I recently wrote about the Rogue Grid and said “the hottest flash modifier this year will be ExpoImaging’s new Rogue Grid”, and I meant it. In this article I hope to help you to understand why I said that and why I’m so excited about this new product.
What the heck do you use a grid for?
I had this question at one point in time so I’m going to assume some of you do as well. The answer is simple – grids are used to control light into a more narrow beam (determined by the degree number) so that it doesn’t spread all over the place. This could be for putting a spotlight on a subject or used on an off-camera flash to create an interesting background effect.
Why do you need more than one and what the heck are all those numbers?
I’ll admit that I have never studied the science of grids, but in plain English I can tell you that grids are sold in different sizes based on the degree that the light spreads. The larger the degree number, the wider the spread and (typically) the thinner the grid device will be. This means if you want a wider spread use a wider number and reach in your bag for the thinnest one (e.g., 45° in this case), but if you want a narrow beam grab the thickest one with the smallest degree number.
In the case of the Rogue Grid they have an ingenious design that allows you to stack the widest spread (thinnest - 45°) with the medium spread (25°) to create a thick and tight 16° beam. What’s more, you get all three sizes (2 disc that can be combined for 3 results) for one price, versus the competition from Honl which only has two sizes and will set you back $70 after you add the speed strap.
To demonstrate the grid I decided to mount my 580EX II flash on my 5D Mark II and test it the same way for every shot. To make this happen I’d use a tripod and manual camera settings. I did use ETTL as that is how I would typically shoot, but I also tested using a manual flash and got similar results.
I shot on my white seamless background during the daytime using a 70-200mm lens at 70mm for 1/40 sec at f/9.0 and ISO 160. I wanted to underexpose the ambient daylight so you could see the effect of the grid. I chose the equipment mentioned here because that is what I’d most likely be shooting with, and I put the tripod at the edge of the seamless where I’d most often be standing during a shoot. This means I don’t get perfect circles on the larger spread as that’s not what I’d really see in most cases given how I shoot in my studio.
Here’s the results using the Rogue Grid with the supplied mini- FlashBender above:
Rogue Grid FlashBender – NO Grid
Rogue Grid FlashBender – 45° Grid
Rogue Grid FlashBender – 24° Grid
Rogue Grid FlashBender – 16° Grid
As you can see the falloff of light happens much quicker with less of a feather the larger your grid is (and the smaller the degree number, so 16° in this case).
How does this compare to the Honl?
I don’t own both Honl’s as I wasn’t terribly impressed with the one I purchased. For starters grids are supposed to produce a circular effect and its rectangular design just didn’t seem to give me the results I wanted. Here’s an example of the Honl taken at the same times using the same methodology as above:
As you can see you don’t get a nice circle like you do with the 16° Rogue and that the surface area is much smaller which might be good in some cases but I found it to be too limiting in my studio so I stopped using mine a long time ago.
How does it work with my existing FlashBenders?
I already use and love the Rogue FlashBenders and I use my medium and large ones as snoots sometimes. When I got my grid I wondered what would happen if I put the grid in my snoots to see how it would impact the light output. To test this theory I just used the 16° for both tests because A. I’m lazy, and B. I wanted the tightest beam to see the result easily. Here’s what happened:
Medium FlashBender as a Snoot & 16° Grid
Large FlashBender as a Snoot & 16° Grid
Now I should make the disclaimer that because the FlashBenders can bend I didn’t line them up perfectly when taking my test shots, but you can get the idea. Using the medium as a snoot with the 16° grid you get a similar size circle but the light falloff happens much quicker (i.e., you have a darker area outside of the circle). The result is even more pronounced with the large FlashBender.
The net result is that I now have 5 grid effects I can accomplish which is awesome.
While the Rogue Grid has a neat design, I’ll admit that I was a little confused at first on how to use it. Here’s a quick and dirty crappy video I did that shows how to attach it to your camera as well as change grid sizes:
This is a great little product that solves a problem in a nice compact package for a very reasonable price. That price gets even more reasonable with my discount below, so if you enjoy using grids then I can’t recommend this product high enough — ‘nuff said!
NOTE: These items are hot so they may be out of stock from time to time, so if you can’t wait for the offer below then check with B&H as they may have it in stock.
My blog already has a discount coupon code in place for existing ExpoImaging products like the Rogue Flashbenders (review coming soon), ExpoDisc, and RayFlash, but I’m pleased to announce now that you can also save 15% when you use the coupon code ronmart09 to order your Rogue Grid.
Codes change so check the discount coupon code page for the latest code if this code doesn’t work.
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See the right panel and read me first tab for more great articles!
Like most of my reviews, I was provided a copy of the Rogue Grid to test at no obligation from ExpoImaging. While I may get a commission if you purchase using the discount from this blog or at one of my partners like B&H, it would take a hell of a lot of grid sales to pay for my son’s diapers <g>. I won’t be getting rich off you using the links, but every little bit helps to support this blog so I appreciate when you do use the links!