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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 20 Aug 2010 (Friday) 12:45
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Help with flash and softbox decision!

 
Ralph ­ III
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Aug 20, 2010 12:45 |  #1

Hello,
I am looking to purchase a speedlight softbox and flash and have the following questions.

1) Will a 24 x 24 softbox light a small group of people, ten or less, as well as a 24 x 36? This will be for event and indoor situations.

2) I want to get a second 550ex speedlight for power, compatability (with my other 550) and wireless features but can get two Yongnuo 468's or 560's for the same cost.

I just need something to use in manual mode with good power? A second speedlight could be good however in case one broke? Any advice?

Thanks


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CosmoKid
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Aug 20, 2010 13:22 |  #2

I don't fully understand the full first question. Are they 2 questions? The first about the 24" and then a second about the 36"? Or will you be using both at the same time?


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Ralph ­ III
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Alabama
Aug 20, 2010 15:43 |  #3

CosmoKid wrote in post #10757512external link
I don't fully understand the full first question. Are they 2 questions? The first about the 24" and then a second about the 36"? Or will you be using both at the same time?

Sorry for the confusion.

The question is whether the 24 x 24in softbox would light a small group of people as well as the larger 24 x 36in softbox? Otherwise, is the difference really just in the softness of light output and not necessarily in total area covered?

I can save $40.00 with the smaller one, however if there is a real difference in area covered and quality, will go with the larger softbox.

The softbox will serve as my primary light source while my second flash will be for fill.

Thanks


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starcentral
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Aug 20, 2010 15:59 |  #4

Why softbox at all? What is wrong with umbrella? For $40 buy two 43" umbrella's and set the ratio of your flash 2:1.


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Ralph ­ III
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Aug 20, 2010 18:51 |  #5

starcentral wrote in post #10758286external link
Why softbox at all? What is wrong with umbrella? For $40 buy two 43" umbrella's and set the ratio of your flash 2:1.

Well I have been debating that very thing as I have never utilized either.

My concerns are as follows:

Umbrellas seem to require more knowledge and apparently less forgiving with improper power settings? I understand they spill light everywhere, which may or may not be an issue for me, as I am aiming for a simple setup? There would seem to be more concern for harsh shadows on subjects and/or backgrounds with umbrellas?

Softboxes seem to be more controlleable and more forgiving with power settings? The light is supposed to be softer but my major concern is whether they will light groups of people adequately utilizing a 550ex speedlight? They are supposed to be easier to work with outdoors as well? I suppose due to wind issues?

I won't be using two softboxes or two umbrellas irrespective. One flash will be utilized for such whereas the other flash will simply have a stofen filter. I have to be able to move from set shots to candids and thus need one flash handy for the camera.

I am looking to buy this weekend so your advice is greatly appreciated.

Ralph


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MrDurden1978
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Aug 20, 2010 19:55 |  #6

if youre looking at softboxes check out the westcott apollo. It's 28"x28", it's super portable(folds up like an umbrella) and is kinda cheap, about $100. Gives awesome light for any hotshoe flash.


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Pennington
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Aug 20, 2010 20:07 |  #7

First, the softboxes - a larger (longer) softbox will do a better job lighting a larger group, that's just physics. I'm not sure that I'd even try lighting 10 people with a single 24"x24" softbox - they're really better a lighting a single person, used up close (the closer the flash to the subject, the larger the apparent source, and the softer the light).

I got one of the cheap eBay Apollo knock-offs for much less than $100, and it's really very good. Well built, seems to be holding up well, and works great. I'd do that before the real Apollo. As far as flashes, having two manual-only flashes isn't too bad - I think it's a good idea to learn flash in manual before going to TTL.

As for the umbrella vs. softbox thing, here's some thoughts: softboxes, like I said before, are good for close in work in a single person or small group, and do direct light better than umbrellas. Umbrellas do suffer from lots of spill - you light the subject and everything around them. Which actually makes them better for groups. If I were shooting 10 people I'd probably use two umbrellas at 45 degree angles, aimed down from above the group, with a 2:1 ratio (like someone else suggested).

I have both and both are useful, just depends on what you're trying to do.




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starcentral
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Aug 20, 2010 21:04 |  #8

You will light more area with 43" umbrellas then you will with something only 24" in size. Use umbrellas when you want a lot of fill or area lighting - good to light people and what's around them. Use softbox when you still want soft light, but want less spill onto your background. Also a general rule of thumb is that the size of the softbox matches the size of what you are shooting. ie. a 24" softbox is amazing for shooting a small animal, kid, or 1/4 body shots, 1-2 people max. For a large group of people you might want something at least 36-48" in size.


