Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Canon S3 IS Flash Diffuser

I love my Canon S3 IS except for the flash. It's a pop up, no hot shoe, and it's either up or down. That's it. I can't angle it or turn it. They don't make a Puffer for the S3. My sister in law, Suezanne, told me about Puffers. She takes the most amazing shots and is a master with the flash. When she shoots faces out at night, on the town, no one ever looks washed out. The flash is always perfect. Her Puffer has a lot to do with that--not to mention skill.

I've been trying to make my own flash diffuser for a while now. I've come up with a couple of things that worked, sort of, but none of them stayed put very well on the camera which often meant I was supporting my jerry-rigged diffuser with one hand and shooting with the other. Annoying.

But, last night, I had a brainstorm. It was actually because of something another S3 user said. It made me realize there WAS a way to have a diffuser that I could attach to my camera while I took photos, it doesn't come off easily, and it's CHEAP! I should add that it requires that the lens adapter be attached to the camera--the lens adapter for the S3 is what allows one to attach the wide angle, macro, or tele-converter lenses as well as any filters.

My new diffuser did a great job last night as I was shooting the making of Cortido--see those photos HERE. I had to do very little color correction, it worked great.

Today's test photos, however, all came out with some sickly yellow/brown tones that I could not completely correct. So, perhaps, my new diffuser needs just a little more work. That's okay! It will work really well for me for now--especially for indoor shots and macro shots. Yes! It works really well for those!

All photos below were shot with a flash.

Above: First without the diffuser, second with it.

At left: 1st photo is a macro shot without the diffuser. The lens itself creates a shadow when the flash is used. But, as you can see, with the diffuser the shadow is eliminated.

At left: Really really close up with the macro. I used the flash for the first shot, but the shadow from the lens completely eclipsed the rock. With the diffuser, even though I was still really really close up, the shadow was almost entirely eliminated.

That yellowy cast is vexing me, but I'll get it figured out.

Wanna see my diffuser??? Check It.


I upgraded since this morning. No more yellow ucky! SOOO much better. No color correction needed!

Above: Okay, I didn't focus well, but I shot it in a dim room.

Here's the New Version of my S3 flash diffuser. I can't wait to use it for some real shooting! Won't exactly make me look like a pro, but so what?


There's more. After updating this entry I went to the dollar store. I've read online where people talk about turning a ping pong ball into a diffuser by cutting a hole in it and sliding it over their pop-up flash. That didn't feel right to me, a ping pong ball is so small, you know? And the flash gets HOT. I'd be worried about melting the ball. Fortune was with me. I bought a cheap toy bat and hollow toy baseball set for $3. The "baseball" is a bit smaller than a real baseball and is made of some relatively thin white plastic that is easily cut with a razor blade. From the "ping pong ball diffuser" images I saw online, I feared that the toy baseball, too, would turn my images yellow. And it does, but not nearly as bad as the paper plate. And I AM shooting in a dark home--it's raining out and we don't have the best indoor lighting in the world. Yes, it's RAINING! WOO HOOO!!!!!!!

The "baseball" diffuser didn't do well on the macro shots--it doesn't diffuse the light enough to eliminate the shadow from the lens. The styrofoam plate reigns supreme in the macro experiment--but the ball diffuser will be handy nevertheless.

Above: See that yellow cast? That's the handiwork of the toy baseball diffuser. Annoying. With better ambient light, however, I bet it won't do this so much.

Above and below: The "baseball" diffuser. Shot with the styrofoam plate diffuser

Below: I cleaned the mirror up, finally, don't think I didn't notice how bad it looked in those other shots. Still some streaks on it, oh well. The ball diffuser looks pretty cool though.


Kim and Victoria said...

Ha Ha Ha!!! Aren't you the clever girl! Wait until I show this to Kim, he'll love it.

Genie said...

I ain't proud, if I have to stick a styrofoam plate on my camera to get a better shot, I will! When I'm using the flash on people I can at least be guaranteed they'll smile for the photo.

Jean Levert Hood said...

You amaze me. wow!

Bob Johnson said...

BUT WAIT,lol, very cool stuff Genie, flash stuff is all foreign to me as I don't use it hardly, since I turn it off in manual and hardy every use the auto mode, but that will all change when I go to China, so thanks for the advice.

Genie said...

Hi Bob! I don't use the auto mode either, generally manual or custom. CHINA!!!! WOW! Is there going to be an eclipse there or something?

Someone advised me that I could use a coffee filter the same way I use the plate--much more portable. I haven't tried it yet but some test shots I saw with it didn't look half bad.

Jean, DITTO!

Patsi said...

This is too darn creative !!
Never heard of a Puffer...great idea though.
I don't see the yellow cast you mention.
LOVE the fact that you found a way to eliminate the shadows. Shadow can be a real problem. Even if they sell something for my camera...I'd try your creation first!!
Love when you can make your own stuff!
Thanks for posting...this is a keeper.

Roses and Lilacs said...

What a great idea. I can see it would be pretty secure no matter what angle you held the camera at. Thanks for sharing the neat idea.

Genie said...

Thank you, Marnie. Your blog is gorgeous! I'll have to look over it much more.

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool Genie. I've done the same thing to my sewing machine before. Once the power's on, the light's on and no switch to turn it off.

Genie said...

Thanks Bo-Yin! Does that mean the light on your sewing machine is too bright for your eyes? Or that you just need to diffuse it a little.