Introduction: Flash Bouncer With Interchangeable Mirror/diffuser

How to make a Flash bouncer for Compact, Long Zoom and SLR cameras.
Get more out of the built in flash, can be used together with small reflectors or
a "Light box", good for photographing smaller objects, macro etc.
Offer several ways to distribute and modify the light from the onboard flash.

- Adjustable mirror angle, control over where the light hits the reflecting surface
( important for getting the light where you want it )

- Interchangeable mirror materials, control over how much light that goes direct or is reflected, examples: a white semi transparent material gives you both direct (diffused) and reflected light, a silver/aluminium material gives you all reflected light, other possibilities: colour filter, example: a piece of yellow-tinted plastic will make the light "warmer".

- Folds flat (all models), fits easily in a camera bag pocket.
- Low weight, only 4 grams for the small and 8 grams for the large one.

Note: works best on short distances due to the low effect of most built in flashes.

Image gallery of all versions mounted on different cameras

Original DIY article at my website

Tips of how to make and use reflectors: Small foldable version ,
Large foldable (box) version

Step 1: How to Make It

- a piece/sheet of polypropylene plastic (PP, recycling code/number 5 )
thickness 0,7-0,8mm (700-800 micron)

- a small rubber o-ring (I have used a ID 3,5x1,5mm for the small and ID 4,5x1,5mm for the big), (you can also make a rubber ring from a thick piece of rubber like shown in one image )

- self adhesive velcro ( only for the small version)

- elastic cord 1,5-2mm thick and 30 cm long (only for the large version)

Step 1.

- Cut out the plastic piece
(it's also a good idea to cut out a few strips to practice heat-bending on).

- Print out the PDF template* and tape it on the plastic sheet ,
make the holes (see tool tip image), needle marks and mark along the cutting line.

- Remove the paper template and cut out the plastic part.

* PDF templates: (I have only tested with the cameras named below but many others are similary constructed so the templates should fit a lot of them also)

Small_1.pdf ( Canon Ixus 95 and likely many other compact cameras ? )
Small_2.pdf ( Canon A610 and ? )
Small_3.pdf ( Canon S90, S95 and S100 )
Big_1.pdf ( Nikon D40 , Olympus c-2100 and ?)

- The cut out part should look like this.

- Bend the "holy hinge" back and forth all the way a few times to make it soft
( this "hinge" is surprisingly durable (see my test image)

- Pre-bend at the places shown (bend at room temp. and make sure you bend in the right direction, the side facing down in the image is the side that faces the flash/camera)

Step 2: Heat Bending, Mounting and Mirror Making

- Heat bend, use something that concentrates the heat to the bending area (see image of how I made one from a piece of aluminium foil), start with the pre-bent parts ( the white becomes clear when the right temp. is reached).

(1) The mirror holders can be a little tricky to bend (bounces back if not heated enough), the plastic must be heated to a "butter soft" state before bending but not so much that it melts, ( I recommend that you practice on a few test strips first ), if it fails you could always use a couple of paper clips to fasten the mirror/diffuser.

(2) How much to bend, the measure X should be a bit more than the velcro thickness.

(3) Reduce the height of the stoppers to about 2-3 mm.

- Mount the rubber o-ring (using a strip of tape to pull it place makes it easier) and the velcro, the "hook" side should be on the flash bouncer .

- Mount the soft side of the velcro on the camera, the lower edge of the mirror base should be 2-3 mm below the flash and centered.

- Make the mirrors.

I have made the white from plain printing paper laminated with clear packing tape on both sides and the silver one is made by taping aluminum tape on a piece of black thin (0,2-0,3mm) plastic sheet (some aluminium tape is so thin that it lets light through).

Step 3: Examples

Most of the images on my websites, and has been taken with this or earlier versions of the bouncer in combination with small reflectors and a "light box".

Example images shown here are taken with a Canon IXUS 95, flash bouncer and mini reflectors;
the first image shows how to control background lightning by holding the reflector in different ways and the second image shows a comparison between direct (c) and reflected flash (a and b)


More of my DIY tips :

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