Photography News issue 25

48

Photography News Issue 25 absolutephoto.com

First tests

MagMod 2 Basic Kit £90 andMagBounce reflector £50

Specs

Price MagMod 2 Basic Kit £90 MagBounce £50 Mountingmethod Silicone rubber and magnets Selected compatible speedlights: Pixapro: Li-Ion580, Li-Ion580ETTL, Li-Ion580ITTL Canon: 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 540EZ, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, 600EX-RT Nikon: SB-24, SB-25, SB-26, SB- 28(DX) SB-50DX, SB-80DX, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910 Sony: HVL-F60M, HVL-F58AM, HVL-F56AM Olympus: FL-50R, FL-600R Yongnuo: YN560, YN560-II, YN560- III, YN568EX-II, YN565EX Pentax: AF540FGZ, AF540FGZ II, AF360FGZ Sigma: EF-610 Metz: 44 AF-1, 52 AF-1, 52 AF-2, 58 AF-1, 58 AF-2 Vivitar: DF-286, DF-293, DF-383, DF- 483, DF-583, 385HV Phottix: Mitros, Mitros+ Contact magnetmod.com essentialphoto.co.uk The freedom with which the modifiers attach, I think, actually makes you more likely to experiment

As soon as you start using flash you realise how important flash modifiers are; bursts of light without modification are brutal and uncontrolled. Unshaped and unfiltered, flash won’t improve photos like it’s supposed to. That’s why photographers go to great lengths to control flash, both in terms of ingenuity and expense; they craft home-made diffusers and reflectors, or they spend hundreds on gizmos to do the job. Now, the MagMod 2 system seeks to combine ingenuity and performance with a price point that’s makes DIY options seem like a waste of time. A slight update on its first incarnation, the system is still designed around the use of strong magnets (neodymium rare-earth magnets, since you asked), but these are now stronger and more securely fitted. These, in combination with a silicone rubber design, make it very easy to fit and use. The MagMod 2 Basic kit comprises aMagGrip, which stretches over the speedlight head, and aMagGel 2 andMagGrid 2which then cling strongly to it. The grip took abit of a stretch toget it over theNikon SB-600 flash used in the test, but once on it was very secure. Because the magnets are aligned at either side andvery strong, when they attract the modifiers are brought perfectly into place, with no adjustment needed. In fact, you only need to bring them within a couple of centimetres and let them go and they snap into position. Compare this with having to tighten and adjust Velcro fittings, or slide and clip modifiers into place and the advantage becomes clear. As well as the eight coloured gels and filters supplied, there’s also a Transmitter Band in the package, made of the same silicone rubber, which is used to attach a wireless receiver if required, and this attaches with the same ease. The semi-translucent white MagBounce works in the same way, but has four magnets, allowing it to be rotated to through 90° if required. When it comes to the MagMod system’s construction it certainly appeared to be as durable as it is easy

to use. The silicone rubber employed is claimed to hold 99% of its elasticity over time, and showed no inclination to tear or stretch out of shape. Being soft rubber they are prone to damage from sharp objects though, so care must be taken if shooting in a knife factory, and the magnets should be kept away from anything that’s sensitive to them–your camera, flash, memory cards are fine, as are solid- state drives – but caution should be takenwith regular hard-drives, credit cards and any eight-track cassettes in your Pontiac Firebird. The rubber material does have a tendency to pick up fluff, but while a slicker finish would fix this and improve the look, it doesn’t affect performance in anyway. When it comes to packing them away and transporting, the silicone means they crush down without harm, springing perfectly back into shape when released. They’re very light, too, at just over 100g for the MagGrip, and much less for the Grid and Gel holder respectively. The MagBounce is larger but still weighs just over 300g. In use, while light in their own right, the modifiers do add weight to the flash head, like any modifier would, and the SB-600’s

filters provided (Full CTO, 1/2 CTO, 1/4 CTO, 1/2 Blue, 1/2 Straw, 1/2 Plusgreen, Opal Frost Diffusion, and a 8X (3EV) neutral density) slot into their rubber housing easily, which in turn attaches to the Grip or Grid. You can stack three in the one holder and I particularly liked the Frost and 1/2 Straw gels diffusion mixed with the grid which gives a slightly warmed, soft, but focused look. The coloured gels did an excellent job of balancing the flash’s colour with available light, but can also be used for subtle colour effects. And there’s a set of stronger coloured gels available if you want to take it further. The MagBounce also worked well, expanding the area of light output by about 300% and therefore softening the look. Snoots and globes are also available if you buy into the system. KS

head became a bit more floppy with the kit attached; sudden movement sent it lolling forward. However, it locked happily into its normal positions when static so therefore worked fine. The degree of modification from the light is excellent and the freedom with which the modifiers attach, I think, actually makes you more likely to experiment. The MagGrid cuts the angle of the flash to 40°, so does a standard job of channeling the light, but due to the way the magnet system works, you can stack additional grids (at £35 a piece) to cut the light further. The MagGel works verywell, too; the eight polycarbonate

Below Easy to fit, the MagBounce reflector and MagGrid can quickly improve lighting, spreading the flash, or restricting it.

Naked flash

MagBounce

Naked flash

MagGrid

Verdict

With products this good and this affordable, it’s time to say goodbye to home-made contraptions like fag paper

diffusers and sweet wrapper gels. The MagMog system is incredibly easy to use, takes up virtually no space in your bag, and gives great results. Highly recommended.

Pros Easy to use, light, durable and expandable Cons Rubber can get fluffy

www.photographynews.co.uk

Powered by