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A Review of the Lightscoop, an inexpensive bounce flash device, at Club 412 and Let's Dance Again in Rockaway

by Alison Bert
February 23, 2008
You Should Be Dancing dance center & Club 412
412 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
212-244-0011
Gotham Swing Club party at Club 412
First Saturday of the month
8pm-12:30am
$10 per person for members, $15 per person for non-members
www.gothamswingclub.org

Rockaway Dance hosted by John Lindo
"California Mix" @ Let's Dance Again in Rockaway, NJ
Lesson 5-6 pm
Dance 6-9:30 pm
Admission $ 20.00
For additional Info: 1-800-LINDO-92
www.johnlindo.com

Alison Bert's website: LivesWideOpen.com
Professor Kobré's Lightscoop (www.lightscoop.com) is a plastic device with a mirror that slips over your pop-up flash to turn it into bounce flash. It sells for $29.95, with models made for Nikon, Sigma, Pentax, Fuji FinePix and Canon digital SLRs. According to the Web site, "the Lightscoop is the inexpensive answer to natural looking bounce flash and digital photography lighting. (Even professionals like it for casual shooting!) … The Lightscoop works great in most home and office situations — rooms with light, neutral-colored ceilings no higher than 8-12 feet or walls no farther than 3-4 feet from the camera."

I welcomed the chance to try it because I don't yet have an external flash for my Canon Rebel XTi. I used it at two dances this month. Although I'm still getting used to my new camera (which I use with a Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 aspherical lens), I was able to get good results with the Lightscoop in the settings for which it's designed.

At Club 412, which has a low white ceiling, the Lightscoop gave pictures a warm, more natural ambiance compared to those taken without it. It seemed to diffuse the light from the pop-up to produce a warm glow compared to the harsh glare of pictures taken with the pop-up alone.

The first four pictures below show photos taken without and with the Lightscoop.

The shots were taken in Manual mode at 800 ISO with the widest lens aperture (f/2.8), per the instructions. I used partial metering because the camera doesn't have spot metering. However, I did depart from one of the instructions. In the low-light setting, I was unable to get enough light with the recommended shutter speed of 1/200. I ended up slowing down the shutter speed to between 1/6 and 1/25 of a second.

As expected, I was less successful in my shoot at John Lindo's dance in Rockaway, where the ceiling is high with colored lights hanging from it. With similar camera settings, the lighting appeared orange, and the slow shutter speed resulted in camera blur. Though the ambiance looked anything but natural, it did make for some nice special effects:

See the last two photos below.

The Lightscoop comes in two versions: Standard and Warming. The latter has a gold-toned mirror designed to give a "healthy glow" to portraits. I found the standard version to produce more natural results in dance settings, so I used it for this review.

In conclusion, I think the Lightscoop is a nifty device to have for shooting in settings with low ceilings. It's very light, making it convenient to take with you when you don't want to haul around a flash. It's also about 1/10th the cost of a decent external flash, though in some situations it won't take the place of one.

For more pictures and discussion, Professor Kobré hosts a user's group on Flickr: http://flickr.com/groups/lightscoop_user.

More photos from the Gotham Swing Club party at Club 412.
Without the Lightscoop at Club 412

Without the Lightscoop at Club 412

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert


With the Lightscoop at Club 412

With the Lightscoop at Club 412

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert


Without the Lightscoop at Club 412

Without the Lightscoop at Club 412

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert


With the Lightscoop at Club 412

With the Lightscoop at Club 412

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert


With the Lightscoop at John Lindo's dance in Rockaway

With the Lightscoop at John Lindo's dance in Rockaway

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert


With the Lightscoop at John Lindo's dance in Rockaway

With the Lightscoop at John Lindo's dance in Rockaway

Photo © & courtesy of Alison Bert

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