Diffuser or Flash

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 19,061
Re: Diffuser or Flash

Jcbailey wrote:

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Jcbailey wrote:

PhotoTeach2 wrote:

Jcbailey wrote:

PhotoTeach2 wrote:

hobbit mob wrote:

Jcbailey wrote:

Tried the diffuser yesterday and it sucked. You have to be really close for it to take effect. I need to start looking into speedlights


Haven't shopped for speedlights/flashes for a while, but be sure you get one with a head that can rotate/point up that way you can bounce it off the ceiling. It's the easiest way to get nice, evenly lit indoor pictures. Also, many flashes come with a snap on diffuser, that's all I ever use. I tried out some sort of globe diffuser (can't remember the name), and couldn't see enough of a difference to justify the extra size/time/weight over the snap on diffuser that stays on my flash all the time.

Good luck!

90% of "diffusers" are sold to SUCKERS who are not really getting the benefit they think they are.

The only type I use are a "large" (area) type of "fresnel" lens that redirects/restricts the width of the beam.

The POINT of a "diffuser" is that the light is no-longer a "POINT"-of-light.

But you do not need to "diffuse" because all that (diffused) light is WASTED. Many have an illusion that the light reflects from walls/ceiling and then adds to the "direct" light, ... BUT ... by the time the (diffused) light travels and reflects back onto the subject, it is much, much, much less bright than the "direct" light and does not really add.

Note that I am NOT demeaning "bounce" flash, where ALL the original light is indeed directed to ceiling/walls, so that ONLY the "bounced/reflected" light is finally reaching the subject.


Should I just get a faster lens or invest in flash? You probably read my other post but I need something for low light/ Night Photography of my kids indoors. there is light but not enough I'm guessing.

my current lens 3.5-5.6 and 4-5.6 which isn't enough. looking at flash or a 50mm 1.8

What do you recommend?

Both very different answers ..

The faster lens will indeed allow lower-light shooting (even outdoors at night).

The flash will STOP-ACTION for kids playing ... "bounce" lighting can be better than direct flash but can also create shadows ... and because "bounce" still reduces effective power of any flash, it often requires a relatively "large" flash to really do effective bounce for nay distance.

This makes me not want to do flash and invest in a fast lens. seems like flash just freezes the motion as you say.

Which is exactly what you want. Bounce flash (off the ceiling) is much the best option - as several people explained to you in your "fast lens" thread.

with a fast lens can do everything

Not so. Unless you are prepared to have most of your photos out of focus because the depth of field is so shallow there is very little a fast lens can do that a slow lens can't.

So if getting a fast lens runs me the risk of getting my photos out of focus why is YouTube so adamant about fast glass and bokeh?

First, YT is populated by lots of people who don't know what they are talking about. The larger the aperture the shallower the depth of field; and the DOF is the zone of distances where things look acceptably sharp. Everything nearer or further than that zone is out of focus (= blurred).

This shot at f1/4 shows that clearly - it doesn't matter here that the hand is out of focus but it would if you had a group of people at slightly different distances. This lens has pretty smooth bokeh (see below).

It's easy to find a situation where the DOF is adequate for that situation and put it in a video. But that doesn't mean that every situation suits.

Bokeh looks cool

Bokeh doesn't mean blur - so if you've picked that up from YT it just emphasises what I mean about not knowing what they are talking about. Bokeh is the quality of the blurred areas - are they smooth or rough, what shape are out-of-focus circles and so on.

This is an example of harsh bokeh, where the "circles" are actually rather jagged.

and I would like it but I would rather have sharp photos with everything in focus 99% of the time.

That's impossible. A lens can focus at only one distance; everything else is out of focus to some extent. However, our eyes can accommodate a small amount of out-of-focus blur and see things as sharp. The amount of blur depends on aperture (as above) so up to a point a small aperture (which doesn't help in low light) gives a deep DOF but even so not everything is in focus.

This is why flash is often - perhaps usually - the better option.

mom a hobbies as you can tell or probably can’t but the wife and I agreed that I need to get more familiar or use the camera a lot more before we invest more into it. I really like photography. But I keep getting different answers all the time.

Maybe I will stop asking on Reddit and Facebook and ask here full time. I thought you guys got tired of my questions so I ask elsewhere.

I believe I suggested that about a week or so ago. Not everyone here knows everything but at least you can see where disagreements exist and explore further.

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I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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