Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit review

May 07 2013
Rogue FlashBender XL Pro Lighting Kit

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit has joined the Rogue FlashBender family of flash light modifiers as the largest FlashBender yet. It is primarily designed for off-camera lighting, but in certain cases, it can be used on the camera, as well. Rogue XL reflector is a scaled up version of Large Rogue Reflector. You can shape Rogue XL just like any other FlashBender achieving a variety of lighting effects. (See our Rogue FlashBender Positionable Reflector review for more details). In addition, Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit includes three attachments: a silver/black panel, a softbox, and a stripbox. On top of that, the width of Rogue XL can be varied for more lighting options when it's used as a stripbox.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: reflector, front Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: reflector, back

The included softbox attachment is a Rogue Diffusion panel that is sold separately for other FlashBender models/sizes. It easily attaches to the reflector with velcro, and a couple of snap fasteners keeps the whole assembly shaped for optimal light distribution.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: softbox, front Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: softbox, snap fastener

When using speedlight accessories (and softboxes in particular), it is often important to pay attention to the zoom setting of your flash. (See, for instance, our LumiQuest Softbox III test.) With Rogue XL, it is less of an issue because the light distribution is quite even across the face of the diffusion panel at all zoom setting except for 24mm, when the hotspot is more distinct. We detected very small variance in light distribution and total light output using different flash zoom settings. However, if we needed to pick the one that works the best for all cases, we would recommend using 50 mm.

Rogue XL reflector measures 13x16" (33x41 cm), so it is comparable to flash light diffusers like, for example, Honl Photo traveller 16 or LumiQuest Softbox LTp. The following images demonstrate the size differences.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: compared to Honl Photo traveller 16 softbox Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: compared to LumiQuest Softbox LTp

The image below shows that Rogue XL is significantly bigger than the popular Large FlashBender reflector.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: compared to Large FlashBender

The silver accessory is useful when you need more specular highlights and a bit of extra kick in light output. Flipping the attachment turns your Rogue XL reflector into a large flag/gobo when you need to control the light spill of your speedlight.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: silver attachment Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: black attachment, flag

The stripbox attachment of Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit is probably what most photographers will be excited about. In a matter of seconds, you can have a stripbox, and you can tailor its width to the needs of your photo shoot.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: strip box, back Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: strip box, front

To be honest, it was not obvious to us how to change the width of the stripbox. Without spending too much time thinking about it, we turned to the included booklet and found the answer right away. We found the solution is quite clever: to reduce the width, you need to fasten the velcro hooks across the top of the strip diffuser to the top of the reflector, as shown in the images below. The more hooks you fasten, the narrower the strip light you will get.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: narrow strip box Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: how to control the strip box width

Below, you can see two examples of using Rogue XL stripbox. As shown in the corresponding behind the scene shots, one image is captured with the stripbox and a Rogue Grid with "Just Blue" filter from a Rogue Gels set.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: using strip box and gelled grid
Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: behind the scenes, using strip box and gelled grid

The second setup utilized only the Rogue XL in the narrow stripbox configuration. You can see how nicely the light falls off around the edges.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: using narrow strip box
Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: behind the scenes, using narrow strip box

The following series of images show how Rogue XL throws the light towards the subject in the four main configurations: a reflector, a softbox, a wide stripbox, and a narrow stripbox. You can see that the light quality varies quite a bit giving you plenty of options for fine-tuning your lighting.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: reflector, light distribution Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: softbox, light distribution
Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: wide strip box, light distribution Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: narrow strip box, light distribution

Besides the flash zoom setting, there is one more thing you need to keep in mind when using Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit with flashes that do not lock in the vertical flash head position, such as Nissin Di866 II or LumoPro LP160. Rogue XL weighs about 13 oz (360 g), which is not a lot for a light modifier. Since it sits high on the flash head, it may force the head to slam down when you tilt the flash forward. A simple solution to this issue is to strap the FlashBender at the hinge level rather than the top of the head. The light quality is not significantly affected by this, but you will be able to freely move your flash around during your shoot.

Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit: attaching at the hinge level

Even though Rogue XL is quite large compared to the other FlashBender family members, it should easily fit in most camera bags. You can certainly slip it into your laptop pocket or bend it and fit into other sections of your bag or case.

To sum up, Rogue XL Pro Lighting Kit is yet another great photography tool from ExpoImaging. It gives you more lighting options than any other FlashBender. Whether in studio or on location, it is a tool that in no time, allows you go from a softbox or a stripbox to a flag or a reflector.

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


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