When we first heard of MagMod we were beyond excited! This seemed to be the ingenious light modifier that was exactly what we had been looking for!
What is it?:
An amazing little tool which allows you to precisely control the width and colour of a beam of light. This is done by attaching a magnetized grip to the front of your speedlight and placing modular grids and coloured gels in front which are held by magnets. The more grids you place, the narrower your beam of light will be – perfect for when you don’t want light spilling all over the place!
What we like:
Control – It does exactly what it’s supposed to do! It gives us total control over the width and colour of the beam of light coming from our speedlights. Combined with radio triggers, it really gives us unparalleled control over light and the look and focus we want to give to our images.
Speed – Changing the coloured gels and (more importantly for us) the width of the beam of light literally takes seconds. We usually carry a couple of grids in our pockets and pop them on and off as desired. A perfect example is for isolating speeches. 1-2 people speaking and we’ll usually have a two grids on to isolate them. Say a whole bunch of people run up and join in, we’ll quickly just take one or both off to widen the beam and get them all covered.
Best darn packaging we’ve ever seen – Seriously gives Apple a run for it’s money!
Really, REALLY good customer service – We lost a magnet and wrote to MagMod for a replacement magnet. Not only were they super pleasant and responded to our e-mail within 15 minutes, but they sent us a whole new grid and suggestions on how to avoid losing them in the future.
Sleekness – These things look pretty darn sexy, appear to be high-quality, and matches pretty much any type of gear. Although good looking gear shouldn’t really be a factor, it is kind of embarrassing to say that it actually is a *little bit* of a factor to us. It’s actually one of the reasons (amongst others) that we originally went with Nikon over Canon. Nikon = Black, Red and Gold throughout it’s modern line-up. Canon = has black lenses, whitish/grey lenses on black bodies, different textures of plastics, different fonts on lenses, some lenses have red, some have green, some have white, some have gold/bronze, some have blue and some seem to have random combinations of these. We work in an industry of aesthetics. I like our gear to have a certain level continuity to it – the MagMods almost look OEM with the rest of our kit.
Cost – For what these things ARE (rubber and magnets) – they seem EXPENSIVE! For what these things DO – they’re a FREAKIN’ AMAZING VALUE! I’ll take an $89 MagMod kit to a wedding ANYDAY above our $2000 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and come out with more impressive/standout images that would not have been possible otherwise.
What we’re not fond of:
Weight – Just a tad bit heavier than we would have liked.
Losing magnets – These magnets are just so darn powerful that the magnets sometimes slide out of their grids when you have them stacked together and pull them apart. We’ve lost two magnets this way even after the helpful suggestions from customer support.
Concern of high powered magnets affecting precious memory cards – While we have not had any problems to date (and hopefully never will have), we are a bit concerned having such high-powered magnets so close to such incredibly precious memories on memory cards. I will often have a grid or two in my back pocket and have noticed that when one of my cameras are hanging to my side the memory card compartment door is sometimes literally pressed right up against the grid. Since I’ve noticed this, I’ve been extra careful, and only keep the grids in my pockets for short periods of time, but it still is a small concern, whether just perceived or real.
Longevity – The rubber is starting to rip on one of our grips where the magnet compartment is. While these things seem indestructable in terms of crushing force, we’re not 100% sure regarding tears like this. Perhaps it is just an isolated case? Based on our customer service experience thus far though we are not too concerned.
Cost – See above.
Final Verdict: Flaws aside, the MagMod is an invaluable tool in our kit. And when we say invaluable tool, we mean it is right up there with our camera bodies, lenses, speed lights and radio triggers. It has become an integral part of our arsenal and is absolutely necessary for the type of control over light we need, as well as “look” we strive for in many of our images.
If you want to pick one up for yourself, head on over to their site!
Article by Green Tea Photography.