How to Improve a Portable Light Modifier

Review by Erik Vlietinck

I imagine many photographers have at least one FlashBender with them at all times. It’s a flash modifier that can direct, soften, or diffuse light efficiently, while also being foldable and lightweight enough to take it with you in your photo bag. 

The basic concept of the FlashBender hasn’t changed since the first version hit the market. It’s the weight, bending system, and attachment system that have evolved, with the current version (v3) hugely improved in all three areas. 

The most obvious improvement is the attachment system, which will save you time and worry. Whereas the first version used two elastic bands and Velcro strips, and the second allowed for the bands to fit smaller flash heads better, holding the FlashBender more securely in place, the attachment now depends on a buckle connection. This allows you to tighten the attachment by pulling on the nylon fastening bands while the FlashBender mounting piece is already wrapped around the flash head. It’s especially great with the large model which, because of the weight of the shape rods and the rather thick fabric, used to be top-heavy and not that easily taken from one location to the next. 

All that has changed! The buckle connection creates a much more secure attachment, further helped by the mounting area, which now has a soft, padded silicon rubberized surface so it can really shape itself and sit even tighter around the flash head. No more wobbling, not even with the big FlashBender. 

The shaping rods and the reflector fabrics themselves have also been improved. The rods, once bent, stay in place with no further fiddling, and they’re easier to manipulate while still holding their shape as well as before. Finally, the fabric seems to weigh less while still maintaining its perfect opacity. ■