Beauty Dish Deflector

No, it doesn't make you beautiful. That comes from being you.

Over the years I've noticed that most beauty dishes come with an opaque (usually metal, sometimes plastic) deflector disk in front of the flash tube. This takes the light from the flash tube that is sticking into the beauty dish and blocks the light from traveling straight forward. Instead the light is deflected back and most of the light coming out of the dish is from the side-spill that fills the dish. If you are using a Profoto D1, B1, B2, etc, that have a flat front with no protruding flash tube might want to consider adding the Profoto glass diffusion  dome if you find your beauty dish photos are a little flat*. 

Some beauty dishes, such as the 22" model from Speedotron, have a translucent disk instead of the opaque disk so some light does come forward from the flash. I remember another dish (but cannot remember who made it) that had a honeycomb grid in the  middle of the dish instead of the opaque disk.

Until recently, I hadn't give this all that much thought about how the choice of opaque or translucent disk would affect the light coming out of the dish on to our subjects. So today's little project became cutting an opaque center disk for my Speedotron beauty dish so I could compare the looks of the two deflectors. Drag the line across the image to see more or less of each version...

What is your take on this? Is there a difference? The meter readings for the two images were 2/3 of a stop different (f/13 for the solid disk, f/16 for the translucent disk). Other than that, the images are identical except for the deflector disk in the beauty dish.

*I would really like to hear from Profoto users who have the pro heads with protruding flash tubes and also have the flat front B- or D- series heads who have used both with beauty dishes and can comment if they do or don't see a difference in the look of the light from the beauty dish.


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John Cornicello