MagMod review: the basic kit, gels, MagSphere,
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I’ve recently expanded my ever-growing collection of light modifiers with some product from MagnetMod: one MagMod Basic Kit, some colored gels and a MagSphere. I was looking for something versatile enough to cover a lot of possible situations while keeping the weight and the volume to a minimum. And I felt the MagMod ecosystem is just what I needed.
The first MagMod product that I’ve got is the Basic Kit, which contains just the bare minimum to get started with:
- one MagGrip
- one MagGel gel holder
- one MagGrid
- a selection of filter gels, including some color corrections gel, a nice warming gel named 1/2 Straw – I find it great for skin tones and to balance the color of the sunset, a diffusion gel, and a 3-stop neutral density gel (useless).
- MagMod Transmitter Band which can be used to attach receivers to the flashes; as my Godox system has built-in radio receivers, this is useless to me.
At the heart of the system lies the MagGrip, the rubber holder that attaches to the filter head. It has two strong magnets that hold the other accessories in place. Considering the strength of the magnets, I find surprising that the kit doesn’t come with warnings for wearers of pacemakers and implanted heart defibrillators. I’m also worried a bit about putting the magnets close to my camera; there is no way to know if and how it will interact with Olympus IBIS. I don’t want to be the first to see if something goes wrong. Also, don’t put the MagMod products near your hard drives, the wallet with the credit cards or close to anything that might be damaged by strong magnetic fields.
Also, I find that the MagGrip is sometimes a royal pain to install on the flash head. It always gives me the feeling that I will break the TT685 flashes when I attached the MagGrip. But once attached, it doesn’t fall. When hit, some accessories held with the magnets might fly away, but the holder stays there. Sometimes I feel that the magnets are too strong, and I fear the flash head will be damaged and the accessories will remain attached.
Things are a bit easier for the Godox AD200, where I can remove the fresnel head to attach the MagGrip holder. But there’s a small problem here, too: the AD200 fresnel head has two venting slots on each side. The MagGrip will cover those venting slots.
There are two possibilities here: one can not push the MagGrip completely, leaving the venting holes free. Or you can do like me and use a scalpel to free the venting holes – obviously, this will weaken the MagGrip, and it will break much faster. I’m not worried much about this, as I plan to leave it permanently on the flash head.
Once the MagGrid is attached, the fun begins. Below are some test images produced against a white wall. All pictures were taken at 1/60s, f/8, manual focus on the wall. The AD200 is set in manual mode, at 1/16 power.
First, let’s take a look at a comparison between the bare flash head and flash with the diffusion gel attached:
I find the diffusion gel does quite a good job; it creates a much pleasing light. I would have liked to have the light loss mentioned on each filter, but I can live with it.
Below is a test with the MagGrid alone. Notice the pattern of light created by the AD200 fresnel head.
One can combine the grid with the filter holder, resulting in a better light pattern – below is a comparison between the grid alone, and the grid plus the diffusion gel.
Expanding the MagMod system
The MagMod Basic kit is just a taste opener; there are so many ways to expand it, depending on each other’s needs. I chose to expand my system with two sets of colored gels – the MagMod Creative and the MagMod Artistic gel kits, and one MagSphere.
MagMod flash gels
There are four packs of gels available – besides the gel packs I’ve mentioned above, one can buy a Standard gel kit, which is a replacement of the gel assortment that comes with the MagMod basic kit, and an Advanced gel kit, which contains some CTO gels and a blue gel.
While the selection of only 16 gels might seem limited, it’s worth noting that up to three gels can be stacked into the same holder. Thus, one can create some unique color combination with ease.
In my collection, I have some gels from Rogue. Those gels warp and sometimes release smoke when I fire the AD200 at full power through them. No such issues with the gels from MagMod.
The last in my collection of light modifiers is the MagSphere, an accessory mage for primarily wedding photographers, but it has other uses in the studio too. It’s a silicone dome with integrated gel holder – one can install up to three color corrections gels directly onto the MagSphere, keeping the system compact.
Below is a comparison between the AD200 with diffusion gel and the MagSphere. Overall, the MagSphere provides a softer light, but with the price of a greater light loss.
Overall, a nice but expensive system.