Softbox for hot lights - thing worth buying?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by eumenius, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hello friends,
    I need your advice - again. I got a nice set of Manfrotto Firenzi hot lights, with many reflectors - so satisfying to use in my studio for everything. Do I need to buy to complete a system also a softbox? There's two available, the square ones, 50x50 and 70x70 cm. I always used a shoot-through round white semi-transparent reflector when I needed soft directed light, or a shoot-through or reflective umbrella - white or silver. Is there much difference in light quality of softbox and these sources? I'm also in love with studio portraits with hot lights, is the softbox of any special value for this? If the square highlights are the only things it delivers compared to my usual diffusers, why should I spend $150 for a 50x50 soft?

    Let me know what do you think about it, please.

    Cheers, Zhenya
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Zhenya,

    I'm not familiar with Manfrotto lights - could you tell us what type they are or point to a web page?

    In general I'd say that the advantage of a softbox over an open reflector or diffuser was in controlling spill, but I'd like to know what lights you are using before I ramble on any more.

    Thanks,
    Helen
     
  3. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hello Helen,

    I got two Q-1250 and one Q-1000 lights (Q-system, http://www2.iff.it/studio/index.html) - a very very good, full metal lights with standart lamps, cooling fans, very good and cheap reflectors. So ther's a softbox available for these, 50x50 is $150, 70x70 is way more :sad:

    The spill of hotlight is not a big issue in many cases, because everything can be flagged if needed, and the hot light is not as aggressive as a strobe light - but the spill can be a problem, of course.

    Thank you for your help - it's always a real pleasure to hear from you, really :smile:

    Cheers, Zhenya


     
  4. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Zhenya,
    The ready made boxes etc. are very handy and can be instantly put to work when needed. The older methods you are already using will do as good a job as the the ready made soft boxes. I personally don't believe one is better than the other, just what fits you and your method of working best. In the past I have recommended lots of ways to circumvent having to spend big dollars on devices to modify light. I still use what ever it takes to get the light to be exactly how I want it to be. I do use soft boxes etc. but do not believe they are the answer to all of my lighting challenges. If I had the funds right now as it appears you do, I don't think I would hesitate in buying them. Do you absolutely need them? I don't think so, but if you don't get them now and try them and make the decision for yourself, you will always wonder. What ever you do, keep us informed!

    Charlie..........................
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Zhenya,

    As Charlie says, a lot will depend on your way of working, but I'd prefer to use softboxes with open-face lights such as the ones you have. You can control spill from umberellas and plain reflectors and diffusers, but it is just simpler and quicker with a softbox - unless you want the spill of course. The softbox will also be more efficient than most plain reflectors and diffusers with your open-face lights because less light will be lost. With fresnels it would be a different story - they don't work so well with normal softboxes but they do work well with plain reflectors and diffusers.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Depending on the boxes you are looking at, you can sometimes get front inserts that will specfically direct the light (grids, barndoors) or shape it (window patterns, cookies etc).