Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two Speedlight Grid Spot Systems: Flashpoint and Rogue


If you need to create a tight beam of light, it's as easy as wrapping a little cardboard around your flash head. Bam -- instant cheapo snoot, to go.

But what you'll find with a snoot is that the edges of the beam can be a little abrupt. If you want a nice, feathered transition to that edge, you'll want a grid.

I have long been a user of the Honl grids. But there are a couple of other interesting grids floating around that deserve consideration, depending on your particular needs.

Inside, a quick look at speedlight grids from Flashpoint and Rogue.
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One key feature both grids have in common, which makes the pretty interesting: They are both convertible, offering multiple beam spreads. This is a neat development, and the Flashpoint and Rogue grids go about it in completely different ways.


The Flashpoint Snoot Grid



Leading off is Flashpoint's version. Flashpoint is an Adorama house brand, so one has to assume this is something they had especially created OEM, just for them, in the magical far east.

Weighing in at $35, it is actually a snoot (complete with those rougher beam edges) with two grid attachments (for feathered edges) that cap onto the front. So you have a three-way flexibility designed right into the system.


IN SYNC:

1. Good build quality. This thing is metal, and will take some abuse.
2. Multiple beam widths, done with two small caps that you swap out.


OUT OF SYNC:

1. It's big, and does not collapse down -- a little bigger than a loaded-up, jumbo-sized waffle cone. (Mmmmm… waffle cone…)
2. It is not a universal fit. There are two different sizes, which could be an issue depending on your mix of speedlights.


SUGGESTED HACK:

It ships with a rubber band to help the velcro/plastic mount stay on firmly against the flash. I have already ditched this in favor of pieces of sticky craft foam attached to the inside of the mount. One less thing to lose, and very stable.

More info: Flashpoint Snoot Grid Size A and Size B
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The Rogue Grid



This is an interesting combo which gives you three different beam spreads. It is $50, but it's a lot of versatility in a small package.


IN SYNC:

1. Triple threat: A (45 degrees) B (25 degrees) and A+B (16 degrees)
2. Universal fit: One size fits all (although I do not know if it'll fit a monster-head Vivitar 285; prolly not).
3. It's small.


OUT OF SYNC:

1. At $50, it is priced at a $15 premium to the Honl grid. You do get multiple beams, but you could also get a 1/4 and 1/8 Honl grid and cover two flashes for a little more. A pick 'em, I guess.
2.This is a judgement call, but I really would simplify the mount. It is a grippy elastic band that forms into a skirt that then you slide into a ridge around the grid holder.

I am already thinking about that hack for mine, which brings us to …


SUGGESTED HACK:

I plan to drill my mounting flange and attach elastic bands -- a typical hack for me. I'll probably need to build up a little lip on the grid holder (with some gaff) to offset the ridge on the top of my SB-800 face.

Instant on, instant off, very secure.

More info: Rogue Grid


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33 Comments:

Blogger Jay said...

Thanks for the recommendations, and the pictures as well; you obviously put a lot of effort into lighting and photographing these products.

The resulting pics are already worth the post. :D

May 19, 2011 9:07 AM  
Blogger G3 said...

I noticed in both of these that the grid is spaced off the face of the flash, unlike the Honl or the cereal box/straw grids. Does this make a significant difference in beam spread or edge softness? (I have the honl)

May 19, 2011 11:22 AM  
Blogger budrowilson said...

Speaking of the product shots--is that your couch?

May 19, 2011 12:17 PM  
Blogger Maxinho said...

Nice! Thanks a lot! Can you say something about softboxes next time?
And nice couch ;)

Yuri Pallaro

May 19, 2011 1:05 PM  
Blogger fishtoprecords said...

When I was a Cub Scout (long ago) I had a collapsible drinking cup that looked a lot like the FlashPoint body. Except, of course, that it collapsed. Each ring had a flange on it, and they would collapse into a stack.

When I first saw photos and ads for this, I assumed that it collapsed the same way.

I've got a couple of grids and a couple of snoots that I built the official Strobist way, out of cereal boxes. Neither of these two offerings are good enough to make me pry open my wallet and replace the ones I have.

May 19, 2011 1:06 PM  
Blogger Maxinho said...

Nice! Thanks a lot! Say something about softboxes for speedlights, I want to buy one, but not sure what type to buy.
And Nice Couch.

May 19, 2011 1:07 PM  
Blogger sulayman said...

I have a Flashpoint snoot and agree completely that the lack of break-down-ability is an annoyance. The kicker, though, is that the shape of it (stacked accordion circles) pretty much BEG to be collapsible. It almost seems as if they had originally planned for it to be collapsible and then realized they could save a ton in manufacturing if they just kept it fixed.

May 19, 2011 1:09 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I had just purchased a Honl grid and speed strap yesterday from B&H and when I saw this posting, I thought "Oh Crap - I should have held out!"

As I read more, I realized Honl is STILL the best strobist solution - especially for my work with the brace of old school Vivitar customized bare bulb strobes I shoot with since the late 80's...

May 19, 2011 1:09 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I have and love the Rogue grid. Super tight, circular beam... which I prefer over the rectangular beam spread of Honl. It is a tad pricey, but then, so is everything it seems. :)

Totally worth it though.

Rogue has made some _awesome_ products lately. I hope they keep it up.

May 19, 2011 1:19 PM  
Blogger editwizard said...

I can't believe that thing doesn't collapse... I mean, it's a perfectly collapsable design! And why does it need to be made of metal?

I think DIY-Photography should make a collapsible cardboard version of this.

May 19, 2011 1:38 PM  
Blogger JayM said...

