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Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 09:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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With so many types and makes and sizes of softboxes, I'm wondering if there is one better than the rest or are they close in their functionalbility?
I'm in the market for 1 or 2 and have been looking on EBay for the deals.
I have Novatron lights, so I guess I also need the universal ring. Just wondering if anyone has thoughts, or preferences, even opinions and rcommendations.

Thanks, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The size and shape of the softboxes you get is typically depemndent on how you plan to use them. Regardless of what you get, here are my observations and recommendations on softboxes in general:[list][*]I prefer a softbox with an inner baffle. It cuts down on the center hot spot.[*]If you're planning to use an egg crate grid at some point, it's MUCH easier to attach it to a softbox where the white front cover is recessed. Many cheap softboxes on eBay have non-recessed fronts, so it's difficult (but not impossible) to attach the grid[*]If you're planning to do a lot of location shoots, make sure the softbox is easy to assumble and sturdy enough to hold up over many shoots. Some of the softboxes on eBay are made of thin plastic which can rip and tear easily.[*]Some softboxes have inner reflective panels that can be changed from silver (or white) to gold. It's a nice touch if you do a lot of "golden light" photography.

I have two 20-year-old Broncolor 32"x32" softboxes -- made of durable canvas. Since I got them as a gift I don't know what they cost. I added a center baffle to each of them last week (glad mama taught me how to sew). I also have a cheap 36" x 48" softbox I bought for $20 on eBay. it's made of plastic, so I never take it on location. In a project that took me several hours, I managed to attach an egg crate grid to it last year. Now I never take off that grid!

Good luck,
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I tend to wait to buy things till I can buy something nice. You get what you pay for, right?

I have a Photoflex softbox that is great. It's built with high quality materials, and has nice Velcro tabs so that it breaks down easily. I recently bought a less expensive box (Paterson Pro-Range). It's made of less expensive materials, and is a PITA to break down. Of course, it costs half of what the Photoflex box costs. So for me it was worth the savings. I just don't always break it down now.

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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 11:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
You get what you pay for, right?

[/ QUOTE ]

This is very true, can't argue that.
I have location shoot coming up in the next month or so, so I'm looking for something to get me through it. I have plenty of umbrellas, but thinking the soft box is what I really need for this job. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

Thanks for the input. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 11:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input Marty.

I have a location thing coming up, so I'm needing something to get me through it. I have plenty of umbrellas but for this I'm thinking a softbox or two would be better. Not sure I'll have the funds for the good stuff off the bat. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

Thanks, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Why not rent a couple of softboxes for your shoot to see what you like. Light Tec rents everything from rectangle to octodomes. Cheaper and faster than buying, and you can get a better idea what styles you like.
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 05:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That thought crossed my mind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
I do have time to decide what to do, which helps. The shoot won't be for another month yet when weather straightens out, I hope.
It's an inside and outside type deal, with barn and horses involved. And no the softboxes aren't for the horses. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
uumm, but that would make for an interesting situation. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] NOT [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 06:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe save your coins and make up a scrim to shoot your lights through. In a barn you won't have to worry so much about stray light. You'd lose some light but you can actually have a much bigger relative source to soften the shadows. Umbrellas are good tools, I favor them over boxes with people because the catchlights are rounder. They're a snap to setup too.

A big softbox with a low power light up close is a wonderful tool for soft, evenly lit headshots though... but it has to be close.

Like BG, I favor Photoflex, but some of the cheaper models aren't too good. I have a multi-dome I like a lot, durable and easy too use. I also have a couple of Chimera Strips... then the homemade gatorboard jobs.

Think about buying some white ripstop nylon and some PVC and making a big scrim similar to a Photoflex Litepanel. It's a versatile tool.

Good luck,
Chip
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 07:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey there Chip,
I actually do have 1 setup of PVC for that purpose. It's a 4x6 that I can break down into a 2x3 and use for reflector purpose also. I use that parachute material, or that's what they call it at the fabric store where I got it.
I do need to look into the Chimera Strip thing one of these days.
So much to get, so little funds. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
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Re: Choosing the right softbox?
Old 03-03-2006, 09:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I ended up making my own. The prices seemed fair on ebay, but man the shipping costs are crazy.

Do a search on homebade softbox or light tents. Lots of good info out there
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