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Ron Morse

New member
I have been thinking about a diffuser for the 580EX, I have 2 and might sell 1 and get the new 580 EXII, I have been leaning towards Gary Fongs lightsphere II.

I came across the ultimate box system a few days ago.

I have been thinking about some family portraits. My daughter is finishing pre-med this year and about ready to head off to grad school. I might use it for fill flash some but my main concern right now is portrait type work.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Edward Bussa

New member

I think there are two diverging paths when it comes to speedlite type modifiers - 1) the highly mobile modifiers meant for (usually) camera attached speedlites and 2) the (still mobile) lightstand and umbrella.

The highly mobile gear like the lightspere and harbor digital stuff is great for candid, on the go shots where you have little control over your subject or environment.

However, you can get much higher quality from the various mobile studio type equipment like smaller umbrellas and soft boxes paired up with lightweight lightstands.

I've got more opinions about the highly mobile diffusers if thats the direction you need to go...

Ron Morse

New member
Thanks Ed.

I don't think that I want to get into the studio type equipment that I will have little use for later on although I can see the advantages.
If you don't mind kind of a large thing, you might look into a 12x16" softbox made by Photoflex or Chimera (Chimera is better, but I used to have a Photoflex before Chimera came out with one in this size), which can be used on camera with a tall bracket. I used to use it with my Norman flash on a Stroboframe Pro-RL set on the maximum height with the flash angled slightly downward, and for subjects within about 6 feet away, it could produce a nice butterfly lighting effect. It could be awkward outside in the wind, but indoors it was great.

Now I use a Norman 19" octabox for this purpose, but that's not compatible with your flash, though there may be a similar thing made by another manufacturer with the right adapters.

Greg Rogers

New member
Ron, FWIW I've been using this softbox from Lumiquest for about a year. I knew I liked it a lot after the first test shot. I've asked Santa for two more this year for the other 2 of my 3 SB-800's. I prefer the results over my umbrella reflectors in many cases. Just my .02.


(Link to the version I happen to own, back up to the home page to see the whole line)

Other Ron, ok, the sample result shots using the flash helmet look good. Very good. However, I wonder how often I'd use it after being disowned by my adult son and likely the boss as well after seeing me wearing it. Are these things allowed to be worn during divorce proceedings? Any lawyers or judges here?



New member
I would hate for my suggestion to lead to such trauma...

Let me make two more suggestions at opposite ends of the economic scale...

The EzyBox 15x15 --
This thing is great, I recently got one, but I have not had the occcaision to use it. I think I paid around $160 for it. Easily hand held, and it folds up small. I added a hand grip to it, salvaged from my junk box.

The Fruit Protector
I got some of these, then left them on the kitchen counter. My wife threw them away, not realizing their value. The reason I like these is that you can keep them in your pocket. And they are FREE!

I dislike the Lightsphere because they throw a lot of light the wrong direction, and they take up a ton of room in your bag.

The most versatile tool in my light kit is a 48" diffuser from Westcott http://www.fjwestcott.com/fjw.com/products/reflectors.htm#specs (their website doen't show it well, its just a big white panel that folds up nice and compact -- about 12" I'd guess. I used it for a diffuser and a reflector. Unlike the other options, this one requires that you recruit someone to hold it.

I very rarely use an umbrella --- they pretty much demand that you use a stand. Shooting the flash through the diffuser panel gives a very similar effect anyway.


Edward Bussa

New member
For highly mobile diffusers I currently use a Demb Diffusier (http://www.dembflashproducts.com/diffuser/).

Advantages are 1) very (very) compact, 2) easily flexes from all bounce to all front fill w/ diffusion, 3) fairly inexpensive.

Disadvantages are 1) diffusion not the best, 2) flexible mounting position can lead to confusion in not being able to swivel and/or rotate the right direction.

A very cheap (DIY) option is what is called "A Better Bounce Card" (http://abetterbouncecard.com/). I did some test shots with my kitty (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2395).

Advantages are: 1) cheap, 2) very compact

Disadvantages are: 1) hokey method for adjusting front fill / bounce ratio, 2) no diffusion (well, a LITTLE if you do reverse fill), 3) no way to go all front fill w/ no bounce.

I really like the Demb for being very portable and very flexible. The only thing I don't like is the diffusion being weak...


Edward Bussa

New member
No personal experience, but it would be high on my list of purchases. I was very intrigued by this system when it first came out - looks good to me! :)