MagMod 2 Basic Kit and MagGel Wallet review

Apr 27 2015

We have been using the MagMod light modifiers for about a year now. We often rely on them in dynamic shooting environments where we need to quickly change grids and gels. Last year, we reviewed the Basic MagMod Kit, which consists of MagGrip, MagGrid, and MagGel Kit (holder + 8 gel sheets). It also includes two free items: a band for radio transmitters and a carrying pouch. Listening to the user feedback, the folks at MagMod has recently released MagMod 2, an improved version of their magnetic accessories.

If you haven't done so yet, we recommend you to read our original MagMod review. Most of the things we said there are still valid today, so we won't repeat them here. Instead, we're going to focus on the differences and improvements. Additionally, we will review MagGel Wallet that was added to the MagMod family during the past year.

MagMod 2: family of products MagMod 2: MagGrid 2
MagMod 2: MagGel 2 MagMod 2: MagGrid 2, squished

Let's start with the packaging. Instead of each element being packaged separately, MagMod 2 Basic Kit comes in a new cool box, which features a small magnetic lock. So, fewer boxes is better for the environment ;-), and we will certainly reuse this box for small things around the studio, like cold shoes for speedlights, some adapters, etc.

MagMod 2: box MagMod 2: unboxed

The main improvement of the MagMod 2 family is the magnets. MagGrid 2 and MagGel 2 now feature stronger magnets to reduce the chances of being accidentally knocked off the flash. We didn't have any incidents like that, but we can see that stronger magnets is a positive thing overall. We do have a minor problem with the original MagMod, however. Sometimes the smaller magnets of the MagGel holder get pulled out when used in tandem with MagGrid (see our original MagMod review for more details). So, MagGel 2 and MagGrid 2 address the issue by having the magnets inserted from the side. This is a simple and elegant solution, and we are glad to see MagMod going down this route.

MagMod 2: side-loaded magnets vs. original MagMod 2: MagGrid 2 and MagGel 2 on a speedlight

MagGrip did not get the "version 2" designator, but it is also slightly improved. In fact, all MagMod 2 accessories, including MagGrip, use softer silicone rubber. They are still very durable, but MagGrip and the transmitter band now require a bit less force to stretch and, therefore, they are easier to put on a flash.

There are some other minor changes, like the colors of the pouch and the transmitter bands, which used to be yellow, and now they are gray and black respectively. Also, the pouch is larger and is made of a softer cloth.

Even though we really like the improvements of MagMod 2, there is a small disadvantage of the new design. When attaching the original MagGrid and MagGel speedlight modifiers, you knew that the magnets should be facing outward (toward your subject). With MagMod 2, you have a 50% chance of trying to attach the wrong side (polarity-wise). Obviously, the magnets will push you away, and all you need to do is to flip the MagGrid 2 or MagGel 2 over, which only takes a fraction of a second. However, we can see how this could become annoying over time. A possible fix would be to mark one side in some way (like painting or labeling it).

Moving on to MagGel Wallet, we have to say that it is a nice little gel storage made of high quality heavy-duty fabric. You can have your MagMod gel sheets in the carrying pouch that comes with the Basic Kit, but using the wallet makes the gels more accessible.

MagGel Wallet: 16 gels inside MagGel Wallet: slightly thicker than MagGrid 2

MagMod currently offers two sets of gels: Creative and Standard. The Standard set includes 8 color correction gels, and the Creative one consists of 8 gels for adding vivid colors to your photos. Both sets are quite useful, but we're looking forward to seeing more colors from MagMod in the future.

The image below shows the MagMod Creative Gel Set with two MagGel holders.

MagMod Creative Gel Set and two MagGel holders

The following images show two MagMod Basic Kits and the Creative Gel Set in use. In this tabletop setup, we were experimenting with different colors, and the MagMod accessories allowed us swapping the colors very quickly.

MagMod 2: using two Basic Kits, seashell
MagMod 2: using two Basic Kits, seashell, another angle
MagMod 2: using two Basic Kits, behind-the-scenes

MagGel Wallet unfolds in 4 sections and has 3 pockets. We found that each pocket could accommodate 4 to 6 gels. We were able to fit two complete MagMod gel sets into MagGel Wallet, but with 16 gels inside, closing it with the velcro was a bit tight.

In the following images, you can see MagGel Wallet next to the similar products on the market: Rogue Gel Kit and Honl Photo Gel Roll-up.

MagGel Wallet vs. Rogue vs. Honl Photo, closed MagGel Wallet vs. Rogue vs. Honl Photo, open

We found a minor flaw in the design of the top pocket. When trying to get the gel sheets out of the bottom pocket, you are likely to have the top part of the MagGel Wallet hanging down. When upside-down, the gels tend to slide out of the top pocket. So, you either need to be careful or simply not use the top pocket. We found that using the bottom two pockets and carrying 10-12 gels works best for us.

MagGel Wallet: gels slipping out of the top pocket

MagGel Wallet features a detachable strap. You can use it to attach the wallet to your belt, gear bag, light stand, etc. Even though we often put MagGel Wallet in a pocket, we found the strap to be quite handy, as well.

MagGel Wallet: strap

To summarize, MagMod is a system designed by photographers for photographers. Its stackable nature allows you to quickly combine and swap multiple gels and grids. MagMod 2 is a solid refresh of the MagMod family of products. The improved design of the magnets makes the use of MagGrid 2 and MagGel 2 better than ever. The updated silicon rubber is a nice touch, which aids usability, as well. The MagGel Wallet is a very handy little accessory despite its minor flaw in the design of the top pocket. The MagMod 2 speedlight modifiers are priced competitively, however, they are somewhat more expensive than other grid/gel solutions (including Rogue and Honl Photo). We can highly recommend MagMod 2 to all photography professionals and flash enthusiasts. (Check the current MagMod 2 prices below.)

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