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Thread: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

  1. #1
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    Default Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Hi,

    I just bought a Canon 40D and a Speedlite 420EX flash.

    I practiced at home and realized that it's best to bounce flash of ceilings for more "natural lighting".

    How about outdoors like at BBQ and no ceilings? It that why people use a bounce card? Is the bounce card supposed to function as a "ceiling"' to reflect light at the subject?

    What about diffusers? What are those for? Does it mean that with a diffuser, I can point the flash directly at the object and not get the harsh flash light in the face?

    Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Eric Lee

  2. #2
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    the bounce card is for bouncing some light forward and will create a nice catchlight in the sitter's eye
    i normally use it together with the ceiling bounce.

    however there are other kinds of bounce cards that will bounce more light forward

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrericlee View Post
    Hi,

    I just bought a Canon 40D and a Speedlite 420EX flash.

    I practiced at home and realized that it's best to bounce flash of ceilings for more "natural lighting".

    How about outdoors like at BBQ and no ceilings? It that why people use a bounce card? Is the bounce card supposed to function as a "ceiling"' to reflect light at the subject?

    What about diffusers? What are those for? Does it mean that with a diffuser, I can point the flash directly at the object and not get the harsh flash light in the face?

    Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Eric Lee
    If you would notice, mostly people are using a big bounce card about 4R size and it is tilted at 45į, it only work in a very short distance, so it does enlarge the light source relativity compare to direct flash.

    btw, during BBQ, most people faces are very oily, no matter what diffuser also won't cut it, I would just use direct flash.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    ceiling bounce together with the card works best for me. But this method does not give good results all the time eg when the ceiling is high, or not neutral in colour.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Try the Demb Flip-it with diffuser.

    Or use a Stofen?
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    I've tried many diffusers but so far, the Softlite Diffuser works best for me. The set-up only takes a minute or so too. Personally, I feel that the diffuser gives me very natural light tone and the light is also evenly spread. My personal view though.

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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    After trying a few stuff, I like the Gary Fong Lightsphere (GFLS) and the Flip-It Pro (FIP). The GFLS is bulky and I find it hard to carry around, while the FIP is easy to carry around. These 2 are good when you are closer to the subject.

    I personally do not really like the Stofen, but in certain circumstances, it will do.

    You can check http://abetterbouncecard.com/ to make your own bounce card.
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    A bounce card functions to bounce some light forward when you perform a ceiling bounce; it does not function as a fake ceiling. Can you imagine how big an item you would need for that?

    My personal experience shooting night external scenes is just to go for direct flash and play with your flash exposure compensation.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    try presslite vertex? got a learning curve though.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    A bounce card functions to bounce some light forward when you perform a ceiling bounce; it does not function as a fake ceiling. Can you imagine how big an item you would need for that?

    My personal experience shooting night external scenes is just to go for direct flash and play with your flash exposure compensation.
    You suddenly gave me an idea of rigging a human sized bounce card to the photographer. I think I might make one one day. Its going to look very funny!
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    So, based on the below tip... in an outdoor open situation (nighttime at BBQ East Coast), I do not use a bounce card OR a diffuser and just direct flash?

    Is that the way to go? How to avoid harsh flash in your face feel?

    =================================

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-f....html#outdoors

    Tips on shooting outdoors or indoors in a large space:

    * Donít use bounce flash if outdoors or if the ceilings are too high or too dark or are painted in colours that will tint the light of the flash. Keep the flash straight on. If you tilt the flash, for example, youíll find the upper half of the image to be brightly lit and the lower half dark. This looks awful. The one exception is if you have a large flash diffuser installed.

    * You probably wonít want to use a small flash diffuser as itíll just cut the useful range of the flash. Small diffusers are light redistributors and thus most useful when there are nearby white surfaces off which the flash will bounce, softening the light. Large flash diffusers are mildly useful in that they spread the source of the flash unitís light over a larger area, softening shadows, though the cost in range may not be worth it.

    * When photographing people at great distances in low-light conditions remember that the risk of redeye in the photos goes up. This is particularly apparent when taking closeups of people using a telephoto lens from a long way away. (typical example - youíre zooming in with a long lens to get a childís face during a school concert in a dimly lit gymnasium and the photo ends up looking like a choir of young Satans) Try to separate the flash as far as possible from the camera - even a large flash on a shoe mount wonít be adequate distance.

  12. #12
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrericlee View Post
    So, based on the below tip... in an outdoor open situation (nighttime at BBQ East Coast), I do not use a bounce card OR a diffuser and just direct flash?

    Is that the way to go? How to avoid harsh flash in your face feel?

    =================================

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-f....html#outdoors

    Tips on shooting outdoors or indoors in a large space:

    * Donít use bounce flash if outdoors or if the ceilings are too high or too dark or are painted in colours that will tint the light of the flash. Keep the flash straight on. If you tilt the flash, for example, youíll find the upper half of the image to be brightly lit and the lower half dark. This looks awful. The one exception is if you have a large flash diffuser installed.

    * You probably wonít want to use a small flash diffuser as itíll just cut the useful range of the flash. Small diffusers are light redistributors and thus most useful when there are nearby white surfaces off which the flash will bounce, softening the light. Large flash diffusers are mildly useful in that they spread the source of the flash unitís light over a larger area, softening shadows, though the cost in range may not be worth it.

    * When photographing people at great distances in low-light conditions remember that the risk of redeye in the photos goes up. This is particularly apparent when taking closeups of people using a telephoto lens from a long way away. (typical example - youíre zooming in with a long lens to get a childís face during a school concert in a dimly lit gymnasium and the photo ends up looking like a choir of young Satans) Try to separate the flash as far as possible from the camera - even a large flash on a shoe mount wonít be adequate distance.
    the most simple way is just dial the flash output slightly lower, so the spectacular highlight of oily faces are not too obvious, do not ask me about how much to dial, as you need to judge the amount thru your monitor itself, and also the ambient light (I doubt there is any anyway).

    and also don't shoot so up close (zoom in, instead of get close), so the highlight on faces and light fall off are not so drastic.

    don't worry so much about red eye, usually happen on ang mo people only.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    For own made bounce card, better to use glossy paper or matt paper?

  14. #14
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by mutant View Post
    For own made bounce card, better to use glossy paper or matt paper?
    Depends on the effect you want. More light or less.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Glossy : More reach with your flash (eg. for events, weddings where there is big open spaces)
    Matte : For a softer touch with your flash (eg close up portraits)
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Flash Diffuser or Bounce Card?

    Hmm.. Then I should make both types. Thanks.

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