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Gear Talk => Lighting => Topic started by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 05:15:17 PM

Title: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 05:15:17 PM
Hi all,

Ok, I have my 600exrt, and now, I'm psyched from watching videos how to use off camera lighting all weekend..and want to get started.

I have a couple of lightstands I want to start using that I already own.

I'm thinking of starting with some umbrellas (hopefully shoot through combo with cover you can put on them to use reflect for shooting into)....

I'm looking to get these manfroto umbrella holders:

http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-026-Lite-Tite-Umbrella-Adapter/dp/B001ENW61I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I3K2ULS11RAUJG (http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-026-Lite-Tite-Umbrella-Adapter/dp/B001ENW61I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I3K2ULS11RAUJG)

And these cold shoe clamps:

http://www.amazon.com/Tiffen-300-405-Stroboframe-Accessory-Shoe/dp/B00009UTL9/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=IG501ZCL41QYE (http://www.amazon.com/Tiffen-300-405-Stroboframe-Accessory-Shoe/dp/B00009UTL9/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=IG501ZCL41QYE)

What would be a good brand, and good sized umbrella to start with?


Also, I'm looking to get one of these to act as a snoot, and also as a nice deflector/diffuser:

http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-FlashBenders-ROGUERELG-Positionable-Reflector/dp/B003UOIMAS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I2V7R2AVUP7AET (http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-FlashBenders-ROGUERELG-Positionable-Reflector/dp/B003UOIMAS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I2V7R2AVUP7AET)

http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUEDFPLG-Diffusion/dp/B006ISEJ9Q/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I1WHAN6B02X3UP (http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Photographic-Design-ROGUEDFPLG-Diffusion/dp/B006ISEJ9Q/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I1WHAN6B02X3UP)

That should set me up for awhile...I got the long 33' foot cable to use with my camera till I get a 2nd one or the control unit:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0097IPB8W/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0097IPB8W/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

I'm also thinking of some type of good beginner softbox.

Looking at this one from B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621364-REG/Impact_EBO_0601515_Quikbox_15_x_15.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621364-REG/Impact_EBO_0601515_Quikbox_15_x_15.html)

Would the 15 x 15 be good enough to start, or would the 24 x 24 be better?  I only have the one 600EXRT for now (unless I score another refurb deal when they come up again ).

B&H also has the kits with their softbox...wondering if for a couple more $$ I should get those to go with the 'impact' quickboxes...?

Thanks in advance !!!

cayenne
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: unfocused on May 28, 2013, 06:21:23 PM
Definite yes to the Manfrotto swivel mounts. They are very solid. Cheaper brands tend to loosen up and won't hold lightboxes and umbrellas in place over time.

I also prefer the Manfrotto cold shoes, as they are plastic, so less risk of a short. I'm paranoid about metal cold shoes, although I have used them by sticking a piece of gaffer's tape over the metal foot.

The Flashbenders are handy to have.

Don't know anything about the Quickbox, looks like an imitation of the Lastolite Ezybox.

Tons of umbrella's out there, not sure there is a lot of differences between them. I've used Photoflex. I'm sure you can pay more and probably would be more durable, but I haven't had any problem with them.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: Random Orbits on May 28, 2013, 06:58:39 PM
I'm in the same situation as you, and I'm looking at the Lastolite Ezybox II (24x24) with the Ezybox II Speedlight Bracket.  It totals for about 206 USD, but it also comes with a tilt adaptor (for tilting the box or umbrella), which would take the place of the 026, and the cold shoe bracket can acommodate 2 speedlites.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: PhotographAdventure on May 28, 2013, 07:47:08 PM
Get both umbrellas and a softbox.  I have a lastolite ezybox.  You probably want 24x24.  I wouldn't want any smaller.  I went for more top of the line, rather than a cheaper imitation.  I use it a lot and want the ease of putting it together.

Umbrella brands are hard to decide on though.  Most are fine though.  Occasionally, my stand will fall in the wind and smack the umbrella, then it's time to get a new one.  That's why I try to have an assistant available.  I have smacked a flash on the hard asphalt ground.  Still survived amazingly.

Eventually, you'll want the ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter.  I find that super convenient to trigger flashes either manual or ttl.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: cayenne on May 28, 2013, 08:09:24 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions.

