The Flash X-Tender Better Beamer is a relatively simple device that consists of two hard plastic supports that attach to your external flash via velcro wrap at one end and to a rectangular magnification plate (Fresnel lens) at the other end. Flash X-tenders are intended for use with focal lengths of 300mm or greater and Through-the-Lens (TTL) flash units. It can work with a shorter lens if your DSLR has a “crop factor” (DX format).
When mounted to your flash it extends AND concentrates your flash, like a spotlight, by focusing the light that passes through the magnification plate (Fresnel lens). It also allows for faster refresh rates and reduced battery consumption, creating a better chance of catching the action when it happens. The result is a flash output that gains a full 2 to 3 f-stops, depending on your flash zoom setting.
One the website (http://www.rpphoto.com/flashextender/default.asp) , they actually calculate the estimated distance that the flash extender can reach. They say it depends on several factors including your flash’s power, the ISO, maximum lens aperture, and whether you are using fill flash. The following formula can be used to estimate this distance, where “Distance” is the distance the flash’s light will travel, “GN” is your flash’s guide number which the manufacturer can should provide, and “f-stop” is the aperture :
Distance = GN / f-stop
In the example from http://www.rpphoto.com/flashextender/default.asp they suggest that the combination of a lens with maximum aperture of f/4 and flash with GN of 140 feet at ISO100, could give you full flash exposure to 70 feet. With additional tweeking of setting including altering ISO and flash compensation, your flash could reach and effective distance of 280 feet. For details please check out the website and their explanation.
That’s about it and it does it’s job effectively! Though the flash extender does take the “natural looking” feel away from the photo, it does provide for better detail, color and shutter speed in low light situations. This product will set you back about $40. Below are photos of the better beamer components and some sample photos of the results when using the flash extender (click on the photos to enlarge).
(BELOW) Flash X-Tender Better Beamer (storage pouch sold separately)
(BELOW) Flash X-Tender Better Beamer mounted to Nikon SB-600 flash
******TEST PHOTOS WITH FLASH EXTENDER******
(BELOW- WITHOUT Flash X-Tender Better Beamer )- Pelicans about 15 feet away (~4.5 meters)
(BELOW- WITH Flash X-Tender Better Beamer )- Pelicans about 15 feet away (~4.5 meters)
(BELOW- WITHOUT Flash X-Tender Better Beamer )- Pelicans about 50 feet away (~15 meters)
(BELOW- WITH Flash X-Tender Better Beamer )- Pelicans about 50 feet away (~15 meters)
(ALL Photos BELOW are WITH the Flash X-Tender Better Beamer )
Well, I am excited about my upcoming trip to Jackson, Wyoming next week (8/17 t0 8/22). It will be my first real chance to extensively test my Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VRII and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. Unfortunately, the Nikon TC-20eIII is still not in stock anywhere in the USA, as I was hoping to purchase it before this trip. Instead, I will be using the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter when I need more reach. I will be sure to post my results when I return.
Feel free to check out my YouTube Channel from time to time as I will begin doing some video reviews at: