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A BAD DAY BEHIND A NIKON BEATS A GOOD DAY BEHIND A DESK - Bob Tomerlin
My Nikonians Gallery

  

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chukbot2000 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Sat 10-Jul-04 06:15 PM
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#7. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 6


Sugar Land, US
          

I'll fire some test shots to see how everything works in both the ceremony and reception. Obviously, depending on the height of the ceilings I may not try out Richard's suggestion, but I'll definitely set myself apart from all the other photographers if I do!
_____________________________
Chuk
http://public.fotki.com/Chuk/

_____________________________
http://chucktography.smugmug.com/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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TexIndian Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Mar 2004Sun 11-Jul-04 11:00 AM
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#8. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 7


Corsicana, US
          

I'd have to side with Bob about the backwards thing. Obviously it worked for Wingspan in that example with a high ISO and wide aperture. But it seems unless a wall were close behind you, that technique would really press the light for all it's worth (and use up your batteries much faster). One thing about weddings and such - people don't want to stand around while you check your LCD and histograms and then reset your gear between shots.

John Westbrook
A Nikonian in Texas

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chukbot2000 Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jul 2004Sun 11-Jul-04 11:35 AM
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#9. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 8


Sugar Land, US
          

One look at the church and the reception, and I immediately knew that the backwards-flash trick wouldn't work. The church had a very high, arched ceiling (perhaps about 30 feet high). The building housing the reception also had a very high ceiling, perhaps about 17-20 feet. I tried out the trick one time, just for kicks.

No worries, I definitely wasn't the official photographer. The honor went to a professional--a friend of the groom--who had a D2H and SB-800. I noticed--but forgot to ask him about it--that his SB-800 was pointed straight up at all times, and the diffuser was attached in an unusual way. The diffuser appeared to have an one-inch (approx) extension which attached to the flash. So what the entire diffuser was about an inch above the flash itself.

So I have another question--in a situation when the ceiling is too high or irregularly-shaped, would a product like the Sto-Fen Two Way Bounce work? http://www.stofen.com/Info/index.htm

Pictures of the wedding will soon be available for harsh critique at the link below. Most pictures were underexposed.
_____________________________
Chuk
http://public.fotki.com/Chuk/

_____________________________
http://chucktography.smugmug.com/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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WingSpan Basic MemberSun 11-Jul-04 11:45 AM
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#10. "RE: Why use a diffuser? When to bounce flash?"
In response to Reply # 7


Gainesville, US
          

Well, I don't know if I would call it an untested technique, but I have only shot a few thousand good frames using this method!

In all honesty, I use this one a lot indoors, as does almost every shooter for a large local daily paper that I have the chance to run into. (Such as the photog in my first post here)

In the case of the group shot above, that was just to show how even the light can be over a large area, as up close it works even better. Try it and you might be astounded at how well it works.

By the way, you are using NiMH rechargeable batteries, aren't you?

Richard

My Photo Gallery

  

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