Tuesday, December 20, 2016

MagMod flash modifiers - My new favorite inexpensive camera accessory and a great gift for yourself!

One of the most common questions I get from people is about flash modifiers. I get all kinds of emails, Facebook messages and blog comments on this subject. As you all know, I like to keep it simple, and yes, I even shoot with an on-camera flash. But most of the time, I am modifying the flash with some type of diffuser.

In the past I was using Gary Fong diffusers, but never really liked them much. It was really difficult to put them on my flash units and they were not very customizable. I would often find that the tops of the diffusers would come off and get lost. In October of this year, I was speaking at the Photo Plus trade show in New York City, and came across the booth for MagMod, and what I saw looked really interesting. I was excited to get a couple of units to try out for myself.

The MagMod diffusers seemed to work a lot like the units I had been using, with a white dome up over the end of the flash, but the attachment method was light years easier and the ability to customize the diffusers was really unique.

Everything is done with magnets. This is ingenious and so easy to work with compared to the old way I was working.

I usually carry 4 or 5 Canon 600 EX-RT flash units with me in my ThinkTank roller bag. I attached a couple of the MagGrips to two of my flashes, which are the two units typically attached to my camera's hot shoes.

MagGrip attached to my flash

When I get to an indoor venue, I just reach into the same rolling bag and grab two of the MagMod MagSphere domes and snap them magnetically to the MagGrips.

MagSpehere magnetically attached to the MagGrip on my flash

For someone who has never dealt with modifiers, this might seem like a trivial issue, but the attachment process is so important for us photographers who rely on these things for countless indoor events. I showed my daughter (who sometimes second shoots for me) the new modifiers and she was said "Finally - I can attach these myself and not have to rely on you to do this for me!"

This photo of a saxophone player was taken with the MagSphere on my on-camera flash, at a holiday party last weekend. I really like the even light (not overly harsh) that is on the musician.

MagMod makes a bunch of other magnetic attachments, but I see myself relying on the following:

* MagGrip for the attachment to the flash - $24.95
* MagSphere as my diffuser of choice - $49.95

They also make a couple of other magnetic attachments, like the MagBounce and the MagSnoot, but I have not played with those yet. The MagBounce may work really well, but the overly large white rubbery piece looks a little too large to put on my flash without drawing too much attention to myself when shooting.

Earlier I talked about customizing the light. What I am talking about is the ability to put a color gel on the flash (even in tandem with the diffuser) or adding grids and other light shapers.

And I also have started using the following for changing the lighting:

MagGel Holder (for holding colored Gels)

MagMod Standard Gel Set - $24.95 (which has CTO Gels and some other colors)

MagMod Creative Gel Set - $24.95 (which has bright primary colors)

Because the MagGel holder uses the same magnetic system, I can choose to pop this onto either of my two flashes, which have the MagGrips on them. to hold the colored Gels. I can even sandwich them in between the flash and the MagSphere diffuser. How cool is that?

I have yet to play with the MagGrid2, but plan on doing so soon. They actually have a KIT with the MagGrip, MagGrid2, MagGel2 Slot and Standard Gels in one for a lower price of $89.95.

I used to avoid using Gels and Grids since they were such a pain to attach to my flash units. I tried custom solutions and even tried the old rubber band on the flash trick to hold colored Gels. I am writing this now for you all because I am totally sold on this new solution and it is a really reasonable price. Time to put this on your last minute holiday gift list for yourself! A camera gift idea for less than $100. :)

If you are looking for a really great flash diffuser, I think I just found one for you!

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Dave said...

Have you tested it on one of your 3rd party flashes such as the Yongnuo? Over on Amazon some of the feedback is that on Yongnuo, the modifier droops. Also, any plans for a shoot-out between Magmod and Gary Fong vs Rogue vs a clear cup from the dollar store? Thanks

Mark R Coons - Music Man5 Photos said...

I had considered this brand of modifier but I read way too many comments that indicated they were heavy and caused problems. I've used modifiers that caused even my Canon 600's to droop and had no desire to spend money on another one.

I'd have to see video proving that these modifiers, particularly the MagBounce, don't cause droopage when you are moving around when working. All I've ever seen is people using them standing still.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review Jeff. I am an amateur and in no way do I have the need to spend 100 plus dollars on a diffuser system. I am always looking for alternatives to help me achieve better results in my photography. After reading your review, I checked out the MagMod YT video which in turn connected me to the Gary Fong's YT video and his comparison to the MagMod. If you have watched it, what are your thoughts on the points he raises?

On another topic, will you be doing a presentation any time soon at the Canon Photo Center in SF? Thanks again for your blog and all the hard work you do to educate us.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this information, My girlfriend just got me the MAGMOD MagSphere, MagBounce and MagGrip for my birthday! 2017 will be LITE :)

G.Rettig said...


Yes I use the Magsphere on a Yongnuo 600 ex-rt flash and it fits perfectly.

Sarah D. Forbes said...

Your article and photos both are awesome . Like your post .