It’s the usual way of things that once you venture into the world of artificial lighting, you’ll soon need a variety of ways to modify the illumination coming from your average flashgun or strobe. These can range from light diffusers which are huge units for the studio or small solutions that fit onto a hot shoe mounted flash.
In today’s rundown, we will be focusing on small light diffusers that can easily fit onto a typical flashgun. These solutions are most applicable for on the move, on-camera flash, or for a quick off-camera lighting setup.
As most of these solutions are small and compact, they best fit the scenarios where a general, even spread of light is needed or where huge softboxes or lighting umbrellas are out of the question.
The other plus point here is that these types of light diffusers are generally very cost-effective. If you use artificial light on a regular basis, there is no excuse to pack one of these little units in your camera bag.
This basically means that if you want softer and more diffused light than just a bare flash while retaining convenience, then check out the list below.
1. Altura Photo 3 Pack Flash Diffuser Light Softbox (Overall Winner)
Although there are fancier looking units on the market from more well-known brands, this three-pack of light diffusers represents great value for the money.
The package contains three different sized light diffusers, these being a 6×5, 9×7, and an 11×8-inch version, with a reflective interior and a removable internal diffuser. Each one feels very extremely well made with reinforced stitching and a solid Velcro attachment that should fit the majority of flashguns. Each diffuser folds down flat for easy storage.
The largest of these diffusers provides the evenest spread of light for applications such as portraits and work wonderfully, especially when used off-camera. Considering the low price, this package is a steal for its overall usefulness.
Although you can individually buy the Altura softboxes above, the Neewer Translucent Softbox has been included for varieties sake, value for money, and a variation on the theme.
This little softbox has 6 x 5-inch dimensions, with a stretchy, Velcro attachment that can fit most types of flashguns. The inside of the diffuser is a silver reflective coating, along with an additional white diffuser panel for even softer lighting. The unit falls down flat for easy storage and more importantly, provides very directional, diffused light.
As typical of this type of design, it doesn’t have a huge coverage, but for things like headshots and small subjects, the light spread is ideal.
The Gary Fong Lightsphere gained lots of press on its initial release, as it was able to send diffused light in all directions and could collapse down into virtually nothing. The listing link we found for the Gary Fong Lightsphere included a bunch of extras for the same price as the individual item, adding to the overall value.
The Lightsphere itself is like a huge light bulb, which attaches to the top of a flashgun via a secure strap. It can be used with or without its removable top dome.
While the other light diffusers on this list are very directional, the Gary Fong Lightsphere sends light in all directions. When used in small rooms, this can culminate in some bounced flash, helping to illuminate a subject.
This means that the Gary Fong Lightsphere is better suited for general lighting is needed. This can be both a plus and a negative, depending on the situation. The unit is relatively costly compared to other solutions, but for the quickest way to achieve soft lighting, it’s a great solution.
For those out there who prefer a kit with a bit of everything included, the Godox S-R1 & AK-R1 Pocket Flash Light Accessories Kit is a good start point. This kit has a universal adapter, so it doesn’t just fit Godox flashguns, but also a range of other brands.
Included in the kit is a set of barn doors, honeycomb grid reflector, conical snoot, diffuser ball, bounce card, frame, and a range of translucent and colored gels.
The bounce card and dome feel the most useful for general diffusion, with the other items being equally useful in the right settings. Although the diffusion properties may not be as good as the larger units on this list, the kit provides lots of variety for shooting in different environments.
5. Waka 2 Pack Flash Diffuser Light Softbox (Budget Winner)
You really can’t get better value than the Waka 2 Pack Flash Diffuser Light Softbox kit, which contains one 8-inch Octagon Softbox and one 8″x6″ Rectangle Softbox.
The package also contains a handy protective carrying pouch and a Microfiber cleaning cloth, but the main focus here is how well the diffusers work in reality. Each softbox attaches firmly to a flashgun with a Velcro strap, with a reflective inner surface and internal diffuser.
The octagon shaped version provides the best spread of light diffusion and although it’s not the most secure fitting, it definitely achieves its intended purpose. For applications such as single or small group portraits, the lighting looks extremely natural and the price point is an obvious no-brainer.
Shining a Spotlight on the Best Light Diffusers
It’s very easy to put retail therapy in overdrive when it comes to buying the best light diffusers available. With so many different versions, it’s easy to try and cover every version imaginable, from the largest to the smallest.
It’s obviously a good idea to have a selection at hand for different lighting situations, but it’s also an idea to own a general-purpose light diffuser that can be used on the spur of the moment.
These little units don’t have to cost much and if you only need general diffused light, they can cost less than the majority of camera accessories. If your still not sure which version to buy, the Waka 2 pack is a good starting point for overall value. You can decide upon more specific solutions later on.