Hard light, i.e. light that comes from a light source being (much) smaller than the subject, creates a flat appearance and pretty harsh shadows in the background.
Using the built-in, is therefore only good for "fill flash" when shooting in bright (sun) back light.
There are a very simple solutions to make most of the flashes useable, even with the tiny flash being the only light source.
- diffuse the flash
- redirect the flash
- tone the flash
- redirect the flash with a tone
Options 1, 2 and 4 can easily be achieved by a very simple device... a translucent film canister.
|the translucent canister|
One simply has to create a template of the cross-section of the poppy-uppy flash's footprint and create a corresponding cut-out in the canister. The cut-out should actually be a bit wider, so that the canister can lean a bit to the front of the camera.
Somewhat like this:
|template and modified canister|
Going from here, the optional reflector can be created. I experimented a bit with the dimensions of said reflector. And here is my solution:
- length: 43mm (fitting the canister lengthwise)
- width: 23mm (creating a 45-ish degree angle)
|the internal reflector|
The reflector inserted into the "soft box" looks somewhat like this (red side up):
|the internal reflector inserted into the soft box|
And there are some of the resulting images, showing one of my messy book shelves. The LX7 was on aperture priority f/2.8 @ ISO1600:
|reference shot, bare built-in flash|
|diffuser (no internal reflector)|
|white side of the internal reflector|
|red side of the internal reflector|
An assortment of different reflectors, such as different colors, aluminum foil, etc. can make the mini soft box really useful.
The original design gave a lot of spill towards the back of the camera. To keep this a bit under control, I attached aluminum tape to the inner backside of the canister, such that is directed more towards the upper front.