Flashes are a great way to make your photos look great and illuminate the scene, but they need a little assistance to work great and shine. Add a flash light diffuser to your camera flash, and it will modify light by spreading or softening the harsh, concentrated light – this will help create a more even and flatten light on the image.
If you are already looking for the best camera flash light diffuser, modifier, or a softbox, then you have landed on the right place. We have put together this guide to help you pick the right one according to your requirements and budget. So, let’s get going.
What is a Flash Diffuser?
Flash mounted on the top of the camera is used to provide more light to you, brightening the overall scene or your model/object. However, direct flash has high intensity, and it can create shadows. This is where a flash diffuser comes to the rescue! It is a device that creates a softer light with more gradual transitions between darks and lights.
You can easily fit a diffuser over a flash – no matter it is your camera’s flash or studio lights. Yes, you can also use umbrellas, beauty dishes, and large softboxes over an off-camera flash, but all these are not portable enough to be walked around with. If you want portability, then you can opt for a smaller flash diffuser.
Flash diffusers are made of a semi-translucent material that is larger than the flash itself, making the light larger and softening its intensity.
Types of Flash Diffusers
Flash diffusers come in different variations to choose from. Although there is a built-in diffuser in most hot shoe flashes, it doesn’t do much to diffuse the light. This is because it doesn’t actually increase the size of the light. However, it is better than nothing.
Following are some types of flash diffusers that provide much for diffusion compared to the built-in one:
These diffusers are one step ahead of those built-in diffusers on most flashes. They are semi-transparent plastic pieces that sit over the flash, helping reduce the intensity of the light. However, they don’t really increase the surface area of the light, which means they don’t much soften the light compared to other types of diffusers.
These increase the surface size of the light. They are a smaller version of the studio softboxes that sit over the light. They have a semi-transparent white space that helps spread the light out over a larger surface area. These mini softboxes can create a nice, soft light. You have to attach it over you camera flash with Velcro, which means it can be a bit more flimsy compared to other types of diffusers.
Sphere diffusers create more surface size of the light, hence making it soft. These types of flash diffusers are mostly expensive but easier to use. They are more powerful in terms of softening the light as compared to dome diffusers.
As the name suggests, this type of diffusers softens the light by redirecting it. Instead of just forwarding the flash towards the subject, bounce diffusers direct the flash away from the subject. They tend to lose more light compared to a softbox or sphere diffusers. However, they can create nice, soft light by bouncing off a much larger surface area.
All the diffusers are better than shooting without a flash diffuser at all. The rule of thumb is that the larger the surface area of the flash diffuser, the better and softer the quality of light will it produce.
Our Top Picks
Where to Buy
Rogue Photographic Design ROGUE Kit 2 FlashBender 2 Portable Lighting Kit
These diffusers by Rogue Photographic Design are known for their sturdy bendable construction that lets one fabric panel transform from a flat reflector to curved bounce card. You can add the included diffusion sheet to increase the size of the panel, transforming it to a shallow softbox that works great due to your flashgun being pointed in the upward direction, which already softens its burst.
The package also contains a second mini FlashBender panel and diffuser, which comes in handy when you are walking around while holding the camera in your hand. To create more creative effects, you can fit the 3-in-1 honeycomb grid modifier. It will provide you with a more focused beam of light. Another great thing about this kit is that it comes with twenty colored gel inserts that can fit neatly over a bare flash.
This kit is the second version of the original one, and the manufacturer has made this one 20 to 30 percent lighter. You can easily and securely attach all the modifiers to your camera.
Altura flash diffuser doesn’t just reduces harshness and softens shadows but also packs an additional internal flash diffuser that provides a better wrap around light. This diffuser is praised by many customers for its simple and compact design. You can easily fold down this unit when not using it – while its integrated Velcro strap secures around your camera’s flash head perfectly.
The best thing about this flash diffuser light softbox is that it is compatible with most shoe mount flash units on the market. Moreover, it is backed by a 100% 90-day money-back guarantee, which means you can return the product if you don’t find it fulfilling your requirements.
This Polaroid ring can easily be attached to all the camera brands, except Sony, where you need a connector to connect it. The ring light contains 48 macro LEDs that let you fire or shoot with continuous 5500K light for the most amazing high-definition illumination. The package also contains four individual light diffusers, including clear, warming, blue, and white Diffusers that add a variety of effects to your photography and enhance the color of your photos.
The flash comes with a battery-operated monitoring screen that lasts for hours. Moreover, it offers seven different brightness levels and three flash modes for more lighting control.
If you love to do macro photography, then you should opt for this ring light as it works great in adding little details to your close-up photos.
This one is a dome flash light diffuser that ensures even light distribution across the entire scene, resulting in a high-definition picture. Boasting a full silver coating, this dome-designed flash diffuser is a perfect choice for tiny studios as well as compact shooting spaces. This softbox diffuser by Aputure features a unique dual diffuser design along with a hexadecagon-shaped front, gel holder, and a honeycomb grid add-on.
If you want nothing fancy but a simple, functional flash diffuser, then this one by Gary Fong is one of the best choices to go for. It comes with a white dome that you can insert or replace to get creative outputs. The best thing about this flash diffuser is that it is compatible with most shoe-mounted flashes, including powerful and large models.
Moreover, it comes with a strap with hook-and-loop fasteners that work great in attaching and removing this diffuser to your flash. It features a detachable dome shape for various effects and a collapsible design so you can easily store in your camera bag along with other essential camera gear.
Looking for a flash diffuser softbox that can soften shadows perfectly, reduce harshness, and eliminate red-eye? This one by waka is the best one to go for. It has a collapsible design that you can store in a storage bag (included) made from premium quality materials for enhanced durability. The materials include silver PVC and black nylon.
Additionally, it has a stretch opening that allows you to easily connect it to the majority of shoe mount flashes of different brands, including Sony, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Minolta, Pentax Contax, etc.
This one’s a 6 by 5 inches translucent softbox light diffuser that creates even lighting, allowing you to take best shots of your life. It works great in converting that harsh light from your flash to a softer, diffused light while minimizing shadows and softening hot spots. Neewer Flash diffuser softbox also has a stretch opening just like the previous one, which allows you to connect it to your flashes of various brands.
Altura Photo is a renowned brand when it comes to photography accessories. This flash diffuser light softbox by Altura Photo is the best one in the market that helps reduce harshness and softens light like no other so you can take the best photos while capturing all the little details. It measures 9 by 7 inches and has a collapsible design that can easily be stored in a storage pouch.
It features dual diffusion layers for enhanced quality and performance. The beauty of this flash diffuser light softbox is that it is compatible with more flash brands compared to most other types of flash diffusers. It is available in three different sizes to choose from according to your requirements.
Have you ever heard “the bigger, the better?” – This saying implies here perfectly. At a massive 45cm wide, this ring light diffuser will dwarf even your largest DSLR. But thanks to its lightweight construction and material used, it only weighs 220 grams – which means it can be easily packed with your accessories in a storage bag.
It features a pop-up design that enables you to quickly snap five of its magnetic rods into place and attach your flashgun into the back. However, you should avoid using a short prime or wide-angle lens when using this diffuser because you might notice vignette in your pictures. Most flash diffusers, including this one, is best suited to portrait prime lenses such as 70mm and 105mm.
Just make sure to crank up the power of your flashgun to the highest due to the diffuser’s hefty three-stop light reduction.
Getting the right flash diffuser is not confusing when you know what to see before buying one and have the best options available. And yes, before you go ahead and buy one of these flash diffusers, don’t forget to check if it is compatible with your flash’s brand. Happy Photography