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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Softbox question for flashes
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08/01/2013 08:22:12 AM · #1
So I took a Joe McNally flash workshop, and he's using Lastolite softboxes for his flashes. But the lastolites are megaexpensive compared to other brands. I realize that you normally get what you pay for -- is this really the case?

Can I get a cheaper softbox and get amazingly wonderful results, or would I regret going inexpensive?
08/01/2013 08:29:29 AM · #2
There are a variety of issues with the cheaper ones. Some are easily dealt with, some are more frustrating. Often you'll find construction or setup is frustrating. Also, you may find the modifiers themselves will change color over time, requiring you to purchase additional units.

To that end, the Lastolite ones are a bit pricey. The Westcott Apollo's are a bit more reasonable and I've heard generally good things about them. You'll have to ask others about the Cheetah etc. Generally, you should look at the nature of the softbox. Is it shooting backwards or fowards? What is the flash access? What about mounting? How about tilt (particularly down tilt)? Set up? Durability?

Also remember that a lot of these questions change if you're doing studio or on site photography. Obviously somebody in a studio cares less about durability (no wind) and ease of setup, as they can have them ready to go. Define what you intend to use them for.
08/01/2013 09:41:36 AM · #3
i still only use umbrellas, i tried soft boxes and they are just too tedious to set up. if i had a dedicated studio where i could just leave stuff up all the time I'd invest for better light control, but right now i didn't see the added benefit to my images with soft boxes over umbrellas given how easy and portable umbrellas are.
08/01/2013 09:52:12 AM · #4
I use Fotodix D320 lighting kit for some basic group photo shoot. It comes with two softboxes and I think it does the job for what i paid for this kit. Also the packing/unpacking and assembling is not that bad.

check out my photographs that I took using this kit here
08/01/2013 10:09:49 AM · #5
I want a softbox, but I think I might try this instead
08/01/2013 10:51:09 AM · #6
I use the cheetah Softbox. The tutorials for its usage are done by an asian man with a heavy accent, so I guess it's slightly difficult to understand if you're not used to that.

The big win though - is that the stuff is much cheaper in cost and has delivered excellent performance for over a year now - no problems.

The material doesn't feel cheap, you can set it up quickly without worrying about harming it, it takes... 3-4 minutes to set up in the beginning. When you get used to it, you can think of it as about 4 steps and about a minutes worth of work.

link

Edit: i should mention this important bit - I use mine with the tt5 transceiver system. The easiest way to set that up was to use the additional WING unit *i purchased this for 20 bucks i think*. I stick a hotshoe cable on my flash ( i happen to have one stuck to it permanently), and link it up that way. its an additional cost if you have a large surface area transceiver for your radio popping.

Message edited by author 2013-08-01 10:56:40.
08/01/2013 10:53:30 AM · #7
Looking at Cory's link, that option looks pretty great. Cory any personal experience with it?
08/01/2013 11:01:35 AM · #8
Originally posted by Devinder:

Looking at Cory's link, that option looks pretty great. Cory any personal experience with it?


Not yet.... Maybe soon though....
08/01/2013 11:53:31 AM · #9
Originally posted by Cory:

I want a softbox, but I think I might try this instead


is that any different than a bounce umbrella? fwiw. i prefer a bounce umbrella over a shoot though.
08/01/2013 12:31:02 PM · #10
I imagine you would get less spill with this so you can control the light a little bit better. If your shooting indoors in small spaces it would likely help.

Originally posted by Mike:

Originally posted by Cory:

I want a softbox, but I think I might try this instead


is that any different than a bounce umbrella? fwiw. i prefer a bounce umbrella over a shoot though.
08/01/2013 01:46:22 PM · #11
Originally posted by Cory:

I want a softbox, but I think I might try this instead


If you want something bigger than 30" diameter (bigger light source), they also offer larger softbox umbrellas that work very nicely.

Cowboy Studios - Softbox Umbrellas

I even made a horizontal flash bracket to remove any stress on the flash/flash trigger/cold shoe joints.

DIY Horizontal Flash Bracket

Tim

08/01/2013 08:40:57 PM · #12
The problem with the softbox umbrella is that I don't think my flashes will see each other through there, since the flash is inside. I don't have the ttl radio triggers... If the line of site is interrupted by anything, the flashes don't respond. With the softboxes, the flashes are on the outside and stand a better chance of being rotated and being able to get the line of site.
08/01/2013 08:42:25 PM · #13
The cheetah looks interesting because it has the two layers of diffusion. That's one of the differences I'm finding with the more expensive softboxes -- the two layers. it coming with a grid is a plus, as well...
08/01/2013 08:44:07 PM · #14
Ok -- now cheetah is making me nervous -- this is the notice on their home page:

Note to 48 US Continental States customers.