Given a fixed solution like the Honl grids which is a better general use option, the 1/4 or 1/8 size?

On another note, not to take anything away from the folks listed on the Honl site's Pro section but why is our esteemed Mr. Hobby not featured?

May 19, 2011 3:50 PM  
Blogger mshafik said...

Damn, I was about to post the Rogue grid review in a couple of days, oh well... :-)

May 19, 2011 4:31 PM  
Blogger Puggle said...

Great info! And, nice couch!

Was it a DIY couch?

May 19, 2011 4:38 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

No love for the collapsible lumiquest snoot?

May 19, 2011 4:48 PM  
Blogger Photography said...

fishtoprecords

Have a feeling that a DiY cub scout cup hack is in order.

May 19, 2011 6:54 PM  
OpenID mathieu said...

Got the Rogue grid (Scott Kelby posted a discount a few weeks ago) and really like it the results. As pointed out, the only problem I have with it would be the attachment. The grid part doesn't attach very securely to the fabric part. I was thinking about adding some velcro...

May 19, 2011 7:07 PM  
Blogger aFeinPhoto said...

First commenter had a point...these are excellently lit photographs of the equipment...BTS!!! :)

May 19, 2011 8:12 PM  
Blogger bills said...

Cool, but I need to see some photos taken with the snoots. Maybe because I don't nderstand th need for this type of light, or maybe just because I see it in all the other articles. Anyway, please you built it, show us how/why to use it.

May 20, 2011 12:57 AM  
OpenID flowstatephoto said...

I haven't messed about much with grids, but I assume that by separating the grid from the flash's fresnel screen a little bit, the whole of the grid lights up, rather than just the 2"x1" section touching the flash head.

The difference would be the resultant shape/area that is lit (in this case round not rectangular). That is why Zac 'one light' attached his to the darksphere, and these two puppies have snoots rather than attaching direct, Honl style.

If anyone ACTUALLY knows about this, feel free to correct me.

May 20, 2011 2:42 AM  
Blogger Ziv said...

I have a couple of the Roque Grids. Fits like a glove on SB900s. Build quality a 9+. Function a 10+ ( your image above has it attached backasswards, BTW )

I kinda felt bad for Dave Honl when I purchased these. They really are a much nicer unit. Sorry Dave.

May 20, 2011 10:27 AM  
Blogger fishtoprecords said...

@flowstatephoto The shape of the resulting light is controlled by the shape of the elements in the grid. I built a couple using black drinking straws, in a rectangular snoot from a cereal box. The light is round. It is not the same shape as the snoot.

May 20, 2011 11:14 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Jared, Udi and DTK-

I am aware of them. FWIW, I witnessed firsthand profoundly unethical behavior by that company, sufficient to not want to amplify them with a link or comment here.

May 20, 2011 11:55 AM  
Blogger johnf said...

Which is easier to work with in combination with gels ?

May 20, 2011 4:17 PM  
Blogger michael said...

The photos of the grids are interesting. Heavy photoshop it seems. Heavy high pass filter or some new experiment?

May 21, 2011 8:03 AM  
Blogger Ronnie said...

The problem with both these types of products, Rogue/Flashpoint and Honl is that by the time it reaches shores outside the US, its pretty much un-affordable for an average hobbyist.
E.g., In India, the Honl prices start at a hair under USD100 and goes up to 120 for some items.
Adorama, if they ship to India I am sure it would be in the same price point.

I think its to do with all the levels of middlemen who like to work of margins of about $10 per item.

Add to this, the confounded customs and excise duties. Flip side, I saw a few local manufactures who have ripped off the Honl design and are selling it at about $18 at a photo exhibition. They said that they sold a few hundred towards the end of the 3rd day.

Good post. I just lurk around reading, about twice a week, since about 4 years now.

Thanks, David.

May 21, 2011 10:39 PM  
Blogger Serge said...

I have bought several options for my Canon speedlite 430ex... And haven't used any part of it yet. Snoot, Diffusion Globe, a mini Beauty Dish and a honey grid (or 2).
What would be your suggestion to start with? The snoot. I am using my flash a lot, but don't seem to start playing with these options.
Thx

May 22, 2011 4:13 PM  
Blogger Trevor Sowers Photography said...

Check out the 6" grid made by Flashpoint!! It mounts to a 6"beauty dish and comes with 3 different grid sizes, it's very nice.

May 22, 2011 4:54 PM  
Blogger JC said...

How are grids measured? I see 30 - 60 grids. If I do a DIY grid, how do I know how wide it is?

May 23, 2011 10:42 AM  
OpenID flowstatephoto said...

Cheers Fish. Gosh, I'm getting good at being wrong.

Mat

May 23, 2011 7:44 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Did you try the Honl stress test i.e. running over them with your car?

May 25, 2011 12:48 AM  
OpenID blickblocks said...

Don't just stick some regular cardboard on there to make a snoot. I've made several snoots out of different materials and cardboard was the least practical because of the brown light that is produced in the zone that should be not lit. Also be careful of using papers that end up translucent in the bright flash. The ideal material is a fully opaque matte black. You might be able to find something conical that you can spraypaint for cheap (that is what I use now).

May 30, 2011 2:09 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

David, thanks for proving this useful bit of info. Any opinions about the Powersnoot/Powergrid (a Gary Fong product)?

I'm curious how these options stack up against each other; as I live in the EU & things are very expensive to ship here.
THANKs in advance for any info/insight you might wish to share.

May 30, 2011 6:02 PM  
Blogger Murray Rothstein said...

When using either of these or the Honl type grids, should the flash head be zoomed, or spread out wider to allow the grid to focus the beam of light?

October 20, 2011 3:18 AM  

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