Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flash Series - Part 3: Rogue Grid Review


My first grid was a rectangular snoot that I made from a black piece of cardboard and some pieces of white straws painted black (I followed this tutorial), but it never worked as I wished, and storing it inside a camera bag means that it would be crushed and destroyed.

In this post I will quickly give you my impressions about the 3-in-1 Rogue grid, hit the jump for more.

This is the 3rd part of my flash series of posts, you will find links to the previous two parts at the bottom of the post.

I wasn't able to find any commercial grids for speedlites in Egypt except for one shop that had a big kit full of various speedlite accessories (barn doors, grids, lots of diffusers and shapers, etc...) and it was very expensive so I skipped it. It was not until I traveled to Malaysia that I found the HONL grid, I was tempted to buy it but the buyer told me that I will need to purchase the speed strap separately and that they didn't have it at the time, and they only had one grid size, I skipped it as well.


I didn't know there were grids for speedlites other than the HONL ones, and when I asked Mic what grids  he was using, he told me that if he had to buy it all over again he would go with the Rogue grids, I never heard of it before, so I searched and was immediately attracted to it's looks (admit it, it looks cool on the flash), so I ordered one from Amazon.

Box contents

These are the package contents, two stackable grids, a grid holder, a snoot to hold the whole system and a nice carrying pouch, which I appreciate a lot, it's these small touches that makes you feel that you bought a quality product, which brings us to the build quality, one word, excellent!

Grid holder with grids inside
Grid holders with grids outside

You get two grids, a 45 degrees (wider beam) and a 25 degrees (tighter beam), and when you stack both grids it becomes a 16 degrees grid which is probably as tight as you will ever want it to be. The next set of pictures will show you how the grids are inserted inside the grid holder.

Both grids
See those guides? It is very easy to insert and remove them

Then there's a snoot that holds the grids to the flash, it is a well built piece of fabric that has two ends, the flash end uses a stretchable strap with velcro to tighten itself around the flash head. It also can be adjusted to fit either small or big flash heads.

The other end holds the grids in place, this is where I find a fault, it just isn't secure enough, and it has a very teeny tiny strip of velcro to hold both sides together, I was using the flash upside down yesterday and the grid fell from the holder. The holder can be used as a snoot (will show you in a while) and you can open it and use it's white internal as a large catch light, which I don't care about.

Holder with the grids attached, the open side closes around the flash head

To show you how the grid affects the light I put my flash one meter away from a white foam board and zoomed the flash head to 105mm, have a look at the different lighting patterns.

Flash only zoomed to 105mm, no grid

Holder used as a snoot, no grids

45 degrees grid

25 degrees grid

16 degrees grid (45 + 25 stacked together)

You can see how the grid controls the light beam, grids are very useful in product photogrpahy when you want to light some specific part of the product without spilling light everywhere, it can also be used in portraits to control the hair light for example, it can be used to create dramatic portraits, etc... It's uses are virtually limitless.

To show you an example using the grid I took a shot of my new 85mm f/1.8 lens (just received it yesterday), I had a dramatic shot in mind and only wanted to stress on the 85mm part, so I used one flash as a kicker light at the right side of the lens, and the main light was zoomed to 105mm in the first picture, then gridded with 16 degrees in the final picture, have a look at the difference for yourself.

Say hello to my newest lens, main light zoomed to 105mm, no grid

Same as above, but the 16 degrees grid is placed on the main light

CONCLUSION

I like this kit very much, it is compact, sturdy, flexible and it works very well. The build quality is excellent, the carrying pouch is a nice touch. My only complaint would be the not-so-secure holder.

My next post will be about the camera built-in wireless flash limitations and my experience with cheap ebay triggers.

RELATED POSTS

Flash Series - Part 1: Canon Speedlites Chat (580EX II vs 580EX vs 430EX)
Flash Series - Part 2: Home Made (DIY) Gels & Gel Holder