Grids vs. Fresnel : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have been having a great time doing still lifes this winter. I was trying to figure out better ways to control light spill and give me a more directional spot light. I picked up an old 6" stage Fresnel and have figured out how I could modify a flash head to replace the original lamp. Then I picked up a set of grids quite inexpensively on ebay. I have to admit that I love the effect of the grids. They give a controlled spot that is soft as it fades to the edge. The light is directional but not extremely harsh. I did make the adjustment suggested by Ellis in another forum to add a Rosco diffuser between the flash tube and the grid. This improved the eveness of coverage and softened the shadows. My question is how does this compare to the light I would get from the Fresenel? Should I put the flash head back together and not worry about this big old stage fresnel? Could someone give me a comparison of grids vs a Fresnel please?

-- Dave Schneider (, April 01, 2002


You'd get a much more directed light with the fresnel. It should also be stronger, but that all depends upon how well you focus the lamp head to the fresnel lens.
The fresnel will (probably) give you a light pattern very much like a traditional stage spotlight. I.e. very harsh with no "spread" at all. As you are already familiar with the effect of the grids, I will not comment on that, except that I in general like that effect better as well. But again, it all depends upon what kind of effect you are striving for in each particular shot. Some particular still lives probably needs the very sharp edge that could only be accomplished with a fresnel or a spotlight.

-- Björn Nilsson (, April 01, 2002.

A grid is sort of like a defocused fresnel. if you want to try something else start using "gobos" between the grid equipped light and the subject try layering them with different gobos at different distances fromthe light and even doubled up. A gobo can be anything from Rosco "blackwrap" to card board.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, April 01, 2002.

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