Rosco Thinks Big by Thinking Small

Okay, so maybe I am predisposed to like this new gel kit, what with that catchy name and all. But this was the result of a very organic collaboration between a web community and an existing business, in which we were both the problem and the solution.

Basically, too much of a good thing almost made the good thing go away. Then we saved it by making the good thing better.

More, inside.

A Little Backstory

Rosco has long had a sample program, wherein they give away packs of gels that are sized to do a serviceable job as small flash gels.

As long as you extend them a little (and don't mind the spindle hole) you can surf the whole rainbow for free if you can get your mitts on a pack or two. This program chugged along just fine, with the sample packs serving as a nice gateway drug for the full-sized, $7 20x24-inch sheets.

After all, how useful is a sample gel for a ProPhoto shooter? Not very.

But people were always quietly using the sample packs for small flashes, holes or no holes. You'd use the "good" gels and chuck the rest. A little wasteful, but what the hell -- they're free, right?

And that works fine, as long as some bonehead doesn't come along and send a gazillion people emailing in for free sample packs. Which is exactly what happened.

They went from losing an acceptable amount of money to losing way, way too much money on the free samples. Just because the gels were free to us does not mean they were free for Rosco. Ditto the multiple, full-time positions they had dedicated to cutting and assembling them. (Heck, I thought they had, like, a replicator or something ... )

So, about a year ago the sample program was put on the chopping block. Which was, of course, the worst possible outcome. So I got in touch with a man named Joel Svendsen at Rosco, and we put our heads together to come up with a solution.

The Strobist Collection

So, there it is. There are 55 gels in all -- multiple copies of the really useful ones, with no holes. (Only single copies are shown here, for illustration of color selection.) The kit is $9.95, suggested retail price. And while $9.95 is not as good as free, free was not going to keep happening.

There have been several parties -- individuals like Mason Trullinger and stores like MPEX -- buying big gels and cutting them into kits for resale. But the scale was not sufficient to offset the problem of the demand for increasingly expensive free samples.

With this kit (not free but still chump change on the photo gear scale) we go from nearly exploiting a situation to death to sustaining it. I think this is a fantastic solution by Rosco, as they were full ready to kill the sample program before we got them to think about it differently.

Because of the multiple copies of the most-used gels, one kit should last several times longer than a typical sample pack. And this is an honest transactional model which is sustainable for Rosco, for photo retailers and for small-flash photographers.

Plus, I'm gonna make an absolute killing in licensing fees.


Actually I am not getting any money from Rosco, because licensing fees paid by them at the OEM level would be roughly tripled by the time they were passed through a distributor and on to retail. Futher, Strobist has committed to advertising support for the project in the form of 3,000,000 free pageviews for a banner ad for the packs. I want to see them succeed and I hope you'll support them, too.

Which Colors, and Why

A lot of thought went into the color and frequency selection, and I think we did a good job with it.

Five each:

• Full-cut, half and quarter CTO's and CTB's. In addition to their primary use as light balancing gels, this provides a calibrated warm-up/cool-down capability. Additionally, they offset each other (in identical strengths) for cool/warm dual lighting. Where both lights hit, the light is neutral, but shadows from each light are warm or cool. (Neat building blocks for cool portraiture or conceptual product/still life. CTO's and CTB's are among the most useful gels in the Rosco library.

• Rosco 08 - The classic gel for skin on a key light. Once you shoot skin with a slight warming gel, you will never go back. I go back and forth between this and a 1/8 CTO, but I think the #08 is better. Leave your camera WB on daylight and warm the key light. Why warm the whole frame, ambient and all, by WB'ing to flash setting? Warm just the subject and leave those background skies blue.

• Tough Plusgreen - For balancing with cool fluorescents. In a pinch, this can be combined with varying degrees of CTO warming gels (see above) to balance with warmer fluorescents.

[NOTE: In this setup, your photos would be warm, overall. But the flash and FL's would be consistent, which is the important thing. You then shift it all to neutral in post. And besides, I have a an idea for an all-in solution for flash and *any* color of light source coming shortly. Stay tuned.]

