Reflectors & Shades

Home made flash deflectors/reflectors for the CP950.

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Last page update Feb 11, 2000

New! Download a reflector template.

Crop from a larger shot, showing the red eye problem so common with the CP950 when using the flash. Carl is about 4.5 feet away for this shot Thanks to Carl for being a good sport while I blasted him with the flash.

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Same shot, but now using the red-eye flash deflector shown below. Also, note that the shadows look more natural. Read on!

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(Above) Home made flash deflectors/reflectors, cut out of 0.011 inch aluminum. From left to right, cardboard template, 90 degree solid reflector, 90 degree reflector with holes for partial flash, red eye reduction reflector. US quarter and CP950 shown for scale.

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90 degree reflector (reflects light 90 degrees), press fit to CP950 Note that the reflector does not block the viewfinder, red-eye lamp or the flash sensor.

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Top view of red eye flash deflector.

My red-eye flash deflector. Side view.

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New, side view showing construction and bends

About the flash reflectors/deflectors.

These are small aluminum deflectors that I cut out of 0.011 inch sheet metal. I'll give the construction details later on. They are very light, and press fit to the CP950. I made them  to allow me to moderate the effects of the CP950 flash, the overexposure problem on close shots, and the red eye problem. These reflectors do not cover the flash in any way, they just deflect the light. They are lightweight, and the smaller versions are easy to carry. They do not block any of the 950 sensors or viewfinder.

New! Download a template to make your own reflector.

People have asked, but up until now I have been too lazy to print out a template for this reflector. I've finally done it, you can save the image off this page (click here to see/download the template). Print this on your printer at 100 DPI for proper scale. it is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. The side view above is good for getting the bends right.

The Red-Eye Reflector.

Red eye is caused by light bouncing off the back of a subject's eyeball directly into the lens. The problem is worse the closer the flash is to the lens opening.  The flash is very close in the 950. (other digital cameras also have the red-eye problem, it is not unique to the 950).

In the Red-Eye version, the light from the flash bounces off the small reflector 45 degree piece of metal at a 90 degree angle, and then bounces back to the subject off of the larger reflector. (see the top view, you can see the reflection of the cameras flash port in the large reflector. This has the effect of making the flash appear to come from a point that is not so close to the lens, eliminating red-eye. (see samples at the top of the page). This is a bit goofy looking and big to have attached all the time, but it does solve the problem. You might feel funny carrying this thing around though.

The 90 degree reflectors.

These reflect the flash away from your subject at a right angle. This is useful to get just a little flash light on your subject (it will bounce off of other objects, or to trigger a slave flash that will do the real work). One of the designs that I have been experimenting with has holes in it to allow some flash light straight through, while the rest is deflected at a 90 degree angle.. Even with small holes the red-eye effect can still happen.

Issues:

Don't ever cover your camera flash with anything that could trap the heat and light in the flash; you could burn it up. These reflectors SHOULD be safe because they reflect all of the light away from the camera. They are not 100% reflectors, so the amount of light is reduced slightly, due to the material that I used, but it is light and cheap. It also results in a nice diffuse reflection.

Again, don't cover your camera flash completely with one of these such that it could reflect all the energy back at the camera.

Construction:

I thought about selling a set of these, but what the heck, make your own!  Download the template above to get you started. The exact dimentions are not critical. The amount of time involved in making these the "right way" means that I would have to charge more for them than most people would want to pay.

I used a piece of ducting material that I bought at the hardware store for less than $2. It is enough material to make a lot of reflectors. Then I made cardboard models of the reflectors (used up a lot of cardboard cutting and fitting), and then traced the models on the the final material.

Construction tips:

1) Use a tin snip to cut the metal. You can use scissors, but you will dull them severely.

2) Watch out, this stuff will cut you! Also, tiny metal slivers can get in your skin.

3) Round off all of the corners, and then sand the edges so that you don't cut yourself later. This is very important, the metal edges are sharp. You can use a piece of sandpaper or a metal file.

4) Cover all surfaces that will touch the camera with tape, black electrical tape is good, I used a black vinyl tape. This keeps you from scratching the finish of your camera, and gives the reflector/deflector a better "grip" on your camera. Do this before you even test fit once or you might scratch your camera.

5) I used a hot melt glue gun to attach the large reflector the the red-eye version. This may  not hold up. I didn't want to solder it because that would discolor the metal, and it is hard to solder such big pieces because they conduct heat so well.

6) The reflectors press fit to the camera. You can bend them a little to make them fit just so. They are so light that you can swing the camera around without them falling off.

7) It would look really cool if you painted the outside surfaces black crinkle finish to match the camera. I didn't do that.

Don't blame me.

If you try this, and you somehow manage to break your camera or scratch it, don't blame me. The edges are sharp. The little metal scraps are sharp. If you are a typical guy, don't use your wife's good pair of sewing scissors to cut the metal. Keep out of reach of children. Don't stick this in your eye. Do not attempt to eat. Do not operate heavy machinery while using the flash. Try this all at your own risk.

-Bryan

 

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(Very) simple shade. This is just a piece of black construction paper! It sticks in the little crack between the clear plastic and the case. You can fold it flat for storage. This is nowhere near as good as the baby bottle shade, but it was easy for me to make.