Update: Rogue Diffusion Panels
In this article, we review two members of Rogue FlashBender family of products - Small Positionable Reflector (best flash diffuser rating: 8.96) and Large Positionable Reflector (best flash diffuser rating: 8.89). Please note that Rogue FlashBender Bounce Card is reviewed separately.
At the core of the FlashBender system lie coiled steel rods that allow the diffusers to take numerous shapes. The rods are very durable and built to last. The smaller FlashBender features two positionable metal rods instead of three ones found on the larger reflector. Two rods are sufficient enough for the smaller surface. It does not really affect functionality, but reduces the weight significantly.
The smaller version of FlashBender Reflector weighs 3oz (85g), and the larger one is about twice as heavy - it is about 6oz (163g). Heads on some flash units (like, for example, on Metz Mecablitz 48 AF-1) do not lock at tilt positions other than horizontal and/or vertical. Therefore, if you try to use Large FlashBender Reflector while setting the head tilt between horizontal and vertical positions, the head of such a flash unit may not be able to support it. The flash head is likely to slide down to horizontal position due to the weight of the diffuser. For the majority of flashes, however, this should not be a real issue.
All diffusers in the FlashBender family share the same attachment design, which we believe is one of the best ones on the market today. It is a built-in belt with a non-slip inner side and and an elastic Velcro fastener on the outer side. The belt ensures a secure grip, ease use, and it also eliminates the necessity of carrying around a separate attachment strap.
Both FlashBender Reflectors can be used on- and off-camera, but the Large one is more suitable for off-camera tasks because of its size and weight.
As mentioned, FlashBenders can be shaped in multiple ways to achieve different lighting effects. They can be used as bounce cards, flags/gobos, barn doors, snoots, and more. You can, for instance, curve them to get better horizontal light coverage, which is useful for group shots. Bending the top part toward your subject improves vertical light distribution and can be useful for full length portraits.
In a situation when bouncing off of a ceiling is not an option (high or colored ceiling, or an outdoor setup), you can tilt your FlashBender Reflector forward to reflect all the light coming from your flash unit. This way the flash does not have to work as hard as in a vertical reflector position saving battery power and re-charging faster between the bursts .
Flattening a FlashBender allows you to use it as a flag, which is handy when you want to light your background and prevent the light from getting into the camera's lens. By bending one or two sides of the reflector, you can block the light from spilling to the sides of the flash if this is desired for your shot.
Despite the multitude of the ways one can bend these positionable reflectors, the majority of users will probably end up using just a few configurations, but the important thing is that with Rogue FlashBenders, there is quite some room to get creative if and when you need it.
Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector measures approximately 10” x 7” (254mm x 178mm), and Rogue FlashBender Large Reflector is about 10” x 11” (254mm x 280mm). The effective working surfaces are smaller and measure 9" x 5" (229mm x 127mm) and 9" x 9" (229mm x 229mm), respectively.
Both FlashBender Reflectors feature small Velcro pads along the edges that allow you turning them into snoots. The Small Reflector makes a short snoot for a bigger light spot, while the Large Reflector, being a longer snoot, can be used to produce a narrower beam of light. The following images compare Rogue FlashBenders and Honl Photo Speed Snoot/Reflector (8") shaped as snoots (left) and as reflectors (right).
The left sample image below is taken with Rogue FlashBenders Large Reflector used as a reflector with no ceiling bounce. The flash is on camera, which is positioned about 4 feet from the subject.
The right example is taken with two flash units. One flash is to the left of the camera with Small FlashBender bent as a snoot, and the other flash is on the opposite side, next to the subject, with Large FlashBender shaped as a flat bounce card (no ceiling bounce).
In conclusion, Rogue FlashBenders Reflectors are versatile and easy to use flash light modifiers. Their unique bendable design gives you plenty of lighting options. You can use them in a simple manner, as bounce cards or snoots, and you can also be creative and come up with various shapes that serve best for your particular task. FlashBenders are well designed and built. The larger version may be too heavy for some flashes in some applications, but the smaller reflector works with virtually any flash gun. So, if you are looking for a high quality bounce card that leaves room for creativity (including using it as a snoot), Rogue FlashBender Reflectors can be a very attractive option.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.