Two each:

• N9, N6 and N15 neutral density (ND) filters -- These will make any manual flash more useful. In 1/2-, 2- and 3-stop strengths, you can turn a full-power-only eBay special flash into a useful unit. Also, flashes with full-stop manual setting (Vivitar 285, LumoPro LP120, etc.) get partial-stop fine tuning. Most important, you can now take any variable-manual flash way down below 1/128th power, for killing unneeded power for close-up work.

One each:

Sometimes you gotta add a little more cowbell to kick it up a notch. While I had a strong hand in choosing the above gels, the folks at Rosco took the lead on selecting nine different colors for adding strong effects when you need them. These guys know color and lighting, and I happily deferred to their expertise here.

UPDATE: Even tho the Rosco site lists them as 1"x3", they are actually 1.5"x3.25". This is straight from the horse's mouth. FWIW, Rosco mistakenly forwarded the dimensions of an old sample pack when doing the page. Please use the bigger measurement when checking to see if the gels will cover your particular model of strobe.

Available Now

Rosco already has a network of U.S. dealers stocking the gels, and you can see where to get them (and the colors they chose for the effects gels) here. In the UK/EU, The Flash Centre will be carrying them too. I'll post a link when they are up and running.

Thanks for helping to spread the word. And if your local dealer carries Rosco gels, feel free to suggest that they consider us small-flash shooters and get onboard.


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Blogger Kevin Barber said...

Very cool! The only thing that would make it better is to include some sort of mount for holding them on the flash.

August 28, 2009 12:22 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Darn, i wish they has CTS in addition/ instead!

August 28, 2009 12:32 PM  
Blogger Skavoovie said...


Always wanted a reasonable happy-medium priced product like this for those of us doing this as a hobby on a shoe-string budget!

...and the container looks to have been well thought-out as well -- fitting perfectly in my camera bag!

August 28, 2009 12:36 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Perfect :) I saw the banner, and bookmarked the link. Definitely a useful product. I'll probably pick up a pack. The case they come in is a definite plus! Good work Rosco & Dave!

August 28, 2009 12:49 PM  
Blogger Steve Perks said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent!
I had been waiting in vain for my Roscoe sample pack to arrive.

I'll be ordering a set as soon as they are available in the UK!

August 28, 2009 12:50 PM  
Blogger rovingrooster said...

Will there be any Canadian distribution? The uncertainty of duty and currency exchange really makes cross border shopping a drag. I've found a purchase from a major Canadian web store to be much more hassle-free. I'd really appreciate if you could mention this to Mr. Joel Svendsen at Rosco.

You have a large Canadian following on Strobist. Thanks.


August 28, 2009 12:56 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

About time! I'm going to order a couple now so I can finally throw out the tore up sample books.

August 28, 2009 12:58 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

What would be really cool would be a side tag (which could somehow double as a fixing mechanism?) with the name on it. That way you can store your 1/4, 1/2 and full CTO's all together in the neat little box provided and not have get them all out to work out which is which.

August 28, 2009 12:59 PM  
Blogger David said...


UK will hopefully be within the next few days.


Yes, Canada is in the pipeline.

August 28, 2009 12:59 PM  
Blogger Juha Ylitalo said...

1"x3"sounds pretty small without any kind of holder that would block extra light.
I took quick measurements from my Canon 580EX II and it looks that flash head alone is something like 1.5"x3" (4x7.5cm).

August 28, 2009 1:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


Are the gels longer? And are they labeled?

August 28, 2009 1:03 PM  
Blogger Grand Bend Strip said...

That's a duh moment that should have been considered long before getting rid of the sample program. I think anyone would have (and will) pay the small fee to get the useful materials. I found the sample packs a pain in the butt to use for flash, so I gave up a long time ago. This is much better. Free (anything) is dead.

August 28, 2009 1:05 PM  
Blogger GaryThom said...

Fantastic news!

August 28, 2009 1:06 PM  
Blogger Saad said...

What an awesome idea! Will these be available in Australia?

August 28, 2009 1:08 PM  
Blogger The Hopeful Photographer said...

Great idea - I just added one to my B&H order (I wonder how many of these get sold in the first week?).


August 28, 2009 1:15 PM  
Blogger :: Emily Williams :: said...

Too bad we can't order them directly from Rosco - or am I missing something? I just clicked on the banner and saw the detailed product despription on their site but not "buy here" link - only the list of locations carrying them. Would be much easier to just click, click, pay, done...

