Photographers and filmmakers rarely use light sources as they are. Pointing a lamp, strobe or flash at the subject, press the release and done — it’s not their thing. One of the components of a good photograph or movie is lighting, preferably the sort of lighting that creates a three dimensional look or adds a creative touch. That is why you’ll see them use reflectors, diffusers, softboxes, and umbrellas. The people at Rogue Photographic Design took the latter and improved it. Hence, the Rogue Umbrella Travel Kit can be yours for 99.95 USD.
The kit contains a 38in (1m) black umbrella with a white surface on the inside, a diffuser cloth, and a 32in (82cm) shoot-through white umbrella. The whole kit comes in two bags. The bigger 16 panel umbrella comes in its own small bag. Together with the diffuser cloth and the white umbrella they’re packaged up in a somewhat larger, more sturdy ballistic nylon bag. Everything fits in there tightly so you can take it with you without needing a separate traveling case. The lot weighs in at 1kg.
Both umbrellas are fitted out with fibreglass ribs. Unlike many competitive materials, fibreglass won’t corrode, degrade, or rust. It is a lightweight material with a high strength-to-weight ratio and instead of breaking, it will bend back in shape. Similar performance from metal would require an expensive, coated steel quality. Some brands kit out their umbrellas with a hollow shaft, which is OK until you tighten the mounting screw a bit too tight and the shaft either dents or breaks. The Rogue kit’s umbrellas come with solid shafts. Even the joints of the mechanism and other possibly sharp elements are shielded off from the umbrella’s surface with extra reinforcements. Without, the nylon cloth material could be punctured or teared up.
It isn’t all robustness and longevity that counts, though, so the black unit comes with a nice heavy-duty button to lock/unlock it. Its inside is an optical white which is the same as the FlashBender range of products and which accounts for one less thing to worry about when it comes to white balance, so the results and quality of build are what you’d expect from a product made by Rogue.
Using the Rogue umbrella travel kit is also quite an agreeable experience. There is, for example, a very easy way to mount the diffusion cloth, which is shown in a one-minute video on the product web page. It’s all in the details.