GEAR: Phoxle Flash Match filters

Tutorials and ReviewsTutorials and Reviews ModeratorRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 138
edited July 3, 2011 in Book and Gear Reviews
Phoxle Flash-Match Filters

Review by Nikolai, photos by Pederson Quist.

I had a chance to field-test Phoxle’s new product, Flash-Match Filters.

The kit consists of a sturdy plastic holder with a quick release lanyard and a little booklet with 5 self-adhesive gel filters inside. The booklet is held together by a simple rubber band, so it’s very easy to take out only the one or a couple that you need, if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to carry the whole thing.

The filters inside are:
  • Light orange 5,600K - 5,000K
  • Medium orange 5,600K - 4,000K
  • Darker orange 5,600K - 3,100K
  • Light blue 6,500K - 8,000K
  • Darker blue 6,500K - 10,000K

Each filter can be easily peeled off the laminated booklet sheet and attached to a working surface of Canon 580EX or a similar hot-shoe mounted flash. After performing this operation a few dozen times I didn’t notice any residue neither on the sheets, nor on the flash. Each filter has a non-sticky peel handle with the company logo on it and a small print with the color temperature and a little “hint glyph” on the opposite side of the film.

I am not going to cover the theory of the flash color matching here. Suffice to say that the provided selection will cover a vast variety of the fairly typical cases, such as tungsten, fluorescent, shade, direct sun, sunrise/sunset, high altitude, etc. My test shots (direct sunlight, shade, tungsten and fluorescent) proved that for each of these scenarios one of the Phoxle filters gave a nice match to the ambient light as opposed to the open flash. I used all 5 filters plus open flash for each of the four typical lighting scenarios I could easily find at home/on location. I shot RAW in AE mode, thus using my 580EXII in ETTL mode as a fill flash. Later I simply set the White Balance in ACR4 according to the original shooting environment (Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, and Fluorescent). In each case one of the filters gave me nicely balanced picture.

The test results can be seen here.

What I liked: Nice convenient product at an affordable price
Filter size matches 580 working surface height-wise perfectly
Non-residue self-adhesive system is very convenient and easy to use.
Package is very easy to carry, either with the holder or without it (see below).

What I didn’t like: The aforementioned height perfection requires nearly perfect application technique. A smallest tilt (application at an angle) or shift (lower/higher) leaves part of the flash working surface exposed, thus leading to a light spill. Not a show stopper and very easy to fix, but I’d say I would prefer a larger height margin so I wouldn’t have to be accurate to a fraction of a millimeter.
A relatively thick “handle” may prevent (or at least make a bit inconvenient) the usage of many popular snap-on diffusers made of relatively hard plastic, such as Omnibox, etc.

What I would like to ask for:
  • I got a feeling that the plastic holder is responsible for a fair chunk of the price. Considering the fact that the booklet can be easily and safely carried in the internal pocket of the 580 standard issue case or in one of the many pockets of your favorite camera bag, I would prefer not to have the bulky holder and see the price drop of $10..$15
  • Since the length of the filters is wider that 580 anyway, I really don’t see why not increase the height by about 0.7 cm. This would hit two very nice targets at once:
    First, you don’t have to use a micrometer to apply the gel to 580 (all margins will be large enough), and, second, they will completely cover the working surface of such off-camera flashes as Sunpak’s, thus making this filter set much more versatile.
  • I would like to be able to buy extra booklet sheets with additional colors for special effects. I’m not asking for turning this set into a Rosco swatch book, but… yeah, I guess I am. Seriously, a dozen or so of basic colors, like two-three shades of red, green, yellow and purple would make a great Extended edition and would not drill the hole in one’s wallet.


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