Gary Fong Lightsphere Versus a Piece of Tupperware

Jim Harmer of Improve Photography conducted an interesting experiment in which he stacked the Gary Fong Lightsphere up against an ordinary piece of tupperware:

The Gary Fong Lightsphere costs $50. For a hunk of rubber that produces only marginal improvements over the on-camera flash in my opinion, that is just way too much money. The fact is that the darn thing looks like a piece of tupperware to me. So, I got curious. Was this product doing anything that any other hunk of plastic couldn’t do?

His conclusion is that there was absolutely no difference in quality, and that you should save your money by using a makeshift diffuser.

Gary Fong Lightsphere vs. Tupperware [Improve Photography]

  • Gary O’Brien

    My favorite diffuser is an empty dental floss box which just happens to snap onto the popup flash on my DSLR. 

  • Anonymous

    This **** isn’t magic. However I would’t walk into a corporate gig with a plastic bottle on my flash.

  • Anonymous

    What Gary Fong did for me was to make me pause before spending cash on accessories.

    I used a rubber halloween ball (emptied of it bugs/fluids) as a diffuser for a couple of years before settling with a recycled CD sleeve storage box.

  • Anonymous

    Or just learn to bounce. I mean look at the lighting, so much better bounced.

  • T2rclicks

    I like my tupperware…and yes it is a fong…had it for 7 or so years now and love it for combat photography….to me it works.  But you know how opinions are… :)

  • Anonymous

    The Opteka diffuser seems to look better than both those options.  If you’re on a gig, it often helps to look like you’re serious about it even if the final difference over a no-cost option is nil.  Tupperware would be my last resort.

  • Anonymous

    Fong’s tupperware works, no adjustments needed, it fits perfect, and it’s collapsible/portable. If you like DIY stuff that looks bad, good for you. =)

  • fml

    is this argument really still happening?

    there are tons of products on the market that could be DIY’d for much cheaper.. why does everyone continue to bash on Gary just for being the first to produce a professional looking version? 

    bottom line, if you use the FONG and it works for you.. you shouldn’t care what anyone else says or thinks.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not just that.  If you follow some of the links, there are plenty of people that think the Fong looks like a cheap UFO toy.  If it looked like a piece of pro gear, they might not be complaining.

  • C.K.

    Next up: an all-new never-before-discussed Canon vs Nikon discussion! Come’n Peta, this is just oft-recycled trash. Was it that slow a news day?

  • Anonymous

    The original Fong was no different from a piece of plastic.  I do like the collapsible though. Fits snugly and folds away relatively well…

  • Laurent

    The girl’s head appears smaller with the tupperware. Is it a feature?

  • steve bigler

    The goodest light source I’ve seen (and yes… goodest is a word, and I’m sticking to it!) … was shooting beauty backstage at fashion shows.  For years I’d see this dude with a camera mounted flash… first the Vivitar 283/5’s… then on to the modern ones… shooting them into a FED-EX BOX!!!  Box was lined with foil, and in the face he had holes and slots, covered with tuffspun or similar diffusion paper.

    Worked great, he shot insane stuff (and still does no doubt)… and FED-EX BOX!!!!

  • Tran-Shawn Yu

    Maybe it’s just me but the bounced flash looks to be the best.

  • Jerry Davis

    Do whatever works for you.

  • Daniel Hoherd

    I totally agree.  Flash photo is all about DIY light mods.

  • Paul Tobeck

    If the Fong is your thing…fine, use what works for you. But use it properly. Don’t have it attached to your flash, shooting outdoors, pointing straight up, 20ft from your subject. You instantly lose all credibility as a photographer and I get to call you an idiot…out loud…because I can.

  • Joshua Bermudez

    looks best bounced

  • Isaacwever

    I’ll use a white kitten as a reflective light source! I don’t care, as long as I get the shot…and I get to hold the kitten… :)

  • Mel

    I wouldn’t walk into a corporate gig with an on-camera flash.

  • Kimmid

    A knowledgeable profession mention these interesting facts about this test. 
    this test was done in bright ambient lighting, thus the lack of shadows on the eyes in the bounce flash and the lack of shadow behind the subject (and darkness) behind the model. Note there’s little difference in the three on the right- This person should do this test in the dark. It’s pretty misleading.

