Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

by sat

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've seen product listings online for flash diffusers where they are described as opaque. Is this an incorrect description? Should it be semi-opaque or is that assumed? How does opaque make sense in describing a diffuser?

share|improve this question
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Opaque generally denotes something that blocks light, rather than letting it through. Definition 1 from linked:

  1. not transparent or translucent; impenetrable to light; not allowing light to pass through.

The proper term would be translucent. Semi-opaque is a bit of a misnomer, as it tries to augment a rather concrete term in meaning.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Well, an opaque flash diffuser would be kind of anti-productive so I'd have to say no. What they mean is translucent.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Frosted or patterned glass (as is found in shower doors for example) is often referred to as opaque. The light is scattered such that you can't clearly see through the glass, but the correct term would be translucent. Nevertheless, this seems to be common usage of the term opaque. Which, as the others have pointed out, is wrong.

Glass can be opaque to certain wavelengths of light (UV for example), so it could be correct to say that a diffuser was opaque (or semi-opaque) if it only transmitted certain wavelengths, but I doubt this is the case.

share|improve this answer
add comment

You can use a black panel or scrim on a flash to prevent direct light from hitting the subject. The effect is that only diffuse light hits the target.

I've been using white and black craft foam to do this with some of my shots. The amount of light that comes through the white foam is a significant drop - about 2.5 stops less. Depending on the setup, this can be effectively opaque.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.