Demb Pop-Up Flip-it! flash light modifier review

May 14 2012

Joe Demb, the inventor of the Flip-it! line of flash light modifiers, has recently introduced Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!, an innovative accessory for built-in camera flashes. Variable angle reflectors became quite popular among professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. With Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!, the variable angle concept came to the users of the pop-up flashes.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: front angle view Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: back angle view

There are two basic approaches to improving the light of a pop-up flash: diffusion and bouncing. Light modifiers, like LumiQuest Soft Screen or Promaster Universal Softbox, put a diffusing screen in front of the pop-up flash reducing the hot spot and softening the shadows, which improves the overall look of the photo. Zeh Bounce and Lightscoop, for example, redirect the light toward the ceiling producing photos that look like they were taken with an overhead light source. Some diffusers, like Speedlight Pro Kit Mini Bounce, do both things at the same time: diffusing a portion of the light while bouncing the rest of it off of the ceiling.

Both approaches have their pros and cons. Diffusing pop-up flash light usually renders marginal improvements to the light quality, but it does not reduce the light output too much. The bouncing technique changes the look dramatically, but it reduces the light output significantly, and it also requires the presence of a relatively low ceiling. Demb Pop-Up Flip-it! offers you the best of both worlds: you can use bouncing and diffusing techniques at the same time at any ratio between them.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it! has two main parts: the mirror and the bounce card. The mirror reflects all the light from your pop-up flash towards the ceiling and the bounce card, whereas the card serves as the reflector that directs the light towards your subject.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: mirror close up

Changing the angle of the card allows you to achieve infinite number of ratios between the light "diffused" by the card and the light bounced off of the ceiling. For complete test results for various bounce card positions, please refer to our Demb Pop-up Flip-it! test.

Like any other light modifier, Pop-up Flip-it! reduces the light output of the flash. We found that ISO has to be set from 400 to 800 when using this accessory. With higher ceilings, you may need to increase ISO even more.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it! is compatible with virtually any DSLR camera that has a pop-up flash. We were able to try it with Canon, Nikon, and Pentax cameras, and it worked very well. You simply insert the attachment tab into your hot shoe, pop the flash open, pull the mirror over the flash, and adjust the angle of the bounce card. This design should also work for some non-DSLR cameras that features a hot shoe and a pop-up flash.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: hot-shoe attachment Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: attachment close-up

Please note that if you ever want to use your pop-up flash directly at your subject while Demb Pop-Up Flip-it! is attached, you don't have to take it off. You can simply pull the mirror down like it is shown in the image below.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!:

Like many other Demb products, Pop-up Flip-it! has a sort of DIY nature, but it is well-built, and it should be able to last for a long time. The images below compare Demb Pop-up Flip-it! to its bigger brother Big Flip-it! (top left), LumiQuest Soft Screen (top right), Zeh Bounce (bottom left), and Speedlight Pro Kit Mini Bounce (bottom right).

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: compared to Big Flip-it! Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: compared to LumiQuest Softscreen
Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: compared to Zeh Bounce Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: compared to Speedlight Pro Kit Mini Bounce

The following two images are candid shots taken with direct pop-up flash (left) and Demb Pop-up Flip-it! with the bounce card set vertically (right). You can see that the right picture has more dimension to it, the shadows on the background are much lighter and pleasing, and the highlights are less specular.

Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: direct flash example Demb Pop-Up Flip-it!: vertical position example

To conclude, Demb Pop-up Flip-it! is a great way to improve pictures while using the built-in pop-up flash of your camera. You can fine-tune your lighting to achieve different results and/or to cope with the shooting conditions (ceiling height, for example). The build quality of the diffuser is good, and the variable angle concept has been proven by other Flip-it! units used in the world of professional photography. In short, Demb Pop-up Flip-it! is the best pop-up flash light modifier we've seen to the day.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.