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Homemade pop-up flash diffuser

Carla S , Dec 19, 2006; 04:58 p.m.

Has anyone attempted to make a diffuser for a pop-up flash? I am looking for a getto rig to help with some low light pictures where I do not want to kill the subject with the harsh pop-up flash. (my new camera is ordered, complete with speedlight and diffuser, I just need a solution for tomorrow!)

Someone pointed this out to me (see attached pic) and it looks handy!

Any other ideas or suggestions, I'm all ears.



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jenny hands , Dec 19, 2006; 05:08 p.m.

thats so cute and totally genius! i rekon it will work a treat .. other wise a triple layer of tracing paper will do the trick!


Ravishankar Ramanathan , Dec 19, 2006; 05:33 p.m.

I was looking at Lumiquest Softscreen (http://www.lumiquest.com/softscreen.htm), it costs about $14. After looking at the solution you found, I think I am going for your version!

W. Smith , Dec 19, 2006; 07:27 p.m.

If you diffuse a pop-up flash - GN 12, if you're lucky - I wonder what effective range there is left....

jenny hands , Dec 19, 2006; 07:38 p.m.

hey w. smith..... there will be light... a different quality of light... a better looking light .....a little less light is easliy compensated for! .. lighten up x

Mark Harrington , Dec 19, 2006; 08:22 p.m.

You may find this link very helpful.


Robert Lee , Dec 20, 2006; 01:05 a.m.

So, who makes those cylindrical round plastic thingies? My digicam doesn't come with'em!


David Seaton , Dec 20, 2006; 11:38 a.m.

This looks really neat. You might want to throw some tin foil in the back portion. This will help reflect some of the light forward again, instead of illuminating the photographer's face!

Attachment: sample.jpg

Carla S , Dec 20, 2006; 12:56 p.m.

Mark, that was a fabulous link, thank you so much! I'll definitely be making my own bouncecard for the speedlight.

Back to pop up flashes... One other solution I've found is a plastic LCD diffuser, an thin film found on laptop screens to diffuse the backlight. Not exactly the easiest thing to find... unless you work in IT and have some dead laptops laying around to loot from. I have not tried this possible solution yet, but I'm planning to test the film canisher, tracing paper, and LCD diffuser tonight and see what the differences are. Should all go according to plan I'll post some images.

Thanks all!

Tom J (Seattle) , Dec 20, 2006; 01:39 p.m.

Hey Carla,

The same thing is shown in the Jan 2006 issue of Popular Photography page 42.

You show great creativity!

Take the nay sayers who keep mentioning the the GN is around 12 with a grain of salt. These are the same people who imply that it's impractical to bounce with an on camera flash in a small room.

First, the rated GN is for iso100, at iso400 it doubles to 24 (75 feet at f1, 37 feet at f2 etc.). Further more, as suggested above, putting some sort of reflector in your unit will also increase your effective guide number since the GN rating is for typically a 18mm field of vision, so if you shoot with a 50mm lens, most of your light is being wasted without some sort of reflector.

Happy shooting!


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