What size umbrella would you recommend?

I got the idea of the B&H Impact softbox, which is a knockoff of the lazolite one....as a suggestion by Syl Arena on some videos he had out. He used the higher end one and then said he now things this cheaper version is about the same for less money.....so, I was gonna give it a try.

Ok, looks like maybe 24x24 on the quick soft box....but again, what size on the umbrellas to start off with?

Thanks again!

C
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: neuroanatomist on May 28, 2013, 08:56:09 PM
+1 on the Manfrotto umbrella swivels.

Lastolite stuff is great. I've got a pair of 24" Ezyboxes, a 12x48" stripbox, and a little Ezybox Hotshoe. 

I'm looking at the Lastolite Ezybox II (24x24)...it also comes with a tilt adaptor (for tilting the box or umbrella), which would take the place of the 026

The 12x48" Hot Rod Stripbox came with a tilt adapter - I suppose it would hold the flash and stripbox, but TBH it feels pretty flimsy.  It stays in the bag, and I use the Manfrotto 026 when hanging the stripbox from a boom.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: Zv on May 28, 2013, 09:08:20 PM
Westcott 43" colapsible shoot through umbrellas. They're super compact and cheap. However I don't particularly like umbrellas as they spill light all over the place when indoors. Especially in places with low ceilings and tight spaces you'll get unwanted light bouncing around.

Try something like the Photek softlighter. It's like an umbrella but gives you more control like a softbox. I know it's David Hobby's weapon of choice right now!
 
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: Random Orbits on May 28, 2013, 10:01:02 PM
+1 on the Manfrotto umbrella swivels.

Lastolite stuff is great. I've got a pair of 24" Ezyboxes, a 12x48" stripbox, and a little Ezybox Hotshoe. 

I'm looking at the Lastolite Ezybox II (24x24)...it also comes with a tilt adaptor (for tilting the box or umbrella), which would take the place of the 026

The 12x48" Hot Rod Stripbox came with a tilt adapter - I suppose it would hold the flash and stripbox, but TBH it feels pretty flimsy.  It stays in the bag, and I use the Manfrotto 026 when hanging the stripbox from a boom.

Thanks for the heads up!
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: silvestography on May 29, 2013, 07:41:57 AM
I'm pretty sure B&H's Impact products are supposed to be pretty decent for a bargain of a price. I've got their 8 foot light stand, 43" white shoot through umbrella and adapter on the way, so I can offer my impressions once I get a chance to use them.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: cayenne on June 03, 2013, 02:10:10 PM
I'm pretty sure B&H's Impact products are supposed to be pretty decent for a bargain of a price. I've got their 8 foot light stand, 43" white shoot through umbrella and adapter on the way, so I can offer my impressions once I get a chance to use them.

Yes, please post your thoughts and comments when you get them!!

I have a 43" white shoot through umbrella on the way too...it also has a detachable cover to allow reflective (shoot into?) use...and manfrotto adapter.

Let me know what your thoughts and experience is with your gear when you get it please...

thanks,

C
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: adebrophy on June 03, 2013, 03:21:45 PM
I was using a cheap velbon white umbrella for a while - http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-velbon-umbrella-clamp-uc-6/p1023869 (http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-velbon-umbrella-clamp-uc-6/p1023869) - and got great very slick results, but it was wobbly and fiddly to set up.

Just bought the 60cm / 24 inch Lastolite EZYbox and while the quality of light isn't lightyears better than the umbrella it is noticeably so. Set up is very easy and its so rock solid. Buying it as a kit was best value as I needed a new stand and clamp. The stands provided are great too - very solid without being heavy - easy to adjust and air damped.

All in all much more dependable set up and fab with the 600 RT.

I only have the one of those so still triggering with a cheap radio trigger plugged into the 600RT. Just really love the Ezybox and will likely buy one more. 
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: bornshooter on June 03, 2013, 03:53:10 PM
I will say that whatever modifier you use get sandbags or some other weight this year i dropped a 600 into a stream it stopped working but came back to life a few days later but the AF assist beam does not work any more,then i bought a replacement and just last week when using a brolly and sandbag the slightest breeze blew it over with 3 600ex-rts hitting the concrete 1 of them took the most of the impact. Brollies are like sails beware!!I would like to say the 600 that fell on the concrete from roughly 6 feet is fully functional.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: JonAustin on June 03, 2013, 04:27:54 PM
I have 4 600EX-RTs, and routinely shoot a 2- or 3-light setup, with one 600 attached to the body as the master.

