Deal 9: Hacking Photography mega-deal
Do you hate the look of on camera pop-up flash? Do you avoid taking photos indoors because of harsh shadows and completely insane looking eyes? Fret no longer – Professor Kobre’s got your back.
Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop is an amazing little invention. Another of those ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’ moments. It’s a perfectly angeled mirror which attaches to your camera’s hot-shoe and bounces the light from your pop-up off of the wall and ceiling behind you, spreading the light evenly instead of shooting it at your subject head-on.
Before the Lightscoop, I would take indoor pictures by bouncing a Speedlite off of nearby walls and ceilings. The downside of this is the heavy bulk, the amount of batteries needed and constantly thinking about where my flash was pointing instead of thinking about my subject. And for a mom who sometimes just wants to take pic of the kids, the Lightscoop is the perfect solution.
A few bullet points about the Lightscoop:
I used to be a gal who spent all my pennies on shoes. Now I wear the same shoes everyday and obsesses over the next aquisition for my photographic collection. And the Lightscoop? Well, let’s just say it’s a Jimmy Choo!
January 30, 2012 08:45 am
will this work with the sony nex 5n pls?
May 11, 2011 12:18 am
We ship to Singapore fairly regularly...you can order the Lightscoop at www.lightscoop.com or at www.photosolve.com
I hope this is of some help.
Director Supply Chain and Fulfillment
May 10, 2011 02:44 pm
Is this sold in singapore? I need one
October 27, 2010 11:36 am
I found this guy's post on making a homemade device using an empty cigarette package:
or this one using an empty film canister:
I wanted to order two lightscoop units but got turned off by the price jump by amazon.com as it fluctuated from 24.95USD to 29.95USD, not to mention paying brokerage fees to Canada.
April 22, 2010 10:06 pm
The reduction of the flash will depend on the distance of the reflection area (drastically), and its whiteness. I think this is should work well for walls in close distance (1m or so). For high rooms, the reflection will swallow too much light for the underpowered on-board flash. Moreover, I wonder if such a thing is really easier to carry than a proper flash?
April 20, 2010 02:29 pm
I'm in Brazil and saw the LightScoop not yet being used. Could you send pictures of how it is set in the camera?!
Where could I buy it?
I am very interested in acquiring a LightScoop!
Estou no Brasil e ainda não ví o Lightscoop sendo usado. Vocês poderiam enviar fotos de como ele é fixado na câmera?!
Aonde eu poderia comprá-lo?
Estou muito interessado em adquirir um Lightscoop!!!
April 16, 2010 05:50 pm
I can't seem to find a light scope where I am in singapore.
What i do however is to reduce the output of the flash by 1/2 to 3/4 and "overexpose" my pictures more.
This tends to take away the harsh look on the photos.
Of course, nothing beats my light strobes.
April 9, 2010 12:53 pm
Lol, you have a great way with words. I love your reference to Jimmy Choo. This is the first time I've heard of a 'lightscoop'. Sounds just the thing! Thanks for the information. Cheers.
April 9, 2010 08:56 am
Interesting product...........except.....I not only can't find the price of the gadget, I can't find the list of compatible cameras!
This site is NOT easy to navigate in.
April 8, 2010 01:12 am
Check out the Lightscoop group on Flikr, there are a lot of good examples of what people are doing with this little gadget. It convinced me - I just ordered one! Can't wait to get it!!
April 7, 2010 04:47 pm
@Elizabeth Halford, Such a high-definition picture, great effect.
March 25, 2010 09:33 am
i have had the lightscoop for like 7 months and i must say my wife and i was very amazed how better looking and sharper we looked in the pictures we took. i got mines from adorama.com for like 20 dollars. highy recommend!
March 23, 2010 01:50 am
Just wanted to post our experience here (because someone mentioned diffusers) that we got the Gary Fong puffer to diffuse the flash and are not very happy with it. The puff is too small and the light spills over and around it, so it really does not make that much of an improvement. Not for the hassle of getting it out and putting it on, anyway. Does anyone have success with it?
March 21, 2010 02:55 pm
I just got mine in the mail today... very prompt delivery, btw. Excellent customer service... I ordered the wrong model, emailed them, and was answered within the hour. And it was at midnight!
I haven't had a lot of time to try it yet, but I tried a few comparison shots and all I can say is WOW! My doggys never looked so good! I'm anxious to do some serious photos with it.
March 19, 2010 03:37 am
I prefer this lightscoop: http://www.litegenius.com/
It is lightweight, bendable, and fits a wide range of flashes. I like how the light isn't nearly as harsh as the mirrored one. I use it all the time!
March 18, 2010 09:48 pm
I wish I could have one of these but it doesn't... my camera isnt made to hold it.
