Recently, I was browsing through the latest offerings of the light modifiers -- always on the lookout for something new. One in particular, the Flash Disc by Fstoppers, caught my eye. It is a 12" collapsible disc that fits over the flash unit and creates a bank-like effect. On one side it is covered with a scrim fabric, and on the other it has black, gray, and white stripes to serve as a gray card. Looked like it might work, At $49.99 the price was right, so I picked one up to try out.
|Both modifiers are easily mounted onto the flash. The 12" Flash Disc folds up into a very compact 5" diameter case that fits easily in a camera bag or even a pocket. The Lightsphere collapses down but is a bit more cumbersome to pack.|
I decided to try it out against my standby favorite, the Gary Fong Lightsphere ($59.95), but began to realize it may be unfair to compare the two, in the sense that they excel at different applications.The light distribution on the subject is similar for both modifiers. Where they differ is in how they spread their light. The Lightsphere has a broader, omni-directional reach with its light, whereas the Flash Disc is similarly soft, but more localized in its throw.
|While both modifiers are about the same size when collapsed, the Flash Disc compresses to a soft package for storage, whereas the re\igidity of the Lightsphere takes up more space and can't be stuffed easily into a small pocket.|
In the sample images below the Lightsphere spilled light more evenly all over the room. It is designed to be omni-directional and is perfect for recording large events where overall illumination is required. The Flash Disc produces a bank-like soft light that is more concentrated in front of it with a fall off towards the back. I could see using this more for portraiture and in tandem with other flash units.
I now have both modifiers and will use the one most suitable for each situation when the time comes. I also picked up two more of the Fstoppers Flash Discs to do some really portable lighting setups with multiple flash units. I will be writing a blog post with the how-to results once I have run them through their paces.
|All three light sources had the same problem when mounted on the camera. They created a deep shadow under the chin. To really use any of these sources to best advantage a low front reflector fill would be needed.|
I once saw an event photographer use nothing more over his flash than a puffed-up, white-plastic grocery bag. Total cost: nothing. Best of all, it worked, although the sight of it might not have instilled his client's confidence.