I use some of B&H's Impact products, and have never had any problems with them. I have three Impact 10' air-cushioned light stands, and really like them:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html)

For mounting speedlites and umbrellas onto lightstands, I use SP Studio Systems Multi-Brackets:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG)

They're inexpensive (MUCH less than the Manfrotto you linked to), versatile and good quality. they also include the cold shoe, although it is metal. I just put a layer of tape over the area where the speedlite's contacts would touch the shoe, to prevent any possibility of shorting. No problems in 5+ years of use.

I almost always shoot into reflective umbrellas (vast majority of use is for indoor portrait applications). I have never had a need for shoot-through umbrellas, and agree with the previous comment that they really spread the light ... unless that's what you want, it's difficult to control. I haven't had need of a softbox or grate yet, either, although I do have a good variety of on-flash diffusers and modifiers.

I was shooting outdoor portraits at a corporate event a few years ago, and the wind caught one of my umbrellas. The attached speedlite (a lowly 420EX) broke when it struck the ground, but Canon repaired it for less than $100. After that, I bought weight bags for each of my light stands, although I have yet to use them. If there's any breeze at all, I don't think a small bag of water or sand is going to provide much anchoring.

P.S. I've been following some of your threads in this forum. Kudos for availing yourself of this venue to pick the brains of the photographic experts here -- most with more experience and expertise than I. Also, it's great how kind and generous everyone has been with their informative responses.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: bornshooter on June 03, 2013, 04:39:47 PM
I have 4 600EX-RTs, and routinely shoot a 2- or 3-light setup, with one 600 attached to the body as the master.

I use some of B&H's Impact products, and have never had any problems with them. I have three Impact 10' air-cushioned light stands, and really like them:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html)

For mounting speedlites and umbrellas onto lightstands, I use SP Studio Systems Multi-Brackets:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG)

They're inexpensive (MUCH less than the Manfrotto you linked to), versatile and good quality. they also include the cold shoe, although it is metal. I just put a layer of tape over the area where the speedlite's contacts would touch the shoe, to prevent any possibility of shorting. No problems in 5+ years of use.

I almost always shoot into reflective umbrellas (vast majority of use is for indoor portrait applications). I have never had a need for shoot-through umbrellas, and agree with the previous comment that they really spread the light ... unless that's what you want, it's difficult to control. I haven't had need of a softbox or grate yet, either, although I do have a good variety of on-flash diffusers and modifiers.

I was shooting outdoor portraits at a corporate event a few years ago, and the wind caught one of my umbrellas. The attached speedlite (a lowly 420EX) broke when it struck the ground, but Canon repaired it for less than $100. After that, I bought weight bags for each of my light stands, although I have yet to use them. If there's any breeze at all, I don't think a small bag of water or sand is going to provide much anchoring.

P.S. I've been following some of your threads in this forum. Kudos for availing yourself of this venue to pick the brains of the photographic experts here -- most with more experience and expertise than I. Also, it's great how kind and generous everyone has been with their informative responses.
i disagree having recently used 2 sandbags after that trouble i have been shooting in a heavier breeze with no issues but i guess it depends on how big a breeze lol.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: JonAustin on June 03, 2013, 04:52:04 PM
I was shooting outdoor portraits at a corporate event a few years ago, and the wind caught one of my umbrellas. The attached speedlite (a lowly 420EX) broke when it struck the ground, but Canon repaired it for less than $100. After that, I bought weight bags for each of my light stands, although I have yet to use them. If there's any breeze at all, I don't think a small bag of water or sand is going to provide much anchoring.
i disagree having recently used 2 sandbags after that trouble i have been shooting in a heavier breeze with no issues but i guess it depends on how big a breeze lol.

I completely understand, and don't object to anyone else doing it. Just wanted to share my experience as a "caveat emptor." It's better to know the risks and weigh the benefits accordingly.

