I utilized the Grand Para in combination with other modifiers for a publicity session. You can view that blog post here.
Updated April 14 2019
I have been remiss in updating my findings utilizing this remarkable modifier. Most of the imagery I cannot share right now, but do have one which can be shown. This particular image is one of the publicity shots for Momma Mia. I used it pointed directly at the talent about 7 feet in the air. Two Saberstrips were also used, one camera left to illuminate the talent’s face as she was in complete profile looking up as she lifted the microphone to her face.
These images illustrate how the lighting was generally arranged.
Updated September 6 2018
I have an upcoming publicity session so it was important for me to test the Grand prior to deciding on using it for this project. I asked Sammi, a local actress to be my model for the shoot. I have decided to not use any other lights or modifiers when I test new gear to see how they stand on their own. I normally shoot with at least three lights and modifiers during a session. In this case I only used the Grand 70 using a Flashpoint 600 with the remote head. I did not use the Grand with anything other than the focusing arm, no diffusion panels at all. Here are my observations:
My first test was against seamless to ascertain the glamour capabilities of the Grand 70″
I wanted to see how the modifier handles full body shots. In each of the following images I stood directly in front of the Grand which was 10 feet from the model. I also wanted to see how the light quality would be effected by different outfits, some shiny some mat.
In the image below you can see in her eyes the light pattern which I had fully flooded to create a ring light affect. I’m standing directly in front of the modifier.
My next test was to move away from seamless to see just how angling the modifier can create a completely different look.
In both of the instances above the light was feathered to one side of the Grand in order to give dimension to the shot. Both were shot with the light in mid focused position to add contrast and drama.
I will continue to try other methods with this Grand that I was never able to do when I rented the Bron Para line of modifiers due to time constraints. At this point I will simply say that the Glow Grand Para line, at least this 70, truly competes with the Para 177 at a third of the cost. I find the light quality as good for glamour imagery and am thrilled that Adorama has started to carry a line of modifiers like this. I recently purchased and am awaiting the remote head for the 600Pro which I am anxious to try with this Grand. I also plan to use the outer diffusion panel with the focusing rod to experiment with the light characteristics with that combination. Stay tuned, but for now I highly recommend the Grand line if you are looking for a viable alternative to the Bron Para line of modifiers.
Updated August 27 2018
In just over a week I will be testing this modifier on actual talent. I am anticipating a very good result. So much so that I had a client meeting this morning for an upcoming publicity shoot on location in front of a grand staircase at a Fairmont Hotel. Because I anticipate using the Grand Para 70 for that shoot I had to determine if it would fit into my SKB hard sided golf bag! IT JUST FITS thank gawd! LOL
Original Post 8-22-18
These are my initial impressions of the Glow Grand 70 and the Zoom-In Bounce Rod. I won’t be able to test the modifier on talent until early September. So for right now I will go over some of the facets of the modifier and bounce rod, AKA focusing rod. It’s the first 24 rod octa I’ve owned, although not the first I’ve used. The Broncolor 177 ($4300 USD) is the closest in size to the Grand 70” ($1150 USD plus $490 for Bounce Rod = $1640 USD). The Bron Para 177 and the Grand 70 both measure 70” across their face . Both utilize 24 rods in this configuration. The Grand 70 comes with a choice of strobe mounts; mine arrived with a Bowens ring although I won’t ever use it without the Glow Grand ParaBox Zoom-In Bounce Rod.
The assembly of this octa is very different than any other modifiers I have owned or rented. The new configuration consists of 24 levers that are spring loaded which must be ‘locked’ into adjoining bars on the modifier.
