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What size soft box should i get
  
 
arize84
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p.1 #1 · What size soft box should i get


I'm starting to really get into flash photography, specifically speedlites. My kit currently currently consists of: 580exii, 270exii, rogues flash bender with diffuser, 1 light stand, 1 wireless tx/rx. I want to add a soft box and reflector to the mix. In the future I will probably invest in a light meter and more yonguno flashes etc. But for now I'm practicing on single person portrait photography. I know I want a box that is at least 30 inches. Should I go bigger? My most demanding shoot would most likely be to illuminate 2 people standing; but 80% of the time I would be doing head shots and upper body. Would also welcome any suggestions on a size for a reflector.


Oct 10, 2013 at 07:34 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #2 · What size soft box should i get


The bigger a modifier, the "softer" the light it produces at a given light-to-subject distance.

Softness doesn't mean low contrast, although that can sometimes also be an effect, but rather to the character of the transition line between light and shadow.

But if you're using a single Speedlite, putting it in a giant softbox may result in the light being too weak, so a compromise in in order.

Your idea of a 30" box is a good one for a single Speedlite, and there's actually a specific product that I think is ideal for you. It's the Westcott Apollo 28" Speedlight kit.

Unlike most soft boxes, which are designed for use with bare-bulb strobes, the Apollo -- which can also work with strobes -- has a solid, reflective back, and the Speedlite mounts inside the box and fires backward. This retro-firing design allows maximum spread of the light inside the box for very even coverage, with or without the diffusion panel in place.

Here's a link to one source:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/564656-REG/Westcott_2202_Apollo_Speedlight_Set.html

They also make a 50" Mega Apollo, but I think it's better used with at least two Speedlites.

I've been using the 28" Apollo as either a key light or a fill light on most of my portraits for the last several years, and I love the design, the easy setup of the umbrella-style frame, and the quality of light it puts on my subjects.

Shown below is a shot of it on on of my Manfrotto Combi Boom stands in my studio. Normally, if mounted on a straight stand, the amount of tilt available is a bit limited, but by mounting it sideways on a boom I get 360 degrees of tilt.









Oct 10, 2013 at 08:18 PM
arize84
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p.1 #3 · What size soft box should i get


Thanks Brian. I ended getting something similar to what you recommended just a cheaper Chinese version.

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-30-Inch-Octagon-Umbrella-Speedlite/dp/B00A3DLG7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381430696&sr=8-1&keywords=cowboystudio+octagon+umbrella+speedlite+softbox



Oct 10, 2013 at 09:56 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · What size soft box should i get


arize84 wrote:
...I ended getting something similar to what you recommended just a cheaper Chinese version.


Cowboy Studio (appropriate for someone from Texas) has a pretty good following amongst budget-conscious shooters; they appear to have many useful products.

As with the Westcott Apollo line, your Cowboy octobox will be restricted in tilt angle by the upright running through the zippered opening. Short of getting a boom like I have, one option is to get another umbrella adapter/swivel and a section of dowel or pipe about 20 inches long. You'll put one swivel on the top of your stand, mount the pipe on that, then the second swivel to which you'll mount the box. Then you can tilt the box from the outside swivel without restriction.

Good luck, and have fun... pardner!



Oct 11, 2013 at 06:42 AM
tedwca
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p.1 #5 · What size soft box should i get


I'm always amazed when I hear the Westcott Apollo/Halo line referred to as the more expensive option. When I first got into flash photography 30+ years ago I started with the Halos and found them to be fragile and at the lower end of light mods. I upgraded to Plume and Chimera and never looked back.

FWIW, I've dug out some of the surviving Halos and am using them with my Qflashes for quick easy portable lighting. I guess it's a never ending circle.



Oct 11, 2013 at 04:30 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #6 · What size soft box should i get


tedwca wrote:
I'm always amazed when I hear the Westcott Apollo/Halo line referred to as the more expensive option.


It's all relative. Compared to the Chinese counterfeits/copies they're more expensive, but compared to Chimera, Elinchrom, Profoto, etc. they're a bargain brand.

Speaking of which, I see that Profoto is now selling their own double-speedlight speedring mount for their soft boxes. For those who shoot both kinds of lights, that could be a worthwhile accessory.



Oct 11, 2013 at 05:05 PM
 

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tedwca
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p.1 #7 · What size soft box should i get


My point was 10 - 20 years ago there wasn't a cheaper option other than umbrella. It's hard for me to adjust my thinking since I haven't looked at modifiers at the lower end in years. I'm still trying to wrap my head around Pocket Wizards not being the only game in town.


Oct 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM
popinvasion
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p.1 #8 · What size soft box should i get


You got to ask yourself, what are you really gaining on a small softbox over a cheap umbrella. IMO not much.


Oct 12, 2013 at 01:08 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #9 · What size soft box should i get


popinvasion wrote:
You got to ask yourself, what are you really gaining on a small softbox over a cheap umbrella. IMO not much.


We'll have to agree to disagree; IMO they are different tools that produce different results.



Oct 12, 2013 at 02:21 AM
popinvasion
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p.1 #10 · What size soft box should i get


BrianO wrote:
We'll have to agree to disagree; IMO they are different tools that produce different results.


I understand your point and agree but not when we are talking small single light products. The difference between a single Speedlite compact softbox and an umbrella is negligible.



Oct 12, 2013 at 02:47 AM
rboate
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p.1 #11 · What size soft box should i get


I have the Lastolite Ezybox 24x24 and am happy with the results, I use it with either a Sigma 500 or Vivitar 285hv and shoot manual only with an Oly OMD EM5. Here is a link to some pics from last weekend which was my first attempt at using the softbox outside. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rboate/sets/72157636542860136/


Oct 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM





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