Davidhuy Photography 4:58am, 22 February 2012
I'm pretty sure everyone knows about the Black Foamie Thing (BFT) designed by Neil VN. He's got a review about a new light modifier for on-camera flash to achieve the same effect as off-camera flash and it seems like the advanced version of BFT. His full review is here:
neilvn.com/tangents/about/spinlight-360/
However, the price tag is abit too high $149. You can get $20 discount if use Neil's code but seem like I have found a way to DIY Spinlight 360 in which the total cost is less then $20.

One of the downside that I don’t like in the Spin light 360 is that we are not able to change the desired size of the black foam or white foam. This is how I do to overcome this downside.

* Materials *

[https://www.flickr.com/photos/triography/6917689945/in/set-72157629417139949]
_ An universal adapter kit for speedlite: $8.80
(www.ebay.com/itm/Flex-mount-CA-7-for-K-8-Kit-Canon-580EX-...)

_ An cloud dome if you’ve got one from Gary Fong’s Lightsphere Kit, if not, you can get the 3-rd party cloud dome on ebay: $1.99

(www.ebay.com/itm/Bowl-Dome-for-Lightbowl-Gary-Fong-Lights...)

_ Honey comb for speedlite: $9.80
http://www.ebay.com/itm/K-8-Flash-Adapter-Kit-Accessorry-Honey-Comb-/290610000910?pt=Camera_Flash_Accessories&hash=item43a9b4b40e

_ Rubber band

_ Velcro if you want to use the dome. Otherwise, it is optional


*How to do*

_ Attach the honey comb onto the adapter

_ Attach the BFT on the side of the honey comb’s ring using rubber band
[https://www.flickr.com/photos/triography/6917691839/in/set72157629417139949]

_ Remove the honey comb grid, so what you have left is the ring itself – (I did not do this step, as I wanna compare the difference between using BFT with and without honey comb grid)

_ Attach velcro on top of the honey comb’s ring and at the bottom of the cloud dome if you want to use the dome
[https://www.flickr.com/photos/triography/6917693867/in/set-72157629417139949/]

*How it works*


This one works exactly the same way as the real Spinlight 360 does, no velcro involved, able to change the orientation of the BFT by rotating the honey comb’s ring.
fjgindy 5 years ago
I'm confused on how the honey comb ring rotates. Is it manufactured to rotate while mounted on the flex-mount?
Davidhuy Photography 5 years ago
yup it is manufactured to rotate while mounted on the flex-mount. I have 3 of them, and all can be rotated.
Rangefindergeneral 5 years ago
BFT or WTF
I don't get it...? Its a flag right...???
So its a subtractive fong dong...????
Clement&Rika 5 years ago
I'm not so convinced by the video. Sure it's nice when you're surrounded by white walls. But that's the case with a bare flash already. What happens when you have a high dark ceiling and beige blinds on the walls
Your DIY looks good otherwise.
joshuadlynn PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by joshuadlynn (member) 5 years ago
Those are some good questions with reasonable answers.

First I don't own a spinlight or have any connection to the company. I do follow Neil's Blog neilvn.com/tangents/ , which I recommend highly as he does a real nice job showing a series of pictures and BTS shots to make a good point or lesson.

From observations of this product and lots of bounce and modifier work, here are some ideas worth considering.

If you have high dark ceilings and walls you have nothing to bounce off of. This product can still be useful by using a white card and the half dome cover.

The half dome turns the unit into a bounce card since the half dome is opaque but white. I'm guessing the benefit is that you don't have to take the device off you just change up the attachments. Plus you can easily rotate it to feather the light.

The better question is how quickly can you make the adjustments to the setup. It is this reason I'm a fan of the LumiQuest Quick Bounce. It's limitation is it has to come off to 100% bounce on wall/ceiling.

Bare flash being bounced is not always the same as a bounce with a flag in towards the subject. The Black Foamy Thing is cheap and easy to make and will ensure that light does not directly hit your subject plus it will control the light to not go forward when bouncing sideways. This can help control spill on the side and background behind your subject. This sin't a right or wrong thing it's just a technique to change things up.

Try it yourself you may be surprised. From time to time you can find me using my hand as an impromptu flag to control spill.

While the BFT is cheap it can take time to move around your flash as your are moving quickly through an event and changing your orientation to the bounce surface. The Spinlight will make it much easier to position the flag. IMHO this is the value they are selling. Don't know if it's worth the money but If you use a modifier like the BFT often this may be a good investment.

With today's high ISO DSLR cameras I find myself shooting higher then ever before because I can hold the quality and the trade offs are worth it. The benefit is My flash goes much further then ever before and I can use less power for faster recycle and slow down heat build up. So bounce flash has never been more usable in previously difficult places to bounce.

It looks like the Spinlight can improve efficiency , get the on-camera flash a bit higher without a bracket and keep the number of flash head pan and tilt operations down. The ting spins around and around. My flash head doesn't do that. Still need to make an adjustment for portrait shots but it's a benefit.

I would like to try it.
Does it pack away nicely for travel?
How well does it stick on the flash?
Why isn't there a card that is black on one side and white on the other?

If it were cheaper I would just buy it to try it.

Big thanks to T.R.I.O. for the DIY version. Interesting and cheap source for parts.

