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DIY: Cheap flash diffuser

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jakobdam View Drop Down
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Joined: 13 November 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Location: Denmark
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jakobdam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: DIY: Cheap flash diffuser
    Posted: 13 December 2006 at 14:13
If you're in a situation where you don't want to (or can't) bounce on walls or ceiling, then a mounted flash diffuser is very handy for softer highlights and shadows.

My problem is that I don't want to pay around $100 for a dedicated flash diffuser.


So here's a short "build it yourself" guide.

(NOTE! This guide is a translation of a guide I posted recently at my website www.fotostart.dk - people who understand danish may want to read the original guide in danish here:
http://www.fotostart.dk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5579 )


--------------------------------------------------

Ok, we want a bigger light source, with as even lighting as we can get.

For this purpose, I've used:

- Some cardboard
- Gaffa tape
- Tin foil
- Standard white printer paper.


Quite simple.


I began by cutting out four pieces formed about like this:

(NOTE! The drawing is not precise, I did everything just by eye measure, not that tough)

I glued tin foil on the inside of all four pieces, and they were fit around my Sigma EF-500 DG ST flash unit, and taped together.

The tin foil is highly reflective. I'm normally not fond of using tin foil for bouncing light, as the reflections are hard to control. But in this case, we don't need that much control.

The hole on the front was covered by to pieces of A4 paper.








The result - as the diffuser is mounted on the flash unit, the light will be spread inside the diffuser, and the front will light up quite evenly, and bring us more soft shadows and highlights.


Example - WITHOUT the diffuser

(picture of the test setup)


(result)


Notice the sharp and hard defined shadows.


Example - WITH the diffuser

(picture of the test setup)


(result)


Notice how the shadows are softened and the highlights are evened a bit more. I actually had to expose 2-3 steps higher, because the flash light has lost quite some power - but I still haven't got any seriously blown highlights. :)


Yes, I know - the test pictures are not that impressive - but they pretty much show the effect.

You can of course use the diffuser while the flash is mounted on the camera - I used sync cable just because I wanted to show more clearly, how the shadows were affected by the diffuser. :)

Edited by jakobdam - 13 December 2006 at 14:15
 



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Bob S. View Drop Down
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Joined: 14 March 2006
Country: United States
Location: Central Ohio
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob S. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 December 2006 at 15:03
I find that using the bottom 4" from an isopropyl alcohol bottle (rectangle type) works great.


Bob S.
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screamlordbyron View Drop Down
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Joined: 07 December 2006
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Post Options Post Options   Quote screamlordbyron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2006 at 22:21
Bob,

How do you attach/fasten the plastic piece to the flash?
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mudslinger View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mudslinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2006 at 22:30
I've made a difuser out of the bottom of an isopropyl alcohol bottle myslef. Works great. I put a few layers of black electronic tape around the cut edge. I put enough layers so that it fits snugly over the flash.

Edited by mudslinger - 21 December 2006 at 22:31
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Tindrum View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tindrum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2006 at 22:32
Even cheaper, which I used for child portraits a few weeks back, is a strip of white paper taped in a curve over the pop up flash.

We're an innovative bunch here :)
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omerbey View Drop Down
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Joined: 11 December 2005
Location: Turkey
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Post Options Post Options   Quote omerbey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2006 at 22:54
thanks for sharing. looks nice.

I use this bottle as a diffuser,

I glued some tin foil in the back side, works well enough and the on camera flash fits snugly inside.
 



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