I seem to get a small amount of fall off when using 12mm Nikon lens on D300 camera even when using proper instructions. Do I need to use a the larger 'Super Scoop' for extreme wide angle interior photography? Secondly if the flash head is rotated 90 degrees as per your instructions does this give a narrower band of light emission or would it not be best to have the flash head in normal position (ie without swivel?)
Interesting... as I have never tried it with a 12mm lens. There is no question that you would get a wider spread with the flash head in the normal position, but as a result you would lose the advantage of quick changes to portrait mode. On the other hand, you probably would not be using the portrait mode in those situations.
I am a Canon shooter, and am not that familiar with the Nikon equipment, but with Canon speedlights the widest angle of coverage is for a 24mm lens, but with the Scoop I have used them with a 18mm wide angle with no problems. Maybe the 14mm is pushing a little further than it can handle.
Guess I would have to suggest trying it with the flash in the normal position. The Super-Scoop ll does have a wider spread of light, but I have not tried it either with a 14mm lens, so am not sure if it would be the answer to your problem.
I have an upcoming event in a restaurant with dark wood ceiling and brick walls. Not much to work with. I want to use the scoop with 1 or 2 Metz 45cl on a stand to fill the room plus the on camera flash ex580. What do u think?
I use Scoops on all my flashes, on or off-camera. If I had only one, I would use it on the on-camera flash and probably bounce the other one or two flashes off a white wall or ceiling. In the room you have described, I would probably shoot my off-camera flashes through a scrim or shoot-through umbrella, or bounce it off a large reflector. The easiest is to have a Scoop on each flash. You can bounce flash off anything... even a brick wall, but if I was doing that I would definitely be setting up custom white balance before starting to shoot. You might also consider taking along a pop-up reflector and bounce the flash from that.
Hope that helps. As you are aware, everyone would probably take a different approach, but those are just some ideas of how I would handle it. That's why wedding photography is one of the most challanging shoots we can do! You never know what's coming up next!
Do you normally use ETTL for your on camera flash with the scoop? I usually shoot with manual (F4.5 - 6.3 , 1/125), iso 400 and Ex580 set up 1/4 pwr.
Yes... I do use ETTL when I have the flash on-camera. I have the camera on manual with F/4.5 @ 1/200th of a second to prevent camera or subject movement which can ruin many shots if there is much ambient light. Shutter speed does not influence the flash exposure, but does influence ambient light exposure. When I do my formal shots out of doors, I have my flash off camera on a stand or light stick and use manual... usually also at 1/4 power. Most times I am shooting through a scrim or shoot through umbrella in those situations.
The 580EX has more than enough power for large groups and for shoot throughs, but outside where there is lots of light the ETTL just doesn't work! Manual is definitely the answer.
I'll be using my Scoop to take Christmas portraits. I usually take them in the vicinity of the fireplace, with the fire going of course, and then shoot away. I usually shoot indoor pictures at a slower shutter speed to pick up some of the ambient light and the fireplace. Usually around 30th of a second at F 4 or 5, ISO 400 using a tripod for steadiness. I'm 67 years old and not as steady as I once was. What do you think of that setup?
Your set-up sounds great except there are a couple of things to consider. Because you slow the shutter to get the ambient light, the camera will then record all of the camera and subject movement. Pictures will appear "out of focus" when in fact they are probably blurred. The flash will freeze any movement, but the effect of camera/subject movement can still be there from the ambient light exposure. At anything below 1/100th of a second, I would use a tripod which will eliminate camera movement, but not subject movement. With the Scoop, enough light is thrown up and over the subject to illuminate the background, and for the fire in the fireplace, 1/100th should pick that up at up to F/4.5.
If I am shooting a single subject I often go down to F/2.8 to throw the background out of focus, but with more than one person I never shoot below F/4.5 or F/5. The shallow depth of field at F/2.8 or F/3.5 will almost guarantee that one of the subjects will not be sharp.
Best advice I could give you is to shoot a number of shots with each of a number of settings. Try the 1/30th... but do some at 1/100th and 1/200th also just in case. Same with F/stops... try several settings. Never judge your exposure by what you see in your LCD on the camera... it lies!!! Use the histogram and use the "black jack" formula. (Get as close to 21 as possible without going over.) In the case of the histogram... get as close to the right side without going past it.
Hope that helps some. Enjoy your Scoop. Try some shots pointing the Scoop away from the subjects towards a wall that will bounce the light back at about a 45 degree angle onto the subjects. If your speedlight has power adjustments... set it at +1 or better for the bounce shots.
How much light is lost? I've been using the StoFen on a Canon 580EX and some shots are OK, and others just plain suck! Especially at the reception, one shot may be overexposed and the next under, shooting at nearly the same distance to subject. I usually am open 1 stop to compensate for light loss. I have found that I get a little better exposure with the head pointed straight ahead instead of at a 45 degree setting, although it's a bit more harsh and contrasty.
The Lite-Scoop is always used with the flash pointing straight upwards into the Scoop and the light is NEVER harsh! Depending on the size of the room and the diatance, on average, the Scoop loses about 2/3rd of a stop. Throughout the church and large reception halls I shoot at 400 ISO, 1/200th shutter and about F/4.5 and with the flash set to +2/3rds power, I rarely get a shot that is not perfectly exposed... and no blown out dresses!!
