How do I use the MagBeam?
Getting Started with the MagBeam
The MagBeam is a revolutionary product designed to make focused light, and light patterns, incredibly easy. It is one of our more technical products, so there are a few important things to remember when setting up and using your MagBeam. We've created this short video to walk you through those steps!
The MagBeam uses two different lenses: the Tele Lens and the Wide Lens*. To make it easy to tell the lenses apart, we put a half circle notch in the Wide Lens. They are also visually different just by looking at how the light refracts through the lens. The Tele Lens looks more like a magnifying glass, where the Wide Lens looks pretty funky.
The Tele Lens is used to produce a spotlight effect with an increased effective exposure output. It can be used when the MagBeam is collapsed, semi-extended, or fully extended—which is where the MagBeam really shines.
On the other hand, the Wide Lens is used only when the MagBeam is fully collapsed, and only with MagMasks. If you use the Wide Lens without the MagMasks, or with it extended, it will not produce the desired results, and you will likely feel confused. Remember, only use it while fully collapsed, and with a MagMask. If you put a MagMask in a MagGel holder, the MagBeam will not project the design of that MagMask—the MagMasks can only be used when placed inside the MagBeam's MagMask slot.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to install the lenses into the MagBeam. If you run your finger over the lenses, you’ll feel that one side is smooth, and the other side has grooves cut into it along the surface of the lens. These grooves help to "focus" the light. In order for the MagBeam to work properly, these grooves need to be installed facing towards your flash. If you don’t install the lenses correctly, it will not produce the desired results. Fortunately, it’s easy to install even to do in the dark - just rub your finger over the surface, turn the grooved side in towards the flash, and slip it into the front lip on the MagBeam (the larger end).
Using the Telephoto Lens
To get the 'cleanest' light output (edge-to-edge uniformity) from the MagBeam, set your flash head zoom setting as wide as you can, 24mm or wider. The wider the zoom on your flash the better!
To get the highest flash output possible with the Tele Lens—which is what most wildlife and bird photographers need—set your flash head zoom to 70mm or greater. Between 70mm and 200mm, the output is essentially the same. Before shooting wildlife or bird photography with an on-camera flash, you will want to calibrate your flash setup to get the best results. This will ensure that the MagBeam is producing light directly in the center of your frame. Please follow the calibration setup below.
Using the Wide Angle Lens and MagMasks
The MagBeam must be fully collapsed before using the Wide Lens. As mentioned previously, the Wide Lens was created solely to work with the MagMasks. To do this, install the MagMasks at the base of the MagBeam into the integrated slot. If you want to add some color, you can also insert a gel in the same slot along with your MagMask. Take a photo to test the results! If the pattern doesn't appear properly, please make sure your MagBeam is fully collapsed, and that you are using the Wide Lens (remember, the one with the notch), and that your MagMask is inserted flush into the integrated slot, and that the Wide Lens has been inserted properly into the MagBeam (the grooves must point towards the flash).
Extending and Collapsing the MagBeam
Extending the MagBeam is easy! Simply hold the base of the MagBeam in one hand, and the top of the MagBeam in the other hand. While gripping firmly, pull each side apart to expand the MagBeam.
To collapse the MagBeam, simply grab onto the top sides of the MagBeam (the larger end), and pull the next section in towards the base of the MagBeam.
Repeat this step for the final section until fully collapsed. It might take a few tries to get the hang of it, but it’s just like riding a bike—once you've done it once, it only gets easier!
Storing the MagBeam
The MagBeam’s fresnel lenses can act like a magnifying glass, which if used improperly could burn or melt other objects. While it’s pretty unlikely you could accidentally damage your flash or other camera gear with the lenses installed in your MagBeam, we recommend you avoid pointing the MagBeam directly towards the sun while shooting for any extended amount of time. We also recommend you store the MagBeam, and it’s lenses, in the provided MagMod pouch when not in use.
Calibrating the Telephoto Lens
Depending on your setup, you will probably need to calibrate the Tele Lens to get the light in the center of your frame. Each flash or lens setup might require a different amount of “tilt” for proper calibration. To start, install the MagGrip on your flash and angle it backward by pushing the top side of the MagGrip towards the back of the flash. Make sure it is even from side to side.
With your flash mounted to your camera, take a photo using the Tele Lens in the MagBeam using a wide angle camera lens to capture the entire scene with the flash exposure. Something around 70mm or wider would be just fine. If the MagBeam’s concentrated flash is in the dead center of your photo, then you are ready to shoot! If not, you will want to adjust the MagGrip’s angle to properly center the flash exposure.
If the flash is appearing too low in your photo, tilt the angle of the MagGrip backwards to raise the beam of your flash. If the flash is appearing too high in your photo, tilt the angle of the MagGrip forwards to lower the beam of your flash. Once the flash is landing in the center of your photo, you are properly calibrated and ready to begin shooting with the Tele Lens.
If your flash is mounted in the cold-shoe of your camera, switching camera lenses should not effect the calibration of your flash exposure. If you mount your flash on a longer telephoto lens, you will want to do the calibration process using the lens to which it will be mounted. If you cannot find a wall, just make sure you can evenly see the flash exposure in any test photographers to ensure proper calibration. It usually only takes a few seconds to a minute to properly calibrate the MagBeam to your wildlife flash setup.
Join the Community
If you are not yet a member of the MagMod User Community, come join us! It's a free Facebook community made up of over 4,000 other photographers using MagMod every single day. The community is full of tips and great ideas people share to help one another out. It's a great place to see how other photographers are rocking out their new MagBeam!
With the MagBeam you’ll be able to send more focused light over longer distances and project light in ways you never have before. Fast, Easy, Awesome — That’s MagMod.
*These lenses are designed to magnify and or shape light. Do not leave outside, in sunlight, or near bright or hot light sources unattended. When used improperly, lenses can produce intense light output that can cause combustion, start fires, or damage eye sight. Do not look directly into any magnified light source.