August 28, 2009 1:17 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

any great suggestions for a mount to hold them in front of the flash unit?

August 28, 2009 1:19 PM  
Blogger Konrad said...

This is a great product that I am sure will be popular in the hot-shoe flash community. A distributor that would ship internationally on the cheap would be useful. B&H shipping to South Africa starts at $46.25 for the gel pack - ridiculous for a small, lightweight, $9.95 item that is not fragile. It does not have to be courier shipping, posting it in a bubble wrap padded envelope like DealExtreme does would be great (DealExtreme ship internationally for free). I would buy one or two gels packs, but not at B&H shipping prices.

August 28, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger Christian said...

@ Joe:

Velcro works great on both ends of the gels, stuck to the velcro on your flash head.

August 28, 2009 1:32 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I think this is a great idea! Kudos!

I had been atoning for my free-pack sins by buying a few large sheets of gels now and then - but this is simply a much better solution for small flash users.

SUGGESTION: If this kit catches on as well as it shoudl, perhaps you and Rosco could get together and figure out a way to add something to the packs to allow easy attachment of the gels (e.g. some velcro pads, adhesive magnets - SOMETHING - to make the kit truly useful.)

Failing that, perhaps there is some enterprising Strobist out there that will create an inexpensive holder for various flash units targeted at these gels.


Tony Puerzer

August 28, 2009 1:35 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Thanks David and Rosco!

August 28, 2009 1:36 PM  
Blogger brad said...

I have the same question as Joe. How do you mount these?

August 28, 2009 1:39 PM  
Blogger Quan said...

i use clearing masking tape to adhere the gel to the flash. Works in a pinch and doesn't leave any sticky residue.

just ordered my set from mpex. can't wait as the sample pack was a bit large and unwieldy to carry around. hopefully these gels come with the same paper gels that describe each gel as the sample pack does.

August 28, 2009 1:50 PM  
Blogger Ben Zvan said...

I met with Joel earlier this week and I've been playing with one of these packs and I'm pretty impressed at the versatility. The only thing I'd ask for is a few more of the oddball colors for psychedelic lighting effects. Maybe another small pack?

August 28, 2009 1:52 PM  
Blogger Andy Frazer said...

This is great for people who use a standard flash for their lighting. But this size of gel is usually too small for flashlights, which are preferred by night photographers. I wish they would offer another packet with larger gels, maybe 3"x3" each.

Of course, you can always take to small gels of similar color and stick them together...

August 28, 2009 1:54 PM  
Blogger kaziutek said...

that's crazy. a store in my state charges $12 for shipping. i wonder how long it will take for the first ebay listing with free shipping.

August 28, 2009 1:56 PM  
Blogger Pakwa said...

Yes, that's great. Or you can buy what we've been buying for years for $2.00 from B&H and such:
Rosco Cinegel Swatchbook - 1.75 x 2.75".
Like the name says, it's a collection of all the gel made by Roscoe.

August 28, 2009 2:07 PM  
Blogger Mutt said...

The Flash Centre in the UK are taking pre-orders for the Gel sets right now. The sets will cost £7.99 inc VAT.

August 28, 2009 2:08 PM  
Blogger Chris Hoffman said...

Thank you for negotiating this.
$10 is a very reasonable price for this.

Everyone wins here!!

August 28, 2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger Charles Verghese said...

Hey...what about Dubai? Could you work something out with Rosco & Gulf Photo Plus?

I know...I know...what is Dubai in the bigger picture?? Oh well, worth a try though, eh?

Seriously though, I would like to know how I could get my hands on a set (or two).


August 28, 2009 2:24 PM  
Blogger David said...

@Joe, Tony and Brad-

Most people use tape. Some will use these.


That's nuts! (But shipping international is expensive and inherently risky for sender and receiver.) Rosco is trying to roll out international distribution. As I said, best bet is to talk with your local dealers.


Dunno on the 580. Will check.


True, but that is just a pre-order. Will post when they are stocked.


Where is Dubai? Is that in Europe somewhere?


