Like most photographers (strobists) I use my speedlite 580EX for a lot of pictures at events, meetings, parties, (where everybody wants their picture taken!) and I have always hated the final COLD, HARSH effect I got, so I chased the holy grail of finding a good diffuser.
I kept buying one model after another and trying them out to find the one I want to use. I had not (nor now) come across a single site that offered enough comparison photos to help me decide which one to get and use. Until now.
I am finally posting an - as comprehensive - comparison as I can muster (at 4:00 am) for all to use. All I ask is that if you find it usefull, please do not copy my info, just link to it.
So here goes:
All the photos were shot in my home studio/office/workshop/recluse/hideaway (yes between 3:30 and 4:00 am while everybody was asleep!) using a Canon 40D on Auto, ISO 200, using a stock 17-85mm IS Canon lens about a meter and a half (a little less than 5 feet). No special post production work, and the results were only cropped (to hide the rest of the crap around) but no adjustments were made otherwise.
- FONG Lightsphere II Cloud (I gave my daughters the clear to use on a 420EX, they shoot food on their cooking blog http://ouncesandgrams.tumblr.com/)
- FONG Reporter Whale Tail
- IKEA Shelf liner (FONG effect) see link below
- Lumiquest Promax
- Tissue (OK, before anyone says anything - toilet paper)
And for comparison straight flash (built in) and strobe.
Please note: No stuffed animals were abused or hurt during the shoot.
Pictures are posted for you to judge. No. Don’t ask. I will not tell you MY conclusions. The choice is entirely up to you. YOU choose what you like.
I have used ALL methods and continue to use different diffusers for each occasion. I always carry the Sto-fen, The Lumiquest, and recently the IKEA liner (they are small and fit in my camera case!) When all else fails, I can ALWAYS find some tissue paper which will save the day.
Following is basically a slightly more detailed view (with pictures) of the equipment used in the comparison.
This is the link for the IKEA DIY diffuser:
This is a link for a tissue type diffuser:
There are a lot more projects on the web for all sorts of diffusers. Most work well.
I am only trying to provide a series of pictures to help you figure out (without buying) how each application works. I hope this helps, especially all DIY builders to decide.