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Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-20-2006, 11:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok I got stung by the bee and bought a single b800 to learn with. I also have a shoot through umbrella an reflectors to experiment with. From reading a lot of posts about learning how to shoot with artificial lighting the best way is to work with one source first.

I've read a number of posts regarding various types of umbrellas except for the softlighter by photek. So I know the other umbrellas have less control of light spill and the softbox have more control. How about the softlighter? It looks like it will perform just like one of those octabox softboxes right? Is the light quality different? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 12:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've got the 60-inch softliter. I like it because it's easy to take on location, and it sets up and breaks down quickly. It's also realatively cheap.

BUT.... the light isn't as nice as what you'd get out of a good softbox. The light is much "hotter" in the center than it is toward the edges, so it kind of acts like it's a smaller light source than it really is. I've considered trying to "fog" the center of the umbrella with white paint to try to back it down some. Kind of a risky experiment though.

Here's a couple of images using it:

Directly in front of the model (with me in between):


Softliter off to the side:
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 12:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmm.. I don't see any noticeable hot spots on your first photo of that gorgeous lady. But I do see a couple on the other beautiful lady below her. Are those taken with the Softlighter alone? I figured they would be easier to breakdown and sets up fast but I was mainly concerned about getting quality light at a bargain price.

I guess I'll be either buying a softbox or an octabox since I'm not planning on bringing the bee with me for outdoor shoots anytime soon. Any suggestions on size, which of the two would be more versatile, and reasonable priced manufacturers?
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 09:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I use a soft lighter, and here is a link to the proofs from a recent shoot shot with it as the main light, the only light, except in the pics against the wall. I used my other lights to keep the background hot.

I like the light, I have limited experience with softboxes, and they do offer directional control, with grids etc.. But the softlighter give a nice wrap around and softens edge shadows, and you can cine foil the center or make grids etc...

As for hotter in the center, I have seen the same with boxes. Think about it in boxes the light is pointing right out the box, hitting a diffusor, or two depending on the box, etc. Here the light is bounced into the diffusor from the umbrella. Also you can adjust the light by putting the umbrella closer or father from the light head.


Brandies proofs

For the money and with the versatility I think the softlighter is a good product, and plan on buying another.

By the way my lights are old... novatrons, I'm going to start adding bees or whitelightings this year to give me more adjustable range.
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 09:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Randy,

How's it going? Great news on the light, trust me, it will be lights plural before long.

I have a softlighter and a large softbox I tend to use as main and fill in my little studio...I love the softlighteer as a main mostly, that's just the way it's ended up working for me.

If I'm gridding the face or whatever as more of a main light, I tend to use the softlighter as fill, it's just a great piece of equipment, for me anyway.

Larry's right on the money about ease of travel, pop the cover off and it's just a big umbrella.

You get a new site host going yet?

Shannon
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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In both pictures, the softliter was the only light source. The hotspots on the second pic might have been because I had the light maybe 10-15 feet from her.

The softliter isn't a bad product, you just have to recognize it's strengths and weaknesses. I would probably never use it outside though. It's huge and the slightest wind would send it, and your light, away for sure. For outdoor shoots, I use either the 7" reflector, or a little 20x24" softbox.
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 11:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice work John and thanks for the tips.
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Shannon,

I'm doing good and yourself?

More lights more mula.. I'm basically trying to put the whole concept into action before I actually start playing with more lights. So for now.. I'll use reflectors for fill and maybe later mess around adding my speedlite.

Ok.. so at least I know people actually do use it and get good results. I used the search feature on here and didn't come up with much. Do you get the same results of it being hotter towards the middle?

My site is not hosted with Godaddy [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Thanks! Now I'm trying to implement flash into the layout.
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 01:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Randy,

Good here, busy and happy. Hey, I went to your site and it actually loaded [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

good for you changing hosts.

In all honesty I have not noticed the hotspot in the middle from the softlighter. Doesn't mean it's not there, just means I haven't noticed it or had any problems with it. There's a silver and also a gold center reflector that comes with the umbrella. You have to put them in after you set it up but maybe Larry did that? I haven't usd them but the instructions say the silver one will pop the center of the light a little harder.

It's a good piece of gear, either way. Oh, and Larry's right in his second post, outdoors a good gust of wind would turn that thing into a very functional parasail.

Shannon
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Re: Photek Softlighter vs Softbox
Old 01-21-2006, 04:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Have you tried using the additional center reflector. My silver unit came with a gold center disk. When it is inserted I do not get hot center spots.
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