August 28, 2009 2:44 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Finally, a simple, easy to find solution. After initially reading lighting 101, I went down to the only local(30 minutes away) photography supplier and wanted to buy Gels. I had two choices MPEX gel pack for $20 or Honl pack (which has a great design) for $35. Being new I thought "oh cool, the MPEX gel pack says strobist on it and it's almost half the price." Then I got home and started comparing color names with the lighting 101 material. No luck, none of them matched. I get paid once a month, so I had to wait for the next month's expendable income to purchase a kit from a very kind Ebay merchant. Long story short, this sounds like a great idea and will be welcome news to future strobist newbs who will never know the frustration of asking their local photo shops for color correction gels, and getting the blank stare from hades. Great Idea. Love it. I will encourage my not-so-local photography supplier to carry them.

August 28, 2009 3:19 PM  
Blogger Jon-Mark said...

Great idea David, this could be an invaluable addition to my arsenal.

Question for you or anyone, what is the best way to attatch one of these gels to my 580 EXII ? ( Or any flash for that matter ) I'm not experienced with gels and would not know how to go about attatching them to my flash.

August 28, 2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger FrancoisM said...

For those wondering how to attach the gel on a flash, this page might be usefull:


August 28, 2009 3:44 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great news, I want it only for this #08 gel for portraits!
Silly question, are they labelled so an idiot like me can tell the difference?

I've got some gels off eBay here in the UK and wrap a ball bungee round my flash head as the 'velcro'. It does mangle the ends but the bit that covers the flash fine.

August 28, 2009 3:58 PM  
Blogger Silver Image said...

I wish they'd gona a little larger to fit strobes like the sumpak 611 & 622. Those aren't dead yet, and I use 5 of them. The zoom head on the 622 is considerably larger than the 1" height of these gels. If they made them a little larger, they could easily be cut down for smaller flashes.

August 28, 2009 4:08 PM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

I was surprised to find B&H were now 'selling' them last week when they had always been free.

What an amazing compliment to you David, that this has happened! I didn't mind the price by the way. The entire sample pack is only $1.75 (still)

August 28, 2009 4:36 PM  
Blogger David said...

SIZE UPDATE: For all who asked, even tho the Rosco site lists them as 1"x3", they are actually 1.5"x3.25". This is straight from the horse's mouth.

FWIW, Rosco mistakenly forwarded the dimensions of an old sample pack when doing the page. Please use the bigger measurement when checking to see if the gels will cover your particular model of strobe.

August 28, 2009 4:44 PM  
Blogger Rikk said...

Here is a home-brew DIY kit I made for the original sample packs. I wager it could be adapted. It works great for reuse of gels and doesn't cut much light or area.

August 28, 2009 4:47 PM  
Blogger Jim3535 said...

Good to see this finally take shape. I have been using the MPEX kit and sample pack, but this looks like a great solution. I'll probably buy one or two just for the convenience and case.

It would be cool to see a special effect type version of the pack for some of the more oddball colors. Then there would be no reason to get a sample pack.

I would also love to see some kind of label on them. I normally write what they are with a sharpie, but printed on would be nicer.

August 28, 2009 4:58 PM  
Blogger András said...

The pack is great, but imagine being able to select the colors you want online, and order them in the neat little box with STROBIST written on it. Heck, Rosco could make a "Best Of" board, to see who's config sold the most...

August 28, 2009 5:25 PM  
Blogger Nap said...

This is great news! When I first visited a few years ago and saw the Rosco sample pack post, I thought to myself "Rosco must be hating David for encouraging people to get sample packs... for free!" At least it finally turned out to be a win-win situation for both parties - and for the strobist community in general.

August 28, 2009 6:52 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

You have been able to get Gel packs from for ages. You can get them with and without velcro patches for attaching to your flash head. There are two sets - a colour correction pack with 50 gels (5xCTO/CTB/etc) and an effects pack with lots of different colours. The price is a little higher than the ROSCO pack but it has more gels. They ship internationally for very reasonable rates (I'm in Australia) and are quick and easy to order.

August 28, 2009 7:04 PM  
Blogger carlos benjamin - said...

Great sounding package. Multiples of the workhorses and a few FX gels tossed in.

For those asking about mounting, you can use clear packing tape to extend each end. This would also allow you to embed the gel info on a small, printed paper sealed between the sticky sides of the tape (a la Dave Honl's gels).

If you're using a speed strap you can pull the tape edges down over the flash and wrap the speed strap around to hold it in place.

For those using stick on velcro already on your flashes, add velcro to the tape extensions on the gel. This can also be used with a speed strap.

