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Photography Lighting on a Budget:
The Lightscoop

By Bet-TAY, Special Features Editor
Posted June 28th, 2010

In the pursuit of the creative gadgets for the Nikon, I found an interesting futuristic-looking one that redirects the harsh pop-up flash called the Lightscoop. This simple piece of plastic and mirror redirects the pop-up flash to the ceiling or wall. Why didn't I think of this?! Lightscoop was kind enough to provide a sample unit for review at

Simply set your camera according to the Lightscoop detailed instructions, slide the Lightscoop into your flash-shoe mount, and start snapping fabulously lit photos. Gone are the red-eyes, harsh shadows, hot spots, and underexposed areas. If you have a limited budget and only a limited lens, this just might be a welcome addition to your camera's bag of tricks.

1 Turn on the camera.
2. On Nikons, set the Exposure Metering pattern of the camera to Spot Meter. This is essential on Nikons. On all others, center-weight average, evaluative, etc., will work.
3. Set the camera to operate on Manual exposure mode (M) [NOT Manual Focus].
4. Set the ISO to 800. (With a Nikon D90 or D700, increasing the ISO to 1600 or 3200 allows zooming lenses to longer focal lengths & gives great results.)
5. Select the widest lens aperture — f2.8, f3.5, or f4.0 depending on your lens.
6.Set the camera’s shutter speed to 1/200th or 1/160.
7.Select Flash “on” (front curtain sync) — NO red-eye reduction, slow sync, etc.
8.Select Flash Exposure Compensation to +1, +2, or +3 depending on your camera and the situation. Do NOT change your camera’s exposure compensation, which is a different setting.
9.Select TTL (through-the-lens) metering for your flash.
Some camera-specific help:
Nikon: Set Flash Exposure Compensation by pressing the flash button and rotating the front dial to +1, (see manual). TTL is the factory default setting on Nikon. To confirm that TTL is still selected, view the Customs Setting Menu>Built-in Flash>TTL.    

You can view this Video of the Lightscoop Installation.

Then check out these "before and after" examples.

eBay sellers often struggle with unwanted reflections on their sale items. Check out these sample photos taken with the Lightscoop.

The Lightscoop weighs in at 5.6 ounces. The mirror is 2.75 inches by 2.25 inches, the overall unit measures 4 3/8 inches long by 2 3/4 inches high by 2 1/2 inches wide. It is about the size of a Nikkor lens and fits into a lens slot in my Think Tank Camera Bag easily. It would be wonderful if Lightscoop created a new model that collapses for travel.

Lightscoop fits over the Pop-up Flash of most SLR Cameras and is available for $24.95 from Amazon.

With some creativity and experimentation, I found the Lightscoop to be a welcome addition to my camera gadget bag and used for interior people shots. But I'm really too much of a control freak and want to be able to use my SB flashes and dial in the f-stop that fits my artistic lighting ideas. For those on a budget, limited lens choices and no SB flash, the Lightscoop would be an inexpensive alternative.

For about $25, you can eliminate the HARSH lighting of the pesky pop-up flash, but you'll loose control of all the features that I bought my camera for! Available for $24.95 from Amazon.

The LumiQuest Soft Screen Diffuser is designed to soften the light output of the built-in pop-up flash of many SLR cameras and I think it does a great job. It fits into the flash-shoe just like the Lightscoop and then over the Nikon logo on the front. The best part of the Lumiquest Diffuser is that it folds flat so that it travels well and takes up no space. But the Lumiquest simply diffuses the light in one direction. The Lightscoop redirects and softens the intensity of the flash. Mind you, this is not a substitute for a Nikon SB Speedlight, but it is VERY AFFORDABLE for the amateur photographer.

Lumiquest Soft Screen LQ-051D Pop-Up Flash Diffusion Aid can be ordered from Amazon for $11.95 new.

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