On-Camera Flash; Softbox In A Pocket Page 2

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The exposure was constant, 1/125 sec at f/4.5. Finally, I set the camera on AWB (Auto White Balance) and recorded the images as JPEGs. The colors seen here are as they came out of the camera. With the exception of one (#10) made with the STO-FEN Omni-Bounce, they are all decidedly warm.

The first image I made was with direct, on-camera flash to be used as a comparison (#4). You can see the heavy shadow on the wall 5 ft behind the bust.

#4 Taken with direct flash.

The shadow cast by the Westcott Micro Apollo was significantly lighter than that cast by the direct flash, but still quite evident (#5). However, I was able to use the Micro Apollo on an assignment that involved nearly 20 employees standing in the open shade of their workplace entrance. While the image is not reproduced here, it managed to cover the entire group in an even spread of fill light.

#5 Taken with the Westcott Micro Apollo.

The MilaGrid PowerGrid and the LumiQuest 80-20 bounced partly from the ceiling created the softest shadows due to the fill light from above. The results were almost identical; it would be hard to choose between the two, so I'm only showing one here (#6). The only limitation to using either of these is the height of the ceiling and the power of the flash. Even so, if the ceiling were higher than the recommended 10 ft (for both of these), the light cast directly at the subject will give results similar to the Micro Apollo.

#6 Taken with the MilaGrid PowerGrid with ceiling bounce.

The ability to use head-on diffuse light or partial bounce from the ceiling makes the LumiQuest ProMax System the most versatile. Using the white insert and the diffuser with the 80-20 gave results similar to those obtained by bouncing the light off the ceiling (#7).

#7 Taken with the LumiQuest 80-20 with diffuser and white insert.

The Dot Line Universal Flash Diffuser is like a sock pulled over the flash head. The flash is aimed at a 60Þ angle toward the ceiling. The shadow falls almost identically to the one made by the 80-20 but slightly darker, though not displeasing (#8).

#8 Taken with the Dot Line Universal Flash Diffuser.

The advantage of this design is it is inexpensive, small and light, and can be flattened and carried in a pocket to take anywhere.

Finally, there is the LumiQuest Soft Screen. While diffusing the pop-up flash would seem to be a good idea, in practice it didn't work so well. The Soft Screen threw a heavy shadow which haloed the far side of the bust and cannot be displaced even with a flash bracket (#9).

#9 Taken with the LumiQuest Soft Screen.

As I wanted to test the on-camera flash diffusers with more than just a pretty face I took them with me on my next food assignment. I tried all of them and was pleased with the results. Although the lighting was not as elegant as the backlit Beef Wellington, there was a certain drama, which I liked. They also allowed me to hand hold the camera and move freely in and around the subject without concern for the position of the light, as it always moved with me. I was able to capture some interesting images of an otherwise dull subject...croutons (#10).

#10 Apple and prosciutto salad with croutons.

Manufacturers/Distributors
Dot Line Corp.
9420 Eton Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(800) 423-2624
www.dotlinecorp.com

LumiQuest
28540 Durango Dr.
New Braunfels, TX 78132
(830) 438-4646
www.lumiquest.com

MilaGrid
3616 Henry Hudson Pkwy,
Ste. 7D-N
Bronx, NY 01463
(917) 903-7191
www.MilaGrid.com

STO-FEN Products
PO Box 7609
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
(800) 538-0730 (order)
(831) 427-0235
www.stofen.com

The F.J. Westcott Company
1447 N. Summit St.
Toledo, OH 43604
(800) 886-1689
www.fjwestcott.com

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mripod's picture
"I never say I understand

"I never say I understand children fully, because they'll do something to make a liar out of me." Nonetheless, she rarely has to do a reshoot. She schedules about two hours to work with her little subjects, but shoots perhaps for only 15 minutes. "It takes a while to see what makes a child tick," she says. O`Tasty