This is where I encountered the most difficult part of assembling the Grand Para. In order to put enough tension on each individual arm, I needed to stretch each arm out from the center of the modifier. Doing so alone without assistance, I found that I could not create enough leverage to push each rod away from the center of the modifier to get the lever to ‘click’ into its corresponding bar. This may be easier with the smaller modifiers. Right now this is one of the primary differences between the Bron Para 177 and the Glow Grand 70. The Bron’s rods are hinged in the middle and must be extended before using a crank to expand the modifier. Much easier to do and keeps the fabric taut. Because they’re hinged the Bron’s collapsed length is shorter than the Grand, but its collapsed diameter is larger. The Grand’s interior fabric is very similar if not the same as the Bron; a very shiny silver and very tight as well. The Bron’s outer fabric is thicker than the Grand, but I believe both are very durable.
This is the interior reflective fabric of the Grand. The eyelet is for the supplied inner diffusion material.
A close up view illustrates how each rod ‘snaps’ into place using a hooked tab which engages a bar on the latch.
In order to gain enough leverage to bend each rod to engage the bar, I found it best to use the Bounce Rod for leverage. I GENTLY pulled the rod toward me and then the rods would easily snap into place. The rods are fiberglass so they won’t permanently ‘bend’, but using caution is always the best practice when stressing any modifier rod be they fiberglass or a metal material.
The octa itself is very well made and much lighter than I expected. It has a ‘pass through’ slot which I had hoped would fit/accept my Flashpoint Portable 600ws Extension FlashHead. But unfortunately the opening is not large enough to allow the Extension socket to pass through. No matter since the cord is more than long enough to allow it to come through the front of the modifier to easily reach the strobe body.
The Bounce Rod attaches to the Grand 70 via four spring loaded/nylon shimmed Phillips head screws. I changed them to wing nut/turning knobs so I would not need to have a Phillips head screwdriver with me when I set this up.
The Grand Para will not fit into its supplied case with the bounce rod bracket attached. It WILL fit into the case by detaching the bracket, inverting it and inserting it into the ring hole which reduces its length to fit into the bag. The modifier comes supplied with an inner and outer diffusion panels (not shown) as well as a speed ring for your strobe connector of choice. Mine came with a Bowens mount (not shown). I doubt I’ll ever use it as a traditional octa bank. I prefer the look/flexibility of focusing arms. Adorama also supplies an empty sand bag (not shown) that can be used as a counterweight on either the Bounce Rod focusing arm or the leverage arm.
The focusing arm has an eyelet on the end for the sand bag.
The leverage arm also has an eyelet for the sand bag.
I did not find a need to use the sandbag to counterweight the modifier. It may be because I am using an extension head rather than the weight of an entire moonlight on the focusing arm. Although I believe the Bounce Rod would support the weight of a moonlight I would highly recommend NOT using that method.
One item that was NOT included with the Bounce Rod is a flash head bracket. I thought this was very strange since in order to use a focusing arm, one needs to have a strobe head holder. In the image above I am using a Cheetahstand BirdCage for Chopsticks for Bowens mount lights. Because I have a number of focusing rod modifiers, I have several extras. But if you order a Bounce Rod, be sure to obtain a light cage of some sort.
The construction of the Bounce Rod is excellent. The only part I will replace is the pivot swivel handle. It is made of plastic and does ratchet, however the ‘feeling’ of the lever does not instill confidence in me. That is NOT to say it will break, it just means my preference for a piece of hardware that provides this much torque should be metal.
The focusing rod is located on the top in this photo. The leverage rod is the bottom one. Both are removable from the bracket and easily store in the supplied carry bag. The plastic swivel handle is located in the U shaped bracket. The whole bracket is well constructed.
I’m all about options so I appreciate that the bracket has both a vertical and horizontal mounting hole. IF I’m ever inclined to mount this modifier facing down on a very sturdy light stand I have that ability.
The focusing rod has two sections, the first slides into the housing and is secured by the turning knob on the top of the main cylinder. It can be moved in and out as needed for distance. The second portion is adjusted using a friction knob. My preference for using the focusing rod is to slide the first section all the way into the cylinder and use the friction knob portion to move the light to the fully focused, flooded or anywhere in between position.
I prefer to adjust the focusing arm distance from the front of the modifier. The Grand allows me to do that due to its rod configuration. It’s smooth. I am able to see the effects of the position of the light while in front of the modifier rather than from behind.
