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Archive 2011 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?
  
 
jzucker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


The catch is that it needs to be mountable on a macro bracket so it can't be too big.

Or would I be better off using one of gary fong's domes?



Dec 17, 2011 at 02:07 AM
alohadave
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


http://photo-tips-online.com/review/lumiquest-softbox-ltp-flash-diffuser/


Dec 17, 2011 at 02:21 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


i have one of those. Doesn't work very well IMO...Also quality is iffy.


Dec 17, 2011 at 02:48 AM
SYON
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/42122-REG/Photoflex_XT_20XTXS_LiteDome_XS_Softbox_.html

This may help and it is very good.



Dec 17, 2011 at 03:33 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


that's cool but it wouldn't fit on a macro bracket.


Dec 17, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Sam N
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


If you're shooting macro you won't need a very large light source to give soft light. Consider using a bounce card.


Dec 17, 2011 at 04:29 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


do you think a bounce card would work better than a light dome diffuser?


Dec 17, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


I use my Demb FlipIt for lighting macro and closeup shots. The adjustable angle makes it easy to get the light going kind of where I want it, and the size of the reflection card is big enough to give pleasing light. And the whole setup is much easier to transport and set up than a softbox type diffuser.


Dec 17, 2011 at 07:08 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


Small speedlight softboxes don't work the same as larger studio ones because the flash tube isn't exposed. As a result they simply blast the fresnel focused speedlight light forward from a marginally larger source. In terms of actual cause and effect what increasing the source size does is change the character of the highlights, making the catchlights in eyes a bit larger and skin highlights less "hard" looking and specular. They aren't large enough to create any significant "wrap" effect due to difference in angle of light rays from center and edges of the modifier. The lighter and softer looking shadows are mostly the result of the spill light bouncing from ceiling and walls into the front side of the subject facing the camera. Even direct flash will spill light off the ceiling to create spill fill to some degree. Cap diffusers like StoFen and FongDong bounce most of the light off the ceiling.

For general shooting I created my own DIY diffusers. Since I usually use two flashes I designed them with an overhanging top flap to try to bounce as much of light forward as possible. Since they redirect 100% of the flash output they function more like the way light bounces off an umbrella or around the inside of studio SB.






Here are some examples of the light they produce on close-up subjects:

















Macro shooting adds a couple additional considerations, not the least of which is how to get fill light on the front of the subject in between the narrow space between lens and subject. That's the rationale behind the use of ring flash for macro and horizontally crossed dual light configurations. The problem with both of those strategies is that they produce rather flat unnatural lighting.

One of the characteristics of natural lighting is that if comes from overhead most of the time. That putting highlights on the top side of objects and shadows below. It's seeing those clues in those places on objects that trigger the recognition of 3D shape in 2D photos. On a cause and effect level perception is a function of first recognizing the overall shape via its contrast with the background...





... then discerning from the clues the lighting creates on the front whether it is an egg...





...or a face





What creates those frontal clues most naturally is a "key" light source that hits at a downward 45 angle. But the difference between lighting a human face and most other objects are the recessed eyes and nose on human faces which narrow the choices for flattering key light placement and facial modeling. For still life subjects and bugs with bulging eyes the illusion of 3D is created in large part by the placement of the specular reflections off the eyes and hard shiny body parts. So something to consider is where those highlights wind up and whether or not the pattern matches what you see on the critter in the downward natural light before adding your flash if you want a more natural looking flash lit macro shot that is....

Wanting to experiment with macro with a set of extension tubes but not wanting to buy dedicated flashes for the job I created my own DIY macro diffuser with that cause and effect in mind and came up with this....

















Single Flash examples:






















Regardless of whether the subject is an Earwig or an Elephant the cause and effect for making it look 3D in a photo is the same: 1) define its overall shape from the background with contrast and rim light, 2) model the front with a natural downward angle of light. So as when shooting full size still life objects I put my second flash behind and to the side for Macro shooting also...

















I'm not assuming this approach will work for you or every macro situation, only trying to explain the cause and effect, what works for me and suggest you can devise DIY solutions which are as good or better than the commercial products.

Chuck






Dec 17, 2011 at 01:48 PM
dtaylor52
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


http://interfitphotographic.com/Accessories/Accesories%20index.htm


Dec 17, 2011 at 03:05 PM
 

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RustyBug
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


+1 @ Strobies ... they make a small beauty dish that slips onto your flash ... as well as a small softbox and a few other options that might be of interest to you

http://www.interfitphotographic.com/Strobies/Strobies%20Accs.php



Dec 17, 2011 at 03:10 PM
xtremediver
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


What is your purpose for using the softbox approach? If it is only to soften the light on your subject, you can always go "Old School" and wrap your flash head with a white handkerchief.


Dec 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM
alohadave
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


xtremediver wrote:
What is your purpose for using the softbox approach? If it is only to soften the light on your subject, you can always go "Old School" and wrap your flash head with a white handkerchief.


That doesn't make your flash any softer, it just reduces the light output. You need to make the light bigger if you want to make it softer.



Dec 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


CGardner hit the nail on the head. The problem with the speedlight is that flashtube is not exposed and the fresnel lens focuses the light out of the front of the unit so even if you mount it in what looks like a softbox the reflector sides of the softbox don't have anything to reflect off of.

That's why I was thinking of something where you point your flash up but reflect it out the front. I'm assuming you'll lose a couple stops of light though.



Dec 17, 2011 at 04:10 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


a small umbrella
a wall
a bounce card
or any and everything listed above

It all depends on what you are shooting, where you are shooting, and how much control you need/want.



Dec 17, 2011 at 07:35 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


umbrella, wall doesn't work too well outside on a macro bracket!


Dec 17, 2011 at 07:52 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


jzucker wrote:
The catch is that it needs to be mountable on a macro bracket...


What brand and model of bracket do you have, and what is your intended use for the soft box?

jzucker wrote:
umbrella, wall doesn't work too well outside on a macro bracket!


Neither would a Fong Dome; it needs walls and ceiling to bounce light off of. Outdoors it would just be wasting light, ruining battery life.

A Demb card or a DIY reflector like Chuck showed would be your best bets outdoors short of a true soft box like an Apollo.



Dec 17, 2011 at 08:47 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


an apollo wouldn't work due to the lack of exposed flash tube and the fresnel lens of speedlite as mentioned earlier in the thread


Dec 17, 2011 at 09:27 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


jzucker wrote:
an apollo wouldn't work due to the lack of exposed flash tube and the fresnel lens of speedlite as mentioned earlier in the thread


Actually, the Apollo line is specifically designed to work with Speedlites/Speedlights.

Unlike conventional soft boxes, the flash points backward in the Apollos, and the beam bounces off the back, filling the reflective interior quite evenly.

The issue would be whether or not it would fit on your bracket, which is why I said the other alernatives would be your best bets short of a true soft box.


Edited on Dec 17, 2011 at 09:34 PM · View previous versions



Dec 17, 2011 at 09:31 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Is there a decent, small softbox for speedlights?


BrianO wrote:
Actually, the Apollo line is specifically designed to work with Speedlites/Speedlights.

Unlike conventional soft boxes, the flash points backward in the Apollos, and the beam bounces off the back, filling the reflective interior quite evenly.


ah, ok. My mistake. Still, wouldn't work on a wimberley bracket



Dec 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM
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