Please place all Free Shipping item into one order.

If you also need some none free shipping items, place a separate order. Otherwise you’ll been charge shipping for the free shipping items.Sorry about the inconvenience, and we’ll try our best to deliver your both orders in one package.


But just read a review that compared them very favorably to the the lastolite, and it's half the price. Getting more intrigued.

Message edited by author 2013-08-01 21:02:46.
08/01/2013 09:23:14 PM · #15
if you were near NJ, i'd let you test mine out. =/
08/01/2013 09:23:16 PM · #16
Originally posted by atupdate:

Originally posted by Cory:

I want a softbox, but I think I might try this instead


If you want something bigger than 30" diameter (bigger light source), they also offer larger softbox umbrellas that work very nicely.

Cowboy Studios - Softbox Umbrellas

I even made a horizontal flash bracket to remove any stress on the flash/flash trigger/cold shoe joints.

DIY Horizontal Flash Bracket

Tim


Those look great, except for the placement of the flash.

I want a clean surface that I can place 3" from my subject for that high chiaroscuro look.
08/01/2013 09:23:53 PM · #17
Originally posted by vawendy:

{I don't have radio triggers}


Radio triggers are cheap. Why not get a couple of pairs? I find my dead useful both for triggering flash units, and for triggering the camera itself.

Message edited by author 2013-08-01 21:24:41.
08/01/2013 11:59:47 PM · #18
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by vawendy:

{I don't have radio triggers}


Radio triggers are cheap. Why not get a couple of pairs? I find my dead useful both for triggering flash units, and for triggering the camera itself.


I have triggers, but the cheap ones have you do manual. I want ttl now, and those aren't cheap.
08/02/2013 08:21:28 AM · #19
Price is relative I guess, but I got 4 of these for about $175. I too wanted ttl in my flash, and control from the camera, which is all the more important if you use something like that octobox where the flash is inside.
08/02/2013 08:27:19 AM · #20
Originally posted by rcollier:

Price is relative I guess, but I got 4 of these for about $175. I too wanted ttl in my flash, and control from the camera, which is all the more important if you use something like that octobox where the flash is inside.


I was just looking at those -- I have the non-ttl version and have liked them a lot. Do they work well? Are you happy with them?
08/02/2013 09:02:05 AM · #21
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by rcollier:

Price is relative I guess, but I got 4 of these for about $175. I too wanted ttl in my flash, and control from the camera, which is all the more important if you use something like that octobox where the flash is inside.


I was just looking at those -- I have the non-ttl version and have liked them a lot. Do they work well? Are you happy with them?


What is the working range of this?
08/02/2013 10:15:57 AM · #22
Originally posted by pgirish007:

Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by rcollier:

Price is relative I guess, but I got 4 of these for about $175. I too wanted ttl in my flash, and control from the camera, which is all the more important if you use something like that octobox where the flash is inside.


I was just looking at those -- I have the non-ttl version and have liked them a lot. Do they work well? Are you happy with them?


What is the working range of this?


Never mind, I got answer! it is 100 meter meaning about 300 ft!
08/02/2013 10:44:49 AM · #23
Originally posted by pgirish007:

Originally posted by pgirish007:

Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by rcollier:

Price is relative I guess, but I got 4 of these for about $175. I too wanted ttl in my flash, and control from the camera, which is all the more important if you use something like that octobox where the flash is inside.


I was just looking at those -- I have the non-ttl version and have liked them a lot. Do they work well? Are you happy with them?


What is the working range of this?


Never mind, I got answer! it is 100 meter meaning about 300 ft!


The non ttl ones are pretty cool and work through walls!!
08/02/2013 11:16:39 AM · #24
As a tti user, i have to say this. The only time i've used them with ttl on was while shooting events and such. you don't really need em for regular work. Infact they can be a hindrance if you're trying to do something interesting. Manual is a great option for most work. I just wish it was easier to remotely control the flashes- i need a zone controller or an extra flash for that.. Thats just my experience.
08/02/2013 11:19:11 AM · #25
Originally posted by vawendy:

I want ttl now,


Why?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go this way, I'm just curious what your reasons are.

I've never found a need for TTL, other than to marvel at the ability of my system to do that. :)
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