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Colors the light, but that's the easy part
on June 6, 2014
These gels come with lots of colors and duplicates (up to 4 for certain colors like the oranges and greens for negotiating white balance with multiple flashes), which is nice. Also, each gel has an associated paper slip that tells you the name and function of each gel. For instance it may say 1/2 CTO, convert 5500 K to 3800 K (and even shows a color transmission/wavelength histogram). I can see this being very useful, especially for the technically minded.
A few drawbacks that made these difficult to use:
-not long enough. These have to be mounted to your flash, but the length of these gels barely wraps around the front of my Yongnuo YN468-ii flash, making that wrap-around velcro-mount solution you see everywhere online *barely* possible. And it's a tight fit too, which could be negative since Strobist recommends leaving some room between the gel and flash area to vent flash heat. I can't imagine it would cost more than a few cents to add another centimeter of length to these.
-no markings on the gels. The gels have these informative pieces of paper to tell you the name and color properties, but if the papers get mixed up with the gels, there is absolutely no way to match them back up. Perhaps the gels could be marked on that extra centimeter they ought to add; if not with all the information, at least a reference to a master sheet would be helpful. Again, I can't imagine this would cost hardly a thing. In the meantime, I've found that a fine-tip sharpie can label the corner without smudging or interfering with the light.
My workarounds: I'm still experimenting with attaching these to my flash. So far, I think the best solution is to mount a TINY strip of velcro on the front edges of the flash. (Not on the sides, but on that tiny strip of black plastic that forms the frame for the flash area and holds the clear part in place.) By having these tiny strips on the front, I don't have as much concern about the length, and when I'm not using gels, I can also get my very tight-fitting flash diffuser to slip on. However I would no use the gels under my diffuser as it would be too tight. Instead, I would mount velcro on the front of the diffuser as well and add the gels to the outside. Similarly, mounting velcro on the front of the flash/diffuser would allow me to stack these gels if I wanted. The draw back to this setup is that there is very little contact between surfaces (for both the adhesive on the velcro and the soft/bristly velcro attachment itself), making security a minor concern. But these are virtually weightless, so unless they're knocked (or blown) too hard, I'm hoping they stick.
Alternatively, for a completely removable solution without having to add velcro to either the flash or the gels (to save space?), I've also put a rubber band through 2 of those black metal "bulldog" (potato chip) clips. I can slip this onto the flash and pinch the gels on each side with the bulldog clips. Though while it's removable, it's also quite cumbersome to work with.