Rogue Grid review

Apr 14 2011
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Rogue Grid 3-in-1

Rogue Grid is a new and exciting addition to the Rogue FlashBender line of flash light modifiers. It allows you to focus the light of your hot shoe flash for uses such as background lighting, hair lights, or drawing attention to certain areas of your image.

Like all other FlashBenders, Rogue Grid is a top quality product. It is very well thought-out in terms of design and materials. It fits virtually any flash and it's built to last. It is also a very good-looking device, which is a plus for professional photographers who have to make sure their gear appeals to the clients.

Rogue Grid: front angle view Rogue Grid: no bezel, snoot/strap only
Rogue Grid: bezel, 25 degree insert and 45 degree insert Rogue Grid: included snoot for attaching to flash

Rogue Grid is a stacking system. It consists of a snoot/strap, bezel, and two honeycomb grid inserts. Using the inserts separately and stacking them together gives you three different spot sizes: 45°, 25° & 16°.

The bezel features three ridges corresponding to the grooves on the grid inserts, which makes the alignment of the inserts and assembly quick and easy.

Rogue Grid: bezel ridges for alignment Rogue Grid: grooves on the grid inserts for easy alignment
Rogue Grid: the bezel is made out of relatively soft plastic

To mount Rogue Grid onto a flash, you need to attach the included short snoot using its adjustable tension strap to the flash head. Then, you simply push the bezel (with the insert(s) already being inside) onto the end of the snoot, and tuck the edges of the snoot under the outer ring of the bezel. While this may sound a bit complicated, in reality, it is an easy task that doesn't require much practice. The bezel fits very snugly and is not likely to fall off during normal use, which is demonstrated in the following video.

Rogue FlashBender Grid comes with a small pouch, where you can keep all the parts together. Alternatively, you can pack the bezel (with the inserts) and the attachment separately, in which case, they will take even less space in your gear bag.

If you already have one of the Rogue FlashBender reflectors, you can also use it as a mounting base for your Rogue Grid (instead of the included snoot). The following three images show the bezel attached to the included snoot, the Small and the Large Rogue FlashBender reflectors.

Rogue Grid: attached with the included snoot/strap
Rogue Grid: attached with Small Rogue FlashBender Rogue Grid: attached with Large Rogue FlashBender

As it was shown in Honl Photo Speed Grid test, the actual spot produced by a grid may depend on the flash zoom value you set. Our tests show that it is not the case with Rogue Grid. The spot it creates practically stays the same throughout a typical flash zoom range. The important thing to note, however, is that wider flash zoom values cause more light loss. In our tests with Canon Speedlite 580EX II, depending on the grid inserts used, the light loss was up to 1.5 f-stops when going from 105mm to 24mm. So, our recommendation is to use the longest zoom end of your flash to make your flash batteries last longer.

Compared to other flash grids on the market (like, for example, Honl Photo Speed Grid or Speedlight Pro Kit grids), Rogue Grid has a big advantage of offering three devices in one package, which also makes it more expensive. It is much less expensive, however, than what you pay for the alternatives to get the same variety of lighting options.

It might be worth mentioning that it can take longer to attach Rogue Grid to a flash than other grids, but it still can be done well under 30 seconds. So, for the majority of photographers, any time difference here is really negligible.

Rogue Grid: compared to Honl Photo Speed Grid Rogue Grid: compared to Speedlight Pro Kit grid

Please also note that the attachment of Rogue Grid can not only be used as a short snoot but also it can serve as a small bounce card/reflector. It can be compared to a built-in catchlight card of a modern flash gun, but with a better horizontal frame coverage, due to the shape of the reflector. So, if your flash does not feature a catchlight card, this can be a real bonus for you. The image below compares Rogue Grid's attachment to the bounce card of Canon Speedlite 580EX II flash.

Rogue Grid: the grid attachment snoot used as a bounce card, compared to built-in catchlight card

Rogue Grid can be used with different color gel systems and holders, like, for example, LumiQuest FXtra or Honl Photo filters. The images below were taken with the grid set to 16, 25 & 45 degrees, while the flash was gelled using FXtra gel holder.

Rogue Grid: 16 degree example, with LumiQuest FXtra
Rogue Grid: 25 degree example, with LumiQuest FXtra Rogue Grid: 45 degree example, with LumiQuest FXtra

To conclude, ExpoImaging has come up with another high-quality product that offers versatility and style. The 3-in-1 grid solution offers you a choice of lighting options for focusing the light from your hot shoe flash and, as a bonus feature, the attachment system can be used as a small bounce reflector. For longer lasting flash batteries, make sure you set your flash zoom to the longest position. Compact and portable, Rogue Grid comes with a carrying pouch and easily fits into a typical gear bag.

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