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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 30 Oct 2018 (Tuesday) 01:18
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Soft box for Speedlite

 
firme
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Oct 30, 2018 01:18 |  #1

I have been going online to see differences between umbrellas and soft boxes (square/round). Videos have shown comparisons between both types but when looking at the majority of lighting tutorials I have seen soft boxes used more than umbrellas. Do soft boxes help give a better look vs umbrellas from your experience? If I paid attention to some videos, some mentioned that soft boxes help wrap around the subject better vs an umbrella. I have seen on videos/tutorials people using large soft round (octagon) boxes used more than the box style. But none the less, the soft boxes appear more. I do have a set of umbrellas which I used for when using backdrops.

I found this one: https://www.adorama.co​m/glsb3131sbk.html (external link)

I searched for used one and came across this one but smaller (24x36):
https://www.amazon.com …keywords=fotodi​ox+softbox (external link)
https://www.amazon.com …keywords=fotodi​ox+softbox (external link)

Also found a used one similar to this one:
https://www.amazon.com …keywords=fotodi​ox+softbox (external link)

Is there an "adapter" where I can use my existing umbrella and use use it as a "octagon" soft box?

Thanks in advanced.




  
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nixland
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Oct 30, 2018 04:26 |  #2

It's not about a "better" look, but a different look. Umbrella has only one layer of diffuser, while softbox mostly has 2 layer of diffusers to make the light "softer". Even they had deflector plate to reduce center hotspot light even more.
And also recessed edge to block the light spill.

Plus a grid to narrow the light spread if needed.




  
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Daggah
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Oct 30, 2018 10:23 |  #3

Tip: grab an "S-mount bracket" (typically around $20, give or take) and open yourself up to a world of using Bowens modifiers with your speedlights and potentially using them with future strobe purchases.


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soeren
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Post edited 11 months ago by soeren.
     
Oct 30, 2018 11:41 |  #4

nixland wrote in post #18739828 (external link)
It's not about a "better" look, but a different look. Umbrella has only one layer of diffuser, while softbox mostly has 2 layer of diffusers to make the light "softer". Even they had deflector plate to reduce center hotspot light even more.
And also recessed edge to block the light spill.

Plus a grid to narrow the light spread if needed.

Though reflective umbrellas are more like softboxes in regards to double diffusion and deflection of the light source.


If history has proven anything. it's that evolution always wins!!

  
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firme
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Oct 30, 2018 15:01 |  #5

Thanks for the replies.

I did find the S-mount bracket on amazon for $17.




  
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Wilt
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Oct 31, 2018 11:10 |  #6

The key characteristics of a light modifier.

  • How big it is (bigger 48" is softer than smaller 40")
  • How even it is across its light emitting surface...e.g. double diffusion softboxes tend to be more evenly illuminated across than single diffusion softboxes)
  • Surface curvature and Light emitter type...a flat panel translucent shape will send light out differently than a curved reflective shape (metallic umbrella)...that is why you hear about parabolic umbrellas

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firme
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Oct 31, 2018 14:06 |  #7

Thanks for the info Wilt.




  
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Nick5
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Nov 01, 2018 08:09 |  #8

Welcome to world of Speedlighting.
It's a journey so enjoy the ride.
For starting out I took Syl Arena's advice back in 2012 and bought a Westcott 28" Apollo Medium soft box kit. Comes with stand and umbrella tilter. Built on umbrella shaft. With just one light I could create different looks by moving around the lighting compass. With this 28" Medium Apollo box you have a 4" recessed diffusion panel which will allow you to Feather the light for more control, like when you want to light your subject but not the background. You can also buy a grid allowing even more control.
Many people complain about the Apollo line in that you can not tilt it. You can if you purchase the Westcott Illuminator arm extreme. This converts your straight stand to a boom. Unfortunately Westcott does not package this as a Kit. Why I don't know.
As you acquire more Speedlites, and you will, the Apollo line also includes a Strip, Orb, Halo and 50" Mega.
I have all and use them when the situations demands. I also have umbrellas as well. So there is just no one modifier.
I highly recommend Syl's Book " Speedliter's Handbook, Second Edition". Syl Arena.
A large book that is my go to reference over the years. Easy to read with great visuals that even I can grasp. And that says a lot!

https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …331_28_Apollo_w​ith_8.html (external link)

https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …reflector_arm.h​tml?sts=pi (external link)


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dmward
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Nov 01, 2018 08:54 |  #9

Nick5 wrote in post #18741375 (external link)
Welcome to world of Speedlighting.
It's a journey so enjoy the ride.
For starting out I took Syl Arena's advice back in 2012 and bought a Westcott 28" Apollo Medium soft box kit. Comes with stand and umbrella tilter. Built on umbrella shaft. With just one light I could create different looks by moving around the lighting compass. With this 28" Medium Apollo box you have a 4" recessed diffusion panel which will allow you to Feather the light for more control, like when you want to light your subject but not the background. You can also buy a grid allowing even more control.
Many people complain about the Apollo line in that you can not tilt it. You can if you purchase the Westcott Illuminator arm extreme. This converts your straight stand to a boom. Unfortunately Westcott does not package this as a Kit. Why I don't know.
As you acquire more Speedlites, and you will, the Apollo line also includes a Strip, Orb, Halo and 50" Mega.
I have all and use them when the situations demands. I also have umbrellas as well. So there is just no one modifier.
I highly recommend Syl's Book " Speedliter's Handbook, Second Edition". Syl Arena.
A large book that is my go to reference over the years. Easy to read with great visuals that even I can grasp. And that says a lot!

https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …331_28_Apollo_w​ith_8.html (external link)

https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …reflector_arm.h​tml?sts=pi (external link)

Speedlites, by the flash tube placement, are not good sources for modifiers that have the light mounted facing forward. The nature of the speedlite lens means that little of the light is bouncing around in the modifier to improve front diffuser evenness.

