On and Off Camer Flash Modifier Samples

Started Dec 3, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Mike Ca
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On and Off Camer Flash Modifier Samples
Dec 3, 2011

There have been questions about different kinds of flash modifiers, and I decided to do some experiments to compare them using a very co-operative model that promised not to move while I changed the lighting.

This is the basic setup in my living room. It has high ceilings that are off white.

All of these test were taken with a Canon 60D in Manual exposure mode. I used a Canon 580 EX II flash and set it to Manual power/Zoom mode. I metered all the exposures and adjusted the power to give correct exposure at f/5.6, except when I was forced to use wider aperture. When I say the flash power is say -2 f-stops, that means 2 f-stops less than full power, ie 1/4 power. I PP all to Flash WB, except were noted.

These pictures are all on camera flash. The first is direct flash at -5.3 f-stop power and zoomed to 70mm. This is very flat lighting. Notice the hard shadow under the chin.

Next test uses the built in white card in the 580 flash pointed straight up. Flash is at full power and I still had to go to wider aperture. Notice we have picked up a color cast from the ceiling, since most of the light is reflected.

Below is the same image, but WB set to 4000 deg. This looks flat, but softer than the direct flash. Shadow under the chin is not as hard.

Next test is flash pointed toward ceiling left and behind camera. Flash is at full power and I had to go to wider aperture. Again off color from the walls.

Below is the same picture with the WB manually adjusted. This is much softer light, but very flat. The shadow under the chin is gone.

The next test is with the Hanson Fong reflector (not to be confused with Gary Fong). This is at -1.3 f-stop power and zoomed to 35 mm. This is slightly softer than direct flash. Shadow under chin is a little softer.

The next is the Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer. Flash power is -1.7 f-stops.

The next is the Rouge Flash Bender. Flash power is -1.7 f-stops.

To my eye the ceiling bounce or white bounce card gives the softest light. The on camera modifiers give slightly softer light than direct flash, but not by much. Notice that all the modifiers make the flash work much harder.

Next I will post some off camera flash results with this same setup.

Canon EOS 60D
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