Quick Field Test: Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible

Recently the the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible was sent to me to try out. As a photographer that loves and often uses the standard Lightsphere, personal experience has rated it as a very good and useful product. However, I couldn’t have predict how versatile it would be as a diffuser. I stopped by the F-Stopper‘s meetup in NYC two weeks ago and gave this a quick test.

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Equipment Used

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens with the Opteka ET-65III Lens Hood

Gary Fong LightSphere Collapsible Diffuser

In Use

First off, the PR reps for Gary Fong saw my posting on the Domke F2 and noticed that I needed to breakdown my Lightsphere in order to make it fit into the bag. They suggested the collapsible. I agreed, and a review product was sent.

Such is standard in the business.

The Lightsphere Collapsible comes with three different parts: the Sphere, the Dome and the attachment ring.

Photographers David Michael Burns and Peter Hurley were also intrigued by it. So intrigued that they wanted to see the effect it had on their photos when mounted on the 43o EX II and off the flash in combination with the 5D Mk II.

Here we go then:

This is the traditional way that photographers are supposed to use the Lightsphere: with the inverted Dome and with the head tilted to the side. If you’re shooting verticals, then you’d tilt the head of the flash so that it resembles an “L” shape.

The following two photos are the results you get with the Lightsphere on in this manner.

As you can tell in this photo of David, it gives off a very barebulb effect/look. Since I’m using a clear Lightsphere, it has more of a blueish tonality to it. The white Lightspheres give off a warmer look to them.

It also concentrates the light quite a bit. Now compare this to the bare 430 EX II being aimed towards the ceiling as seen in the two photos below.

Sure the focus was a bit off on this one, but anyone can clearly see the difference in looks between the photos.

These images look a lot warmer and compliment skin tones more. Once again, these were shot without the Lightsphere. In a case like this, I actually think I would’ve preferred my Standard Lightsphere because it is white.

Now take a look at this configuration that I’ve seen used before. It has the inverted Dome on it but facing outwards and the Lightsphere is collapsed. Below is a result of what a photo looks like when the Lightsphere is used like this.

As you can see, he looks almost like a deer in headlights. If the subject was a bit further away, this might have looked better. Closing my aperture or lowering the ISO a bit could have also possibly worked. For what it’s worth though, any user will want to dial down the power of their flash when using the Lightsphere in this configuration. The 85mm F1.8 was all I had on me.

This is another configuration of the Lightsphere Collapsible. I’ve got to test this one out still.

Expect a full review coming with a portrait session I’ve got in the near future.

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