Promaster Universal Flash Bounce Reflector review

Jan 08 2011
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Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector

Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector (best flash diffuser rating: 8.54) is a handy flash accessory that allows you to improve the light quality of you hot shoe flash. It folds flat and is very portable due to its compact size of 7" x 6.5" (18cm x 16.5cm). It is made of thin but durable plastic, which is likely to last for many years. The reflector is well-suited for on-camera flash application, but it can also be used off-camera (for the off-camera tasks, however, you would probably want something bigger, like, for instance, LumiQuest Softbox LTp)

When on a flash, Promaster Reflector is titled about 30 degrees forward (from the vertical position), redirecting the most of the light towards the subject, while the rest of the light is bounced off of the ceiling (for indoor shots). It's hard to specify the exact ratio between the bounce and forward portions of light, and it may actually vary depending on the size of your flash, but the ceiling bounce does have an effect on the photos making the shadows look lighter. The side flaps help better distribute the light horizontally, which is useful for wider angle shots.

Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: mounted on a wide side of the flash head Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: folded flat for storage
Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: product name on one of the attachment tabs

The attachment of Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector is simple: Velcro tabs and a Velcro strap. It fits virtually any flash gun on the market. Unlike many other straps we've seen so far (Honl Photo Speed Strap, for example), the strap included with this unit does not have a sticky surface, but it is stretchable. Similarly to LumiQuest UltraStrap, it applies tension to the flash head to deliver a sufficient grip. The strap has a gap between two Velcro pieces sewn onto it. Therefore, when attaching to a flash, make sure the gap does not get in the way, and the reflector attaches securely.

Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: attachment strap, gap between Velcros

Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector is designed to be attached to a wider side of the flash head. However, we find that it works pretty well when attached to a narrow side instead. Mounting on a narrow side of a flash head allows you switching from portrait to landscape camera orientation without a flash bracket. The image below shows the Promaster Reflector attached to Nikon Speedlight SB-600 while the camera is in the portrait position.

Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: portrait camera orientation, mounted on a narrow side of the flash

When attached to a flash, the "working" surface of Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector is about 6" x 6.5" (15cm x 16.5cm). The following images show the Promaster unit side by side with LumiQuest Quik Bounce, Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector, Honl Photo Speed Reflector, and Aurora MINI/MAX Quick Bounce Card.

Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: compared to LumiQuest Quik Bounce Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: compared to Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector
Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: compared to Honl Photo Speed Reflector Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: compared to Aurora MINI/MAX Quick Bounce Card

Our tests show that there is no tremendous difference in the results when using various flash zoom settings with Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector. It means that you don't really have to worry about changing the flash zoom with this reflector (unlike, for example, with LumiQuest Softbox III). However, there is a slight variance in the light quality, so we would still recommend switching to manual zoom mode and setting your flash to 24mm for best results.

The images below compare direct flash (top image) with Promaster Universal Bounce Reflector mounted on a wide and narrow sides of a flash (bottom left and right images, respectively). The camera is positioned about 4 feet (1.2 meters) from the subject. The flash is on camera, and the flash zoom is set to 24mm. The background is about 8 inches (20 cm) behind the subject.

Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector review: direct flash reference image
Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: portrait example, reflector is mounted on a wide side of the flash Promaster Universal Bounce Flash Reflector: portrait example, reflector is mounted on a narrow side of the flash

Above, you can see that the images produced by Promaster Reflector show significant improvement over the direct flash. The difference between the wide and narrow side images is not very profound. The wide side image, however, appears to have shadows with somewhat softer edges.

In conclusion, Promaster Bounce Reflector is a very portable flash bouncer that significantly improve light quality in close range shots. The universal attachment makes it usable with a wide range of flashes. Durable design will allow you to use this flash accessory for years to come.

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





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