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12/27/2012 01:59:20 PM · #1
I'm thinking about investing in a softbox -- one that I can hook to a hotshoe flash.

I was looking at the lastolite 24" but then the impact is listed as $50 cheaper, but I've heard of lastolite, but not impact. But then I saw that I can get a quad bracket for the lastolite so that I could hook up 4 speedlights in the softbox, and I was thinking this might be handy for shooting outdoors in bright sun. But would I really want a quad bracket?

But I know absolutely nothing about flash and have failed miserably at playing with studio portraits, etc.

So does anyone have any advice on softboxes for hot shoe flashes and what I should be considering?

Thanks!!

Message edited by author 2012-12-27 14:20:13.
12/27/2012 02:12:41 PM · #2
Originally posted by vawendy:

I'm thinking about investing in a softbox -- one that I can hook to a hotshoe flash.

I was looking at the lastolite 24" but then the impact is listed as $50 cheaper, but I've heard of lastolite, but not impact. But then I saw that I can get a quad bracket for the lastolite so that I could hook up 4 speedlights in the softbox, and I was thinking this might be handy for shooting outdoors in bright sun.

But I know absolutely nothing about flash and have failed miserably at playing with studio portraits, etc.

So does anyone have any advice on softboxes for hot shoe flashes and what I should be considering?

Thanks!!


The best softbox in that size that's cheap and user friendly is the Apollo 28" softbox. I've used softboxes similar to the lastolite and the special brackets they attach to are PITAs and end up being just one more thing to keep track of. The apollo will work with any standard umbrella adapter and the Apollo has the benefit of using bounced light instead of direct flash. You can get a kit with the stand, box, and umbrella adapter for only like $20 more than the box itself. You also get 4 more inches of size with the Apollo. Last advantage to the Apollo is that it's cheaper than the Lastolite.

Last edit: that quad bracket won't work with the lastolite. That specific 24" box is designed for a single speedlight to my knowledge. The quad bracket can work with the Apollo.

Message edited by author 2012-12-27 14:18:32.
12/27/2012 02:13:37 PM · #3
both got good reviews. i imagine price dictates more to build quality as with any photo gear. but both seem comparable.
12/27/2012 02:15:19 PM · #4
hijacking...

since i only use umbrellas, what would be the benefit of a soft box over and umbrella?
12/27/2012 02:16:35 PM · #5
Originally posted by mike_311:

both got good reviews. i imagine price dictates more to build quality as with any photo gear. but both seem comparable.


The Apollo is being upgraded to have fiberglass ribs instead of metal which will increase quality 10-fold. My suggestion to anyone buying an Apollo is to contact the seller and ask if their version has the fiberglass ribs or if it's the old style. The Apollo is a little fragile if it's the old style but the new style will be extremely crash proof. If you're careful with your gear, the old style Apollo is still a great option.
12/27/2012 02:17:35 PM · #6
Originally posted by mike_311:

hijacking...

since i only use umbrellas, what would be the benefit of a soft box over and umbrella?


Mainly control of light. Umbrellas throw light everywhere and don't have a defined edge where softboxes control light, especially when gridded, and have a defined edge that you can feather.
12/27/2012 02:28:49 PM · #7
thanks Kevin.
12/27/2012 02:57:53 PM · #8
Originally posted by vawendy:

I'm thinking about investing in a softbox -- one that I can hook to a hotshoe flash.

I was looking at the lastolite 24" but then the impact is listed as $50 cheaper, but I've heard of lastolite, but not impact. But then I saw that I can get a quad bracket for the lastolite so that I could hook up 4 speedlights in the softbox, and I was thinking this might be handy for shooting outdoors in bright sun. But would I really want a quad bracket?

But I know absolutely nothing about flash and have failed miserably at playing with studio portraits, etc.

So does anyone have any advice on softboxes for hot shoe flashes and what I should be considering?

Thanks!!


I have the Impact 24" and it works great. Comes with a Hot shoe bracket but you would need to get an umbrella mount so you can tilt the flash/soft box. I bought the soft box and then purchased a cheetah stand (//www.amazon.com/Cheetah-Stand-C8-Section-Aluminum/dp/B0051CK5FM) that deploys the feet as you sit the stand down. Very convenient for moving around an event.
12/27/2012 08:53:47 PM · #9
I use a relatively inexpensive solution called the "cheetah Q Box". It works well for what i need it to do.
https://www.cheetahstand.com/Cheetah-QBox-24-Pro-p/q24.htm. I also got a couple accessories with it all combined at the price of the lasolite. I m sure Lasolite is a pretty good product, just wanted to share my experience.

The way i understand it, as you tack on speedlights, the gain is diminishing. No photographer i've worked for has ever stacked more than 2 in a box. [edit: i have seen them use more powerful options like quantums too - to be clear]I've read an article where three were used as part of a trimount. I don't have a trimount or even a dual mount so if you're going in that direction, i don't know if the cheetah would work out.

