Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud vs. Clear

Mar 30 2010
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Gary Fong Cloud Lightsphere II C1
Gary Fong Clear Lightsphere II P1
Gary Fong Cloud Lightsphere II C2
Gary Fong Clear Lightsphere II P2

There are two versions of Gary Fong Lightsphere II on the market today: Cloud and Clear. As we mentioned in Gary Fong Lightsphere II review, they differ only in translucence of the body plastic. The purpose of this test is to determine what difference does it make in final images. (Several typical configurations are tested.)

For more details about individual performance of these diffusers, please refer to Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud and Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear articles.

Gary Fong Lightsphere II: Cloud and Clear

The tests are conducted in a very favorable for Gary Fong Lightsphere II environment. The room is relatively small and has white walls and ceilings. The distance from the ceiling and walls to the subject is about 4-5 feet. The distance between the camera and the subject is about 6 feet. There is also a white wall behind the camera (just about 3 feet away) that gives additional light diffusion. In this kind of setup, Gary Fong Lightsphere performs very well, and it's easy to demonstrate the differences between the Cloud and Clear diffusers.

Please note that for these tests we used Canon Speedlite 580EX II in ETTL mode. Flash zoom was set to 50mm.

Bare flash

Below are two images taken with a bare flash (no diffuser) to be used as a reference.

Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: bare flash, direct Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: bare flash, ceiling bounce
bare flash, direct bare flash, ceiling bounce

Direct, through inverted dome

Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, directly through inverted dome Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, directly through inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, directly through inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, directly through inverted dome

When shooting directly at your subject with the inverted dome, some light is bounced off of the ceiling and walls, which fills the shadows and makes them lighter and, therefore, more pleasing to the eye. Since Lightsphere II Clear throws more light to the sides, the resulting images show slightly lighter shadows compared to the ones taken with the Cloud diffuser.


Ceiling bounce with inverted dome

Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, ceiling, inverted dome Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, ceiling, inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, ceiling, inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, ceiling, inverted dome

Again, because Lightsphere II Clear distributes more light to the sides, the shadows are lighter, as they are being filled with the light bounced off of walls. Also, the fill light component is stronger with the Clear diffuser.


Ceiling bounce without dome

Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, ceiling, without inverted dome Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, ceiling, without inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Cloud, ceiling, without inverted dome
Gary Fong Lightsphere II test: Clear, ceiling, without inverted dome

Without the inverted dome, Gary Fong Lightsphere II sends most of the light toward the ceiling. The only light that is sent to the sides is the light that is "spilled" by the flash itself. The less translucent plastic of Lightsphere II Cloud "gathers" more of that light, and therefore, provides more fill light in this no-dome configuration.

Conclusion

Cloud and Clear versions of Gary Fong Lightsphere II, while being similar in design, perform differently due to the translucence of plastic they are made of. Lightsphere II Clear cuts less light, which generally results in shadows being lighter. It also produces more fill light than the Cloud version when used with the inverted dome. Without the inverted dome, however, Lightsphere II Cloud is the one who delivers a stronger fill light component.

Also read: Gary Fong Lightsphere II flash diffuser review

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





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