The reflective modifiers like the Apollo series, by aiming the light back into the modifier, overcomes this deficiency. When using speedlites these reflective modifiers, including umbrellas, are likely offer better options for light smoothness at the front diffusion panel.

As mentioned, the objective is to find a modifier that can be filled with the light source to ensure even illumination across the entire front diffusion surface. Having a hot spot in the center of the front panel defeats the purpose of the modifier.


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soeren
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Nov 01, 2018 09:01 as a reply to  @ dmward's post |  #10

Only thing is the limited movements of the modifier on a standard lightstand. The same goes to some extend for reflective umbrellas


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firme
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Nov 01, 2018 10:11 |  #11

Nick5, thanks for the reply. I have been looking at videos and have seen what other peoples results by placing the soft box at different angles and distances from subject. Just have to put that into practice to see what I can produce as well. Thanks for the links. I do have the same bracket. Only would need the soft box only. Will check out the book you mentioned as well, thanks.

Dmward, is there a reason why some people would get a set up that you mentioned if you say probably not the best option (first sentence)? What would be a modifier that would fit for the application?

You mentioned speedlights being mounted forward, not bouncing correct. Would this be applied the same to strobes or it wouldn't as it is a bigger light source compared to the speedlight?

Is this a good sample regarding reflective modifiers (quick serch): https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …lEREBBoCrq8QAvD​_BwE&smp=y (external link)

Not questioning everyone's knowledge, I don't know and there are topics that are never mentioned when looking at videos or tutorials until one experiments first hand.

This is what I have when bought a long time ago:
https://www.adorama.co​m/weu45wb.html (external link)




  
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smaeda
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Nov 01, 2018 10:38 |  #12

Umbrellas and softboxes are two different tools that accomplish different results. It really depends on what kind of look you want. One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is the catchlight shape on the eyes. Generally a softbox is preferred indoors since it produces square catchlights which mimics window light. Rounder modifiers like octaboxes produce circular catchlights which is a more natural look outdoors. Softboxes have better spill control but that isn't always desired. Shoot-through umbrellas can light the background and the subject at the same time which can simplify the shoot. If using speedlights, I would recommend something in between 24 inches and 48 inches. Anything bigger, it will become difficult to fill. Also as Dmward mentioned, reflective modifiers or double diffused modifiers are recommended to help even out the spread of light.


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firme
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Nov 01, 2018 11:17 |  #13

Smaeda, thanks for the touching on the catch light. To be honest that wasn't on my mind to begin with... but also didn't know "certain" soft boxes were used for different environments. Unfortunately I would probably just use one style for both indoor and outdoor. At least wouldn't get both types anytime soon. Now that you mentioned it... have seen circular soft boxes used on outdoor and square soft boxes for indoor in a good number of video tutorials. Then again I'm those type that like the "ring" catch light. Lol.

It does seem like the above links do have inner diffusers. Now does the more money a soft box is, the better it is compared to a much cheaper soft box like the ones above in first post? Just curious, I still would end up getting a cheaper one as I am not in a level where I get much work where I can afford to get a "good" soft box.




  
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smaeda
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Nov 01, 2018 11:30 |  #14

In my experience, you do get what you pay for. The build quality difference is noticeable though not a deal breaker. I bought one of the cheap foldable 24x24 inch softboxes, and the seams started coming apart after a year of use. But then again, $20-$30 box that lasts a year is still a decent value. On the cheaper octaboxes, the silver inner lining started rubbing off after several months reducing the efficiency of the modifier. Still usable and for $80, can't really complain.


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soeren
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Post edited 11 months ago by soeren.
     
Nov 01, 2018 11:30 |  #15

smaeda wrote in post #18741447 (external link)
Umbrellas and softboxes are two different tools that accomplish different results. It really depends on what kind of look you want. One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is the catchlight shape on the eyes. Generally a softbox is preferred indoors since it produces square catchlights which mimics window light. Rounder modifiers like octaboxes produce circular catchlights which is a more natural look outdoors. Softboxes have better spill control but that isn't always desired. Shoot-through umbrellas can light the background and the subject at the same time which can simplify the shoot. If using speedlights, I would recommend something in between 24 inches and 48 inches. Anything bigger, it will become difficult to fill. Also as Dmward mentioned, reflective modifiers or double diffused modifiers are recommended to help even out the spread of light.

That really doesn't stop me using umbrellas and octas. Only time mimicking window light is important is when trying to make it look like a window lit the subject


If history has proven anything. it's that evolution always wins!!

  
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Soft box for Speedlite
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