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Gary Fong Lightsphere

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by StrongSportsPhotos, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. I was turned on to this by Jim Strathearn last Saturday at the BBQ on the Porch. I ordered a set and they arrived today. I have to say, after a few test shots, these things are the best add-on to a flash....period! I'll test them thoroughly on Sunday at an outside shoot using TTL-BL fill flash.

    Go here to see the video on Gary Fong's website....


    You can order from the site or B&H.

    Will check back after my shoot on Sunday.

    Thanks Jim!

  2. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    John, I don't want to sound rude or contentious, but I unequivocally disagree with the assertion that "these things are the best add-on to a flash....period!"

    IMO the outrageous cost and usefulness of any of Fong's products is subject to serious debate and scrutiny.

    I borrowed a friend's once and truly didn't see much, if any, difference between the Fong Bong and a piece of white paper/rubber band for bounce flash photography. [​IMG]

    Just my 2¢... I will [​IMG] now...:wink:
  3. Yea that is one of those items people have a strong love/hate relationship with.
  4. I've gotten good results with mine. But I take all my new equipment to the bars and shoot bands during a live performance. The way I see it, is if you can shoot under those conditions, you can shoot anywhere.
  5. Anything that spreads the light around helps. The diffused dome that comes with the sb800 is pretty good once you get the hand of using it, and so is the bounce card that's built into the sb800. My personal favorite of the moment is A-Better-Bounce-Card, a simple do-it-yourself approach popularized by Peter Gregg. It's allowed me to use a single on-camera flash to get party shots like this:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  6. Hi John, your probably getting the idea that the GF Lightsphere is not the end all do all device but I will say that I have used mine a lot and actually like it. It is a little dorky looking but will do the job. Like UF said the homemade bounce card is just about as good and I also have six of them that I carry around with me in my camera bag. They cost a total of $.49 so that is pretty hard to beat. I find the GF a little hard to carry around and so have pretty much relegated it to home use for those quick snapshots.
  7. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York

    Roscolux #116: Tough White Diffusion
    from, http://www.rosco.com/us/filters/roscolux.asp

    Have a look at the Rosco web site it is informative, you can buy a sheet of #116 and cut it to any shape you like to cover your strobe for diffusion.

    Maybe try a 4" by 10" and tape it to loop over the flash head?
  8. I've found the Fong Dong Lightsphere II good for use close-up like under 15 ft.
    For any distance beyond that you have to point it straight on or it will cause underexposure at default settings.

    I prefer the Flip-It for distance and find it looks more professional than the Tupperware.
    Although I'll agree the Lightsphere does give good result under 15ft.
  9. I am in agreement with Greg. The Fong Dong seems especially good for closeups, beyond that it robs a lot of flash power that will quickly drain the Sb800. I am an easy touch for most flash gadget makers so I own both the clear and cloudy LSll. They are both underused these days. I also previously owned the older hard lightsphere.
    Don't feel discouraged from me or others comments of your purchase. The Lightsphere is capable of giving you wonderful diffused light from a single flash unit. Its just that many including myself find it cumbersome to always carry and use. It is also costly but I have spent considerably more on camera bags that go unused as well.
    The flash diffuser that I use most and always carry in the bag is the Joe Demb Flip it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2007
  10. PeterRH

    PeterRH Guest

    Yup me too. I use two of them with SB800's in a studio/controlled (for which read confined) space where I can rig up the external battery to power both flashes....they almost always need shooting at full power with the Fong-domes so the AA cells would give up early on in a studio shoot.

    That said, they do produce a very nice even light in those situations which is why they remain in my bag.

    But everywhere else the SB800's own accessories work better for me.

    Good luck with it, hope you continue to get great results!
  11. Taylor


    May 21, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    When I first got the GF II Cloud, I was using it on an on-camera SB-800, shooting straight up most of the time. I found that it would produce awful shadows when shooting in portrait mode (camera vertical), since it's so huge and off-centre.

    Then I started to remove the SB-800 and shoot it hand-held using my D200 pop-up as a commander. The difference is tremendous!

    Straight-up on-camera GF will give you well-lit but FLAT images, whereas a hand-held GF will get you MUCH better depth in your subjects. You can also use it as a make-shift softbox for product shots, if you so wish. Or a "beauty light" if placed below the lens.

    Try it out and see how it turns out!
  12. fyreflie24


    Jun 24, 2005
    Charlotte NC
    I always have my lightsphere pointing straight up as well and shoot just enough light to to get a good exposure at reasonable ISOs. If I'm working with a toddler, I have no choice but to use a camera mounted flash and the GFLS is the quickest way for me to get reliable results. Not the only way, but it's all about what works for you. :) 
  13. I've used the GF Lightsphere and think it is a useful tool to have around. I will agree with the comments that I usually don't use it when I need maximum flash power or am shooting longer distances, and don't always carry it around with me on more casual shooting since it can be a hassle.

    I've just ordered a Flip-It and want to see how that compares. I'll probably find useful times for both, although I can see the Flip-It being more likely to go with me.
  14. Taylor


    May 21, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    It's excellent for lighting up a large room with no where to bounce your flash:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    17-55@17mm, f2.8, ISO400
    SB-800 + GF II, with the SB-800 wide adapter flipped down and the GF cover off.
  15. Well, personally, I LOVE MY GF LIGHTSPHERES! I've done portraits for recitals and for Vacation Bible School and every photo turned out just about perfect once I learned how to use my camera settings! :redface: I shot about 430 photos on 1 set of batteries in my sb800 and used my cloud. Though these might not work for some = they sure do for me!
  16. I'm not a big fan of anything that makes my flash even bigger than what it is. The little plastic thing my friend gave me for my sb600 seems to work well, if it's too harsh I just cover up some with my hand and the problem is solved.

    but then again I can get by just fine using a envelope over my flash, which is a quick and dirty way to get some good pictures - and not look professional doing it.


    with just that little plastic thing (I think, actually I forgot, most likely was)
  17. Interesting thread

    Reading the posts in this thread has been most informative for me. I'm about to purchase an SB600 or SB800 and have an interest in the bounce/diffusion capabilities. Think I'll start off with the inexpensive, paper type, do it yourself options and then maybe consider the Fong Bong even though it is a bit pricey. Thanks to all postees. It's been enlighting. No pun intended!


  18. If you are debating between the two flashes I say go with the SB800, especially if you plan on getting a lightsphere. And don't let any naysayers deter you it works great in certain situations, you just have to learn when those are.

  19. yeah, but that's if they are having a debate then of course get the 800, however the smaller 600 seems to work great for everyone that I've talked to who has had one.

    Other than they both burn out really easily - hence why I don't recommend them for doing things with umbrellas or other light modifier things.
  20. Very Revealing!

    Thanks bitmaker. The meissner website is quite thorough. Proof once again that there's more than one way to skin a cat - or should I say more than one way to shoot the scene.
    Thanks again, I think I have a clearer picture (no pun intended) as to which direction I'll go.


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