Today at TNK Photo, we have something truly exceptional to share. Have you ever utilized your MagMod equipment and contemplated the idea, “This is truly outstanding, but wouldn’t it be marvelous if it were compatible with a broader range of systems, perhaps even something more substantial?” Well, you’re in for a treat, as MagMod has just unveiled the MagMod XL, and it is indeed a game-changer. We received this package a few weeks ago, with MagMod inviting us to put it to the test. As you can observe in the accompanying images, we had the opportunity to take it into the field and conduct a series of experiments.
Field Testing the MagMod XL
We put the MagMod XL through its paces in scenarios that demanded a bit more resilience. Our objective was to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how this gear could be employed, especially in contrast to its smaller counterpart, the AD200. Consequently, we employed it with the AD400 Pro. The reason for not using the AD400 as frequently in the past was our genuine appreciation for the MagMod equipment. If we couldn’t attach a sphere or a grid to it, or if it disrupted the harmony of our existing setup, it was challenging to justify its inclusion in our gear, except when absolutely necessary.
I can confidently assert that upon receiving the MagMod XL, my enthusiasm to experiment with it surged. It allowed us to make practical use of equipment that we typically left behind on many shoots. This has become possible due to the integration of the entire ecosystem, including the AD200 and AD400.
The Bowens Mount and Collapsible Reflector
The version we received is equipped with the Bowens Mount, a result of MagMod’s inquiry about our large modifiers a few months ago. This Bowens Mount is specially designed for attachment to the AD400. Notably, the reflector differs from the standard model as it is collapsible, which reduces its overall dimensions. This feature holds significance, particularly since the AD400 is already a substantial unit. By minimizing its size for storage and transport, MagMod has demonstrated thoughtful design.
Grid Options for Precision Control
When transporting the MagMod XL, I prefer to affix one of the grids to it. This serves as an added layer of protection, shielding the bulb from external elements during transport. The new MagMod XL products are noteworthy for providing two distinct grids: one with a 40-degree spread and another with a 20-degree spread. This versatility allows you to choose between a broader or more focused beam of light, as exemplified in the accompanying photograph taken at the beach. The 20-degree grid, in particular, proved instrumental in achieving precise control over the light, thanks to the power of the AD400.
Stackable Grids for Customized Lighting
Furthermore, if you desire an even tighter beam, you have the option to stack these grids together. Although I have yet to experiment with this configuration, I intend to do so in the future and will share the results on our Instagram account.
The MagSphere XL for Soft and Uniform Lighting
On the other end of the spectrum, transitioning from an exceptionally tight beam of light, we come to the MagSphere. This particular model, designed for the MagMod XL, is significantly larger in size, approximately two and a half times the size of its counterpart. This size differential plays a crucial role in achieving softer and more diffused lighting, as evident in the attached images.
One of my concerns when using softboxes or umbrellas is the need for a reliable assistant to prevent them from acting like sails in windy conditions. With the MagSphere XL, I felt confident attaching it to a sturdy light stand, even at considerable heights. Additionally, MagMod has ingeniously designed a case that can be secured to the light stand, enhancing stability. While I personally use a robust light stand and didn’t find it necessary, this option offers an added layer of security. The case can also serve as a convenient storage solution for modifiers and other equipment.
Sturdy Design and Portability
For my convenience, I opted to carry the MagMod XL with a grid inside my Peak Design bag. The rubberized construction of all the components allows them to be compactly stowed, making it a practical choice for transport. However, for those who prefer, the included case offers an alternative for organizing and transporting additional accessories.
Another noteworthy aspect is that when the reflector is collapsed, it results in a wider light spread. Conversely, extending the reflector provides a slightly tighter beam, offering greater flexibility in controlling the light output. Additionally, the rubber construction ensures durability, with no dents, breakage, or color fading observed, even after extended use.
Convenient Gel Attachment
A notable feature is the gel attachment method, which eliminates the need for the traditional, cumbersome, and loud gel sheets. MagMod offers a sleek alternative by providing gels that fit snugly inside the dome, ensuring secure placement. These gels are suitable for correcting tungsten lighting or adding creative color effects, providing a cleaner and more efficient solution than conventional gel sheets. The ability to stack multiple gels opens up exciting creative possibilities.
Reflectors and Light Spread
The interior coating of the reflector differs from the standard metal version, resulting in a softer and less specular quality of light. This attribute is particularly evident when comparing the two reflectors side by side. While I initially overlooked this aspect, I plan to conduct further testing to assess any significant differences.
Replaceable Back for Versatility
Recognizing that not all users employ Bowens Mount systems, MagMod’s decision to offer a replaceable back is commendable. This feature serves a dual purpose: it accommodates users who may switch systems in the future and contributes to environmental sustainability by allowing the replacement of specific components rather than entire units.
Future Creative Color Options
In addition to the CTO gels, MagMod is set to release a range of creative color gels that can also be stacked inside the reflector. These gels are compatible with all MagBoxes, further demonstrating the thoughtful integration within MagMod’s ecosystem.
The Evolution of MagMod: A Game-Changer for Lighting
The MagMod XL represents a significant evolution of MagMod’s mission to simplify and enhance the lighting experience. Since our initial encounter with MagMod in 2015 or 2016, we have appreciated the remarkable ease of use that their products offer. With the introduction of larger modifiers like the MagMod XL, this philosophy of user-friendly, adaptable lighting solutions continues to thrive. We now have the confidence to tackle challenging lighting situations, such as the harsh midday sun during weddings, knowing that the MagMod XL is a valuable addition to our toolkit.