Grids are a popular tool amongst studio photographers wanting to shape light for specific effects. Honl's Speed Grid provides a similar capability for shoe mount flash.
Grids are a popular studio tool for narrowing the light from a flash unit. During the past few years, these useful tools have made their way to the shoe mount flash community too.
Honl Photo Professional is one company making grids for shoe mount flashes. The company offers both a 1/8 and 1/4 “Speed" grid, each designed to narrow the beam of light your flash produces. Both units attach to a wide variety of strobes via a separate “Speed strap," a Velcro strap that winds around your flash head and provides a Velcro surface to attach the grid to.
The Speed Grids narrow the light from your flash to a small circle (The size depends on distance from subject and which version you’re using. The 1/8 unit creates a smaller circle than the 1/4 version.)
Using the Honl System
Wind the Speed Strap around the head of the flash and then use the attached Velcro strips to connect the Speed Grid to the flash head. That’s it. I generally prefer to use grids with off camera flash either to create a spotlight like effect on my subject or to serve as a hair light for small strobe portraiture.
Price to Value
The Speed Grid costs $29.95 for each grid, plus another $9.95 for the Speed Strap (which can be used with other Honl Photo Professional flash attachments). While there are cheaper light restrictors on the market, most of the ones I’ve looked at have sizing problems when moving from small flash heads to large ones (one will fit my Canon 420 EX but not my 580 EX II or vice versa). The Speed Grids will work on a larger variety of strobes than many other grid/snoot options that I’ve seen. I would say the Speed Grid is a good value if you need to use a grid attachment a lot (it’s construction quality is good) since it’s lightweight and won’t take up much space in your camera bag. You can probably save a few dollars on the Speed Strap by just going with some Velcro on your flash head too.
Honl Photo Professional provided me with a Speed Strap and 1/4 Speed Grid for the David Busch Quick Snap Guide to Photo Gear.
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