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So I'm considering purchasing gels in the near future. I haven't used any gels and I want something that I can put on my speedlight when I'm on the go. I know many different brands make gels, like Rogue, Lastolite and MagMod just to name a few.

They have different ways to attach and remove the gel and related but the more important question I have is this. What makes a gel (or gel set) good and bad? Are all CTO gels and gels of a color, like red, rated to give the same color? Or is it really down to how to attach the gel to the speedlight?

This is analogous to What should I pay attention to when choosing a tripod? except dealing with gels in general.

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I have a set of Rogue gels, but don't use them very often.

Mostly I use colored plastic sheets which I bought at a hobby store. They are very cheap, you can cut them in every size and shape you want and you have way more colors then when you buy the 'official' ones. I attach them with rubber bands to my flash. It's very easy and you can get as creative as you want with them.

One thing to keep in mind. Use a bit of thicker material, because the flash can get a bit warm. Not that it will damage your flash, but it would be a shame if you need to replace the sheets everytime because they were melted.

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Not all gels are alike, at all!

If you want to get creative with background colors,or have plenty of time and patience to try different gels until you get a good balance, then any Chinese set will do (but try to get a practical one, in terms of how it attaches).

But if you want to have a properly made CTO, then you're limited to the better brands. I use the Rogue gels, and they're really good. The material is thick, yet flexible, and they cover any flashgun's head (they're quite large). They also show how much light loss each gel causes, which is great when working with manual settings.

I hope this helps.

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