Diffuse on-camera flash (compact camera)

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mcgrattan, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    Hi,

    I am going to a friend's wedding this weekend. I'm not taking a 'big' camera as I'm not there to take photos, but I'll probably throw a compact camera and a couple of rolls of film into a coat pocket. Probably a Ricoh R10 or Olympus Mju II [Stylus Epic]. I may even take both and load some Fuji NPZ in one and a roll of XP2 in the other.

    Anyway, on-camera flashes on compact cameras tend to give quite harsh results -- deep shadows, hard-edged highlights, etc.

    I wondered if there was any good way of diffusing this flash? I've heard of people sticking scotch tape or a piece of tissue paper over the flash. Does this work?

    I'm not really familiar with how these flashes operate, does the exposure compensate for the reduction in light output caused by the diffusing? That is, does the on-camera flash work like an auto/thyristor or TTL type flash?

    Anyone got any tips on a good way to diffuse the output in a reliable way?

    thanks very much

    Matt
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    A bit of tissue or a white handkerchief works well so long as you do not cover the flash sensor (assuming non TTL).

    If the flash has sufficient power, it will be able to compensate for the drop in brightness.

    However, an on camera flash on a compact will be limited in power compared to a separate flash so its distance range may be limited.


    Steve.
     
  3. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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  4. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    Thanks.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'diffuse with colour film'? You mean, by using colour film (in the camera) I'll get less harsh shots than if I used black and white? I suppose, although I've still had shots that exhibit the features I want to avoid when I've shot colour in the past.

    The tip on DX recoding is handy.
     
  5. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    I mean to suggest that you could use colour film with flash in one camera and try the tissue diffuser technique, and use the XP2 as an alternative in the other camera with available light...... for a different and moody approach.

    Regards John.
     
  6. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    Ah yeah, not had enough coffee yet this morning! So am being a bit slow.

    Yes, that was my plan. I'll probably use the Mju for available light stuff using black and white. I've done this before and the spot metering in the camera along with a fast film [I may use Neopan 1600 or Delta 3200 or just use the XP2] works well in low light. Keep the Ricoh for colour film with flash.
     
  7. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Sounds like a good plan to me .... Have a good time and good shooting !
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    To get off those harsh shadows one needs a lot of light sorces radiating from different sides.
    Or in anology a nerby plane etc. larger as the subject which either radiates itself omnidirectional, as the front sreen of a softbox, or acts as a reflector, as those portable planes reflecting light from an on/at-camera flashlight.
    The largest reflector would be a white room reflecting light, directed at ceiling or wall, from the on/at-camera. flashlight.

    What use could those tiny softening caps have one should put in front of the flashlight? In the majority of cases, with the exception of macro-photography, these will be smaller than the subject. However they could direct, some, light to walls and ceiling.
     
  9. haris

    haris Guest

    As I know, Mju have sensors for metring light placed between flash and lens, not TTL metering. So, if you cover those sensors you can "fool" flash in a way to give stronger output. If you do not cover sensors, but cover flash with diffusion material, you will get diffused and weaker flash output, depending how transparent material you use. I don't know if covering flash and sensors with same material will help, that is you will get diffused flash output, but will covering sensor with same material raise flash output enough to compensate covering flash, I dont know. Why don't take roll of film and play a little?

    For Rickoh I don't know, but if it have non TTL sensors, you can use same principle. If you have manual for those cameras, there should be written if cameras have TTL or on body sensors for light/flash metering...

    If there is TTL metering and you want to cover flash with diffuser, you could need to compensate with film speed, and john already told about that, there are DX stickers avaliable for "fooling" DX camera sensors.

    Of course if camera use preflash to meter flash output (check camera's manuals), then you are lucky, no matter if camera have TTL or on body snesors, covering flash with duffuser will be automatically compensate, so you can just cover flash without thinking about else :smile: