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Author Topic: Help with choosing a soft box  (Read 5212 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 09:19:42 AM »
For speedlites check out the lastolite stuff.

+1.  I've got a couple of the Lastolite 24" Ezyboxes and one of the 'on-camera' Ezybox Speedlite softboxes.  Robust construction, easy to set up, but not cheap relative to eBay, etc. offerings.
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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 09:19:42 AM »

KitsVancouver

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 10:20:57 AM »
Considering you're going to be going through the hassle of setting up softboxes on stands, I would strongly recommend that you should go with a studio flash setup instead of a hotshoe flash. You'll get a hell of a lot more bang for your buck.

Hotshoe flashes are great for what they're designed to do, which is to be something that you can mount on top of the camera. But you pay a premium for that type of miniaturization, in terms of both performance and price.

A Paul C. Buff Alien Bees B800 costs about as much as that 430 EX II, and it puts out so much more light that it's not even funny. The Buff Einstein flash, their flagship model, is cheaper than the 580 EX II and is ludicrously far superior in every way except that you can't stick it on top of your camera.

Don't fret too much if you're going to be shooting at locations without power. There are battery packs for most studio flashes. Buff sells the Vagabond which is good for hundreds, if not thousands, of pops with the type of setup you're describing on a single charge.

I'll also note that softboxes only work their magic when they're so close to the subject that you're having trouble figuring out how to shoot around them. It's a geometry thing...a 2' softbox is going to have to be no more than 2' away from the subject to be truly effective, preferably less, and it's not going to light up more than the person's face. a 2' softbox at the photographer's position of a 10' working distance isn't going to be significantly different from on-camera flash. A 5' softbox 5' away from the subject is going to be as effective as a 2' softbox 2' away, but it'll light up the whole person...and you can put that 5' softbox 3' away and get some amazing soft and even light wrapping all the way 'round your subject.

Even better?

Buff sells parabolic reflectors...basically high-tech umbrellas. And they go from 4' across to over 7' across, and they make diffusers for them that make the light very similar to a softbox....

Cheers,

b&
Excellent information from you and the poster below.  These forums are so valuable when there is experienced feedback such as above.

I own 5 600EX-RTs and was planning on using 2/3 bundled into a 4 foot softbox.  From the research I've done, I've realized that the flashes won't likely put out enough power for the softbox. 

I'm wondering if anyone has had experience using the Einstein with Speedlights.  I'm thinking I will either need to use a PC sync cord for the Einstein and RF wireless for the Speedlights.  I'd love a shoot-through wireless solution which I can mount on my camera which controls the Einstein and then have the 600EX or ST-E3 mounted on top.   Has anyone attempted that? 

ocabj

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2012, 12:26:48 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has had experience using the Einstein with Speedlights.  I'm thinking I will either need to use a PC sync cord for the Einstein and RF wireless for the Speedlights.  I'd love a shoot-through wireless solution which I can mount on my camera which controls the Einstein and then have the 600EX or ST-E3 mounted on top.   Has anyone attempted that?

If you're working indoors, you can just toggle the optical slave sensor on the Einstein so it triggers on the 600 EX (E-TTL pre-flash turned off, of course). When I'm at home and I need to take a quick product shot, I often just throw a 580 EX II on my camera instead of breaking out PocketWizards or the 12 foot pc-sync cord.

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 06:20:11 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has had experience using the Einstein with Speedlights.  I'm thinking I will either need to use a PC sync cord for the Einstein and RF wireless for the Speedlights.  I'd love a shoot-through wireless solution which I can mount on my camera which controls the Einstein and then have the 600EX or ST-E3 mounted on top.   Has anyone attempted that?

In the attached shot, I used three lights.

The main light on the artist was an Einstein with a 7" reflector and a honeycomb grid, probably 20°.

I had a SoLux halogen task lamp aimed at his hands and used a slow enough shutter to get a bit of blur in the saw.

And I had a 580 EX II with a red gel lighting the saw blade from behind to (almost) stop its motion.

The Einstein was triggered with its plug-in radio receiver.

The 580 EX II was triggered with one of the same CyberSync receivers that you would use for an Alien Bees light, except (of course) I used the PC connection rather than the phone jack.

Cheers,

b&

Slashp

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2012, 01:38:07 AM »
Thank you all for your inputs :)

It is tough to decide between one Alien bee and a strobe :)
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jonathan7007

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2012, 03:21:32 PM »
To TrumpetPower:

Love the shot. The reference to "red 580EXii" implies that the shot was originally intended to be seen in color, right? So, looking closely at the saw body and blade I have to guess: the 580 was attached to the motor body of the saw but set so that the light angled back at the bottom of the blade. A grid or snoot might have been attached. Without the color cue it's hard to know how much red light was cast forward toward the viewer.

Client? Self-assigned? Tell us about the idea you were asked [asked yourself] to create.

I love doing setups like this!

jonathan7007

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2012, 04:21:43 PM »
i'd like to say in the UK that an alien bee or einstein could be an alternative to the speedlights... >:(

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2012, 04:21:43 PM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2012, 02:53:07 PM »
To TrumpetPower:

Love the shot. The reference to "red 580EXii" implies that the shot was originally intended to be seen in color, right? So, looking closely at the saw body and blade I have to guess: the 580 was attached to the motor body of the saw but set so that the light angled back at the bottom of the blade. A grid or snoot might have been attached. Without the color cue it's hard to know how much red light was cast forward toward the viewer.

Client? Self-assigned? Tell us about the idea you were asked [asked yourself] to create.

I love doing setups like this!

jonathan7007

Thanks, Jonathan.

The artist is Dad, Gary Goren, and the portrait is at least a publicity shot and will likely also make an appearance in a coffee table book of his art that I'm working on. I'll attach a shot of one of his works, the first one that's actually going to go in the book, that I finally was able to get this past week.

The hotshoe flash was mounted to a light stand and positioned just on the other side of (and hidden by) the saw's swivel post on the left side of the frame. No grid or snoot; just a piece of red gel taped over the head.

I had a vague thought of using the red as a bit of mood lighting in addition to its ability to freeze the motion of the saw blade, but it was much more useful to be able to selectively adjust the exposure of that part of the scene in post using the channel mixer in Adobe Camera Raw.

Cheers,

b&

jonathan7007

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 02:47:40 PM »
TrumpetPower,
A wonderful way to honor his skills. Wonderful to do this together with him.

I attach a shot I did among other portraits of craftspeople featured in a brochure about fine printing papers from Monadnock, a New England specialty papermaking company.

To the OP: several softboxes used, with Norman packs. 120 Plus-X film, Hasselblad with the 80mm. There were three, because the light had some small amout of fill toward the back of the scene. Two pointed at the subject.

At that time Chimera was the undisputed leader. The ring system attached to the metal head casing was always the strongest arrangement and allowed better tilt control. Some of my current units are a little more dodgy about holding their angle chosen adjustment when pointing down. We didn't have to get inside the box after finishing the setup because power was changed at the power pack. In this dark workshop modeling lights are a godsend. No auto focus!

We went to the workshops of a flutemaker, canoe builder, too. Great assignment. A grandfather clock and a canoe came back to the studio for beauty shots. The futemaker said "No way" (gold) and we shot that gold instrument in his basement. More softbox use!

jonathan7007

yikes-edited to get rid of some of the dust on the scan. Sorry, everyone. gotta re-do that...
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 05:05:15 PM by jonathan7007 »

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Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 02:47:40 PM »