Field Review: Gary Fong Puffer (Day 2)

When light gets the best of you and there is not enough of it to to properly illuminate a shot, a flash is needed. Only having a pop-up flash, it is what is used. The light it gives is a little harsh, but when a Gary Fong Puffer is placed in front of it, that all changes. Looking Like Darth Dukus’s Ship from Star Wars the Phantom Menace, the Gary Fong Puffer, when placed on the hot shoe of your camera adjust the quality of the light coming off your pop up flash, spreading it out, giving it better coverage and a better look to the light as seen in my self-portrait post.

Equipment used to test

Nikon D90

Nikon 35mm f1.8G AF-S DX

Nikon 50mm f1.8D AF Nikkor Lens

Nikon AF 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 D Lens

Generic Light box

How It’s used

In photography, seeing and manipulating light is one of the most important things. Lowering and raising the power of the pop up flash is not always enough—it needs to be spread out evenly. The Puffer takes the light from the small rectangle on the pop up flash and using the convex, dimpled white diffuser front, softens and disperses the light. The Puffer spreads it out to a half football shape, giving more even, softer light.

The Puffer fits the hot shoes Cannon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Pentax DSLR’s. There is a version for Sony, Konica and Minoltas also. What makes it so adaptable is fact that the height of the Puffer is adjustable. Its twin prongs fit into any of the eight sets of holes at the rear of the diffuser.

Consistency

The light is even every time—once on the camera, you don’t have to adjust it at all. All the photographer has to do is compose the shots and decide if he needs the pop up flash or not.

Lighting Conditions

The Puffer was used at night, as a fill flash on a bright day, and in a light box for product shots. The Puffer works no matter what condition or scenario. The Puffer shapes the light enough to soften it. With out it, the pop up flash has more of a harshness to it.

Face Time

Shooting a portrait is where you really see the change. While just using the pop up flash of your camera, the light on a face is harsh. With the Puffer on, the light smooths out, giving better tones to the skin color. By all means its not a professional off camera flash, but its a huge improvement on just the camera’ pop up flash.

Usefulness

If your off camera flash runs out of battery life, or for some reason you can not carry it, or if you do not own an off camera flash then the Puffer is helpful. Taking up very little space and compact enough to fit in a pocket. The Puffer is just nice to have.

The Puffer is for photographers who, don’t have a flash, need and emergency flash diffuser when no batteries are available for your off camera flash. It’s portable, small and neat and easy to carry around. I don’t think I’ve left the puffer home since I got it.

Editor’s Note: I tried the Puffer myself and couldn’t mimic Gevon’s results as accurately with my 7D. Using the product does take some practice and this is why I feel that most photographers give up with it immediately when one reads about it on forums. Once again, this is all one photographer’s opinion. Try it out for yourself and let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.