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Archive 2013 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?
  
 
mjoshi
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


While searching for Softbox I found this Umbrella diffuser

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/75852-REG/Photek_SL_6000_Umbrella_Softlighter_II.html

Could this work as a replacement for Softbox ? There are lot of good reviews for it but want to see if anyone experienced here with this ?



Mar 14, 2013 at 02:15 AM
shmn
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


Yes, it's like a softbox. There is a good article here: http://www.juliagreerphotography.com/sb-800-article.htm

Some people like them better than softboxes.



Mar 14, 2013 at 02:55 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


mjoshi wrote:
...Could this work as a replacement for Softbox ?


Yes, it works like a soft box -- specifically like an octabox, although the Softlighter has 10 sides rather than eight, making it appear even rounder, and with a 60-inch diameter it gives really soft light as the name says.



Mar 14, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


I use this Softlighter and love the results it gives. Very easy to set up, despite its large size.

Like all modifiers, the results depend on what you're trying to illuminate and how much specific control you're after.



Mar 15, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


I use a 64" silver plm with front diffuser which is basically the same thing. They do tend to throw light over a large area and cannot be gridded so make sure this is what you want especially if you want to use it inside (spill light bouncing off everything). A deep octa or softbox with a recessed front panel will give more directional light. They are also not too efficient and catch the wind rather well...

Annie Leibovitz uses one of these, check out some pics/videos online if you want to see how she uses it.



Mar 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


Mark_L wrote:
A deep octa or softbox with a recessed front panel will give more directional light.



To me this is a key point. Sure you can get an octobox look, but if you want to grid this umbrella or need more directional light this may not completely work out. I'm not knocking it, just this point that Mark made is something to consider.



Mar 17, 2013 at 01:19 AM
 

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nixland
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


I wonder about the light source distance to the umbrella. It looks very close. Does it give more hotspot?


Mar 27, 2013 at 10:06 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


nixland wrote:
I wonder about the light source distance to the umbrella. It looks very close. Does it give more hotspot?


Yes... That's a characteristic of umbrellas because of the shape and proximity of the source to the center which must be taken into account by "feathering" the source rather than aiming it directly. When setting the light start with it aimed way in front or behind the subject's face then pull it into the face edge first to see the difference in the character of the light on the edges vs. the center. Adjust position until you get the desired look. If the source is feathered forward of the face it will keep the background darker than when it is feathered in from behind. You might do one or the other depending on the tone of the background and the desired lighting on the subject's face. Like a hammer one can pound a lot of different nails with the same tool if one knows how to swing it.

Conventional softboxes by comparison usually have more even distribution of light intensity across the footprint and by design limit the spill and control the footprint. But that also varies with the design. A small deep SB will be more directional (smaller footprint) and generate less spill that a larger shallower one.

Another factor to consider in selecting modifiers is how the footprint of light it creates will bounce off the ceiling and opposite wall creating wrap-around "spill fill". It's not just a function of modifier physical size. A StoFen or Lightsphere are very small modifiers with very large footprints. With conventional softbox designs the depth and shape of the box is used to control the size of the footprint and eliminate the spill.

The problem with "spill fill" vs. fill from a separate source next the camera is a lack of control over the lighting ratio. You start with whatever ratio the spill fill is creating in the room. If the room is small and reflective the resulting shadows will be lighter than one in a room that is large and dark.

Another problem is the lack of directional control over the fill, which is what dictates the direction of the shadow gradients on the face. One of the reasons I favor the use of smaller key light modifiers with centered fill at chin level under the camera lens which creates front > back shadow gradients on faces. The shadow on the closer nose wind up lighter and less distracting than the shadows on the sides of the head and ears. The more the key and fill light footprints bounce around the room the less control there is over that fill gradient. Even with a small footprint source used in a small room the key light will bounce a lot of fill off the opposite wall making the side of the head shadows lighter than those on the front. I solve that problem in my studio space by hanging black draping on the walls when I want to kill the spill fill and precisely control where the key and fill go.

So modifier choices should be based on the character and size of the footprint and how that footprint will affect the fill in the shadows. There's no single "right" choice, its more a process of starting with the idea / goal for a desired look then finding the best set of modifiers to produce that desired look it in the space the subject is being photographed in.



Mar 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM
myam203
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


Mark_L and cgardner are spot on. Spill and hot spots are a consideration, but I just love gear that sets up and tears down easily like these do.


Mar 27, 2013 at 03:17 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


cgardner wrote:
...The problem with "spill fill" vs. fill from a separate source next the camera is a lack of control over the lighting ratio. You start with whatever ratio the spill fill is creating in the room.


Essentially correct, but I would add that you can get some control of the ratio by changing the light-to-subject distance. A closer light will have a stronger ratio due to the inverse square effect on the fall off.

Of course, changing the distance will also change the key-light's character somewhat, so it becomes a balancing act. Having a seperate fill light is much simpler in that regard.



Mar 27, 2013 at 05:06 PM
nixland
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


cgardner, thanks a lot for sharing. I really appreciate it.
Currently I am very enthusiastic to explore the character of light from variety of diffuser.




Mar 28, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Chris Fawkes
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Can this be replacement for Softbox ?


Here is a pic of my cat taken at midnight with the 60 inch and a Vivitar 285 at 1/4 power







I love it.

I did pick up something similar as well from ebay but that one fell apart easily when used outside



Apr 18, 2013 at 04:01 PM





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