Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MT-24EX Diffuser How To

This is my first video tutorial on building a diffuser for the MT-24EX, so be gentle :)

The parts list is pretty expensive, and with the exception of the Gary Fong Puffer diffusers the rest can be done with common items that you might have around the house. One word of caution: Cutting the mounting bracket that comes with the Puffer diffusers will void the warranty, and so will hot gluing the finished diffusers to your MT-24EX (you can use Gaffers tape instead of hot glue). I am not responsible for any mishaps or mistakes that you might make...

Garry Fong Puffer diffuser -you'll need two and the sticker shock is normally $39.90 USD + shipping. I ordered mine directly from Garry's E-store and the plastic that he's using now is a lot clearer than the Puffers that I ordered about a year ago. A little less diffusion, but the light isn't as warm either.

Metallic inserts for a Lumiquest Big Bounce -you'll need one set ($17.95 USD + shipping) if you want to use the same reflector material that I used to cover the top and bottom of the Puffer's.

Manfrotto Diffusion Pack -I've been using the diffusion material in this kit for a lot of projects. 12"x12" sheets of a dozen different types of diffusion plastic. $22.95 USD + shipping and handling.

Sto-Fen Diffusers -Just to use as a frame to make the finished diffuser easier to attach to the MT-24EX's flash heads. $22.95 USD + shipping.

I know, it's expensive. I tried to find a cheaper solution that worked as well but couldn't...

What I didn't mention in the videos: I made a template out of cardboard that I used to mark the Lumiquest reflector material before I cut it.

You'll notice in the second video that the reflector that goes over the MT-24EX's modeling lights has a high arch to it. I've since re-designed the diffuser by putting the top reflector onto the Puffer while the diffuser was attached to the MT-24EX's flash heads so I could get a tighter fit.



20 comments:

niagaragirl said...

Some great stuff on your blog. Thanks for the how to videos. Always looking to improve things.

Paul Davidson said...

How much would you charge for set of those?

Dalantech said...

Thanks niagaragirl :)

@ Paul: Sorry, but I really don't have time to start making diffusers for the MT-24EX. With a day job, a wife, and three kids I barely get time to make a set for myself...

Andrew87 said...

thanks for the update, most useful as I'm making my own diffusers with gary fong plus some other types. I tested the light distribution across the front of the GF by photoing the flash on low power and it looked very even without spacing the GF away from the head or making the flash wider. did you find a difference in the results as you have spaced it off and have material to make it wider

Dalantech said...

I think the diffusion is a little better with some space between the Sto-Fen and the Puffer Andrew, if for no other reason than it allows a little more light to hit the reflective material at the top and bottom of the diffuser.

IMHO the best way to test the diffusion is to look at the specular highlights, and to see how much light you can use before one of the channels in the histogram starts to over expose.

I've never tried making the Puffers wider, and due to the way I use them on the Canon flash mount it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Ted C. MacRae said...

Hi Delantech, I've got a set of my own in progress. Question - do you think the Sto-Fens block too much light to use as a first stage diffuser? I'm just trying to figure out why you dremmel them out and then use the Manfrotto diffusers? Also, I suppose the metallic inserts are to keep as much light as possible going through the diffuser?

This is really a great series. I've gotten into insect macrophotography this year (mostly tiger beetles), and while I don't see any better solution than the MT-24 flash, I've been very disappointed with the harshness in my photos (especially on species with really shiny, glabrous surfaces). I use the 100mm and the 65mm about equal amounts, so I need a solution that works for both - this looks like it might do it.

regards--ted

Dalantech said...

You'll lose a full stop with the Sto-Fens Ted, and another full stop with the Puffers. I cut the front out of the Sto-Fens and used the 1/8 white diffusion so that I'd only lose about 1/3 of a stop in the first stage... ;)

There is a lot of light that's hitting the Puffer and simply bouncing out into space, so the metallic inserts are there to reflect that light out toward the front of the diffuser. Since the inserts have a mate finish they also do a really good job of diffusing the light that's hitting them (the reason why I wouldn't use something smooth).

If you need more diffusion with the 100mm then just get the flash heads closer to what you're shooting. Putting one, or both, flash heads on a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe can help you to get the flash heads a little closer, and will allow you to change the angle of the light and reduce glare.

alexander said...

I remember the time, when you said that it is bad idea to use this two diffusers together
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dalantech/2998131867/#comment72157608682787203
;))).
Thanks for sharing with us with this great advises and thoughts and for this great information.
You have a mistake in first sentence, there is a word "fist" instead of "first"

Dalantech said...

You're taking what I said out of context Alexander: I said it was a bad idea not to remove the front of the Sto-Fen because you'll lose a full stop of light if don't cut it out. With the 1/8 white diffusion I'm losing no more than 1/3 of a stop.

Thanks for the heads up about the typo -fixed :)

Kurt said...

Great DIY stuff John. Thanks for sharing. I'd like to make one too but it's a bit costly since i have to order most stuff from abroad :(.

BTW, what do you think of this idea? Using the Nikon SW-11 diffuser on MT-24EX? http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=750159

Thanks

Dalantech said...

Sorry about the sticker shock Kurt -I tried to build a cheaper set but couldn't get better light.

As for the Nikon SW-11 diffuser: Looking at the photos in that thread the diffuser isn't that much larger than a Sto-Fen, so I'd say that the light will look diffused at 3x and higher mag with the MPE-65mm due to the short distance between the diffuser and the subject. The photos in that post are at 2.8 x (MPE @ 2x with a 1.4 teleconverter). Also from what I've read Nikon shooters aren't too impressed with the light quality from the SW-11...

Kurt said...

Thanks, John :)

Dalantech said...

Anytime Kurt :)

I'm tempted to order a set of the SW-11's myself, but looking at those shots I don't think the light quality would be good enough at 1x on the MPE-65.

Kurt said...

No easy solution to this, is there?:D. I am looking into this as well: http://cgi.ebay.com/Universal-SOFT-Flash-Bounce-Diffuser-for-ALL-Flashes_W0QQitemZ230390614987QQcmdZViewItemQQptZCamera_Flash_Accessories?hash=item35a459cbcb

Dalantech said...

Well Kurt I just ordered a set of the Nikon SW-11's from B&H -curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to see for myself how well they work.

I've seen someone use those universal soft bounce "socks" before and I wasn't impressed with the light quality.

Kurt said...

Ah..so you're gonna be the pioneer once again (read: guinea pig :D). I can't wait to see the light from this :)

Dalantech said...

There's a fine line between guinea pig and crash test dummy my friend -and I seem to sprint over it screaming like a mad man all too often :D

I'll get them about this time next week, so I should have the results up on the blog by the following weekend.

Kurt said...

LOLOL...Good Luck, John!

paul said...

just a quick question on the lq big bounce stuff..do you use only the gold or the silver or both...thanks

linty said...

This is excellent, I'm looking to try diffusing my mt-24 and am always grateful to learn from somebody elses mistakes rather than my own. The setup you came up with looks quite good.

Couple questions though. Do you find that the modelling lights are still usable behind the puffers? I find them to be pretty dim to start with.
And which reflective materials out of that kit did you use?