I might try a variation without the dome and a Flash bender type of product so that I can change color and bounce shape easily on the fly.
Davidhuy Photography 5 years ago
@joshuadlynn: Love your comment. Just to add on about the BFT's principles:
_ The reason we need to flag the light away from directly hitting the subject is that to avoid harsh shadow
_ Second thing, what we achieve by bouncing the light is directional light. The bounce flash will hit the ceiling and the ceiling will act as a big softbox, just like under studio condition, using on-camera flash but still able to achieve off-camera flash's effect.
Actually, I attach white foam on one side and black foam on the other side. to make it more convenient in using and changing when there is a need to change.
I'm very sure Neil's fan (i'm one of them) will buy this Spinlight 360, but if we can use an alternative that achieve the same effects and pay less (even though the design does not look very good, but it does the job nicely), why don't we use :)
I think this modifier will sparkle a new debate whether this is the best modifier or not and will create opportunities for the 3rd company to earn profit. If I can make it with less than $20, I'm very sure the 3rd company will make it even lesser than $20. Like the Lambency (Gary Fong's replica)
stan schurman PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by stan schurman (member) 5 years ago
Just my opinion, but $149.00 seems a little pricey. Even the Gary Fong Lightsphere is less than half that amount......I'll probably end up with one anyway.
Kris This Is [deleted] 5 years ago
Saw this last night.

Sheesh. More plastic crap to entice gullible punters who think their images will look like Neil's just for the addition of 150 dollars worth of rubbish, when what they really need nobody can buy - practice, experience and common sense.

I have to say that I think Neil is just taking the shilling and running. I always respected him when he encouraged you to nick your daughters hair-band and a £1 piece of black foam.

:(
Nick Arora - nickarora.com Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Nick Arora - nickarora.com (member) 5 years ago
[Kris This Is]

I don't think so. It's a device designed to facilitate his style of bounce flash. He actually uses it. All his articles regarding using the BFT are still on the site and still in his book; I see no problem with him telling us what tools he uses -- its not like he's saying it can't be done any other way. I think the way he approaches his sponsorships in a really classy way actually.

I can't imagine how many times other vendors with bounce cards must have approached him prior to this.
lot16ca PRO 5 years ago
I use a WFT glued to a BFT and the I have both. Depending on the light I need, I just reverse it.
badboyzen 5 years ago
I have been using the BFT for a while now. It gives you great soft directional light when it works. But It is very situational; you are always at the mercy of your environment. In real practice, I found that I need to switch between bounce/no bounce rapidly, but a homemade BFT is not easy to put on, take off, change orientation or hold steadily in place.

The spinlight360 seems to be the solution to my problem. But at $149, it's a little steep. So thanks for the cheap DIY alternative, I will definitely give it a try.

Now if you can somehow incorporate a gel holder into the design, that would be perfect. :)

Is there a half dome, like the ones that come with the spinlight360 kit, that I can buy from somewhere for cheap too? When using in the non-bounce way, it's nice to get a bit more light bouncing off the flag to save power. I guess you can always cut open one side of the full dome but is there a more elegant solution?
joshuadlynn PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by joshuadlynn (member) 5 years ago
This shot was taken with the SpinLight 360 Modifier. Wall used for bounce was 10 feet to the right. There was also an exterior door letting in soft light.

SpinLight 360 Sample by joshuadlynn


Initial review: It works really well when the environment has good setup for bouncing light from the side.

Don't like it at all as a direct bounce source since the card is wrapped around the ring. It needs to be a softer and wider arc for direct bounce bounce to nice.

It was as advertised very easy to spin the card to block direct light on the subject. You still have to move the flash head left and right but it is much, much, much easier to re-position the flag then it is to adjust the BFT.

it does have a gel holder in that you can put a gel under the device against the flash head. Not a fast change but not hard to do either.

If you use the on camera indirect bounce technique its really nice to have.

Look at the full size image and you can see a pin prick of light in the eyes. This is the glow from the white card being more translucent then expected.

Same location and time using a LumiQuest Quick Bounce.
MFI - 20th Year Party _(5462) by joshuadlynn
☣ cUKi Posted 5 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 5 years ago
, +1

One can just replace that bowl and its support with a sto-fen, for the exact same effect but much cheaper. Not that I'd recommend it or try to go for it - I favour directional light. I'd much rather use that grid by itself when bouncing off a wall or pop-up reflector (with a grid you won't need the flag as well).
mic_ty 5 years ago
David, thanks for posting this DIY project. I made one (except that I removed the grid and didn't attach the dome diffuser). I found that it works very well. The light pattern is almost identical to that of a BFT, plus the convenience of being able to rotate the BFT easily and securely.

I did a comparison between David's design and a modified Flashright Pro which I posted about recently:
www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157630409662592/...

Here are the results of the comparison:
lh5.googleusercontent.com/-C5hFnABooMA/T_km5AJ_SXI/AAAAAA...

I posted more info about the comparison here:
betterfamilyphotos.blogspot.com/2012/07/testing-diy-spinl...

@cUKi - I've tried using a grid as an alternative to the BFT but in my tests, using a grid uses up too much light compared to the BFT. YMMV.

Best regards,
Mic
☣ cUKi Posted 5 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 5 years ago
A grid provides a much smaller spot to act as a hard off-camera source, while a gobo (BFT) will produce a much softer light (except if you roll the BFT into a snoot). I don't see them as mere alternatives.

I usually place a short snoot on my flash when I have it on camera (short meaning about 1" or 3cm) in order to avoid any direct light hitting the subject. I could use a BFT to the same effect, but it's less convenient. For more... flexibility, I bought a large Flash Bender, but I'm yet to actually use it.
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