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How-to's Accessories Reviews

Lightsphere Flash Diffusers

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: flash, studio, lighting, filter, guides, tips, gary_fong, lightsphere

The Lightsphere Flash Diffusion System

We are often faced with complex lighting situations when we want to balance the light coming in from several sources into a scene and our subjects. Weddings and social events at noon time in large rooms, or churches, with large windows can become a nightmare with its mix of harsh light and strong shadows. After using for long a white card with a rubber, various solutions came to market and I have successively used most of them. Although each one represented an improvement results varied, even if just for filling in shadows. Most of them, close to useless in exteriors.

With the development of the Nikon D2 DSLR's series came the revised Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) that now makes it all so much easier. TTL turned into i-TTL and the "i" from intelligent turned into incredible.

Not only we don't have to take out the laser rangefinder and laptop loaded with light balancing algorithms for optimal distances and individual light source power output, we can always count with good results, well beyond the advantage of wireless control the Nikon SU-4 gifted us with. However, when under complex conditions, how good always seems in direct proportion to the number of SB-800 units one puts up to the task, as proven by our own Nikonian Hal Becker (username HBB) for 1<SB-800<12 (number of SB-800's deployed from one to 12).

What to do when we can't carry (or we don't have) the trunks with speedlights -a la Joe McNally- and/or lightstands, strobes, soft boxes, umbrellas and assistants?

Below is a series of illustrations with the best solution I've found so far for common conditions: the Gary Fong's Lightsphere II Diffusion System, using a single SB-800. In case you are wondering how come we carry this product at the shop, this is why.



Adobe Lightroom Export screen

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Art Hopkins (artnik99) on April 24, 2014

very informative articles. good future references, art

Gary Worrall (glxman) on April 19, 2014

Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography

Great review JRP! Thank you, I'm the "photographic dinosaur' here, haven't had a "real" flash for nearly 40 years, then I had a couple of Metz 60's with lead acid battery packs, how things have changed Just purchased an SB700, wow! What a steep learning curve I have ahead of me, been looking at the Gary Fong Light-sphere for a while now, not sure if I will really need the whole kit though Regards, Gary

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on September 2, 2013

JRP a very good article. I like the idea with the text on paper which gives details on how was the photo done. Good article as usual :-)