April 19, 2014, 07:24:42 PM

Author Topic: Softbox Size question  (Read 2465 times)

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Softbox Size question
« on: July 07, 2013, 11:26:53 AM »
I have two profoto D1 strobes, should I buy two softboxes of the same size or two different sizes?

canon rumors FORUM

Softbox Size question
« on: July 07, 2013, 11:26:53 AM »

Lawliet

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 319
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 01:57:53 PM »
You should first find out what kind of lighting you want to create. Once the artistic decision is made the actual choice comes by itself. Or: if there was a catchall answer nobody would need the wide selection of options.
But you can always mask down a large box, the other way around is more difficult.

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 02:12:41 PM »
You should first find out what kind of lighting you want to create. Once the artistic decision is made the actual choice comes by itself. Or: if there was a catchall answer nobody would need the wide selection of options.
But you can always mask down a large box, the other way around is more difficult.

Makes a lot of sense.

Want to shoot portrait shots, some of which will be full body (which may necessitate a 4x6 or 1x6)

I know im definitely getting a  2x3 with a grid, trying to decide between a Profoto 4x6 ($260), a 1x6(170), or 5' octa ($200) or a 2nd 2x3 with grid. The grid's for the 4x6 and octa are as much as the soft box itself.

dafrank

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 96
    • View Profile
    • davidfranklinphoto.com
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2013, 02:18:31 PM »
Of course, this is one of those questions that are insoluble to those who are not actually living your own life. But, there are some rules of thumb to go by that might help you to understand diffuser (softbox light is diffused light) light sources.

Most people, even some photographers, mistakenly think that the softness (lower overall contrast, with lighter shadow values compared to harder lighting having comparable highlight values) comes from the evenness of the light source, such as light that is bounced off a large reflecting board or diffused through a medium such as translucent cloth, vellum or plastic. This is only about 1/4 right. The "softness" from these light sources is actually solely due to the overall size of the light emitting surface in relation to its distance from the subject. If a source is very uneven, with much brighter areas surrounded by those less illuminated, then the size of the source can mainly be measured by the part of the source which is most bright, like the light coming from an old fashioned photo flood fixture, and would actually measure as smaller overall than the size of the reflector. This is why the most efficient way of delivering soft lighting from a source of a certain measured area will usually be from an evenly illuminating source such as a softbox, light reflecting off a board or wall, or even a well made umbrella. But, the real data that counts is still how big the illuminating source is compared with the distance to the subject.

Understanding this should give you an idea how to calculate how big your softboxes should be to work for your subjects and your preconception of the quality of the light. If you cannot vary the distance from multiple illuminating sources to your subject by very much, then, in order to change the soft-hard quotient of the lighting from more than one softbox source, one would require different sized softboxes to accomplish the desired effect. Also, things such as overall space requirements, weight on - and position of - the lighthead (torque strain), portability, cost and many other factors might lead you to choose boxes of different sizes.

Think about what you may have to shoot and figure it out for yourself.

Regards, David
Outcomes are more important than intentions.
See my work at: http://www.davidfranklinphoto.com

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2013, 02:32:19 PM »
Of course, this is one of those questions that are insoluble to those who are not actually living your own life. But, there are some rules of thumb to go by that might help you to understand diffuser (softbox light is diffused light) light sources.

Most people, even some photographers, mistakenly think that the softness (lower overall contrast, with lighter shadow values compared to harder lighting having comparable highlight values) comes from the evenness of the light source, such as light that is bounced off a large reflecting board or diffused through a medium such as translucent cloth, vellum or plastic. This is only about 1/4 right. The "softness" from these light sources is actually solely due to the overall size of the light emitting surface in relation to its distance from the subject. If a source is very uneven, with much brighter areas surrounded by those less illuminated, then the size of the source can mainly be measured by the part of the source which is most bright, like the light coming from an old fashioned photo flood fixture, and would actually measure as smaller overall than the size of the reflector. This is why the most efficient way of delivering soft lighting from a source of a certain measured area will usually be from an evenly illuminating source such as a softbox, light reflecting off a board or wall, or even a well made umbrella. But, the real data that counts is still how big the illuminating source is compared with the distance to the subject.

Understanding this should give you an idea how to calculate how big your softboxes should be to work for your subjects and your preconception of the quality of the light. If you cannot vary the distance from multiple illuminating sources to your subject by very much, then, in order to change the soft-hard quotient of the lighting from more than one softbox source, one would require different sized softboxes to accomplish the desired effect. Also, things such as overall space requirements, weight on - and position of - the lighthead (torque strain), portability, cost and many other factors might lead you to choose boxes of different sizes.

Think about what you may have to shoot and figure it out for yourself.

Regards, David

Thank you. Gotta go big with the 4x6

jonathan7007

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 204
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2013, 02:35:41 PM »
David's answer is excellent and thoughtful so hesitated to try to add to it. You buy stuff and try it. One important warning he offered is: consider the torque placed on the front of the strobe head by the weight of the boxes you choose.

On a practical note: in my kit I always take strip lights like 1x5 or such. I do end up using these horizontally. Sometimes I want the light from the long horizontal source to fall off as the angle of light to subject changes so I will set the front of the striplight  so that the distance to, say, the subject's face changes enough to cause the light to fall off.

I bring this up to give a hint as to the flexibility of strip light units in a kit. (Striplights can also be "ganged to make a more traditional softbox shape, which was originally designed to mimic the effect of a bright window. Hence the 30x40" ratio of most of these [rectangular]units.)

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 06:02:56 PM »
ordered a 4x6 box, and a 3' octa.

figure i'd start big and work my way down.

The 4x6 is currently on backorder, should I switch it out for the 5' octa at a savings of $60?

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 06:02:56 PM »

jonathan7007

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 204
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2013, 05:43:21 PM »
Jon,
Are these Octa units able to use a grid/limiter? I would not want at least some softboxes in my kit that didn't have some way of controlling how wide their light is cast. I have no experience with an octabox but saw one a friend had in use and it would have been hard to card it off and I saw no attachment for a honeycomb. Rectangular units of any size mean easy scrim with a black card. I have cut sawtooth cards to taper the effect. Rectangular softboxes, if not too deep, are a bit easier to hide in the corner of a room, but I haven't looked at an Octa up close.

Think long term and wait for what will work. Or order from another source. Post a "Want to Buy" ad.

jonathan7007

Lawliet

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 319
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2013, 05:56:36 PM »
I saw no attachment for a honeycomb.

When you mount the diffusion fabric you'll find it a bit recessed, you get a slight lip extending past the face of the box. Thats where the grid attaches.

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2013, 06:07:15 PM »
Jon,
Are these Octa units able to use a grid/limiter? I would not want at least some softboxes in my kit that didn't have some way of controlling how wide their light is cast. I have no experience with an octabox but saw one a friend had in use and it would have been hard to card it off and I saw no attachment for a honeycomb. Rectangular units of any size mean easy scrim with a black card. I have cut sawtooth cards to taper the effect. Rectangular softboxes, if not too deep, are a bit easier to hide in the corner of a room, but I haven't looked at an Octa up close.

Think long term and wait for what will work. Or order from another source. Post a "Want to Buy" ad.

jonathan7007

yeah they're profoto brand and they have their own grids. Can't buy from other sources as they wont offer the same low price on the item.

Drizzt321

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1645
    • View Profile
    • Aaron Baff Photography
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2013, 06:37:04 PM »
I have two profoto D1 strobes, should I buy two softboxes of the same size or two different sizes?

If you get 2 different sizes one will have 'lightbox envy'. And always get the biggest size you can. That way you'll be able to know you've got the biggest ones on the block.

I couldn't help myself, sorry. Nothing really useful to contribute, look at what the others have posted. Much more useful.

5D mark 2, 5D mark 3, EF 17-40mm f/4L,  EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 135mm f/2L, EF 85mm f/1.8
Film Cameras: Mamiya RB67, RB-50, RB-180-C, RB-90-C, RB-50, Perkeo I folder, Mamiya Six Folder (Pre-WWII model)
http://www.aaronbaff.com

CharlieB

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 302
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 06:47:22 PM »
Really depends on what your photographing.  I used to use umbrellas for portraits.  Then I got all gaga about soft boxes and used those, with good results...  last few portrait sessions, one bright silver umbrella - and a big softbox.  Big for me is 3x4 foot on a Matthews Beefy Baby, which is enough stand for a non-boomed box.  If you're thinking about using a boom, you'll need a Jr size stand.

The nice thing about soft boxes, is you can always scrim them at the face, and not lose much interms of light quality, just reduce the width of the light itself.  Very good and interesting results can be had on products using creative scrimming of softboxes.  Umbrellas dont do on most product photography.

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 01:23:31 AM »
Really depends on what your photographing.  I used to use umbrellas for portraits.  Then I got all gaga about soft boxes and used those, with good results...  last few portrait sessions, one bright silver umbrella - and a big softbox.  Big for me is 3x4 foot on a Matthews Beefy Baby, which is enough stand for a non-boomed box.  If you're thinking about using a boom, you'll need a Jr size stand.

The nice thing about soft boxes, is you can always scrim them at the face, and not lose much interms of light quality, just reduce the width of the light itself.  Very good and interesting results can be had on products using creative scrimming of softboxes.  Umbrellas dont do on most product photography.

I can't stand the umbrellas that come in the kit. I've had really good results with a PCB octa bank softbox when I rented it once. I have some cstands I plan to use it with. Still waiting on the wheel base thats been on back order for two months.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 01:23:31 AM »

JonB8305

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2013, 01:24:06 AM »
I have two profoto D1 strobes, should I buy two softboxes of the same size or two different sizes?

If you get 2 different sizes one will have 'lightbox envy'. And always get the biggest size you can. That way you'll be able to know you've got the biggest ones on the block.

I couldn't help myself, sorry. Nothing really useful to contribute, look at what the others have posted. Much more useful.

We need more humor here, everyone is so uptight.


canon rumors FORUM

Re: Softbox Size question
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2013, 07:33:25 AM »