It all comes down to the size of the umbrella, its orientation relative to the direction of the wind, the strength of the wind and the amount of ballast used. Maybe after I've owned the 600's a little longer (they're still "new" to me), I'll get a little more adventurous. One thing I can say is that it's no fun to go chasing after your umbrella in the middle of a paid shoot, or to recover and reconfigure while the client is waiting.
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: cayenne on June 03, 2013, 04:54:02 PM
I have 4 600EX-RTs, and routinely shoot a 2- or 3-light setup, with one 600 attached to the body as the master.

I use some of B&H's Impact products, and have never had any problems with them. I have three Impact 10' air-cushioned light stands, and really like them:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253067-REG/Impact_LS10AB_Air_Cushioned_Light_Stand.html)

For mounting speedlites and umbrellas onto lightstands, I use SP Studio Systems Multi-Brackets:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=50067&is=REG)

They're inexpensive (MUCH less than the Manfrotto you linked to), versatile and good quality. they also include the cold shoe, although it is metal. I just put a layer of tape over the area where the speedlite's contacts would touch the shoe, to prevent any possibility of shorting. No problems in 5+ years of use.

I almost always shoot into reflective umbrellas (vast majority of use is for indoor portrait applications). I have never had a need for shoot-through umbrellas, and agree with the previous comment that they really spread the light ... unless that's what you want, it's difficult to control. I haven't had need of a softbox or grate yet, either, although I do have a good variety of on-flash diffusers and modifiers.

I was shooting outdoor portraits at a corporate event a few years ago, and the wind caught one of my umbrellas. The attached speedlite (a lowly 420EX) broke when it struck the ground, but Canon repaired it for less than $100. After that, I bought weight bags for each of my light stands, although I have yet to use them. If there's any breeze at all, I don't think a small bag of water or sand is going to provide much anchoring.

P.S. I've been following some of your threads in this forum. Kudos for availing yourself of this venue to pick the brains of the photographic experts here -- most with more experience and expertise than I. Also, it's great how kind and generous everyone has been with their informative responses.

Well, I'm likely also very soon to order one of the B&H Impact softboxes, that mimic the lastolite (sp?) quick box softboxes out there. I figure it will be fun to try each one, and the umbrellas are quite cheap, so got it first and will get the softbox next.

I can then play with umbrellas and softbox, and when I get a 2nd 600, then I can have a modifier for each for awhile...etc.

I'm guessing I'll like the softbox more, but I would have to guess there are situations where you'd like an umbrella that throws the light around a bit more, no?

C

PS. Anyone got recommendations on sandbags to get?
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: JonAustin on June 03, 2013, 05:07:40 PM
Anyone got recommendations on sandbags to get?

I bought 3 fillable (with shot, sand or water) weight bags made by Photoflex back in 2007, and -- as mentioned in my previous post -- I have yet to use them. They must not be any good, because B&H doesn't appear to carry them any longer. <g>

I bought the fillable kind, so that they could be emptied, and take up minimum space / add minimum weight when traveling (I do a lot of on-location stuff).
Title: Re: I got my 600ex-rt: Recommendations for umbrella? Softbox?
Post by: bornshooter on June 04, 2013, 03:00:52 AM
I was shooting outdoor portraits at a corporate event a few years ago, and the wind caught one of my umbrellas. The attached speedlite (a lowly 420EX) broke when it struck the ground, but Canon repaired it for less than $100. After that, I bought weight bags for each of my light stands, although I have yet to use them. If there's any breeze at all, I don't think a small bag of water or sand is going to provide much anchoring.
i disagree having recently used 2 sandbags after that trouble i have been shooting in a heavier breeze with no issues but i guess it depends on how big a breeze lol.

I completely understand, and don't object to anyone else doing it. Just wanted to share my experience as a "caveat emptor." It's better to know the risks and weigh the benefits accordingly.

It all comes down to the size of the umbrella, its orientation relative to the direction of the wind, the strength of the wind and the amount of ballast used. Maybe after I've owned the 600's a little longer (they're still "new" to me), I'll get a little more adventurous. One thing I can say is that it's no fun to go chasing after your umbrella in the middle of a paid shoot, or to recover and reconfigure while the client is waiting.
I agree for sure its no fun at all lol so for me umbrellas are a no no now,i am going to stick with my softbox outdoors :-)