1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Lightsphere II

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Tosh, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    I'm cross-posting this here because the Pro Photo, Lighting, etc. Forum doesn't seem to get much traffic and I'm looking for as much help as possible with this flash attachment. If the moderators believe it doesn't belong here, feel free to delete it.

    To get some basic settings for Gary Fong’s Lightsphere II and my SB800, I ran some quick tests. I took shots with the D70 in Program mode (usually resulting in 1/60-f/4 or f/5) with center-weighted metering, ISO at 200 and 400, Low Contrast, Color Mode II RGB, Saturation Normal, and High Sharpening. The SB 800 was set to TTL Mode. The lenses used were an 85mm f/1.4 lens with hood and a 28-70mm 2.8 with hood zoomed to 50mm. I used my daughter’s American Girl Dolls posed on the sofa in my living room. I took test shots with the room lights off (camera Program Mode meter reading of 13 secs., f/1.8 without flash) and the room lights on (camera Program mode meter reading of 1.6-2 secs., f/1.4 without flash).

    Unfortunately, the SB 800 only allows ev adjustments in .33 amounts. My D70 and D2H allow ev adjustments in .3 and .4 amounts. The ev adjustments I’m suggesting for the 85mm lens are more conservative and are unlikely to cause any blown highlights. Because neither the flash nor camera allow you to dial in exact ev amounts, the ev adjustments for the 50mm lens are less conservative and could cause some blown highlights. To be safe, you could lower the 50mm ev adjustments by .33 and later raise Exp. Comp in Capture’s Advanced Raw. Or, shoot some images with the higher ev adjustments but be sure to examine the histogram to see if it’s pushing past the right side.

    Some Basic Settings For Lightsphere II (LSII) and SB 800

    LSII with Dome (lid) on and flash pointed straight at subject.

    85mm lens: At 6-9 ft. distance from subject, set +.33ev on SB 800.

    At 12 ft., set +.66ev.

    50mm lens: At 6-9 ft. from subject, set +.66ev on SB 800.
    (+.33ev conservatively).

    At 12 ft., set +1.0ev. (+.66ev conservatively).

    LSII with Dome (lid) either off or on and flash pointed up.

    85mm lens: At 6-12 ft., set at +.33ev.

    50mm lens: At 6-12 ft., set at +1.0ev. (+.67ev conservatively).

    Here are some of the test shots (handheld from 6 feet away with the 85mm) to give you an idea of the different looks from the various flash configurations.
    No postprocessing was done; the images were resized in Photoshop and converted to sRGB before posting to Smugmug.





    I'm just beginning to play with the Lightsphere II. From what I can gather so far, it seems like focal length and subject distance are the key factors in determining your settings. If anyone has a handle or some ideas on how best to use this contraption, please chime in.


  2. I have the darn thing but after falling off three times and bouncing across the floor during a photo shoot I have relegated it to the closet. I guess I could tape it on with duct tape but it seems pretty Micky Mouse to me. Thanks for taking the time to post your settings.
  3. Thanks, Glenn. I will try it with your settings.
  4. huskey8


    Feb 22, 2005
    Hello Glen I took this photo with the LS I really like the why it diffuses the light in such a even manner thanks for the settings I remember that I had the dome on and it was pointed at the subject but none of the camera settings. Gordon I had the same problem but after playing with it now I cant get it off it will fit really tight as long as you have the right adapter. I think you should give it another try.

  5. I have the right adapter (for the SB800) that comes with the lite sphere and even cemented it into the sphere. Still is very loose. It just seems so much easier for me to use my pull up card on the SB800 and bounce the flash off the ceiling. Diffusion is just as good. The only real difference I can tell is that the catch light is larger with the sphere, which I agree is a plus.
  6. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    Richard & Gordon,

    I get an extremely tight fit (1) putting the flexible gasket on the SB800, (2) pushing the sphere evenly down onto the gasket as best I can, and (3) then pushing the gasket up into the sphere until only the bottom rim/lip of the gasket is exposed. My tight fit might be aided by a 1 inch strip of velcro tape on the small side of my SB800 that I added for attaching a homemade vertical white bounce card. Perhaps there are some quality control issues with the fit of the Lightsphere.

    I'd really like to nail down the best methods and settings for getting consistently good shots with the Lightsphere. I'd like to hear from anyone who has had some success with this gadget and can remember their technique.


  7. Richard & Gordon, I'm with Glenn. Mine is a very tight fit and need some force to dismount it.
  8. singale


    Jun 13, 2005
    New Jersey
    you are lucky enough ,

    it happend to me too when i was shooting wedding . it fell off 3-4 times and was very awkward.

  9. maybe a stupid question, but what is a lightsphere ?
    Any pictures of it ?

  10. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
  11. I have the Lightsphere II, and I agree that when used it can give a pleasing result.

    However, I've found it so bulky (and yes, ill-fitting), that I've rarely bothered with it.

    After reading this thread, I'll see if I can motivate myself to pull it out of storage and do some testing of settings, etc.

    Thanks, Glenn, for starting the topic.

    I do recall that at this year's Commencement, the official college photographer had a Lightsphere mounted on the flash with his IDsII, and was quite ecstatic about using it.

    Best wishes,

  12. Tosh


    May 6, 2005

    I think it's promising that your college photographer is excited about the LSII.

    I just wish he were a Cafe member and would post his recommended settings!

  13. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    LSII Snapshot with settings

    LSII image:


    D70 settings: +.3ev, ISO 200, matrix metering, Gary Fong's recommended P mode, 1/60, f/4, low contrast, Color Mode II RGB.

    SB800 settings: +.7ev, TTL. LS II upright without dome.

    My daughters have been weary of me and my camera for quite some time, so a "normal" portrait isn't even thinkable. But I'm fairly pleased with the LS II's performance on this snapshot of my 5 year old on a floor pillow.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.