This is an example of how I adjust the light position.
One of the most attractive aspects of the large Bron Para line with focusing rod is its ability to replicate a ring light flash and sculpt the light by simply adjusting its angle. But unlike a ring light the ability to stand in front of the modifier while still creating a shadow less light on the talent is wonderful. And then the ability to sculpt the shadows simply by turning the angle of the para to remove or add light to one side or the other is another fantastic feature. Bron has created a well done video about the method to which I’m referring.
Light Pattern Test
To determine if the Grand can accomplish the light control of the Bron, I ran a preliminary test with my partner. Here are my results:
The light position in its fully flooded positon creates a ring light affect which is wonderful. As you can see in the photo the light is shadow less, much like a ring light. I was standing directly in front of the modifier and my partner is about 9 feet in front of me.
A close up of her eyes reveals the ring light affect.
All of this means very little if the light quality of the Grand is not excellent. BUT having said that and having had experience using quite a few modifiers I can say with 90% certainty that this will easily compete with the Bron’s quality of light. In early September I have scheduled a shoot with talent to actually test this modifier in a studio session. Of course I’ll be posting my thoughts and images here. I’m really excited about this modifier!
This thing costs as much as my x-t2 I can only assume the broncolor ones are durable, would love to know how you feel this will last.
Hey Razzaq, I’m not sure what an “x-t2” is, but yes the whole Glow Grand Parabox line is not for everyone. Like myself we all look for value, but we all define it differently. For me the Bron line of modifiers produce some of the best lighting quality for what I do. Focusing rods offer options other softboxes do not. Yet not many people try them. So up to this point renting Bron Paras when needed was the best answer. But with the Grand Parabox line that will most likely change for me because in most cases I prefer to own my gear. The durability of the Grand seems good and it has stronger points over the Bron as the Bron has over the Grand. What I will keep an eye on are the clips that hold the rods in place. They are plastic and ‘may’ break if abused. But with the Bron, the hinges of the rods are plastic and can also stress and break. Hell I’ve had Elinchrom metal spring loaded rod sockets break too, so material isn’t really relevant. The fabrics are different but I have no doubt it will be fine. I don’t own a studio so I often set up and strike all of my gear, which puts way more stress on stuff than those that have a studio where gear is left up. Bottom line, once I test the light quality on an actress later next month I’ll know for certain if my Bron rental days are behind me.
My comments have no direct link to the subject of the article, but they are not so far away.Grace your blog, your analyzes and reviews, I had decided to buy a Godox AD6000Pro and a Parabolix45.J ‘ I had the opportunity to shoot for a young woman who competes for Miss France. I just retired and I can devote myself to my passion: photography. Mark, I thank you for your valuable advice.Continue!
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Hello and thank you for your story. I’m gratified that some of the information you’ve found here has assisted you in your passion. And congratulations on attaining retirement! Devoting oneself to their passion is something some only dream to do! Bravo!
Interested to see your thoughts with the 24 sides.
Just got a Parabolix 40″ 2 days ago, really like the #s on the focusing tube.
Hi Mike, glad to hear you got yourself a 40. Parabolix makes great modifiers and their focusing rod is so good. I use their focusing rod on other modifiers by changing the speed rings to Profoto. The Parabolix focusing arm fits Profoto mounts. Yes I too like the calibration marks on the rod. Makes it much easier for me to notate repeatable lighting methods. I have some initial theories about the Grand’s 24 sides, but would like to hold off on speculating until after September 5th when I’ve arranged to test the Grand on an actress. If they perform like the Bron line of Paras, I’m assuming that the number of slats will come into play as I feather and angle the Grand from one side….but time will tell. I’ll be posting the images here. Thanks.
Really love reading what you have to say about these modifiers. what’s your opinion between this and the parabolix? In terms of which one is easier to set up, take down, and adjust the focus?
