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11-02-2019, 05:00 AM - 1 Like   #1
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 335
Filling umbrellas with the AD200

I. Filling a silver reflective umbrella.

Hello.

Today it's experiments day. Latety, I have been reviewing the way I fill umbrellas with the AD200. I made some test using different accesories and heads and I came to my own conclusion about what's the better way.
But why is important to fill an umbrella ? Does it matter if I fill it better or worse?

We have a general rule: a bigger light source will produce a softer light, that usually is preferable. So then I make some assumptions:
* the most I fill the umbrella, the better. If I fill with half of the diameter of an umbrella, the total filled surface I is 1/4, I have a light source 4 times smaller.
* the most uniform is the pattern of light I send to the umbrella, the better. If I fill the umbrella with a light that is in practive a bright hotspot in the center and weak light around, I'm not creating a 'good' light source.

So, ideal is to fill all the umbrella with a uniform light pattern. Until now, I was convinced that the ADS2 + the round diffuser was the better accesory to achieve that, but I found a surprise. Another point to investigate is if it's so important to fill the umbrella in a 'perfect' way.

Let's see first how a typical silver reflective umbrella is filled using several accesories.



So, I can make some conclusions here.

AD-S6. Fills most if not all the umbrella. There is a hot spot in the center but it doesn't look so bad.
AD-S2. It's clear that it doest fill all the umbrella. It was a surprise, as I was convinced that it fills a really similar area, compared to the AD-S6, at the same distance. Difficult to see if the hotspot is better that the AD-S6. I know it's better, but it's not clear here.
AD-S7 plate. Notice that the AD200 is neared the umbrella here, to avoid spilling to much light. To my eye, this device fills perfectly the umbrella and, the pattern seems the most uniform. This was a surprise too.
Fresnel. There is just a square/elliptical kind of hot spot and some residual light around. I thik this is the worst.

NOTE: the AD200 is set at the same (reasonable) distance in all cases, except the AD-S7 plate


To me, the 'winner' is the AD-S17 plate. Also, as you can/need to put the umbrella nearer, the whole thing is more 'compact'. I measured the power as is similiar to the AD-S6. It seems that using the plate have only advantages.

I'll post later similar test done with a traslucent umbrella, and also the results, in practice, using a mannequin's head.

11-02-2019, 05:33 AM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 119
I have the h200r round head for my AD20b. Have you tried one of those?
Also, what size is your umbrella?
11-02-2019, 05:52 AM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 335
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessorBuzz Quote
I have the h200r round head for my AD20b. Have you tried one of those?
Also, what size is your umbrella?
Unfortunately I haven't the round head . It'd be very good to add to the tests.
The umbrellas I have tested have 100 to 115cm diameter (45 inches). This is not too big or too small, and still adequate to use outside.

EDIT: this silver umbrella is 115cm arc, not diameter, is around 100cm diameter.

Last edited by morenjavi; 11-02-2019 at 06:00 AM.
11-02-2019, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 335
Original Poster
II. Filling a translucent umbrella.

So what happens with a translucent umbrella? I think here is easier to see if your are filling correctly or not. For this tests I used an umbrella of a similar size and take pics from the front, with the same power in the AD200 and fixed WB.

Here is the series. This time I added a pic with the fresnel head + a cup style diffuser, to give a better filling for the umbrella.



Notice than the fresnel head have a green tint, compared to the bulb. Adding a humble cup to the fresnel head the filling of the umbrella have improved a lot, and the shape doesnt seem too different to the AD-S6. About the AD-S2, as I have seen with the silver umbrella, cancan't cover fully a medium sized umbrella, and the patter doesn't seem so 'better' (less evident hot spot) that the AD-S6. Finally, I see that the better fill is done by the AD-S17 plate, it fills the whole umbrella, and there isn't a noticeable hot spot. A final point about the plate, I'm sure you could fill bigger umbrellas with this accesory, but it's clear that you couldn't do with the AD-S2 or AD-S6


So for me, the clear winner is the plate, it's also a small accesory.
About the fresnel head, using a small cup can be a good solution for filling the umbrella. You need to handle with the green tint, but it's an option to consider if you want the most compact setup.