August 28, 2009 7:25 PM  
Blogger Adam Wilson Photoography said...

sounds awesome ! Can i get them in Australia ?

August 28, 2009 7:44 PM  
Blogger John Mielke Photography said...

I've just ordered 2 sets! $10 each = deal!

August 28, 2009 7:58 PM  
Blogger Alex DiFiori said...

It's nice to know that ROSCO isn't going out of business because of jerks hoarding free samples.

Thanks for keepin it real David

August 28, 2009 8:02 PM  
Blogger Bryan B said...

Congrats on the marketing arrangement, David and for always looking to make the world a little more downhill for us water types! I happened to be in Columbus OH a couple of days ago and stopped in at MPEX and believe I might have seen these on the shelf, and didn't even make the connection on it being a new product. I'll definately be ordering a set.

August 28, 2009 8:17 PM  
OpenID restaurantouring said...

Ten bucks each? I'll take ten! Let's show the folks at Rosco what Strobists can do....


Let's try to undo some of the damage that we Strobists already did!

August 28, 2009 8:18 PM  
Blogger Steve Thurow said...

I'd be interested to know how well they fit in the Lumiquest FXtra.

August 28, 2009 8:43 PM  
Blogger Darren Whitley said...

Thank you Rosco and thank you David.

August 28, 2009 10:29 PM  
Blogger creynolds said...

You really do use your powers of photography persuasion for good!

August 28, 2009 10:30 PM  
Blogger Phat Baby Photographer said...

As for how to attach these onto your flash - since most of my photography is with kids, I just let them drool on the gels and then stick it on my flash.

August 28, 2009 11:04 PM  
Blogger Denis Seguin said...

good on you David...I've had three of those sample sets for more years than I can remember, heck I still have the four Vivitar 385 that I use them on...still use them today.

August 28, 2009 11:16 PM  
Blogger Gavin said...

Hi, Sorry this isn't related to this post, but have do done any articles on the best camera bags for strobist kits. I have a thinktank bag for gear and a pelican 1500 for 5 heads and accessories that I am looking to replace.


August 28, 2009 11:59 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Some more subtle colours would have been appreciated. I really like the brown from the clamshell demonstration on the DVD.

The package is nice though and the size should fit all. Easy enough to buy more so a good set to have.

August 29, 2009 12:18 AM  
Blogger djaef said...

Can we get them in Australia please...

August 29, 2009 1:06 AM  
Blogger Ron Nabity said...

Here's one way to attach the gels:

I put a Velcro strap around my flash, similar to the Honl strap. (A few months ago David had a post on his blog for a DIY version.) Then I cut a strip of clear plastic (3/4" x 4 1/2") from a page protector and put some Velcro pieces on each end. These clear plastic pieces will attach to the velcro strip and hold the gels against the front lens of the flash. If folks are interested I can post up some photos on my flickr page.

- Ron

August 29, 2009 1:45 AM  
Blogger Agustin said...

Looks fantastic... so I think...let me go to B&H and order some. $10 is a bargain...Cheapest shipping to South Africa...$46!! Now what?

August 29, 2009 2:17 AM  
Blogger Scaber said...

To mount them you can use little balls of blu-tack.

August 29, 2009 3:27 AM  
Blogger JasonR said...

It's like you care about photographers, and they care abut not losing money... How novel!

Thanks David


August 29, 2009 6:38 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

An elastic band is a good way to attach these gels. This also makes it easy to stack gels on one head. Velcro works too but you have to put it on both sides if you want to stack gels.

I'm glad they aren't discontinuing the sample packs as lighting designers rely on these for chosing colours for productions. I'm guessing that they may be harder to get hold of though.

August 29, 2009 7:37 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Excellent! I was unfortunate enough to catch the back side of that wave, and never received my sample packs. Now can snag all the gels I need for a minimum shelling out!
Great work, good to see companies that are willing to work with/for the "little" guys in the lighting world.

August 29, 2009 8:32 AM  
Blogger Wink of an eye Digital said...

You dunn good!

Win Win for Rosco and the photographer. I have, for a long time, thought that Rosco was losing big time on a market that they could make profitable just by doing this one simple change. To make those free sample books had to be quite the cost for them....glad they listened to you (the group?).

