There are so many ways to create diffused light that shopping for a flash modifier can be a real hassle. However, some sort of light modifier is absolutely essential to sculpting light into the look you’re seeking. Let’s get to know one of my favorite flash modifiers: the Magmod Magsphere!
Why Do I Need a Flash Modifier like the Magmod Magsphere?
Flash photography is one of the most popular and well known technical subsets of the photography world. And there is a lot that goes into modifying how a flash illuminates a subject.
If you’ve ever worked with on or off-camera flash, you may notice that the lighting has a harsh quality. The shadows are often deep and the lighting is hard, strongly illuminating the subject in an unflattering way.
Most flash modifiers work by diffusing that light – spreading and scattering it so that both the shadows and direct illumination are softer. There are many ways to scatter light. Softboxes, white cards, diffusers, bouncing the light off walls, and even shooting in overcast weather (clouds scatter sunlight) are some of the most common ways to work with diffused light.
However, if you’re looking for a flash modifier that scatters light in a way that’s soft yet doesn’t cause you to lose lots of light, the Magmod Magsphere is well worth a look!
Introducing the Magmod Magsphere
The white silicone make is typical of flash diffusers. Most that fit over the flash unit tend to use translucent plastic or silicone. However, instead of sitting over the flash like a card, the Magmod Magsphere is a literal sphere that sits on top of the flash output.
At around 4.5 inches in diameter, the Magsphere increases the area of the flash output by around 300%, which affects how effectively light can be diffused.
It requires a magnetic grip to attach it to the flash unit. To attach the Magmod Magsphere, you’ll use both the magnets on the Magmod as well as the Sphere itself. They form a group of four that locks into place securely. It connects in seconds and disengages just as easily.
One thing we do need to consider is the light loss because all light diffusers mean we lose some light in the scattering. Most diffusers lose anywhere from 1 to 4 stops of light depending on the technique being used. However, the Magmod Magsphere competes favorably with only around 1 stop of light exposure lost in the diffusing!
The MagGrid prevents excess light spillage from the flash while the MagGrip acts as a dedicated mount for flash modifiers.
The design is quite similar to the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible, except it’s made of silicone and can’t collapse. This makes the Magsphere slightly less convenient to carry around. However, it’s a bit more durable as the silicone is quite pliable and can stand some accidental squishing.
The spherical scattering creates an omnidirectional output that’s soft, flattering, and easy to use. If you’re a fan of bounce flash, then you’ll know that it can be hard to plan for a wall of the right size, distance, and color in event photography. The Magmod gives you a very similar effect on command.
Still, you can combine the Magsphere’s omnidirectional light with bounce flash-off walls and ceilings for even better-diffused lighting. According to Magmod, you get over 250% increased light-emitting surface using the sphere versus a standard unidirectional flash.
One can either point the flash + Magsphere directly at the subject or even point it upwards for a softer, subtler kiss of flash. It allows you to create some very interesting directional yet soft images that are hard to replicate using other tools!
Also, you can bounce the flash using the following tool:
For gel modifiers, the Magmod Magsphere also has an integrated gel slot for color balancing and warming up or cooling the color of the flash output. To allow you to combined two filters or more you need the following holder
Magmod Magsphere vs Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible
Since there is a second niche flash diffuser on the market that’s designed almost identical to the Magmod Magsphere, it’s worth taking a look at the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible.
Both are circular diffusers that create a versatile fill light for unique flash effects. However, there are some differences between the two that might make you reconsider one versus the other.
|Magmod Magsphere||Gary Fong Lightsphere|
|Gel Modifier Slots||Yes||No|
Both also tie into a greater ecosystem of products, with Gary Fong also including his own brand of gel modifiers, additional light modifiers like the GF Lightblade Diffuser, etc. I’d suggest taking the time to try both and see which you prefer as they are closely related products.
The MagMod system also comes in three different kits: The starter flash kit, the basic flash kit, and the professional flash kit.
It includes the simple-to-use MagGrip, translucid MagSphere diffuser, and the unique MagGrid for perfect light control.
It includes the simple-to-use MagGrip, unique MagGrid for perfect light control, MagMod Transmitter Band for securing your radio trigger onto a flash head, MagGel Holder, and Standard Gel Set to color-correct your image.
The kit includes the following
- MagGrip Universal Magnetic Mount Base
- MagSphere Camera Flash Diffuser
- MagBounce Flash Reflector
- MagGrid Flash Modifier
- MagGel Holder
- MagMod Creative Gels Kit
In conclusion, it’s hard not to rate the Magmod Magsphere as anything other than a solid must-buy for flash photographers. The device cleverly diffuses lighting in a way that’s unique to the Magsphere construction. To my eyes, bounce flash is the only thing that looks as nice if we aren’t going for a hard direct flash look. However, as we all know, it’s not always possible to get a bounce flash in a venue. And you can even combine the two for a fantastically subtle flash output.
Pros of the Magmod Magsphere:
- Durable silicone construction
- Omnidirectional flash is exceptionally versatile and flattering on subjects
- Quick to secure and release
- Ties into the greater Magmod ecosystem of light modifiers
Cons of the Magmod Magsphere:
- Not inexpensive
- Costs 1 stop of light exposure
- Isn’t collapsible like the Gary Fong Lightsphere
- Can’t fit onto on-camera or smaller flash units like the EF-X20
So long as you’re shooting with a dedicated flash unit, you’ll definitely want to be carrying a Magmod Magsphere with you for the best possible light for your portrait subjects!
MagMod system roundup
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