Incense

by Bart Arondson

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Since I have a wireless flash I figured I may as well get a tripod adapter and some sort of diffuser so I can supplement strobes, and especially use it off-camera at locations I wouldn't haul monolights.

What are the best options for balancing diffusion with light transmission from a flash?

The problem with a flash is that it starts out quite directed, so to begin with I'm assuming it's not well suited to umbrellas — either reflective or shoot-through. Without taking advantage of reflector geometry I was thinking it would take two diffusion layers to smooth it out, but that's going to cut out a lot of its light, which is already its weak point. But if I'm over-thinking this just let me know if there's a consensus on the best directed flash diffusers.

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You might find Does the wide-angle diffuser on a flash help reduce hotspots when used in a small softbox? to be useful, although it doesn't completely answer this question. –  mattdm Jul 25 at 14:10

2 Answers 2

When it comes to diffusers you should be looking to use the same sizes as you would for monolights. The flash tube of a monolight often isn't that much larger than the head of a speedlight and the size of the modifier is mainly what creates the effect.

This is echoed by the soft mods section in Strobist blog's gear recommendations. Strobist blog is highly respected by speedlight users and the article includes links to specific products which are more suitable for speedlights.

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Umbrellas work just fine with speedlights. The light from a speedlight is not too directed for that, especially if you use white umbrellas which will spread the light more or less independently of which direction it came from.

I will echo James's comment to check out Strobist.com for info on how to make good use of off-camera speedlights. The most useful info, IMO, is in his Lighting 101 series of articles.

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