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Thread: Flash Diffusers

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    Flash Diffusers

    Hey All,

    I want to get a bit more into using my 580EX-II flash and have been looking at the plethora of diffusing options. So far I have resorted to the ol' bounce off the nearest object but want to get into the concept of off camera, direct flash and control over ambient light and shadows etc.

    So my questions is what would you recommend for a relative beginner for both on-camera diffusion and off-camera diffusion?

    I was considering the Lumi Softbox III as an introductory softbox but it is a pretty small source so perhaps i'd be better going for a shoot-through umbrella?

    Thanks in advance for any help,

    Cadnium

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    Shoot thru is quick and easy to set up and relatively cheap. As a avenue to get into the medium I dont think you could go wrong. As to the lumi being a small light source, it depends on how close it is to the subject. Still better than flash alone. How will you trigger your flash off camera?
    Have you looked at strobist.com? Lots of info to be had out there.
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    Gear: Nikon D80, D300, Nikon 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 105mm f2.5, 18-200 VR, 70-200 VR, Sigma 28-70mm f2.8, Sigma 50-500, Tonkina 12-24 f4, SB-600, various YongNuo Strobes, various umbrellas, 6 x 300w studio flashes, various softboxes, reflectors, stands, transmitters and receivers.

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    Hey Adrian,

    I bought a cheap set of Yongnuo RF602's which work well but obviously need the flash to be setup in manual. This isn't a problem, as it is a good way to learn.

    I have been reading strobist which is where i got the idea of the shoot through and Lumi Softbox.

    As mentioned above I am looking to both on-camera and off-camera diffusion options. It is very handy if at a family event and you want to take some shots to chuck the flash on the camera and shoot away, but if taking a portrait and you have time to set it up the more diffuse the better.

    My current thought was to get a cheap e-bay Sto-fen knock off and a shoot through umbrella setup, though I was interested in the Softbox III as it could be hand-held or Bogen-clamped without much setup required.

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    I got a white shoot through + silver convertible plus stand of eBay for about $70. with stand. I would love to try a softbox but so far i am really happy with the umbrella using it both ways.
    A heap of Nikon stuff and some really bright lights!

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    Hmm, decisions, decisions. Save up and get both. Not helpful I know.

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    umbrellas and so on are good if you're in the boat of being able to move all that around with you, pain in the donkey if you are doing mobile events etc. I have a fong, I have mini-softboxes. They all work (slightly) better than bounced flash, which is not as good as off camera flash but all way better than bare bulbed onboard or mounted flash
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    Brolly and stand, no question. You'll use the stand forever and a basic shoot through brolly will cost you about 10 bucks.

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    I agree with Kiwi, I have several size convertible umbrellas, and if you want to set them up in a studio environment then they can be fine, but to move them around outdoors is a pain. They make great sails in wind, and my 60" ones will take off in even slight winds. One other thing to consider with umbrellas is that they spread a large pool of light and are not very directional which can be a pain when shooting indoors or where the subject is close to a background you don't want to show. Softboxes are better in that regard, they also grab less wind in the outdoors. The downside being softboxes usually cost a bit more.

    Regarding stands, think carefully about where you will use them, and, what you propose to mount to them. If indoors all the time, then lighter can be fine and will be cheaper than pro quality stands, but when used outside you have to balance carefully the weight of the stands regarding their portability and how well they will anchor what diffuser you attach to them to the ground.

    I bought some cheap, lightweight stands for their portability and now find myself looking for more solid stands because they fall over in the slightest breeze with anything but a bare strobe mounted on top of them. Some people will say weight them down with sandbags etc, but I prefer to just carry the heavier stand instead of sandbags.

    Once you mount $500 flash units and $800 strobe heads onto them you soon start looking at the potential cost should one or more fall over outside.

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    Hey all,

    Thanks for the replies. Will look around for a reasonable brolly starter kit, but as outlined above may need to buy the stand seperate to get a good one!

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