Stay tuned for the new delivery with exclusive pics of a cute mannequin head


Last edited by morenjavi; 11-03-2019 at 01:11 PM.
11-02-2019, 05:23 PM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 335
Original Poster
III. Mannequin head and silver reflective umbrella.

So, here you have finally what is a 'real' result. I made the test with the umbrellas in different place and time than the test with the mannequin. When photograhing the mannequin I didn't use the AD-S17 place, I'm sorry for that. I made two shots at the mannequin with the fresnel head (bare & with a cup) and two shots with the bulb (AD-S6 & AD-S2).

My initial convictions were two:
* there should be a great different between the fresnel (used 'bare') and the other accesories.
* there should be a noticeable difference between AD-S2 and the other accesories, because the AD-S2 pattern was 'better', have less evident hot spot, etc.

* the AD-S2 will be the 'winner'.

Well, here is the final result.




I expected more clear differences. It's needed a bigger size to really see more clearly, but I didn't want to fill the post with eight pics. The pic with the fresnel head is to my eyes the 'hardest', and the pic with AD-S6 seems the softest, but I don't see too much differences if I compare AD-S6 with fresnel + cup or AD-S2. Unfortunately I didn't test the AD-17 plate.

IV. Mannequin head and translucent umbrella.

Finally, the same test with the translucent umbrella.



To me, results are similar to the reflective umbrella. Bare fresnel is the hardest, and AD-S6 the softest.
Bigger pictures could be more adequate to see the differences. Anyway, my intention was to check with more detail the way I use to fill umbrellas with the AD200, using several common accesories for fresnel and bulb head, and see if there are really big differences or not.

So to create a bigger source of light seems the most important factor, then the quality or uniformity of such light source seems of secondary importance. Then you have the differences in tint and temperature depending of the umbrella and the accesory.

With this I finish my tests with umbrellas, this time I didn't post any wall picture . I hope this may have been of some interest.
11-03-2019, 09:00 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 10,428
QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
So, ideal is to fill all the umbrella with a uniform light pattern.
Yes, this is often overlooked.

I used to put milk bottles over my speedlight heads to spread the light inside a modifier.

Great experiments!

While I agree that some of the differences are subtle, I believe portrait photography can benefit from subtle improvements, even on a subconscious level.

Have you tried the bare bulb without any accessory?
It should behave similar to the AD-S17 plate.

Theoretically, it could do even better on its own than with the AD-S17 plate. A simple circular flag could be used to stop backwards and some sidewards spill. The overall result could be reduced efficiency compared to using the AD-S17 plate but a bit more uniformity.
11-03-2019, 11:22 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 119
These are great tests. Thanks for sharing them!
11-04-2019, 05:53 AM - 1 Like   #8
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 335
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I used to put milk bottles over my speedlight heads to spread the light inside a modifier.
I used a lot of home made diffusers . I bought years ago three cups that were like an origami translucent plastic + rubber band. Never used more than one at the same time, but was my usual diffuser to fill umbrellas with strobes. I don't remember the (chinesse) company that made it. Anyway, super cheap and useful cups.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
While I agree that some of the differences are subtle, I believe portrait photography can benefit from subtle improvements, even on a subconscious level.
You are right 100%.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Have you tried the bare bulb without any accessory?
It should behave similar to the AD-S17 plate.

Theoretically, it could do even better on its own than with the AD-S17 plate. A simple circular flag could be used to stop backwards and some sidewards spill. The overall result could be reduced efficiency compared to using the AD-S17 plate but a bit more uniformity.
I didn't check, but can do later. The S17 plate gives a really good uniformity, let's see what happens with just the bare bulb.

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