Your repayment for allowing the use of the strobist logo etc only costs in ads instead of licensing keeps with the with price point that will allow high volume of sales for them (very cool). I always thought the e-bay and other vendors charged way to much for cutting and selling these gels. The 9.95 price point takes out the duh in making them at home.

580 issue----I don't see any issue with the size gel. Also FWIW I use double back tape (non permanent stick) for attaching gels....goes with simple… and does not interfere with other mods like the Lumquest III etc. I put tape on all gels then ...deck-em together in packs (1/4,1/2,basterd amber and put them in a travel size pamper wipe container! Hell, just to get the container is worth 9.95!

What's next David;

Strobist Cologne
in packets "For the numnuts that travel on airlines allot"

Strobist Rotisserie
Set it forget it! Dial in stops not temperature.

Strobist Magnets===

errr ahhh oh never mind LOL


August 29, 2009 9:14 AM  
Blogger Flashing Dutchman said...

Fot a suplier in Holland I've found

I have not ordered it yet but it is in their program among a lot of other strobist stuff ("strobist" even has it's own catogery in the online shop). One of the few in Holland who can deliver this mutch strobist stuff, all you need. They also send abroad.

Just as info for my fellow European strobist fans who are looking for a suplier for this stuff.

August 29, 2009 12:07 PM  
Blogger Kristoffer said...

For those of you not in the DIY business maybe the LumiQuest FXtra could work (I can't find the exact size...). And you get some gels as well:

August 29, 2009 3:27 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

why aren't multiple copies of the color gels offered? or are most people only using a single color-gel'd strobe if they use one at all? i'm thinking i wanna order two or even three sets in order to cover a three strobe kit.

August 29, 2009 4:39 PM  
Blogger melon499 said...

What would be way cool is if they made them the shape that fits in the SB900's filter holder. But they are pretty cool as things stand anyway

August 29, 2009 5:58 PM  
Blogger melon499 said...

What would be way cool is if they made them the shape that fits in the SB900's filter holder.

August 29, 2009 5:59 PM  
Blogger Kevin V said...

Very nice. I had a feeling that the free option had to end at some point. Obviously, it's good to support a company and keep them in business, but for the environmentally conscious strobist, now there's less waste.

August 29, 2009 6:43 PM  
Blogger Jumpthesnark said...

Sweet! It's been a while since I could find my beat-up old sample pack of Roscolux (or was it Roscolene? Or both?). This'll give me a chance to add some color to my world. Thanks for helping make this happen.

August 29, 2009 7:24 PM  
Blogger Paul Whitlock said...

I have a couple of the Honl gel kits and like them a lot. I love the pre-attached velcro and labels. And the size, at 3.5"x2.25" is more generous. That said the prices for everything in the Honl line has gone up since it was acquired by ExpoImaging. I'm looking at a receipt from from 8/08 and paid $24.95 for a gel kit with both color correction and effects. Now there are two separate kits each for $29.95! The kits now contains two gels so to gel two flashes the compare is $50 last year and $60 this year. Still a big jump in price. And if you only have one flash, what was $24.95 is now $60! Everything, including the grids has gone up similarly. Too many glowing reviews I suppose so they are cashing in.

All of that is to say that the new Rosco Strobist pack, with an MSRP of $9.95, is a great deal. I would gladly pay 150% more for the same gels with velcro and labels. But, it is good to have motivation for a DIY project every now and again.

Great job working with Rosco. This will keep them paying attention to the community and also put some competition in the marketplace.

August 30, 2009 12:14 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...


Would it be possible in your replies to comments to use another font color, say bright yellow, to enable me to quickly distinguish your responses from all the reader's comments?

August 30, 2009 10:11 AM  
Blogger michael.quack said...

I talked to Lee Filters repeatedly about the same thing - to no avail. I'm using a lot of filters, and I would have loved such a product from Lee. Looks like now the competition will cash in my money. Hail to the brave.

August 30, 2009 3:44 PM  
Blogger David said...


In all comments left by me, my comment name (DAVID) is in reverse type, based on my Google ID account being the account leaving the comment. Don't really know how to code it so my comment is in reverse type, too. If you do, I will be happy to implement.

August 30, 2009 4:23 PM  
Blogger Steve Wetzel said...

Can someone tell me how long a flash filter lasts and how you know when it needs to be replaced? I believe that the heat from the flash head causes them to degrade over time.

