Soft light and happy eyes: The LightScoop. [Review]

Taking low light and no light pictures with a flash often ruins pictures with a harsh flash, demon-esque red eyes, and other unfavorable effects because of the direct light. To remedy such a situation, you can cover the flash with some object or fiddle with your camera until the undesired effect is reduced. Such things however are a pain and take away from you spending time on what matters — taking a picture. The LightScoop by Professor Kobre is a neat little attachment for your digital DSLR that fits nicely in the attachment shoe on top of your camera. So does it actually work?
Does it work? For all intents and purposes, the answer is an impressed and resounding “Yes!”. Once properly configured, your pictures will be void of any harsh light or unsightly shadows. The images one can obtain border on professional when all settings are perfect and the person taking the picture has a good eye.

The LightScoop for all intents and purposes works. Don’t believe me? Let the pictures do the talking.

This first picture is my favorite. The shot on the left has copious amounts of glare, white spots, and some shadowing. The second shot showing the lightscoop does an awesome job dispersing the light so that Shooey — the dog — comes away looking much nicer though still thoroughly irritated I’m interrupting dinner time for pictures.

In this picture we see what at first looks like a furry beached whale when in fact it is just my cat, Garfield. And how he lived up to his name. He’s fat. Though try as he might, (he doesn’t like the camera and runs every I time I get it out) he couldn’t escape me snapping two quick ones as he lay…thinking about what to eat next. (The cat food is in a container directly underneath where his head is, hence the laser eyes in the downward direction). The results here aren’t as night and day as the other two but I still thought that it showed a good contrast.

In the last picture you can see that initially there was quite a bit of glare and outside light that completely washed out the image. With the Lightscoop, it helped quite a bit to help add a more ambient light and combine with properly set camera, reduced the excess glare giving a rather neutral image.

One thing you will want to know is that it does take some fine tuning on your end to get the best results with the LightScoop. Seasoned photographers already know this and expect a little elbow grease of their own to get the best looking pictures. It comes with the hobby/job. However, prosumers and those new to the higher-end camera/photography scene may still be custom to “plug-n-play” services and products. For both professionals and beginners alike, using the Lightscoop with your camera and properly configuring your camera is relatively painless.

After spending quite a bit of time this week using the Lightscoop and tweaking my camera, I have come away impressed with this seemingly average looking piece of plastic. Do you need it? At only $35 it’s hard to pass it down. Spend some time to really get to know your camera and you can walk away with pictures that are professional looking and often the result of much more expensive equipment. An A+ in my book.

Directions for Lightscoop:


Turn on the camera.
Set the Exposure Metering pattern of the camera to Spot Meter (a MUST on Nikon, center-weight average, evaluative, etc., on others will work).
Set the camera to operate Manual exposure mode (M).
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.)
Select the widest lens aperture — f2.8, f3.5, or f4.0 depending on your lens.
Set the camera’s shutter speed to 1/200th.
Select Flash “on” (front curtain sync) — no red-eye reduction, slow sync, etc.
Select Flash Exposure Compensation to +1 or +2, depending on your camera.

Nikon: Set the Flash Exposure Compensation by pressing the flash button and rotating the front dial to +1, (see manual). TTL (through-the-lens metering) is the factory default setting on Nikon. To confirm that TTL is still selected, view the Customs Setting Menu>Built-in Flash>TTL.

Canon: Set Flash Exposure Compensation to +2 on the “Shooting Settings” menu. (See your camera’s user manual).

Pentax: Set the Flash Exposure Compensation to +1 by turning the rear e-dial to set Flash Mode in the Fn menu (See your camera’s user manual)

Others: Set the Flash Exposure Compensation to +1 or, if available, +2. (See your camera’s user manual).

  • Lanae

    Great review! I have been reading a bit about the Lightscoop and have heard a couple of things that maybe are not-so-favorable. One is that you need to use your flash at full power when using it and so your battery will die quickly and your camera may overheat. Another is that it only works like it says it will when you have the perfect wall-ceiliing configuration, so you always have to have a wall directly behind you or it doesn’t work. Have you found any of these things to be true? And, if you do need a wall directly behind you, how close to you does it need to be to have the desired "Lighscoop" effect (2 feet, 5 feet, etc)? Thanks!

    • Mike

      It’s not so much that you need a wall directly behind you, more-so a wall or ceiling above/next to you. If you’re in a big room, it won’t work (think large garage sized or bigger) as the surfaces for the light to reflect off of are too far away. In your typical living room/kitchen/great room/etc. it will work fine.

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