Personally, i've worked in shoots going against the sun and for my style of work, i've yet to have a situation where i've needed more than 2. Not only that, i've never stuck more than the one 580 exii in my softbox and so far. manipulating the settings, coming up to about one maybe two stops below where i want to be, and then plugging in the light from there has been my go-to method. Of course, there are situations where i pull out the ABR800, which has a bit more reach.

Best of luck in your search! I hope i haven't added any confusion.

Message edited by author 2012-12-27 21:10:02.
12/27/2012 09:37:09 PM · #10
Originally posted by Devinder:

The way i understand it, as you tack on speedlights, the gain is diminishing. No photographer i've worked for has ever stacked more than 2 in a box. [edit: i have seen them use more powerful options like quantums too - to be clear]I've read an article where three were used as part of a trimount. I don't have a trimount or even a dual mount so if you're going in that direction, i don't know if the cheetah would work out.


What you're getting at is that two speedlights at full power is one stop more light than one speedlight at full power. To get another stop above two speedlights, you'd need 4 of them. At this point, you've dropped enough in speedlights that you would've been better off going for a studio light moneywise. Now, if you already have that many speedlights because you use that many in your lighting schemes, then okay, no biggie, but if you're building a key light or something in this fashion it's not logical. You CAN do some cool stuff with quadbrackets etc by ganging your lights and then using hypersync, but that's a very specialized use and very expensive.
12/27/2012 11:06:26 PM · #11
Originally posted by mike_311:

hijacking...

since i only use umbrellas, what would be the benefit of a soft box over and umbrella?


A softbox will give more diffuse light than an umbrella.
12/28/2012 08:35:45 AM · #12
Originally posted by Spork99:

Originally posted by mike_311:

hijacking...

since i only use umbrellas, what would be the benefit of a soft box over and umbrella?


A softbox will give more diffuse light than an umbrella.


I disagree. The degree that one is diffuse is directly proportional to the materials used, the size of the modifier, and the distance from the subject. If anything, an umbrella has easy potential to be more diffuse in an enclosed area because it shoots light all over the place, but that's about it... less the modifier and more the environment it's in.

Kevin hit the nail on the head on directionality, but umbrellas are also typically faster to set up, often more fragile, and love to get caught in the wind more. They're also for painting a uniform background because the explode the light all over the place instead of being more directional like a SB.
12/28/2012 10:12:29 AM · #13
wendy, even though you didn't get the deal :(
you should go on an invest in the Lighting in Layers dvd set. it will explain just what you need, as well as how to use it.
12/28/2012 11:00:13 AM · #14
To be clear, most photographers that use multiple speedlights -- on a tri bracket for instance -- aren't doing it for the power gains, they're doing it to aid recycle times.
12/28/2012 12:39:35 PM · #15
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Originally posted by Spork99:

Originally posted by mike_311:

hijacking...

since i only use umbrellas, what would be the benefit of a soft box over and umbrella?


A softbox will give more diffuse light than an umbrella.


I disagree. The degree that one is diffuse is directly proportional to the materials used, the size of the modifier, and the distance from the subject. If anything, an umbrella has easy potential to be more diffuse in an enclosed area because it shoots light all over the place, but that's about it... less the modifier and more the environment it's in.

Kevin hit the nail on the head on directionality, but umbrellas are also typically faster to set up, often more fragile, and love to get caught in the wind more. They're also for painting a uniform background because the explode the light all over the place instead of being more directional like a SB.


This is all true for shooting through an umbrella. You can get a lot of directionality by shooting into one with a silver interior, or a black exterior. For really focused light, I use a beauty dish. Depending on the quality of light I want, I use either a grid or a "shower cap"
01/10/2013 03:44:01 PM · #16
For the Nikon SB-700, what's the largest soft box I can realistically light up effectively?
Same question except for the SB-910.

CS
01/10/2013 05:26:58 PM · #17
I use two westcott 28" apollos and a westcott 43" apollo orb for everything I do.

The orb is a 43 inch modifier and lights things up great. I just use a vivitar 285 in each box. Can't recommend them high enough.
01/10/2013 05:50:51 PM · #18
Originally posted by Patrick_R:

I use two westcott 28" apollos and a westcott 43" apollo orb for everything I do.

The orb is a 43 inch modifier and lights things up great. I just use a vivitar 285 in each box. Can't recommend them high enough.


I love my Vivitar 285, but I sure wish it would go below 1/16 power. Someday I'll get around to adding this mod to it. Allows for 1 to 1/1024 power.

Message edited by author 2013-01-10 17:51:19.
01/10/2013 06:43:27 PM · #19
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:


:
:
Kevin hit the nail on the head on directionality, but umbrellas are also typically faster to set up, often more fragile, and love to get caught in the wind more. They're also for painting a uniform background because the explode the light all over the place instead of being more directional like a SB.


You can reduce this a little by zooming the flashes to their highest value, thereby reducing the spread of the light. Learned that one at the Joe McNally seminar.
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