March 17, 2010 06:19 am
This looks like a really cool product, and just right for taking some nicely lit snappies of my kids in the house. I think I'll be picking one up. I'm saving up for a flash, but I think this might be more practical for more spontaneous snapping around the house. I don't really see myself bothering with an external flash for those types of pictures.
Great idea Ken, I love innovative yet simple ideas.
March 16, 2010 06:27 pm
Thank you very much for the review, that's what I'm looking for so long time .....
March 15, 2010 01:08 pm
How much is the lightscoop? sorry if i missed reading this. anyway great site! love you digital camera review
March 14, 2010 12:11 am
Thanks for putting the Lightscoop® through its paces, Elizabeth. I had to ask my wife about Jimmy Choo... wow.
I also just read through the comments to your review and thought I would respond to some of them:
Concerning light distribution. The flash meter doesn't care whether the light is coming from above or straight on. It is measuring the amount of light reflected from the scene.
Light loss. Yes, there is always light loss when bouncing flash. However, the pop-up flash in 35mm SLRs is just powerful enough to bounce effectively and still return enough light to properly expose a picture--using our recommended camera settings. The pop-up flash in 35mm compacts is too weak--why we don't recommend the Lightscoop for those cameras.
Diffusers: Yes, small diffusers can soften the light somewhat... but the light still comes from an unnatural direction and from a small light source -- small being the reason for the harsh look.
The point of bouncing an external or pop-up flash is to create an effectively larger light source that emulates the direction and softness of natural light. This page on our site illustrates the principles: http://www.lightscoop.com/how-lightscoop-works.html. And here is a set of pictures comparing some Lightscoop-bounced pop-up flash to direct flash used with popular diffusers (and yes, an old film canister can probably accomplish a similar effect): http://ow.ly/1iU4N.
Anyway, as Elizabeth points out, the effectively larger light source of bounced light also accounts for catchlights in subjects' eyes. You're not seeing window light but the light emanating from the ceiling or wall where it's being bounced. (By the way, all pictures but the before/after comparisons on lightscoop.com were shot by real users who had posted their pix in the Lightscoop Users Group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightscoop_user/pool/. Yes, we got their permission and paid them for the use of their images.)
[Also, Elizabeth, it's not necessary for a wall to be behind the photographer using a Lightscoop. The critical factors are distance to and color of bounce surface. A wall behind does add softened light from that direction, as well.]
And, finally, about noise: We can thank Ken Rockwell for going to the trouble of making a fine set of comparison pictures several years ago. http://ow.ly/1j9Jx. He did a great job of dispelling many myths about noise. And the technology in cameras starting around 2007 has only improved.
I'm always open to questions/comments/dialogue: lightscoop (a) mac.com.
Thanks again for your interest in the Lightscoop. You're making some lovely pictures with it.
March 13, 2010 11:48 pm
@Reznor - There's nothing wrong with shooting flash photography at high ISO. In fact, I never shoot flash photography below ISO 400 and usually shoot at ISO 800 but sometimes as high as ISO 1000+. I shoot flash photography at high ISO because I want my flash to take part in lighting the scene without it being the ONLY light source. When I shoot at high ISO, the flash will illuminate my subject and ambient light will help fill in around them. But if I were to shoot at a low ISO (like ISO 100) my subjects would be well exposed by my flash but their surroundings would be dark and almost black.
Here are a few examples of my high ISO flash photos...
Notice in those examples how the subjects are exposed correctly but at the same time you can see what's in the background? If I shot those photos at ISO 100 then my subjects would have been surrounded by a sea of darkness and the background would barely be visible.
Now if your camera takes horrible photos at ISO 800, I can't help you with that. Although I'm a little confused by your statement because almost all the modern DSLR cameras available today take very good photos at ISO 800 (or higher).
Which leads me to my next tip... I wish people would stop getting hung up on "noise". People need to stop being afraid of using a higher ISO because they're afraid of having too much noise in their photo. I shoot at ISO 2000 and over all the time and I get fantastic results. Now I know not all cameras are as good at ISO settings that high but here's the rule of thumb I live by... Look at your photo at normal size... Does it look good? Do you like what you see? If so, keep it because no one except you is going to be looking at your photos through a jeweler's loop! ;-)
March 13, 2010 08:47 pm
I read that the manual of this thing states that you have to set your camera to ISO 800 or higher (hello digital noise) and shoot with the widest aperture available since this thing reduces your flash output drastically. Doesn't sound good to me. ISO 800 looks horrible if you don't have a high end camera. If you got the money for one of those, you should have the money for a proper flash.
March 13, 2010 08:40 pm
As far as I understand physics you can't bounce of anything behind you... You can use it only of ceiling or a wall BESIDE you if you use camera vertically... Still, a very nice gadget, personally i just use a thin napkin in front of pop-up flash, but this sounds better...
March 13, 2010 06:40 pm
@darren: Jack has a mind of his own :) As far as the Lightscoop website images and the 'strong light source', the Lightscoop creates catchlights simply from the things it reflects from (like walls).
