Rogue Diffusion Panels review

Found in: ReviewsExpoImaging
Feb 01 2012
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Rogue FlashBender LARGE Diffusion Panel
Rogue FlashBender SMALL Diffusion Panel
Rogue LARGE Kit (FlashBender + Diffusion Panel)
Rogue SMALL Kit (FlashBender + Diffusion Panel)

Rogue FlashBender Reflectors seem to be gaining popularity among photographers around the globe. They are bendable and, therefore, provide a high degree of flexibility (for more information please refer to Rogue FlashBender Positionable Reflectors review). With the recent release of Rogue Diffusion Panels, they have become even more versatile. The Diffusion Panels are easy to use accessories for the FlashBenders that turn them into portable softboxes. They come in two sizes to fit the Large and Small FlashBender Reflectors (each size is sold separately).

Rogue Diffusion Panels: front angle view, small and large Rogue Diffusion Panels: side view, small and large

The Rogue Diffusion Panel simply attaches to the front of a FlashBender Reflector with velcro, and its bottom tab goes under the reflector's strap.

Rogue Diffusion Panels: top attachment Rogue Diffusion Panels: bottom tab

Even though these accessories are very simple, we really liked that the creators had put quite some thoughts into the design. There is a patch at the bottom portion of the diffusion screen to eliminate the hotspot. The top flap of the panel has a short nylon rod in it to ensure the whole assembly does not collapse flat when installed. There are also nylon rods along the top and bottom edges of the diffusion material to help the panel hold the shape. Finally, there is a silver reflector built into the top flap to improve light efficiency and distribution. All these elements of the design add up to the great usability of Rogue FlashBender Diffusion Panels.

Rogue Diffusion Panels: short metal rod inside the top flap Rogue Diffusion Panels: top, side view, close up
Rogue Diffusion Panels: silver reflector, inside Rogue Diffusion Panels: bottom opening

Adding a Diffusion Panel to your FlashBender Reflector allows you to achieve two things: softer light (due to more even light across the surface of the light modifier) and more controlled light spill (just like a regular softbox).

The two images below show the light distribution across the Large Diffusion Panel (left) and the surface of a bare Large FlashBender (right). You can see that the panel is evenly lit, whereas the reflector shows a distinct hotspot.

Rogue Diffusion Panels: even light across the whole surface, 24mm flash zoom Rogue Diffusion Panels: hot spot with no panel installed

The following three images are taken with a Large FlashBender Reflector and Rogue Diffusion Panel combo (top left), bare Large FlashBender Reflector (top right), and LumiQuest Softbox III diffuser (bottom). You can see that the light fall-off pattern of the Diffusion Panel is very similar to the one of a regular softbox.

Rogue Diffusion Panels: against a wall, light falloff with panel Rogue Diffusion Panels: against a wall, light falloff without panel
Rogue Diffusion Panels: against a wall, LumiQuest Softbox III for comparison purposes

An important thing to remember when using Rogue Diffusion Panels is to switch your flash to manual zoom and set it to the widest value (typically 24mm). The three images below are taken with a flash set to the same manual power value and the flash zoom varying from 24mm (top left), to 50mm (top right), and then to 105mm (bottom).

Rogue Diffusion Panels: light distribution, 24mm flash zoom Rogue Diffusion Panels: light distribution, 50mm flash zoom, 1.5-stop more light loss
Rogue Diffusion Panels: light distribution, 105mm flash zoom, 2.5-stop more light loss

You can see that the light quality does not differ much, but the light output changes dramatically. At 50mm flash zoom, you lose roughly 1.5 of f-stop, and going to 105mm will cost you about 2.5 of f-stop compared to 24mm. So, we highly recommend paying attention to your flash zoom; otherwise, you'll be draining your batteries much faster. This is especially important for Canon shooters, because most Canon flash guns go to 50mm zoom position when tilted and left in auto zoom mode.

Another concern we originally had was the opening at the bottom of the Rogue FlashBender Reflector / Diffusion Panel assembly. The question was how much light would leak through the bottom especially considering the presence of the silver reflector at the top of the panel. A quick measurement showed that the difference between the leaking and main light was at least 4 f-stops. This means the spilled light has virtually no chance to ruin your lighting setup.

The two images below demonstrate how the final result may differ when you attach a Rogue Diffusion Panel. You can see that the shadows behind the subject are lighter with the bare reflector (left image) because they are filled by the light bounced off of the ceiling. In the right image, the shadows are darker (since the ceiling bounce does not contribute to the scene anymore), but the shadow edges are noticeably softer.

Rogue Diffusion Panels: portrait example, no panel, ceiling bounce Rogue Diffusion Panels: portrait example with panel, softer shadow edges

To sum up, if you have Rogue FlashBenders, you can get even more use out of them by purchasing Rogue Diffusion Panels. The panels are thoughtfully designed, well-built, and easy to work with. They effortlessly turn your FlashBender Reflectors into softboxes providing softer light when you need it.

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