There have been lots of variations of the Gary Fong Lightsphere before, but the latest is called the Kobra and it’s taking the cake. The new light modifier is pledging to be a game changing light modifier–or at least that’s what they told us in an email. It’s essentially an on-camera flash cobra head shaped light modifier that more or less does exactly what the Gary Fong Lightsphere (and Chinese food tupperware) has done for years. To fund this project, they’re asking for $125,000; which comes out to 1/8th of a million dollars.
So how does the Kobra work? To really understand this, I want you to think about a light bulb. When it goes on, the light comes from the center and out all over the place into a variety of directions. If you’ve ever seen those Chinese light balls in cinema or at festivals, the Gary Fong Lightsphere works similar to that–by taking the light output and making it look like a light bulb. The Kobra is doing the same thing yet claims to have a reflective interior that bounces light forward and through another diffusion layer–sort of like an ExpoImaging Flash Bender but with the diffusion panel. In addition to that, the Kobra has its own built in holder for gels–a nice touch. The biggest criticism about these sorts of products over the years though has been that they’re essentially pieces of frosted tupperware. You can make them yourself–but they won’t be pretty. You can also take a Gary Fong Lightsphere and put some tinfoil inside–and again that won’t be pretty. However, the same effect is easily reproducible with a number of flash modifiers out there on the market.
And if you’re taking the flash out of the hot shoe and firing with it off to the side then there are a number of other light modifiers you can choose from.
To boot, the Kobra is also being 3D printed. Again though, if you’re more of a hacker then you absolutely don’t need something like this. But if you’re not, then you may want to consider one.
So who would use something like this? They do a lot of work showcasing it for portraiture, but I’m not exactly sure I’d do that due to how much light is wasted from what it seemingly coming out of the sides. I would, however, use it for events and weddings.
The Kobra is currently on Kickstarter and in the process of raising funds. Be sure to check it out.