The Stofen by the way, loses it's softening effectiveness beyond about 7 - 8 feet, and out of doors literally throws the light away.
What is the difference between a Bounce Card and the Lite-Scoop?
I still have some issues with shadows...
In the dark with a single light source (any light source) there will always be a shadow. That shadow might be harsh, or soft, depending on the size and distance of the light source from the subject.
Add some ambient light and the intensity of the shadow will lessen in direct relation to the amount of ambient light. There is ambient light from other sources than the flash, but also ambient light is produced by the flash as the light bounces around your room. If you are out of doors there is no bounce back... if you are in a very large room there is little to no bounce back. These are all factors that will determine the intensity of your shadows.
To take advantage of the ambient light and record more of it on your film/sensor, without increasing the exposure of the flash that goes directly to the subject you simply slow your shutter speed (drag the shutter). A slower shutter speed increases the exposure of you ambient light but does not effect the exposure of the direct flash.
The goal is not to eliminate shadows but to soften and lighten them until they become unobjectionable. An image with no shadows has no modeling, no depth, no "pop". Look at the explanations and tutorials on portrait lighting and you will discover that shadows are not eliminated... but controlled... both in intensity and placement. Keep practicing with different setting under different conditions and it will fall into place.
Can I use the Lite-Scoop with a non-swivel flash? (I shoot w/ a Vivitar 283 flash which tilits up & down but doesn't swivel. Seems like the litescoop would work for horizontal shots but I'm curious if it would work when shooting vertically.)
One of the advantages of the Lite-Scoop is that it elimimates the need for the flash bracket, which you know is heavy and quite awkward in most cases. Without the swivel feature on the Vivitar 283 flash, that advantage is eliminated.
If you have no problem with using the flash bracket then the Lite-Scoop will work fine for you, producing softer more glamorous light, softer shadows, nicer skin tones, almost never "red eye" and that is both in verticle and horizontal modes.
I noticed in one of your posts you say it doesn't bounce light off of the ceiling but surely it must bounce SOME light off of a ceiling as it doesn't look like it completely covers the top.
I think I said that it doesn't "depend" on ceiling bounce, but you are right, about 10-15% of the light does go upwards... and if their is a ceiling there, it will bounce it back, mostly behind the subject to help soften shadows and give more depth to the image.
So you think the Scoop would be acceptable to use on an off-camera flash without an umbrella?
Absolutely! It works great with off-camera flash! I use off-camera flash as often as possible. With my formals I usually use two off-camera flashes, both with Scoops, and a lighting ration of 2 to 1. My results are fantastic!
Does the Scoop work really well even if church ceilings are really high and made of wood?
Since the Scoop doesn't depend on bounced light from the ceiling, it doesn't even matter if there is a ceiling . . . or what colour it is . . . or how high it is. It even works outside at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you use the Scoop throughout the entire wedding or just for the formals?
Whenever we use flash we use the Scoop. We shoot through umbellas or skrims for our formals and leave the scoop on the flash for that also. The only exception is if we are shooting flash from the back of a large church and need a lot more light, we would take the Scoop off to gain that extra stop of light, rather than doubling the ISO.
One nice thing about the Scoop is that it will fit the flash you rent... and still fit the flash you eventually buy. One size fits all!
Does the Scoop produce the same lighting indoors and out?
The light coming from the Lite-Scoop is the same out of doors as indoors... what differs is what happens to the light when it reaches walls, or outer space :).
Indoors a lot of the light is bounced back to the subject softening the effect of the flash, but outside it just keeps on going causing only the direct light from the Scoop to land on the subject. Out of doors, if the camera is set for the existing light to be the main light, the Scoop does a beautiful job as a fill light. The Scoop can also be used as the main light off-camera, while using the ambient light as the fill. Which is best is determined by where you are (in shadow, in bright sunlight, under cover, etc).
What are the best distances at which to use the Lite Scoop? Would it be good for close up portraits and for groups?
Flash with the Scoop is almost the same as flash without the Scoop. The light is simply softer, producing nicer skin tones, almost totally eliminating red eye and causes shadows to either be further down behind the subject, or worst case, causes them to be much softer and less objectionable. It is very effective for both close-ups and groups as it spreads the light more evenly than straight flash. I get excellent results on groups up to 30 people with nice even lighting... indoors or out!
What is the difference between the Original Lite-Scoop and the Lite-Scoop 3 ?
One of the differences between the Original Lite-Scoop and the Lite-Scoop 3 is that on the Lite-Scoop 3 the strap uses a combination of fabric/elastic and velcro so makes it better for very large or small speedlights as the strap is fully adjustable. The Lite-Scoop 3, is molded from a single layer of foam that is 50% thicker than the Original Lite-Scoop. This makes it much more durable for the rigorous use of a busy professional on the run.
Both units are the almost the same size of almost 6 x 9 inches.
Do you have your flash pointing up when you use the Lite-Scoop or do you have it pointed directly at the person?
When you shoot weddings do you take your studio lights also, or just use speedlights with Lite-Scoops ?
Yes the flash is pointed straight up and the Scoop throws the light forward and outward.
When I do a wedding we use the Scoop for everything except available light shots. When we set up our stands for the formals we shoot through umbrellas or scrims, but still with the Scoops on our speedlights.