    Isaacwevers comment cracked me up. lol. white kitten. too funny. 

  • PV

    I own and have spent time comparing many different diffusers. I always end up going back to the Gary Fong Collapsible Lightsphere. It does a great job of evenly diffusing the light. I would never show up at a job with Tupperware on my flash. And I will never understand why photographers complain about spending $50 on a diffuser that works great, but will drop thousands on a camera body and lenses! $50! Is that really a huge amount of money for a great pic in light of what you and I spend on everything else? I don’t think so. Gary, thank you for the Lightsphere. I will keep using it until something better comes along. I just had this discussion with a friend of mine who has been a professional for over 20 hears. He owns many of the diffusers on the market but finds that he ends up going back to the Lightsphere when he has to shoot with an on camera flash because it works!

  • Kimmid

    More info from a knowledgeable professional: : D
    the ambient light is so bright, (as it is in this image) you’ll barely see the flash at all. In the forehead there is a different color sheen. This is from the actual flash. Everything else in the image is available light.
    So there you have it. When testing products or making claims all the specifications of the test should be revealed. 

  • Lloyd

    Nice, Jim!
    Does your tupperware fold down to a 1/4 the size for travel? Can you white balance off the tupperware? Are you able to correct for tungsten light at all with the tupperware? Does the tupperware fit every flash in your gearbag? Surely the tupperware has a place to mount gels, right? Is it easy to point the tupperware directly at your subject for a large fill-light outdoors? My guess is the tupperware has a lifetime warranty too!!! Great comparison.
    Will you be comparing a tripod to the palm of your hand next?

  • Ccphoto2000

    I read about this on Petapixel a year ago and it works great. The water bottle diffuser,

  • Anonymous

    I like the Lightsphere image over the Tupperware image but I like the bounced above all. I have two Lightspheres which have not seen the light of day in almost two years. Handy when needed but if I can do without I will.

  • William

    The thing with the lightsphere and other small diffusers is they sell because the industry is loaded with amateurs who have no clue that they don’t actually do anything, that if you know what you were doing you would not be stuffing around with these toys. 

    They neither look professional nor are they a professional tool. Anyone who is so ignorant of lighting that they use one should not be conning people that they are in a position to charge money for their services. 

    Seriously, people defending a toy thinking they are professionals, what a joke. 

  • Anonymous

    The vast majority of my shooting is done in low-light situations, and by “low-light” I mean almost black. I generally use a DIY craft foam bounce card because it’s easier to direct the light and dump some if it’s still too much.

    I have two Lightspheres, an original and a collapsible, they work fine in rooms that already have a fair amount of ambient light, because they do what they’re supposed to do: create an omnidirectional light source by bounce it off the walls and ceiling.

    Really, my only complaint about the Lightsphere is that it’s so heavy that it pulls the head of my SB-900 around if I’m not careful. That’s another reason I like the foam bounce cards, they weigh about an ounce. And I can make about 100 of them for the cost of the Lightsphere.
    In the end, it all comes down to what works for you as a photographer.

  • Siri

    There is so much ambient light in here that you can barely see the flash!  Who is the idiot who did this test again?

    Do you see the slight bluish sheen on the subject’s face in photos 1-3?  That’s the actual flash (higher color temperature) that’s why the bounced flash doesn’t have the tell-tale shadows.  Anybody who knows anything about photography will know that the shutter speed is slow enough to let in so much ambient light that you can barely see the flash in any of the photos.This test was done by a person who has no idea what they’re doing.

  • dzad

    I wouldn’t walk into a corporate gig

  • Anonymous

    One does not simply walk into corporate gigs….

  • May B. So

    A popup flash!  What a novel idea, Gary!  Sometimes it will work, sometimes not for larger groups.  What do you think?  

  • emmanuel vargas

    I do not walk after vietnam

  • Deborah

    That doesn’t look like an authentic piece of Tupperware to me. Tupperware products are much more high-quality than the disposable junk sold in supermarkets. Careful with the generic use of a trademarked term!

  • Cheryl Bergman

    PV, have you had a chance to check out the Gralson Prodigy? I’m going back and forth between the Lightsphere and the Prodigy.

  • CurrentCo

    I wouldn’t gig into a corporate walk

  • beans28

    I wouldn’t say gig.