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A Softbox Question
Old 01-17-2011, 01:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Looking up upgrade some of my equipment and after looking at the wide range of prices for seemingly similar equipment, it got me thinking. It seems that the extra dollars buys the same F-stop from edge to edge...In other words EVEN lighting. In addition, additional baffles and maybe colorfast diffusion material , etc. The even lighting seems to be the Big One as nobody brags about having a hot spot, but many brag about not having one at all. So here's the question. Why does this matter? It seems that PROPER placement of the softbox involves "feathering" the light or rather using the edge of the light. Thus what difference does it make if there IS a hot spot in the center or not? We're using the edge of the light and not the center. Please advise.

Mel
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Re: A Softbox Question
Old 01-17-2011, 02:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For me a softbox is about soft even lighting. In fact I usually use a recessed front and grids to make the light more directional and control spill. So I generally use the box straight on. Of course I do feather the boxes form time to time, but it's to control quantity of light not quality. Now I do feather my parabolic reflectors. Due to their design you see the change in light quality from hard to soft the further you feather.
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Re: A Softbox Question
Old 01-17-2011, 05:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel_unruh View Post
========So here's the question. Why does this matter? It seems that PROPER placement of the softbox involves "feathering" the light or rather using the edge of the light. Thus what difference does it make if there IS a hot spot in the center or not? We're using the edge of the light and not the center. Please advise.

Mel
In my opinion you are correct about feathering. A few other factors are involved, but feathering not only gives a more pleasing light on the subject, it changes the brightness of the background, usually.

If your subject is about 3 to 4 feet from the background, and you shoot straight on with a softbox or even a parabolic, there will be a considerable difference in the look of the background than if you feather the light. By feathering, I usually see better results with rim (side) lights or hair lights.

I will be honest. It has been so long since I purchased any light modifiers, that I was not aware any company claimed their lightboxes, etc did not have a hot spot. I use various types of soft boxes and old aluminum parabollic reflectors, and I use some sort of diffusion material over all of them. My main light has an inner diffuser and a diffuser on the front.

One older parabolic I have fitted with a round disk in front of the flash tube, similar to the beauty dishes. It is actually a CD. But I still feather them all.
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