Review: Sticky Filters Gel Kit
I love using gels on my speedlites, from basic color correction to faking a blue sky to creating colored backgrounds, gels can really come in handy. The downside is finding a way to put the gels in front of your speedlite. One of my favorites has been the ExpoImaging Rouge Gel Kit but as much as I like it, it still requires a clumsy rubber band to hold the gels in place and if you forget that band, you are pretty well hosed. During a recent podcast with Kevin Kubota, Kevin mentioned Sticky Filters. As I started looking around I found that a bunch of people have been using them and were really pleased so I decided I needed to get myself a set and see how if they would live up to the hype.
What It Is
- Tungsten Bulb (Full CTO)
- .5 Tungsten Bulb (1/2 CTO)
- Hazy / Open Shade
- Cool White Florescent
- Unknown Florescent
Included in the kit are two gel. The gels come with a lifetime warranty which requires that you send in one complete set of each and a handling charge of $10. Since you have two of each, you will still have one complete set while you are sending the other set in for replacement.
How Does It Work
The beauty of the Sticky Filters is that they do not require any holder or band to keep them in place. Instead, Sticky Filters act like Post-It Note and have a sticky back that adheres to your speedlite. All you have to do is peel it off the holder and stick it to your flash. The gels are a little bigger than most speedlite gels to make sure they will cover the widest range of flashes.
When you are finished, just peel it off the flash, put it back on the holder card, and put it back into the gel holder sleeve.
By having the gels stick to the flash, this eliminates having to remember a separate holder or rubber band. Each filter is labeled with the same icon used by your camera’s white balance to help make it easy to choose the right gel.
Who Is It For
If you use a speedlite, you need to have gels to help correct for different lighting situations and the Sticky Filters kit is certainly the easiest I have ever seen to use because of how it adheres to the flash. While the Sticky Filters kit costs $49, which is quite a step up from competing gel kits, the fact that you get two complete sets and a lifetime warranty does make up for the cost. Add to that the convenience of being able to get a gel setup on your flash, and there is quite a bit of value there.
I am hoping that they come out with another kit for more special effects lighting.
How Do You Use It
A typical scenario may be a wedding reception that is all lit with tungsten light. If you use a bare speedlite you may have your subject properly lit but the background will go very orange from the tungsten light. The best way to handle this is to set your flash to tungsten and use the tungsten gel on the flash. This will then get all of the lighting to be the same and the camera will know that the light is going to be more orange and correct for it.
In this first example, the colors may appear correct but the wall in the back is white, not the warmer color it appears in the image. Right next to the dog to the camera left is a very warm tungsten colored bulb. The flash was on the camera pointing towards the wall to the camera left but did not wipe out all of the warmer color from the lamp.
In this next shot, the Tungsten Bulb Sticky Filter was put on the flash with the white balance still set on the Flash setting. You can see that the entire scene is now evenly lit with the same color temperature.
In the final image, the tungsten gel is still on the flash and the camera’s color temperature was changed to tungsten. With the camera now compensating for the warmer colors, the scene now looks correct with the white wall in the background.
What Do Others Says
Debra Ekas: “I use sticky filters to add a pop of color to my portraits, they save time and give my images a signature look.”
Pye: “Sticky filters is an excellent, high quality, well thought-out product that allows you use filters without the hassle of attaching Velcro or tape to every one of your flashes.”
The Final Verdict
With the ease of use of the Sticky Filters, the best word I can use to describe them is “brilliant”. The moment I saw the Sticky Filters online, I immediately “got it” and had to have some. If you want to make the best images possible, then you need to understand lighting and how to make your lighting work for you and not against you. Using color correcting gels will get your images looking better than ever. At close to $50, the Sticky Filters is one of the more expensive gel kits on the market but you simply cannot argue with the speed and convenience of using them and when you are on the run, speed is everything. Sticky Filters are certainly going to be a highly recommended product around here.
Now Kent, if you are listening, I still want a set of special effects gels to go along with the color correction gels.flash, gels, lighting, Product Review, Sticky Gels, Strobe, Strobist