Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
Brilliant (no pun intented)
on November 26, 2010
Up until now I have relied on a range of sto-fen diffusors and similar products to soften or re-direct light in the field. I never was truly happy with the sto-fens because their lack of versatility (but wich they make up in large parts due to their ruggedness and simplicity).
Now, I've tried the Flash-Benders (their name always seems to me a tongue-in-cheek movie reference). Although not as simple to use as a sto-fen (or similar product), I was immidetely in love with how these series of diffusors allow me to direct light. I have both the medium and large set of Benders, and believe that if you have one, you should also get the other for a more complete set of tools.
Working with the flash benders is slightly more involved than with a pop-on cup like the sto-fens. Ideally, you'd use the bender in a sequence of shots, literally shaping the perfect light as you go. This makes it awkward for using it in real-time events (e.g. a wedding in progress), but it becomes the ideal field tool when you shoot the set pieces during interludes. If you are not pressed for time, these Benders can get you much better lighting than a classic cup or soft box. Creating the best shapes takes some getting used to, so expect to spend some time initially to get to know this diffusor.
One downside is that the Benders can get dirty easily, and are far more difficult to clean than a plastic cup (which, due to the way it works, is also much less susceptible to smudges). In no way this amounts to a show-stop, though.
Another slight drawback is that the Benders don't easily allow you to tint the light. This can usually be corrected either in post, or by inserting a color card into the flash (I prefer shooting with max light, and color correct in post anyway)
Still, I have found some unexpected studio uses. In our studio we use up to three Elinchrome 600 flash heads that should account for almost any lighting situation. Yet, some macro photography that required delicate lighting turned out much better with these (compared to the heads) dirt cheap diffusors mounted on a camera flash than we could achieve with a full studio set.
I wholeheartedly recommend these Benders, and do recommend that you get both sizes. For non time-critical field work there currently are few better alternatives, and the price is nearly unbeatable.
- very versatile
- fits a wide range of flashes
- you can 'sculpt' light
- can get dirty
- less rugged than a plasic cup
- takes more time to set up
- limited ways to tint flash color