Pop-up flashes, built into modern SLR cameras, can be used to create a fill light. They can also save the shot when ambient light is too dim. Being small, however, limits the flash capabilities. Pop-up flashes have a limited (compared to the external flashes) shooting range due to the lack of power. Also, the light source they create is very small and directional resulting in unflattering images.
To improve the images taken with a pop-up flash, some manufacturers offer pop-up flash diffusers. Since any diffuser reduces the range of the flash, using a diffuser with a pop-up flash may require bumping up the ISO value.
In this review, we test Demb Flash Diffuser, which is designed for the external flashguns, but it also works with pop-up flashes.
We performed three set of tests, which differ in the distance to the subject, to do a side-by-side comparison of a "bare" pop-up flash and pop-up flash diffused by Demb Flash Diffuser.
|direct flash, 2 feet||diffused flash, 2 feet|
|direct flash, 3 feet||diffused flash, 3 feet|
|direct flash, 6 feet||diffused flash, 6 feet|
The softness of the shadow edges depends on the size of the light source relative to the subject. The closer the light source is to the subject, the softer the shadow edges are.
As you can see from the images above, having a diffusing panel in the front of a pop-up flash does improve the images. The improvement is not drastic, but noticeable. Also, the closer the camera is to the subject, the more improvement is gained. Thus, if you're shooting up close, you may benefit from a pop-up flash diffuser. If you are taking pictures from a distance over 6 feet, a pop-up diffuser may not be worth using.
Demb Flash Diffuser can be a good choice for a pop-up flash diffuser if you plan on getting an external flash later on. The Demb gadget is not as convenient to use with the pop-ups as dedicated pop-up flash diffusers, but it saves you from buying two diffusers (one for the pop-up flash and one for the external flashgun).
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.