You thought a Lightsphere looked stupid...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by compuwar, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #1
  2. bmat macrumors 6502

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    #2
    That's really awesome. Just waiting for a big gust of wind to take her away!
     
  3. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    #3
    Wouldn't a lot of light be bounced on the photographer's back? Is it really that effective?
     
  4. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #4
    Hey! I like my Tupperware! (Plus, they're like three bucks if you don't mind Chinese knock-offs)
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    How can you "knock off" an overpriced piece of tupperware? I'm GLAD someone is pricing them correctly. It's not exactly a new or ingenious invention. Someone just went out of their way to make a business out of it.

    I'd rather take a Lightsphere, but I think this helmet idea would probably work better. It probably makes the light source bigger, which is the goal.
     
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #6
    That's what I'd think but the example shots prove that it doesn't. Then again, those were all taken in daylight which may have masked that.
     
  7. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #7
    The Lightsphere diffuses, reflects, and refracts the light in somewhat equal proportions in a 360 x 300 or so degree sphere, whereas an umbrella would be mostly reflective in a relatively narrow arc, with a bit of diffusion and refraction thrown in as a side effect rather than part of the inherent design.

    I've found the Lightsphere does a surprisingly good job at creating a more natural or studio light (depending on the dome color and translucence of the body), more so than I would have thought possible for a (seemingly) cheesy piece of plastic.

    As annoying as Gary Fong's vids and website are, it really does work as advertised, and the shots he demos are no BS. Color me convinced.

    (The knock-offs are from Link Delight, found on eBay. Shipping is pricey, but still nets at a quarter or less total cost than from Amazon or garyfong.com)
     
  8. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #8
    Yeah, as stupid as everyone thinks they look, they get the job done! I'd much rather have the lightsphere than not, I'm not out photographing weddings to look cool.

    I guess I'm just a function over form guy!

    SLC
     
  9. bmat macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Gary's demos are ok. But he's not properly using the flash WITHOUT the lightsphere, which makes his product look much better in comparison. Now, that is advertising, but equal results can be obtained a lot of different ways.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #10
    If the subject can "see" the umblela then the light will hit the subject. If the helmet blocks 50% of the light then the flash simply puts out two times more light. What matter here is the "size" of the light source as seen from the subject's location. The larger source the softer the light.

    The test shown on the web is actually a hard test. Outdoor fill flash requires a lot of power as you are competeling with full sunlight. It looks like here exposure are about a stop below ambient. That's a LOT of light,

    Other then looking silly this is a great setup
     
  11. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #11
    True, there are far better ways (that one would learn in the first day of Flash Photography 101) than the two he always demonstrates, but at the same time, short of some off-camera fill (umbrella, slave, other reflectors), I doubt that anything would be as effective, as inexpensive (even at $40-$50!), or as simple to use.

    The directionality of flash is its weakest point. In order to soften & bounce the light sufficiently for a decent fill, most of the power is lost in the bargain. That's why studio rigs are what they are. Most of the consumer diffusers just diffuse, or diffuse & single-bounce, but really don't alter the fundamental nature of the light, directionally speaking.

    Look, I don't sell the things, nor do I buy into Gary's "celebrity photographer" crapola--personally, I think the guy's fairly full of himself as a "label"--but I have to admit, the damn thing just works.
     
  12. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #12
    I prance around with one on from time to time. Trust me. I have at least a dozen reasons to look stupid, the lightsphere is pretty much the least of my worries!

    On a side note, the hat contraption looks effective. Don't know if I'd ever wear one but it looks, based on her examples, like it does the job.
     
  13. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #13
    Photos, or it doesn't happen! ;)
     
  14. Cloud9 macrumors regular

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    #14
    Can send someone post a link to the fong knock-offs?
     
  15. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #15
    [​IMG]

    (I have a Fong diffuser - packing around all the camera stuff has already relegated me to the dweeb zone)
     
  16. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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  17. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    #17
    Ha! Wellllll, that's certainly innovative...

    Now if only there was a hat she could wear to fix the composition of her shots.
     
  18. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #18
    LMFAO yeah, not a chance!
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
  20. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

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    #20
    The Lightsphere crap is just an over priced piece of miniature Tupperware and Gary Fong is an AMAZING marketer if he can sell a piece of dog sh*t with his name on it then I can guaranty you he can sell the Tupperware without any problem. I think the first hint anyone can gather as to how great Gary is when I saw his "Getting Rich 2-DVD Set" on his front page. Now does this mean the Lightsphere doesnt work? ohh no it works as advertised but costs quite a bit more then a STO-FEN EY and does the same thing.. so I ask why pay more for a Gary Fong Lightsphere when all it does is fall off the flash if you're on the move (due to its top heaviness)?

