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Thread: bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more

  1. #1

    Question bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more


    I know there are existing threads debating on using (top 3 most common) flash cards / omnibounce / lightsphere to soften and spread flashes on subjects.

    From the day I got my D90 and following a SB600, followed by
    1) a diffuser cap to a
    2) Lightsphere and lastly
    3) a DIY (white paper laminated) velcro to the flash light (tried in SIN09)

    to my surprise, I didn't expect a bounce card can reflect so much light onto the subject .. apologies to the models I shot during the show, like almost blind their eyes. Still just using a bounce card, I just find it not harsh but still too bright. Though I know I could adjust the flash output but simply lazy and no time to do it, as I'm busy trying to get pics into my cam..

    so wondering and here's my queries:

    1) if there's no high ceiling and the room light ambiance is good, we can make use of the ceiling to bounce light, would it matter alot if the ceiling is kinda dark color? will it affect alot on the light in the pictures?

    2) even if the ceiling is a good light rebounding tool, is it still better to use diffuser?

    3) going to outdoor, into shady place, where there's no ceiling (obvious), which would be better to use?

    4) using diffuser will affect the flash recycling time and battery power?

  2. #2

    Default Re: bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more

    here's what i know using a Canon -> Ceiling dark colored - will absorb a small percentage of the light. But not enough to make a large difference, still can bounce. If you bounce diffused light, you are getting a wider spread of soft light. Sometimes if nothing comes back from the ceiling you might have to take off the diffuser. (3) - no wall no ceiling = cannot bounce, unless you wanna use some sort of reflector to bounce off it (4) nope ...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more

    Ceiling too high or outdoors -> shoot direct
    Ceiling too high or outdoors + need to shoot in portrait mode -> shoot direct with flash bracket

    1) If a reflecting surface is off-white, the flash will reflect that color. If the reflecting surface is black, well, your flash will try to compensate because black absorbs too much light.

    2) I don't use diffusers. First reason is that I prefer to have my catchlights be squareish and not bowl shaped when using Gary Fong lightsphere / knockoffs. Second reason is that with a Stofen, I get hotspots on the faces and if the faces are oily, it will show. Third reason is that if i'm shooting with a diffuser in portrait orientation without a bracket, there will be too much side shadow. If I have a bounce card instead, the side shadows will be significantly less obvious.

    3) I have used my bounce card (DIY - "acrylic bounce card", Search the forum for that term to see photos) and direct flash outdoors. If all I need is some fill light, I'll use my bounce card because it's spread out more. If I need to overpower the ambient or the lack of it, I'll use direct flash and -ve FEC.

    4) Yes, dramatically. Adding a lambency lightsphere without cap cost me about 1 stop of light and with a cap, about 1 and 1/3 stop. Not technical tests with a lightmeter, but still...

    Hope this helps

    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  4. #4

    Default Re: bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more

    1) yes the colour of the ceiling does affect the light that you would be getting.. light catches whatever colour it bounces off, so bouncing your flash in a coloured ceiling environment would impart a colour cast to your exposure.. dark coloured ceilings would affect how much light actually gets bounced back, thats why white ceilings are a blessing..

    2) diffusers basically redirect and reshape the light that is coming out of your flash.. with just a direct flash bounced off the ceiling, no doubt you'll get a nice soft light but with the light coming down overhead, it can give unwanted shadows in eye sockets etc.. depending on the type of diffuser, it throws some light forward as well instead of all going up..

    3) personally, I won't use any diffuser in this case.. just find that whatever diffusion effects the mention products give is nullified outdoors, cos most of them are based heavily on the bounce principle to work..

    4) related to point 3, it just cuts down flash output cos you'll lose 1 or 2 stops of light the moment you get any light modifier on your flash.. so your flash would have to pump out more light in order to compensate for that light loss and inadvertly affect recycle time and battery life..

  5. #5

    Default Re: bounce card or diffuser, wish to learn more

    woa.. very detail, need to digest.
    thanks Headshot


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