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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Softbox sizes
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03/11/2007 09:24:09 PM · #1
Do larger softboxes such as 36x48 inches reduce a strobes output more than a smaller one like a 24x36 inch softbox?

Basically, will the fstop be the same for both of those softboxes at the same distance and same strobe power or not? I think not, but I just need some confirmation.

This is all assuming the softboxes are the same brand and model line, so the only difference is size.
03/11/2007 09:37:43 PM · #2
The more you spread the light out, the less light there is on the subject. So, sure... it'll go down with a larger softbox. But some softboxes have more reflective material inside than others (to try to get as much light moving forward as possible). And other softboxes have more diffusion material between the strobe and the front of the softbox. So it kind of depends on the softbox.

03/11/2007 09:40:45 PM · #3
Regardless... I would go for as big of a softbox as you can get, given the amount of space you have to work in. The larger the light source .. the softer the light.

Also, for groups, you have to pull the softbox back aways to light everyone. And the other thing that affects the quality of light is the distance to the subject.

If you want a harsher light source, you pull the softbox back. But if you want a softer light source, there are limits to how far forward you can push it before it enters your frame.

03/12/2007 02:09:32 AM · #4
Originally posted by hsteg:

Do larger softboxes such as 36x48 inches reduce a strobes output more than a smaller one like a 24x36 inch softbox?

Basically, will the fstop be the same for both of those softboxes at the same distance and same strobe power or not? I think not, but I just need some confirmation.

This is all assuming the softboxes are the same brand and model line, so the only difference is size.


Yes. The bigger it is, the more light it eats up.
03/12/2007 02:16:06 AM · #5
Originally posted by dwterry:

Regardless... I would go for as big of a softbox as you can get, given the amount of space you have to work in. The larger the light source .. the softer the light.

Also, for groups, you have to pull the softbox back aways to light everyone. And the other thing that affects the quality of light is the distance to the subject.

If you want a harsher light source, you pull the softbox back. But if you want a softer light source, there are limits to how far forward you can push it before it enters your frame.


Big isn't always better. I say match softbox size to your subject. Think of a softbox as a window.
03/12/2007 08:02:33 AM · #6
Originally posted by virtuamike:

Think of a softbox as a window.


Yup, and the bigger the better. :-) :-) :-)

I say that because I would LOVE to have a huge window to photograph by. Lacking that, I would instead LOVE to have a huge softbox. The only downsides to a big softbox? Eating up light (more powerful strobe helps) and space issues. The latter being my reason for recommending to get what will "fit" in the space available. My own softboxes are small because my studio is small. But if I had a larger studio, I would definitely get a larger softbox.

The first time I saw a 6' softbox in use, that's when I fell in love. Take a look at the softbox behind this guy:

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He was at our Intermountain Professional Photographer's Association (IPPA) convention and was demonstrating the usefulness of a large softbox.

He was, of course, the one with the camera and the pocket wizards to drive it. And I was only a member of the audience. But here are a couple of shots I took using the MODELING LIGHT from his strobe! :-)

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' . substr('//www.dterryphotography.com/photos/105931092-Th.jpg', strrpos('//www.dterryphotography.com/photos/105931092-Th.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


03/12/2007 08:11:13 AM · #7
By the way, I mentioned getting a big softbox for two reasons: softer light source, and the ability to handle larger groups (a small softbox quickly turns into harsh light the further you pull it back, and the bigger the group, the further you *have* to pull it back).

Anyway, one other reason for getting a bigger light source is freedom to move. If you photograph kids, you know they never hold still. And so a bigger light source lets them move around more without moving out of the light or changing the characteristics of the light that is falling on them.


03/12/2007 08:18:19 AM · #8
Hi all,

Can someone gives me the good proportionned sizes of softbox ? I mean Hight?, dept?, width?
the type of material, strenght and type of lighting to use...?

From there, I could make a ajustable one...
Merci


03/12/2007 09:31:44 AM · #9
Goto to the Chimera web site and get sizes there. I use a medium for nearly all my work and it covers most of my needs - I would keep it pretty small unless you are photographing big groups as I tend to find myself in small rooms and situations sometimes where a bigger light source would be too cumbersome.
03/12/2007 03:52:26 PM · #10
Originally posted by dwterry:

By the way, I mentioned getting a big softbox for two reasons: softer light source, and the ability to handle larger groups (a small softbox quickly turns into harsh light the further you pull it back, and the bigger the group, the further you *have* to pull it back).

Anyway, one other reason for getting a bigger light source is freedom to move. If you photograph kids, you know they never hold still. And so a bigger light source lets them move around more without moving out of the light or changing the characteristics of the light that is falling on them.


Depends on how big of a group we're talking :)

There's a 5' softbox in my room collecting dust. For fashion and portrait work, I'm finding it easier to just go with a small softbox rather than bringing out the big one and flagging to keep the light off. There is such a thing as too much light ;)

As far as kids go, that only applies based on the positioning of your light. They move too close or too far away and it won't matter. You're better off trying to find a way to manage the kids rather than working equipment around them.
03/12/2007 06:11:40 PM · #11
This is strange, I was just about to ask a question along these lines, I was going to say How Big is your Softbox? I bought a AB light kit a few weeks ago. Lastnight for the first time I put the softbox together. The thing is huge. It is bigger than our 54 inch 16x9 Wide screen TV. 60x30 I was thinking it would be ideal for outdoor work however now I will need to figure out a way to keep it from blowing over in the wind... It is like a two man tent.
03/12/2007 11:34:04 PM · #12
Originally posted by Bugzeye:

This is strange, I was just about to ask a question along these lines, I was going to say How Big is your Softbox? I bought a AB light kit a few weeks ago. Lastnight for the first time I put the softbox together. The thing is huge. It is bigger than our 54 inch 16x9 Wide screen TV. 60x30 I was thinking it would be ideal for outdoor work however now I will need to figure out a way to keep it from blowing over in the wind... It is like a two man tent.


Sandbags and assistants. Though the more outdoor work you do, the more you begin to hate umbrellas and softboxes.
03/13/2007 12:39:05 AM · #13
Originally posted by virtuamike:

Originally posted by Bugzeye:

This is strange, I was just about to ask a question along these lines, I was going to say How Big is your Softbox? I bought a AB light kit a few weeks ago. Lastnight for the first time I put the softbox together. The thing is huge. It is bigger than our 54 inch 16x9 Wide screen TV. 60x30 I was thinking it would be ideal for outdoor work however now I will need to figure out a way to keep it from blowing over in the wind... It is like a two man tent.


Sandbags and assistants. Though the more outdoor work you do, the more you begin to hate umbrellas and softboxes.


No, the more you work outside, the more your assistant hates softboxes and umbrellas.

Message edited by author 2007-03-13 00:48:53.
03/13/2007 12:48:28 AM · #14
My take is this: Try to match the size of the softbox to your subject. If you have a 6ft tall subject and need really soft light, you can place a 72" softbox just out of frame and get what you need. A smaller softbox can still be used to light a subject that size, but it will have to be placed farther away, making the light harder.

You can almost always make a big softbox stand in for a smaller one, but you can't go the other way. The flipside to that is that a bigger softbox will usually be much more cumbersome and awkward to use than a smaller one. Shooting a small tabletop item with the same 72" softbox could be a real PITA.
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