    And forget about

    [​IMG]

    That looks like its got 3200ws of light pumped into that not some "Lightsphere" and on camera flash.
     
  21. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #21
    So, how do you really feel? :p

    Look, the Sto-Fen is a simple diffuser, but doesn't do anything for refraction or reflection. It's been around for decades in one form or another (actually, that type of slip-on diffuser used to be included with many flash heads), and I can achieve the same results for free. I'm not against it at all, and if you like the results, great. Hey, I prefer Canon glass, and you may prefer Tamron. Same thing, just a matter of preference there.

    My point was that I've just compared shots using naked flash in several direct and bounce configurations, the Sto-Fen, and the Lightsphere, and quite honestly, the LS kicks everything else's ass for the resulting image, short of moving up to more studio-appropriate equipment. Yeah, the price is absurd for what it is, but what isn't? The link I provided above shows that you can get either for a fraction of the "retail" price. What's to complain about?

    As far as your doubts regarding the shots that GF has on his website, there's always the FTC if you believe it's a blatantly false or misleading representation. From my direct experience, it's pretty much spot on, even if he's about the most annoying, self-aggrandizing piece of puffery I've seen since http://www.chadnelson.com/ ;)
     
  22. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #22
    Oh no, you didn't. Chad Nelson in awesome. My favorite website, ever since I stumbled onto it in the "most useless website thread."

    [​IMG]
    :p


    Edit: He- beaverton... what a douche.
     
  23. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

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    #23
    Yup and when we've ran a few tests inside the studio between a Sto-Fen and the Lightsphere II and really saw no discernible difference between them. I'm not exactly sure the reflection and refraction come into play honestly the dome itself isnt a perfectly rounded so to speak and has the dimples all around the outside of it, shooting against a colored wall seemed to have revealed the dimples in the light patterns. Like I said the LS system works.. does it produce the rich images filled with even lighting of the girl found in Gary Fongs video? heck no but it doesn't do any better then a cheap Sto-Fen.

    We tried it out on a Fuji S2 and S3 and SB800 set on manual, not exactly a formal test but every day shooting style. Like I said I'm not against it (Lighsphere or Gary Fong) but after shooting with it during a wedding (fast paced a lot of moving around) I'm convinced that theres really not a system aside from maybe stepping up to a Qflash or portable studio lighting that really does a head over heels better job at diffusing at scattering the light.

    Anyways the thing with the umbrella.. I dunno I cant see that working really well I mean if you were up close at eye level to the subject I could see it working ok but beyond that I dont think it'd be any spectacular.. it does make for an interesting show though I dont know how many people shots I'd get with a gizmo like that on my head.
     
  24. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #24
    That's often the case ;)

    The basic rule of physics always applies, namely, "Their Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". I used diffusers on my UW camera system for ~5 years and the action of diffusing to get them to cover a wider area always reduces the effective output, even if the system were somehow 100% efficient (which they aren't).

    As such, the only question is: "How many Stops of power did it lose?"

    Sure, one can argue that the strobe just needs to put out more power to compensate, but how is it ever able to exceed 100%?


    The "two" images are so nearly identical (try overlaying them), that I'm tempted to say that its either the same shot that's been Photoshopped, or the one was taken as part of a burst and the strobe system(s) failed to fire correctly. What I noticed was that not a single person (out of 200+) moved, including the kids.

    Thus, if Mr. Fong is claiming that a strobe with a lightsphere is better than no strobe at all, the answer to that one is "duh!".

    I'd put my money on the strobe(s) actually functioning, plus some post-processing. Probably some dodge/burn to prevent the background walls from becoming too lightened up.


    -hh
     
  25. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #25
    In looking at Chad's ego-page ... I'm glad I missed that thead.

    Maybe I should update my website to say:

    "Hi, here's my house. Guess what? Its paid for!"
    "Hi, here's my boat. Guess what? Its paid for!"
    "Hi, here's my car. Guess what? Its paid for!"

    etc.

    Maybe a photo of my college diploma too, so that I can also point out that my Student Loans are all paid off. If all of that doesn't impress chicks from Craig's list, gosh - nothing will :D

    FWIW, I found it particularly humorous to see a 3 car garage with cars sitting out in the snow. Mayhaps because he's in hock up to his eyeballs and can't afford the electric garage door openers? :rolleyes:


    -hh
     

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