August 31, 2009 8:49 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

How long till these get rolled into the MPEX kits?

August 31, 2009 6:25 PM  
Blogger Jon Foster said...

I'll buy some of these for myself and my son.

August 31, 2009 10:42 PM  
Blogger Coach said...

The Flash Centre in the UK has a pack with a mount included but only 8 Roscoe gels. I'll wait till we get the rainbow version.

September 01, 2009 5:31 AM  
Blogger Liquid Rhino said...

This is great news and a real spot-on price point.

Are these gels large enough to cover the larger-headed guns like the 285's or the SB900's?

September 01, 2009 10:55 AM  
Blogger Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

I just got my Strobist pack and while the selection is great, I'm a little concerned with the size of the cut. The do not seem long enough to be able to attach some fastening agent (velcro) securely as they only really go over the edge of my SB-800 but a cm or so.

Can you suggest a good way to secure them?

September 01, 2009 6:12 PM  
Blogger Kurt Strecker said...

Very cool, got mine via UPS from MPEX today. Perfect size for a 580EX with just a pinch to spare. I just tape 'em on as needed. Funnily enough, even the Package they come in says 1"x3" . . . when they're clearly 1.5"x4.25"? I guess the copywriter got the short end of the stick, given the pricepoint ;)

September 01, 2009 11:23 PM  
Blogger Mr Mike said...

got mine!

Good selection of gels. Only gripes are: no labels on the gels so hard to distinguish what is what, and they won't fit into my Vivitar 385 as-is -- need to build them up with gaffer tape just like the old sample gels.

September 02, 2009 12:50 AM  
Blogger Guy said...

I have found a PDF from called FilterFacts. It can be found here:

Dave thanks for all you do! If this link is already posted on strobist please forgive me.

September 02, 2009 9:14 AM  
Blogger QUEST said...

GREAT idea Rosco & DH!
We are now offering the LumiQuest FXtra Gel Holder without any gels or packaging at a substantially lower price for Strobists. We are making them available through LQ dealers who sell the Strobist Collection.

September 04, 2009 4:58 PM  
Blogger AthensRealtor said...

For the SB-900 you should be able to hold these on using the normal filter holder. That is what I do with the strips from the sample pack.

September 04, 2009 5:38 PM  
Blogger Adrian Hoffmann said...

whooooooo just ordered them!!!!

September 04, 2009 5:54 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

Wait. . . people actually threw away the gels that weren't necessarily having to do with light correction?


September 04, 2009 7:22 PM  
Blogger seri_art said...

>why aren't multiple copies of the color gels offered?<

There are five copies of most of them.

September 05, 2009 10:44 AM  
Blogger Stuart Mackenzie said...

For those wanting longer /wider gels you could just go buy a half sheet of the colour. not only can you then cut it to the size you want but you'll have plenty of gel. Only downside is you'll be paying about five pounds per half sheet, but if you use gel a lot then it is going to be cheaper in the long run.

September 07, 2009 4:55 AM  
OpenID Chris Bennett said...

This pack looks to be awesome. Can't wait to get it! are they longer than the sample packs?

September 07, 2009 3:37 PM  
Blogger scott-c said...

I recently ordered the "starving student lighting kit" from MidWest and while perusing the site found the Strobist Rosco Pack. I figured that since I was paying for freight I'd throw a couple extra things on the order.

Its a good thing I did as the gel pack that the wonderful people at MidWest put together (that comes in the lighting kit) doesn't have Full CTB, only 1/2 & 1/4 CTB. The Midwest pack can be cut to size and is good value, whereas, the Rosco pack will need to be extended to fit on my SB-800, as per Mr Hobby's instructions

September 08, 2009 1:15 AM  
Blogger Miguel Angel ROMERO said...

Hi!, how can I get one of those kits in France???


September 08, 2009 3:21 PM  
Blogger Ameed said...

Greetings from Canada,
I went through the distributor's list, checking if they offer shipping to Canada .. guess what, they start at 25$ up to 55$ to ship the 10$ pack?!!!

Seriously, It is better to operate from China and offer shipping free world wide, it is cheaper to drive to the states to get them. Come on, can't be that expensive to ship to Canada?!!

September 13, 2009 9:43 PM  
Blogger David said...


