Andrew Sydenham tests a flashgun accessory kit
Rogue FlashBender 2 Portable Lighting Kit at a glance:
- Suitable for off- and on-camera flash
- Fits all popular makes of Speedlite-type accessory flashguns
- Comprehensive set of reflectors, diffusers, grids and filter gels
- Price: £149.95
- Website: www.rogueflash.com
Whether you are an occasional flash user or an expert with multiple flash guns, this lighting kit has plenty to offer. Probably the most significant parts of the kit are the small and large reflectors with their optional diffusion panels. These turn your flashgun into a small but very effective soft box, perfect for on-camera use in social photography situations or in multiple flash portrait lighting. The 3-in-1 Flash Grid can be set up and used independently. With some consideration there is enough in this kit to equip four separate flash guns in a creative set-up, providing you are happy with only a gel filter on the fourth flash. As all the kit parts fold flat, the Rogue FlashBender 2 system can be packed very small and it fits perfectly into a 15in-laptop compartment of a camera bag.
The large reflector measures 267x280mm, and features some malleable rods inside the reflector skin, which can be sculpted to form a variety of shapes. You can bend these reflectors into practically any shape you wish, the variety of useful light-shaping orientations available is huge. You can vary how much light gets reflected forward and how much remains to bounce from the ceiling or other surface. You can even bend the reflector into a roll to create a snoot to add a spot of light on the background. These are unique features, but bear in mind that without the luxury of a modelling light you would have to work through multiple test shots to fine tune your lighting successfully.
I was impressed by the scope and range of the correction filters and gels included in the kit; each storage pouch has stiff card dividers and is printed with the equivalent Lee filter gel colour and f/ stop loss technical details. There are two rubber bands provided to secure the filters from the Combo Kit in place on the flash head, although I had initial doubts about their effectiveness, I have no reason to believe they won’t stay the course.
Rogue FlashBender 2 portable lighting kit – key features
FlashBender 2 reflectors use a flexible custom fabric to reduce weight and soften highlight reflections
The reflectors use a secure belt-and-buckle attachment system
Very compact kit with total weight of 540g (19oz)
Filters and gels
Extensive range of colour correction filters and coloured gels
Rogue FlashBender 2 portable lighting kit – our verdict
A small box with significant contents, an almost infinite amount of creative solutions are possible if you have the time and inclination to experiment. The reflectors, diffusion panels and grids are well made and would withstand a lot of use, surviving long after all the filter gels have split or been scratched to pieces. Once packed up in the two drawstring Cordura bags, the whole kit can be secreted away in a small camera bag, ready to spring into action when the opportunity arises.
SCORE: 4 out of 5
If you need something a little more sophisticated than on-camera flash, it’s always a good idea to carry a small portable soft box, such as this Honl Photo Traveller8 (£54), in your camera bag along with your speedlight. A combination along these lines will yield excellent results.