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Ralph ­ III
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Aug 20, 2010 23:23 as a reply to starcentral's post |  #9

I appreciate all the help and am now strongly leaning toward the umbrellas. Would the Softlighter II or equivalent be a good choice as best of both worlds?

Quote by Pennington: " If I were shooting 10 people I'd probably use two umbrellas at 45 degree angles, aimed down from above the group, with a 2:1 ratio (like someone else suggested)."

Well this is going to be some of the same questions as in other threads but the advice has been very good.

1) What size umbrellas would you use?
2) Would you reflect one and shoot through the other? Otherwise would you do both the same and which way?
3) How far apart would you position the umbrellas from the people and how high? I may be limited to 8 ft. ceilings.
4) Is there concern with cross shadows?

I had planned on setting one flash with stofen filter close to the camera with the softbox/umbrella angled. Is using the stofen filter irrespective of angle just a poor setup? I could budget for some other items if not.

Lastly, will a 550ex set to "master" and triggered by a Yongnuo wireless tranmitter, cause the other 550ex set to "slave" to fire? Otherwise, I will have to get another Yongnuo transmitter as well.

God Bless,
Ralph


P.S. Anyone have an affordable 550ex they want to part with?


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ootsk
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Aug 20, 2010 23:34 |  #10

Softboxes, as far as light on a subject, bigger is always better.
You've got to have enough light to make it TO the subject though.
For a large group, you need the softbox back a certain distance...and the more distance away, the less difference a few inches of softbox size makes.
And remember...when I said bigger is better, distance makes a difference too.
A 10 foot softbox 20 feet away might only seem like a 3 foot softbox 5 feet away. And a speedlight is only going to light the 3 foot one, probably barely, and certainly not the 10 ft one.
I made up those sizes and distances, but I hope you get the point.




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starcentral
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Aug 21, 2010 09:41 |  #11

Ralph III wrote in post #10760170external link
I appreciate all the help and am now strongly leaning toward the umbrellas. Would the Softlighter II or equivalent be a good choice as best of both worlds?

Buy a 43" Wescott umbrella with removable back for $22. You can bounce of shoot through it for options. (Shoot through will give you more of a softbox appearance with less spill. People also label "spill" as bad, but YOU decide if you want your background areas to be light or dark. Use it if you want it.)

Ralph III wrote in post #10760170external link
Well this is going to be some of the same questions as in other threads but the advice has been very good.

1) What size umbrellas would you use?
2) Would you reflect one and shoot through the other? Otherwise would you do both the same and which way?
3) How far apart would you position the umbrellas from the people and how high? I may be limited to 8 ft. ceilings.
4) Is there concern with cross shadows?

1) 43" umbrella minimum and most versatile for other purposes. 60" is bigger and better for large groups but I do not consider 10 people a large group.

2) For your purpose stay with reflect and at the end, you can take the cover off your umbrella and try shoot through real quick (no one will know what you're doing anyway or just tell them "one more with something a little different..") and later pick the best photo.

3) Put the umbrellas slightly over head height, you don't need to go 45 degrees down on groups. Place them just outside the frame of your shot. Distance from the subjects can be the same measurement as the width of your subjects. ie. if group stands 10 feet wide, put umbrellas slightly less than that, maybe 8 feet or less from subjects.

4) If you set your ratio 2:1 them you will have a small soft shadow which is fine. This is not a fashion shoot where you need shadowless un-natural looking faces. ;)

Ralph III wrote in post #10760170external link
I had planned on setting one flash with stofen filter close to the camera with the softbox/umbrella angled. Is using the stofen filter irrespective of angle just a poor setup? I could budget for some other items if not.

I'm not sure what you mean, but the setup I described is all you need. Stay away from stofen.

Ralph III wrote in post #10760170external link
Lastly, will a 550ex set to "master" and triggered by a Yongnuo wireless tranmitter, cause the other 550ex set to "slave" to fire? Otherwise, I will have to get another Yongnuo transmitter as well.

I don't use Yongnuo, but you need one transmitter and two receivers - one for each flash.

Lastly sorry to throw a wrench in this, but with 8 foot high ceilings I'm not sure you need any softbox or umbrella at all. You could just bounce one flash overhead camera position, again 10 people is not alot of people of you did 2 rows of 5. Otherwise you could bounce both flahes into ceiling.

People are brainwashed to thinking they absolutely need a softbox or umbrella, but have a look here... nothing used at all for 17 people but one flash bouncing off ceiling. Yes that's right.

http://photography-on-the.net ...?t=908582&highlight​=group


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Denis ­ Seguin
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Aug 21, 2010 10:22 |  #12

I'll use softbox for one-two sitters but when shooting group my 36 " umbrella comes out.


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Help with flash and softbox decision!
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