Yep, that's nuts. Hold tight -- they are lining up some Canada dealers.


September 14, 2009 12:44 AM  
Blogger philoye said...

To anyone in Sydney, Australia. The Rosco distributor in Artarmon, just got stock of these late last week. I picked up two packs today for AU$15 each.

September 14, 2009 8:56 AM  
Blogger seri_art said...

I just received my gel pack and I don't see the Rosco 08 in the list on the back of the pack. Here's the list:

3203 Full Blue CTB
3204 Half Blue CTB
3208 Quarter Blue CTB
3401 Sun 85
3408 Sun 1/2 CTO
3409 Sun 1/4 CTO
3404 N.9
3403 N.6
3415 N.15
3304 Tough Plusgreen

September 14, 2009 11:57 PM  
Blogger Simon J said...

Got mine today. What a disappointment. These things are far too small to attach to a Canon gun with velcro speedstraps as I currently do. Sure, I could use little bits of gaffer tape. Why would I want to mess around like that? They may well fit in a Nikon diffuser dome (thanks David) and I could use a Stofen on my Canons. However I hardly every use the Stofens as am usually snooting or zooming the head. I can't believe these were actually designed! Why aren't they a bit longer to wrap around the flash head? This is such a missed opportunity to make a great product instead of something we already had. In fact what I have is far superior from and no, I don't work for them.

September 15, 2009 12:41 PM  
Blogger David said...

IMO, it is wasteful to manufacture extra gel just to use as mounting substrate.

There are *tons* of ways to attach them to your flash, too many to repeat here. Look around or ask in thje Flickr group to see any of the multitude of gel holders people are using.

September 15, 2009 7:55 PM  
Blogger David said...

BTW, the options include both commercial and (free) diy options.

September 15, 2009 7:56 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I was excited to get the kit. Till I compared the gels to my 285HVs... to small to cover the lens! Bummer

September 23, 2009 6:30 PM  
Blogger David Sweeney Photography said...

Uhm... I am a lighting designer working in the theatre industry. Rosco has not scrapped the gel sample system as far as I know. I get the sample gel kits all the time from my supplier.

December 14, 2009 4:09 PM  
Blogger gybp said...

hi, how do i attach them to my nikon sb26????

December 26, 2009 7:00 AM  
Blogger Woody said...

Hi, Just got my gels through the post & I have never used gels before. They are too small to use the velcro like in Davids picture so I have just made a little sliding wallet from the cellophane they came in. I want to know though what should I use to correct for energy saving bubs? There are more around now. And also LEDs? Cool White LEDs? Is it getting harder with these more varied light sources in use?

January 08, 2010 4:03 PM  
Blogger gaetano said...

I don't know why, but the Italian official supplier sells them on ebay at 33 euro plus 9.9 of shipping.
That means about 64$!!! I think it's a shame!

February 28, 2010 1:55 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Question to you all: when using the gels, how do you tell them apart? I want to return the gels after usage in the same order as they are in the sample pack.

April 03, 2010 4:37 AM  
Blogger Dusan Smolnikar said...

I've just received the pack in the mail. A great collection, but I have a very tiny detail to complain about ;-)

Where color temperatures are given, they are specified as 3200ºK (degrees Kelvin). But degrees are not used with Kelvin units, so the proper way would be 3200 K.

wikipedia link

April 22, 2010 4:55 AM  
Blogger Jan Huniche said...

I just recieved my gelset and started with the nr. 39 mounted with 2 pieces of gaffers tape on my 580EX II.

But after only 3 shots on full power it looked liked this :

Is this normal... Or should´nt the gel be more heat resistant ?.

August 04, 2010 1:59 PM  
Blogger David said...


You should know that your flash generates a lot of heat directly adjacent to the head -- especially when running continuous, full-power flashes through it. (This heat build up can cause a whole flash to go into thermal overload, and the main source of it is at the head.


Don't stretch the gel tight -- leave some air space between the two. That, and time between hi-power flashes -- will protect both the gels AND your flash.


August 04, 2010 4:07 PM  
Blogger Dale Pearce said...

To quickly identify a filter, do what we do in the studios with big lights: Take a white china marker (grease pencil) and write 1/2 CTO or whatever on the gel. No, it won't project "1/2 CTO" on your subjects face.

May 08, 2012 11:04 AM  

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