Here are some others I've done in a room at night with no other source of light:
[eimg url='http://i42.tinypic.com/29243ys.jpg' title='29243ys.jpg'][eimg url='http://i39.tinypic.com/2pquya1.jpg' title='2pquya1.jpg']
March 13, 2010 01:50 pm
It just goes to show, no matter how much you spend on your equipment, it will not make you a better photographer.
March 13, 2010 08:29 am
A perennial problem that can also be solved incredibly cheaply but very effectively using an old 35mm film canister (if you can remember them!). This gets around the need to have a convenient wall (of white / neutral colour) behind you as well.
See http://content.photojojo.com/diy/diy-film-container-flash-diffuser/ for more details
March 13, 2010 07:06 am
My sister bought one of these a few months ago. I should check in with her and see how she likes it.
March 13, 2010 05:45 am
it's a little strange that the pictures taken of the kid show his eyes closed for the final result? Also if you go to their main page by looking into the kids eyes you can see they are very close to a window or open door for a strong light source. Anyone else notice this?
March 13, 2010 05:36 am
Rob - "thanks for that. i have a canon, so that solves my problem"
Keep in mind though that some flash modifiers (like this one) can reduce the over all guide number of any flash.
March 13, 2010 04:26 am
BTW, to answer Rob's question:
"given that this will change the light distribution
how does it affect the camera ability to expose correctly since it will assume a direct flash at the subject"
It's not as much of a problem as you'd think. Keep in mind the pop-up flash is a simple flash, designed to blanket the area in front of you with light. Aside from light direction, you won't get the blown out look if your subject is about 12-15' from the lens. But once inside that threshold, your subject gets the deer-in-headlights expression with blown out cheek bones and foreheads on a pop-up. With a off-camera flash - the normal solution - you'd cut the power for closer subjects. But the pop-up isn't so talented.
Enter the Light Scoop - the light bounces off the ceiling to solve directionality issue, but it's still a good deal of light to distribute upon your subjects within 12' of the lens - so it won't underexpose as much as you'd think. But your shots may be slightly under exposed. Lately, with my light scoop, I've been metering to compensate for a half a stop of light loss.
March 13, 2010 04:20 am
We also reviewed the lightscoop and found it to be a viable alternative to pop-up flash. One thing to add - position of your subject matters as well. I found that if the subject is too close to the camera, the subject tends to absorb most of the light on their forehead and cheakbones - not a flattering look. But in all...yes, it's a viable alternative and it's great.
I would, however, advise checking out some of the pop-up-flash diffusers. They may work better for most people.
March 13, 2010 04:13 am
"What Canon’s ETTL II metering does is it pops off a 1/32 (power) burst from the flash to meter the scene with"
- thanks for that. i have a canon, so that solves my problem
March 13, 2010 03:26 am
"how does it affect the camera ability to expose correctly since it will assume a direct flash at the subject"
While I can't speak for other brands that I'm not familiar with, I do know Canon's "ETTL II" is not fooled by adding modifiers to the flash (either pop-up flash or SpeedLites). What Canon's ETTL II metering does is it pops off a 1/32 (power) burst from the flash to meter the scene with, then after it calculates the exposure using that initial micro-burst, it pops off the final flash burst to illuminate the scene based on those calculations. All this happens in micro-seconds and most people don't even realize that there were two flashes. So if you attach a modifier to your flash (such as this device) then it will automatically be compensated for through the "micro-burst - calculate - final burst" process.
And like I said, I don't have experience with other brands, but I'm going to assume that most other modern DSLR systems work in a similar way.
March 13, 2010 02:11 am
Wow, what a brilliant idea! We need to get our hands on one to review on our site.
Perfect for the prosumer market, but the question is, will people who don't care about the quality of flash photos to begin with invest in the Lightscoop? My gut says no.
Check out my latest post: Nikon D3x Review
March 13, 2010 01:34 am
i have a question.
given that this will change the light distribution
how does it affect the camera ability to expose correctly since it will assume a direct flash at the subject
March 13, 2010 01:28 am
I did a review myself of the Lightscoop and you can see a dramatic difference. I really really like it. It's a little big and bulky but I'm still very pleased with it.
March 13, 2010 12:54 am
I use something very similar to this device that I purchased at a local camera shop for less than $15 usd. This is a great first step to learning how a diffused flash exposes a photo differently than a hard strobe.
If you are a beginner and like using on camera flash - this (or one of of similar nature) is important.
I should've added this to my list of beginning photo equipment - Thanks for the post.
My Gear & Beginner's Gear: http://grtaylor2.com/2010/03/tools/
March 13, 2010 12:50 am
Very cool! I love taking pictures of my kid and wife indoors, but hate how the flash over exposes everything. This would be a great option! Thanks for sharing!
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