Friday, October 19, 2012

REVIEW: Rogue Small Soft Box Kit & Diffusion Panels

The ExpoImaging Rogue Small Soft Box Kit is what I used for this review

The ExpoImaging Rogue Small Soft Box Kit is a game changing product in the overcrowded field of small flash light modifiers. It’s so simple and subtle that you don’t expect it to make a huge difference, but I honestly think it does – and I love it! In fact, I’ve used mine so much since I got it that I’m months late doing this review because I couldn’t force myself to shoot a flash without it to give you some comparison images. I just love the results I get from it like this unprocessed shot (okay, so her cheek needs a slight touch up but that’s my bad – not the product):

Canon EOS-1D X, f/4.5 @ 88 mm,1/160, ISO 100
Canon 600EX-RT straight upwards with Rogue Small Soft Box Kit

This is a solid result with a flash on the camera but when you take it off it gets even better as you have a small portable softbox which we know improves as you put your softbox closer to the subject!

Comparing different flash techniques

All of the following shots are in-camera JPEG’s with a .25 exposure boost, a +7 temp & clarity boost and a +48 vibrance boost in Lightroom 4.2. All were taken with a Canon EOS-1D X, f/4.5 @ 98 mm, 1/160, ISO 100, Auto White Balance (AWB) and Standard picture style. I intentionally didn’t do my typical editing so you can get an idea of your starting point with each of the following three flash techniques. Naturally I’d fix the hotspot on the cheek and skin soften a tad to remove some skin glow and a few other things if I were to edit this shot, but I’ve left them mostly as they came out of the camera so you can see what you’d get using each method.

Canon 600EX-RT pointed directly at model with no diffusion

This first image is where you put the flash on the head and point it directly at the model for a nuclear blast of light. Surprisingly it isn’t too bad (beyond the obvious hot spot we get from Juliet’s rounded cheeks <g>) but there’s not much catch light sparkle in her eye and the shadows in the neck are harsh.

Canon 600EX-RT angled upwards with white card bounce

For this second shot we do the classic tilt up and get some indirect bounce with the white card up. As a starting point for a raw image it’s certainly usable, but the light fall off on the face is bad and the catch lights are lacking. The outfit feels a little dark to – especially the scarf. Overall this is my least favorite.

Canon 600EX-RT straight upwards with Rogue Small Soft Box Kit

Now for this shot with the Rogue Small Soft Box Kit we get nice even light throughout the body, soft shadows on the neck, good catch lights and well lit hair. This is the magic of this product even in very difficult conditions outdoors where there’s no walls for the light to bounce off. This product makes the most of your on-camera flash power!

I’m sure someone out there will disagree with me, but personally I like the Soft Box Kit version the best which mimics my real-life experience. I LOVE this product and use it whenever my Canon 600EX-RT flash goes on my camera now.

Off-Camera Flash Experiment

Now the cool thing about softboxes is that as you get them closer to the subject the wider and softer the light gets, so here’s a simple test that shows the result of setting the flash on a stand next to the camera to light the 1D Mark IV with the softbox and with the flash techniques previously discussed:

Rogue Softbox

Bounce Flash

Direct Flash

Notice how the softbox shot at the top gives nice even light whereas the bounce drops off and the direct just sucks? Ever noticed the two problems with your on-camera flash? The Rogue Softbox helps to distribute the light more evenly and effectively which makes life so much better indoors with one of these things on your flash!


The world is overcrowded with flash modifiers. While I love my Rogue FlashBenders, I couldn’t get myself to review them as honestly there’s many ways to get similar results using home made products. I think the FlashBenders are the best of their class of product on the market and I use mine quite a bit, but I just didn’t feel like they were as important to review as this soft box kit that I used in this article. By mounting the diffusion panel to your existing FlashBender or buying the kit you can really improve the quality of your small flash light – that’s something I honestly believe in which is why I feel compelled to review this product for you.

I think beginners will get the most of this product right off the bat, but experience shooters can find it useful as well – especially if you get the flash off the camera and are packing light. It’s really the ultimate photojournalist light modifier! I also love that I can store this flat in my bag as that cause me to bring it everywhere and consequently use it more often.

This is a game changing small flash light modifier and I highly recommend it!

Special Offer

ExpoImaging Rogue Starter Lighting Kit
is great for beginners
(Flashes not included)

You can purchase ExpoImaging Rogue Small Soft Box Kit or the individual diffusion panels for your existing Rogue FlashBender from B&H, but you can also purchase direct from ExpoImaging

ExpoImaging Store - Redeem Discount Coupon
NOTE: You MUST provide your credit card info before the Redeem button will work!

My blog already has a discount coupon code in place for existing ExpoImaging Rogue products shown at the end of this article, 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.

Other articles you may enjoy

Serious Photographers will want the
ExpoImaging Rogue Master Lighting Kit
(Flashes not included)

If you liked this article, then you might like these as well:


Expoimaging has provided me with this product to review, but I loved it so much that I ended up using it for months before getting around and reviewing it! If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

No comments: