Grids are made up of cells that control off axis light in four directions while maintaining the soft quality inherent in a large light source. They allow you to create separation and depth such as a hair light where you want to control just the light going onto the hair in order to separate it from the background.
As light is focused into a forward direction through use of a grid, it can help to eliminate spill light or lens flare. The off axis portion of the light is controlled by the cell size. The cell size (measured in degrees) describes the maximum cutoff angle of the off axis light. A 40-degree grid is the most popular degree used. Light loss at the center axis is minimal at a distance 3 to 4 times the diagonal dimension of the light source. On most models it is less than a 1/4 a stop of light.
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