Hähnel is well known for its excellent third-party camera batteries and chargers, but it also makes a few other photographic accessories, including remote controls, flash triggers, flashgun, and flash modifiers. The Hahnel Module Creative Lantern Kit is one of the company's modular flash modifier systems and it requires either the Module 360 Clamp or Module 600 Clamp to mount on a flash.
Kit includes: Lantern Diffuser, filter adapter, six colour gel filters, wallet
Compatible with: Flashguns from around 35mm to 80mm wide with the correct Clamp
Mount: Via an expandable Clamp with magnets to hold the filter adapter and Diffuser
Hahnel supplies the Module Creative Lantern Kit in a smart Velcro-close wallet with pockets to hold all the key components. Those include the Lantern Diffuser and a filter adapter that can accept any of the six included colored gels. What isn't included is the essential Clamp to attach any of the kits on the flashgun. That is purchased separately and is available in two sizes, so you need to buy the correct size for your flash. The Clamps also allow Hanhel's other Module flash accessories to be mounted.
Both Module Clamps have a stretchy build that enables them to extend to fit over a flashgun head and the spring back to hold firmly. The Module 360 Clamp opens to 35-64mm while the Module 600 Clamp stretches from 65-80mm.
The two clamps have magnets within them to hold the Lantern Diffuser and/or the filter adapter in position over the flash.
When it's closed for storage, the Lantern Diffuser looks like a U-shaped piece of plastic, but it opens like a book to reveal a concertina-like structure made from what appears to be white paper. It's this white structure that spreads and diffuses the light.
Hahnel supplies six colored filters with the kit. These are blue, green, purple, red, orange and yellow. They cut out between 1 EV (yellow) and 1 2/3EV (green) of light with the orange, red, purple, and blue filters reducing the light by 1 1/3EV. They are intended for creative effects rather than color correction.
Hahnel Lantern Kit: Design & Handling
It's important to bear in mind the cost of a product when considering its build quality, and the Module Creative Lantern Kit feels well-made for the price, albeit made primarily from plastic. The additional Clamp feels similar to a mobile phone clamp with good tension and stays on the flashgun well.
I used the Module 600 Clamp on a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, which feels about the largest size that the Clamp can accommodate.
When it's closed, the Lantern Diffuser feels robust, but the diffusion material seems quite delicate and it needs to be handled with care to avoid creasing the structure when it's open.
Meanwhile, the filter adapter feels very durable, and the rigid color gels snap in and out easily.
While the Lantern Diffuser can be attached directly to the Clamp, it's also possible to mount the filter adapter first and then pop the Diffuser on top. When the Diffuser is used directly on the Clamp, the magnetic attraction is strong, but the Diffuser can slide up or down fairly readily. This is avoided by mounting it via the filter adapter as there's a lip along the top that holds the Diffuser in position.
Hahnel Lantern Kit: Performance
While the colored filters may be of use occasionally for some creative effects, especially for creating a more interesting background or rim lighting, the Lantern Diffuser is likely to see the most use, and it works extremely well. As well as softening the light from a flashgun, the Lantern Diffuser spreads it further across the scene so the image has more uniform exposure.
With the Lantern Diffuser in position, the highlights are less harsh and the shadows look less dramatic as there's smoother gradation. It's particularly beneficial for portraits as the results are often more flattering.
Hahnel Lantern Kit: Final Verdict
For the price, it's hard to fault the Hahnel Module Creative Lantern kit. Even the fact that the Clamp isn't included in the kit is acceptable because it means you only have to pay for the one you want and it's compatible with other Hahnel Module flash accessories.
The Clamp is easy to fit and it does a good job of staying put. With it in place, it takes just a few seconds to attach the adapter and the Lantern Diffuser. The color gels also snap smartly in and out of the adapter should you wish to inject some color into your images.
Initially, the Lantern Diffuser's design may seem gimmicky and delicate; mine gained a few extra creases after a few uses, but there's no denying its impact.