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08-27-2010, 01:38 AM   #1
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Is it worth it using a diffuser?

Hello,

i have a K-X, and after a small internet surfing i came up to diffusers... I don't want to spend yet $$$ to get a flash, thus i want to ask some people that used these.

Does it really do some work on lighting? Or i shouldn't bother at all with this?

Thanks.

08-27-2010, 02:05 AM   #2
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In my opinion, yes.
I've not done a huge amount of flash work, but have seen a real improvement since using a Gary Fong lightsphere while bouncing the flash of the ceiling and wall
08-27-2010, 04:09 AM   #3
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If I understand correctly, the OP is asking if a diffuser would improve the pop-up flash on the Kx.

I have a Kx, and I don't use flash that much. But when I need it, I need it. I too didn't want to get a flash for the little bit of flash work I do. So I got the Gary Fong Puffer. It's not magic, but it does help.

I did end up purchasing the Pentax 360FGZ (?) flash in the Marketplace here, and I used it twice in several months. So ... I finally sold it. It was in very nice condition, and buying used gave me the opportunity to try it out for not much $$.

When I do use the pop-up flash, I use the Puffer ... unless I happen to be out without it.

HTH
08-27-2010, 04:45 AM   #4
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Take one of those semi-clear (not black) 35mm film canisters, cut a slit along one side, slide into the base of your pop-up flash, and voila:

Instant, free diffuser.

You can also use black tape or a black marker on the back side of it so you don't lose light bouncing off the canister and going the wrong way--backwards. (As it is, the K-x's flash isn't too powerful, and when you go through any diffusion material, you lose a lot of the power.)

Also try just playing around with a piece of lens tissue wrapped around the flash with a rubber band.

These no-cost fixes actually work, and you WILL see a major difference.

08-27-2010, 05:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Take one of those semi-clear (not black) 35mm film canisters, cut a slit along one side, slide into the base of your pop-up flash, and voila:

Instant, free diffuser.

You can also use black tape or a black marker on the back side of it so you don't lose light bouncing off the canister and going the wrong way--backwards. (As it is, the K-x's flash isn't too powerful, and when you go through any diffusion material, you lose a lot of the power.)

Also try just playing around with a piece of lens tissue wrapped around the flash with a rubber band.

These no-cost fixes actually work, and you WILL see a major difference.

That's Brilliant!! I'll be doing that asap! Cheers!

Maybe there should be a section or sticky on how to make DIY kit such as diffusers, reflectors etc. I imagine that many newbees like myself are quite poor after the outlay into dslr... Could be of use to many
08-27-2010, 05:39 AM   #6
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yes you should, diffuser makes a difference.

there are many ways to DIY a diffuser, just google it.
08-27-2010, 06:10 AM   #7
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ok thanks guys.

Is it worth it making it manually when there are sow low priced ones on ebay?

Pop-up Flash Diffuser for Pentax K200D K100D Kx Km K-X on eBay (end time 21-Sep-10 21:55:48 BST)
08-27-2010, 06:41 AM   #8
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It depends on the diffuser. If it is increasing the size of the light source (Ira's suggestion of a Lightsphere on a real flash), then yes. If it's just one of those clip on plates that sits on top of the Fresnel and is the same size, then no (unless you are getting vignettist from the flash beam not being wide enough.

08-27-2010, 06:58 AM   #9
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Just a point. I use the same method Ira suggested first. It works great on my K100D popup flash and didn't cost me any money...a plus for me. I even use a cap to hold it on the flash, without the cap and you tilt your camera sideways, in portrait the canister falls off.
08-27-2010, 07:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
That's Brilliant!! I'll be doing that asap! Cheers!

