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Bend it, shape it, any way you want it
We’re in an age where new, inventive flash modifiers are being introduced on a regular basis. What makes The Expoimaging Rogue FlashBender series of modifiers stand out in the crowd?
If you’re still using a rubber band to attach a white index card to your 90-degree upturned flash head for bounce flash, you’re living in the stone ages. Flash modifiers in recent years have become increasingly more sophisticated and flexible and nobody has taken the “flexible” aspect more literally than Expoimaging, makers of the Rogue FlashBender.
The FlashBender, which comes in small, medium and large sizes, is made of an optically neutral reflective fabric backed by Cordura Nylon and a material that helps it keeps whatever shape you manipulate it to take. I had a chance recently to play with all three reflectors. Here’s what I found.
Attaching to the flash is easy—a strap made of stretchable material goes around the flash head and attaches with Velcro fabric fastener, and if you pull it tight enough, it stays firmly in place. The advantage here is that the reflector easily attaches to any brand and kind of flash.
A backing material allows you to mold and shape the light so you can have anything from a flat reflector to a snoot. Once you’ve manipulated the material, it holds its place. To create a snoot, simply roll the material and Velcro fasteners along the edges hold it together. Take a few test shots with the snoot to make sure the projected light has the shape you desire. Minor adjustments may be necessary.
As expected, the difference between “no flash” and even the smallest reflector was noticeable, but the difference between the small, medium and large reflectors was more subtle. Shadows tended to be bigger but not as dark as the size of the reflector grew.
No Modifier: Deep shadows with strongly defined lines, and skin is a bit too bright.
With FlashBender Bounce Card/Flag: Shadow is still there, but softer, with more modeling around the face. As with all the FlashBenders, the optically neutral reflective material meant no color shift.
With FlashBender Small Positionable Reflector: Shadow lines are softer, more varied tonalities on her face. I molded the flash for a concave shape to wrap the light around her face.
With FlashBender Large Positionable Reflector: I found very little difference between the small and large reflectors, although I felt I had more options with the larger one. In this case I bent the top down slightly and turned in the sides. But I could do more radical things with it. For example...
With FlashBender Large Positionable Reflector set up as a snoot: This dramatic spotlight effect was my daughter’s favorite shot. I had to do several practice versions and adjust the shape of the snoot based on what I saw. Early versions had uneven light because I wasn’t careful about shaping the material when I formed the snoot.
Conclusion and recommendation:
For ease of set-up and flexibility (in every way), the entire FlashBender lineup gets high marks. In addition to their refective abilities, the FlashBenders can be used to block light. And unlike some of the competition, FlashBenders fold flat for easy storage and take up almost no space. For $105 for a complete set or as little as $30 for the small reflector, you have a very useful light modifier that will fit onto any rotating camera-mounted flash.