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Grids are amongst the most underrated accessories a photographer could own. Those who have tried it can just not live without it.

No matter what category you fall in, this comparison will help you choose the grids that you must have.

What is a Grid?

What is a Grid?

What is a Grid?

Grids take the form of a metal or plastic insert that you put in flash reflectors.

Various models exist for different reflector sizes. They look very much like a honeycomb, and their most important characteristic is their degree value; 30°, 20° and 12°.

 

The smaller the number, the narrower the beam of light is.

A grid is meant to concentrate the light and offer a more or less focused light output.

Why Grids?

Why Grids?

Why use a grid?

Grids are not limited to just the hair light like many tend to believe.

They can be used in a wide range of situations, such as:

  • A backlight to avoid flaring.
  • A main light to only light the subject (extremely helpful outdoors or to create a black background).
  • A fill light to be extremely precise and not have additional light all over the set.
  • A background light to only light part of the background or to create a more interesting effect.

 

It’s always a good idea to have a few grids in your bags, particularly since they don’t eat up much space.

Comparison

Comparison

The grids comparison.

For this comparison, I used the Reflector Grid Set 18 Complete.

I'll show you exactly what the final result looks between the standard 18 cm 70° reflector with no grid or with either the 30°, 20°, or 12° grid.

Procedure:

The model was placed at 2.5 meters away from the background and the flash at 2.5 meters from her. The goal was to have a proper setup with just the standard 18 cm reflector, with the model’s shadow appearing.

 

Then I tried each grid to see how the lighting on the model and the background, as well as the shadow, would change.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Note

The grids structure leads to a small loss of light. That's why the flash power must be adjusted to match the same light meter reading for each shot.

My light meter showed a 1/2 stop difference between the bare reflector and the 30° grid, a 1/10th of a stop between the 30° and 20° grids, and a 1/3 of a stop between the 20° and 12° grids. In total, that’s about 8/10th of a stop between just the reflector and the reflector with a 12° grid.

 

All pictures shown in this article have only been processed in Capture One. No further retouching was applied to alter the fall-off of light.

How to Start?

Grids Sets

Grids Sets

  • Basic Grid Reflector Set 18cm

    $59.00More infoAdd to cart

    Basic Grid Reflector Set 18cm

    EL26060

    The Grid Reflector 18cm (7") is a general purpose reflector for traveling and can be used for direct or indirect lighting with Elinchrom umbrellas. The included grids limit light spread and offers sharper shadows.

    Grids should never be used with 650W modelling lamps.

    $59.00
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • Complete Grid Reflector Set 18cm

    $205.99More infoAdd to cart

    Complete Grid Reflector Set 18cm

    EL26135

    The Grid Reflector 18cm (7") is a general purpose reflector for traveling and can be used for direct or indirect lighting with Elinchrom umbrellas. The included grids limit light spread and offers sharper shadows.

    Grids should never be used with 650W modelling lamps.

    $205.99
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • Complete Grid Reflector Set 21cm

    $236.99More infoAdd to cart

    Complete Grid Reflector Set 21cm

    EL26051

    The Standard Reflector 21cm (8.26") combines high output with a good spread of light and the included grids limit light spread and offers sharper shadows. 

     

    Grids should never be used with 650W modelling lamps.

    $236.99
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • Grid bag for 18 & 21 cm

    $42.95More infoAdd to cart

    Grid bag for 18 & 21 cm

    EL33217

    Elinchrom Grid bag for 18cm/7" and 21cm/8.3" Grids

    $42.95
    QTY
    Add to cart

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