Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card review

Aug 02 2010
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Aurora MINI/MAX Quick Bounce Card
Aurora MINI/MAX Fan Bounce Card

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card (best flash diffuser rating: 8.60) is an easy to use accessory that allows you to improve the lighting from your flash gun. To make MINI/MAX Bounce Cards, the company uses the same high-quality materials as for the manufacturing of its studio lighting equipment. Thus, these units are well-built, and they are meant to last.

Many modern flash light modifiers are supposed to be used with a Velcro strap (like Aurora MINI/MAX Softboxes, Honl Photo Speed Bounce Card, etc.). Once you wrap a strap around your flash head, you can attach any of these modifiers and swap them around if you want. Such a design, however, means that you always have to carry a strap along with your light modifier. It may not be to everyone's liking. Probably, realizing the issue, Aurora Lite Bank takes a slightly different approach with their bounce cards. A Velcro strap is sewn onto each card, so you don't have to worry about forgetting or losing the strap.

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Quick Bounce Card vs. Fan Bounce Card Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan version
Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: logo Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: strap is sewn onto the card

Aurora Bounce Card can be mounted on either a narrow or a wide side of a flash head. Attaching to a narrow side allows you to switch from landscape to portrait camera orientation without a flash bracket (the light source stays above the lens axis).

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: portrait camera orientation

The MINI/MAX cards come in two flavors: Fan Bounce Card and Quick Bounce Card. Fan Bounce Card is pretty large (10.5" x 7.5"; 267mm x 191mm), whereas the Quick version is roughly half of its size (5" x 6"; 127mm x 153mm). The larger model folds in half and takes virtually the same amount of space in your gear bag as the Quick Bounce Card.

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan card is folded Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: folded Fan Card compared to Quick Card

Fan Bounce Card is capable of creating more fill light, as well as spreading the light wider, which is useful for photographing groups of people. Quick Bounce Card is a bit easier to handle because of its compact size, and it is suitable for most bounce card applications.

The images below show Fan Bounce Card, Quick Bounce Card, and the similar in size light modifiers from other manufacturers (HonlPhoto Speed Relfector, Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector, HonlPhoto Speed Bounce Card, Rogue FlashBender Bounce Card).

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card compared to Honl Photo Speed Reflector Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card compared to Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector
Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Quick Card compared to Honl Photo Speed Bounce Card/Gobo Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Quick Card compared to Rogue FlashBender Bounce Card

We believe the Quick card can also be used as a flag (gobo). It's not designed for that, but if you attach it "backwards" (to use the black side of it), it works as a flag just fine. Of course, the strap will be inside out in this case, but it still attaches the card reasonably well. You could also try the trick with the larger card, but we find it not very practical.

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Quick Card as a flag

Even though bounce cards do not provide you with any control of the lighting ratio between the light thrown toward your subject and the light bounced off of the ceiling, you can still achieve some degree of variation if you change the zoom setting of your flash. Setting a wider flash zoom value produces more of the direct light, while a narrower setting shifts the lighting ratio towards the light coming from the ceiling. The following images illustrate the technique with Aurora MINI/MAX Fan Bounce Card.

Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card, flash zoom 14mm Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card, flash zoom 105mm
Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card example, flash zoom 14mm Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Card: Fan Card example, flash zoom 105mm

In the above images, you can see that the shadows are lighter in the right image (flash zoom is set to 105mm), but the shadow edges are slightly softer in the left image (14mm flash zoom setting).

In conclusion, Aurora MINI/MAX Bounce Cards are the quality products from an established lighting equipment manufacturer. They are portable and easy to use. The attachment system is simple and effective. They can be a nice addition to a gear list of any flash photographer.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.





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