I've been meaning to resurrect my blog for what seems like months now, and I finally have the time and the topic to write about. I've been on the search for light diffusers for my camera's flash system for about as long as I've had my flashes. I've tried the Lumiquest stuff, which works pretty well, and folds away nicely, but it makes my already very large 580EX even larger. It looks like a freaking tower when I put it on my already large Canon 20D with my honking 24-70L lens. Not only does all this stuff make it unwieldy but I think I could scare off a bear because it makes me look 10 feet taller. It's a pain in the butt to put it on the flash and balance it all, and so I usually end up point the flash straight up and bouncing it off a ceiling. The built-in reflector works OK, but it still leaves shadows on faces.
I noticed the Gary Fong Light Sphere stuff and like a lot of people I was skeptical about the results from something that looked so simple. Lots of people have created DIY knock offs with mixed results so I thought how good could it really be? I toyed with the idea of making my own, but in the end I ordered the Universal (cloudy) thinking that my time was worth more than the $50 I paid including shipping. I finally got the chance to use it this month at a birthday party and I figured I'd have lots of opportunities to use it under a variety of conditions. Tonight I went through the RAW images to see what I got.
Holy flash diffusers, Batman!
This thing gave me near-perfect lighting every time, that was never harsh, with nary a shadow to be seen. It worked easily in both orientations, and the new strap system meant I never once worried about the thing coming off while I was shooting.
One more example to show you what this thing can do. In the shot below I got Jason's face well-lit in spite of the fact that most of the light was bounced of the ceiling and he was wearing a hat low on his face. No shadows, but no harsh specular highlights anywhere! This thing rocks!
I love my Light Sphere! About the only down side of it is that it doesn't fold away like the Lumiquest adapters, which means it takes up a ton of bag space. But for $50, it might just be the best bang for the buck in a compact flash system. I highly recommend it.