Hi Zarli, I love the Parabolix which I have loads of experience using. Adjusting the focus is easy IF you do your focusing from the front of the modifier rather than from behind. As with any modifier it’s really important for me to view the focus of the modifier from the view of the talent. One of the things with a smaller modifier like the Parabolix model I have is I often use it angled downward toward the talent. So it’s a fine balance of how much tension I place on the focusing rod with its turning knob. I want enough tension to keep the rod in place once I let go, yet loose enough so that I can move it from the front of the modifier.
The Grand’s focusing rod is different in that it does not have a turning knob, but has a tension ring built into the rod itself. Much like an extension pole for painting or pool cleaning. So setting the tension is not as critical. But also keep in mind that I’m using the 70, which is very large so I do not plan to ‘normally’ angle the modifier downward. That means adjusting the light in and out of the modifier makes the tension of the rod not as critical as the Parabolix. There may be times when angling the modifier downward will come into play. At those times I may have to adjust the rod from the back of the unit.
Ease of set up is a wash. Because the Parabolix requires you to tension the rods by sliding their collars into the speedring and then fastening the respective Velcro tabs. It takes about the same amount of time even though the Parabolix has only 16 rods versus the Grand with 24. Hope this helps!
Great Insights. Thank you! I am leaning toward the Parbolix 35D right now.Would you be able to answer one more thing for me? With the 35D, what is the light spread like? My “studio” space is a converted bedroom so it’s rather small. I’m wondering if de-focused, i would still be able to cover a model with enough to do a full body shot with the modifier about 6′ away and if changing the focus affects the size of the cone of light or only the quality of the contrast?
Zarli, the 35D can definitely illuminate full body shots fully flooded and even partially flooded. The slight issue may be the distance you have to work with at 6 feet. That’s not a lot of space so I will just ‘guess’ that it may not be far enough. The other issue is since you are working in a very confined area your distance from the talent to the wall must also be short. So controlling bleed from any modifier will be an issue.
The quality of the contrast on any focusing rod modifier is wonderful, it just depends on how much contrast you desire. Fully focused creates more contrast. Fully flooded less, but much more than a normal softbox. Personally I now find normal soft boxes a bit boring in light quality. But that’s just me.
Thank you again! Yes you are correct, i do have to deal with a lot of bleed due to space limitations, but i try and make the best of it.
I’ve been doing some experiments with the Selens parabolic softbox. first i made a makeshift central reflector, then i used some brackets to attach a Godox AD200 head as close to the center shaft as possible. While not perfect, i have really been liking the contrast and am trying to justify in my head the cost of the parabolix.
I do agree, regular softboxes are just so flat as I’ve always loved shadows.
Great review. Quick question. Where did you get that extra wide backdrop in the first few photos????? I can find wider than 10 feet anywhere!
Hi Josh and thanks. I use 140 Savage Seamless because with dancers anything smaller is worthless. I buy mine from any of the major houses, Adorama or B&H. Locally I buy them from Samy’s. Shipping is many times more expensive than the actual product so if you can pick it up you will save a bundle. Hope this helps.
I am trying to find any info on Glow for direct info? DO you have any idea where these folks are HQ’d? I also that Adorama is virtually the only dealer? I am on West Coast and after seeing some sample pics from another shooter, I want to try these set up for the side lighting, more dramatic lighting. I like the idea of “focusing” the light, but have no idea about the details and different affects. I was hoping to purchase then do some extensive test shots to mail the big change over.
Hi Tony, if you are referring to the Glow Grand Parabox Pro I’ve reviewed here the only contact I know of is Adorama. I have not researched if they are the only distributor of this modifier. If you are new to focusing rods I just wrote a small post about a focusing rod that uses any Bowens mount modifier. You ‘may’ want to try that first with modifiers you have. Although I don’t exclusively use focusing rod modifiers I use them for 80% of my client work.
Hope this helps.
I have been testing their Profond line and I actually feel the results are better than what I am seeing from this one here which surprised me as I was sure it was going to be the opposite.
I’m happy that is working for you.