Maybe there should be a section or sticky on how to make DIY kit such as diffusers, reflectors etc. I imagine that many newbees like myself are quite poor after the outlay into dslr... Could be of use to many
There is a DIY sub-forum in the Articles forum and it contains exactly what is being discussed here.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/do-yourself/51061-diy-diffuser-solution-pop-up-flash.html

Tim
08-27-2010, 08:27 AM   #11
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Right you are Tim. That's where I got the idea for the canister diffuser.
08-27-2010, 08:32 AM   #12
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In my experience, a diffuser on the on-board flash helps a *little* - the shadows cast are less hard-edged and the reflected highlights less intense. But there's still no getting around the fact that the light is coming from directly in front of the subject. So it's still nowhere *near* as effective as bouncing or getting the flash off-camera. For $30 you can get an autoflash that tilts up to bounce off the ceiling, and for another $10 or so, the necessary hardware to run it off camera. If you really plan to do much with flash, that is going to be well worth the small investment. Of coruse, the film canister diffuser is free, but compared to bouncing or off-camera flash, it's *much* less effective.

Note you can also try bouncing the on-camera flash - I've done this using a a piece of white cardboard or even my hand - but it's tricky to get right, and there's not a lot of power, so you'll still need to shoot a relatively large aperture and/or increase ISO a bit (eg, f/2.8 & ISO 400). There is a cheap device called the Kobre Lightscoop that tries to automate this and apparently does a decent job.
08-27-2010, 08:43 PM   #13
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I have a great hotshoe flash (AF-540) which I try to use whenever possible, but there are nevertheless times when I must go with the pop up flash...and since I mainly shoot manual lenses, the flash output (on the K20D) cannot be attenuated below full power, which most often results in some blown out images and very harsh shadows.

I did try the film can trick but aside from a way to dial down the output, i didn't find this to soften any shadows.

Today I experimented with something I found in the pantry, a crystal light container, which i shortened and nested half inside the other half, sandwiching a piece of Kleenex between layers of this white polypropelene shell. I taped a small rectangle of foil just in front of where the pop up bulb fires to block the hard beam, and then applied foil at both ends and in the rear to keep the light aiming forward. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and i did it while sitting in the yard, so it is not very refined, but i was surprised to see it actually works well to soften the shadows.

Here is the device on my camera. Yeah, not the purtiest thing you ever saw:



It slides on easily with a slot and then the endcap snaps on to hold the whole thing together. If it gets windy, i'd probably use a piece of tape to secure it to the camera so it doesn't wobble.

Check out this before and after, particularly the darkest shadow in the center of the frame:

Pop Up Flash (naked)


With DIY diffuser


i'll experiment a little more to try to position it with the widest side aiming forward; when i cut it, it wanted to lay down as in the pic, but so far am pleased with this DIY contraption.

Last edited by mikeSF; 11-15-2011 at 10:47 AM.
08-29-2010, 03:26 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
In my experience, a diffuser on the on-board flash helps a *little* - the shadows cast are less hard-edged and the reflected highlights less intense. But there's still no getting around the fact that the light is coming from directly in front of the subject. So it's still nowhere *near* as effective as bouncing or getting the flash off-camera. For $30 you can get an autoflash that tilts up to bounce off the ceiling, and for another $10 or so, the necessary hardware to run it off camera. If you really plan to do much with flash, that is going to be well worth the small investment. Of coruse, the film canister diffuser is free, but compared to bouncing or off-camera flash, it's *much* less effective.

Note you can also try bouncing the on-camera flash - I've done this using a a piece of white cardboard or even my hand - but it's tricky to get right, and there's not a lot of power, so you'll still need to shoot a relatively large aperture and/or increase ISO a bit (eg, f/2.8 & ISO 400). There is a cheap device called the Kobre Lightscoop that tries to automate this and apparently does a decent job.
I'd just echo what Marc said - I started out by trying a DIY film canister-turned-diffuser, and while it works at diffusing the light some, it's still mono-directional and not super flattering. Also, the diffuser ate up a lot of what little power the on-board flash has.

For $50 I was able to get a manual flash with swivel and bounce, and it is leaps and bounds better than the on-camera flash, diffused or not. The power output is significantly better, and bounced flash looks quite a bit better than straight-on flash. I do have a DIY diffuser made out of a used isopropyl alcohol bottle, but I rarely use it because bounce light is so much more natural looking.
08-30-2010, 01:22 AM   #15
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ok thanks guys.

An autoflash is different than a normal external flash? Or is just a different name?

I will consider buying also an external flash. I order a cheap diffuser to have it always in my bag.
However i dont want to spend really that much for an external flash...

Thanks again.
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