It's been 6 years since we reviewed the original Speed Gobo / Bounce Card from Honl Photo. The company has released a number of lighting accessories since then. One of the most recent additions to the Honl Photo line of camera flash modifiers is the Double Speed Gobo / Reflector. In this review, we are looking at how the new gobo differs from the original one and how it compares to other speedlight modifiers.
The Double Speed Gobo / Reflector is made of a very durable ballistic nylon on one side and a white polymer on the other. Like all Honl Photo products, the Double Gobo is built to last and withstand the abuse that any gear has to face in the hands of professional photographers.
Similarly to the original Honl Photo Gobo / Bounce Card, the new light modifier does double duty, serving as a gobo and a reflector. However, the Double Speed Gobo / Reflector has got its name not because of the double duty, but because it is two times wider that the original gobo made by Honl Photo.
The design of the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector is quite simple and, in a way, elegant: it's basically two original gobos (hence the name) put together side by side and connected by sort of a hinge. Siamese twins come to mind, we cannot help it :).
While the original Honl Photo flag (gobo) is quite effective at blocking the light from flaring into you camera or falling onto the background, the Double Gobo is even better especially when you use a wide flash zoom setting. Also, as a reflector, the wider flash light modifier delivers softer light, since its surface is larger.
The image below shows how the "stray light" hits the Honl Photo bounce cards.
Since the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector has a hinge in the middle, it can wrap around a corner of your flash head. As a gobo, it helps blocking the light not only from one but two sides of the flash. This can be useful, for example, when you have a kicker or a hair light in a studio, or on location where the ceiling is relatively low. So, you want to make sure the light does not get into the lens and also does not bounce off of the ceiling.
You can achieve a similar result with two original Honl Photo gobos, but it can be hard to attach them in a way that there is no light leaks in-between.
When using the Double Gobo as a reflector, it can be very handy to block the flash light from one side. For example, you can bounce the light towards your subject, but prevent it from hitting the background. Another example would be taking pictures in a crowd, where you may want to shield one side of your flash to avoid blinding people along your side.
To attach to a flash head, all Honl Photo speedlight modifiers use a Speed Strap, a wide velcro strap that you can wrap around the flash head. The Honl Photo Speed Strap is sold separately, and it can be used to attach many other velcro-based accessories made by different manufacturers.
We found that the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector attaches very securely to the Speed Strap, thanks to the large velcro strips. However, when mounted flat, it is kind of wobbly. For the off-camera work, it's not an issue, but when used on camera, it's suboptimal. To be fair, the Double Speed Gobo is a good reflector, but it is not the best for, let's say, event photography.
An interesting way to use the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector is to slightly fold and tilt it forward. It is not designed to be used this way and the attachment to the velcro strap is not as secure, as in the proper positions. So, this configuration should be used primarily off-camera, but what you can achieve by doing this is more light directed towards the subject and less ceiling bounce. Also, the light is more directional.
The images below show the light patterns for both, the flat and titled, configurations.
There are several other reflectors of similar size on the market today. The first one that comes to mind is Rogue FlashBender because it can also bend. The image below shows the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector next to the Small FlashBender.
The FlashBender can be shaped in many different ways, and it gives you more options as a reflector, but it cannot be flipped over, like the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector, to be used as a flag.
Honl Photo makes two more flash reflectors of similar size: Light Paddle and Speed Snoot. The first one is super lightweight and was designed specifically for on-camera flash photography, the latter one is mainly a snoot, but it can be converted into a reflector.
The Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector folds flat, so you can stick it almost anywhere in your camera bag. You can keep the Speed Strap on your flash or wrap around the folded Double Gobo like it is shown in the image below.
To summarize, the new Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector is a durable high quality piece of flash photography gear. It works great as a flag with an extra feature of blocking the light from two sides of the flash rather than just one. If you're primarily looking for an on-camera speedlight bouncer, there are better options on the market, including the Honl Photo's own flash light modifiers. If you're looking for a nice flag that can also be a good off-camera reflector, the Honl Photo Double Speed Gobo / Reflector is for you.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.