Softbox v Octabox

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by pjm1289, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Hello!

    I am looking to purchase an Elinchrom diffuser, either a softbox or an octabox. I've done some research and can't seem to derieve a particularly satisfactory answer. Is there a difference between the two other than the shape of the catchlights in the eyes?

    Thanks!
    --Paolo
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Size more than shape is important in how the light wraps around your subject.

    A small octabox is more directional than a extra-large softbox.

    The shape has more to do with the catchlights in my opinion.
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I agree. I don't think the shape has much to do with anything except catchlights.

    In considering a softbox, I'd first decide if it's use was for head and shoulders to 3/4 or for full length.

    If for the former I'd stick with about 24x36. If the latter then get the large/extra large size.

    Remember the closer the light is, the softer it is. In my opinion the very large ones give a very muchy light when very close.


    Michael
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One consideration I have noticed, that has nothing to do with the results, is that most octaboxes are not as deep as a corresponding rectangle of the same size. I don't know why that is, but just that as a result, they take up less real estate in the studio.
     
  5. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    I always thought that the octabox had its light unit mounted so that it fired to the rear inside the box, reflecting off the back and this light was softer and more evenly distributed with no hot spots. The soft box designs are more conventional with the head pointing toward the front of the box. I could be wrong, but that's what I recall. This design was more expensive because of the extra bits to mount the head fully inside the box.
    N
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Wafer, I think it was, was one of the first to offer softboxes that supposedly didn't have "fall off". While portrait photographers don't really care, and in fact like the fall off, but people who photograph food and products want a perfectly even distribution from side to side.

    I have a number of different "softboxes", and some reflect the light coming off the head back to the back of the box, while others have diffusion in between the head and the diffused front. Others just use the front panel.

    Wafer, I think was the first softbox that was not anywhere near as deep as Chimera, Westcott and Photoflex.

    Michael
     
  7. gary mulder

    gary mulder Member

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    This is correct.
     
  8. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    As for catchlight, my photoflex has a mask that velcros to the front to make the shape of the reflection round.
     
  9. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Okay thanks for your responses everyone!
     
  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I'm digging up this VERY old thread because I have both wafer and chimera and I love chimera for setup, but wafer has much better light OMHO and part of it is their plastic diffuser which has a graduated density heavy in the middle and lightening as it spreads, however the plastic can't be folded they have to roll up, I travel a lot and so the break down and setup is a huge pain compared to chimera which are super easy.

    Anyone know of a silk/cloth diffuser that is thick in the middle but graduated to thin at the edges?


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    you can achieve that with ldifferent-sizedayers of cloth.
     
  12. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I thought of that I just didn't know if they already made something lol


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Sounds like a DIY job for an enalarged negative and some Liquid Light.

    Although I confess that I have not used liquid light, but suspect that it does not work well being manipulated.

    I know cyanotype works well when coated on cloth, but I presuem you are not seeking a colour shift, just a denity graduation.
     
  14. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I think it was called Plume Wafer

    Gary Register invented the Plume Wafer. I think he used an internal mask to control light fall off. It was mostly used by product photographers in the 80s if I remember correctly.
     
  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    yes just density graduation, I think I will just have to buy material and stitch, oh well, it's just trying to match and measure the differences in light output with this is a pain, but the wafers just give off such soft light, it's such a huge comparison to the chimera, but the chimera's are SO much cleaner of a setup and breakdown, wish I could combine the two. Ah well...
     
  16. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Yes he used a plastic diffuser with white dots that got thicker towards the center and thinner at the edges so the harsh center light from the strobe was more even across the whole box, it's a nice design, and takes up less space, but the material he used has not held up well, everything is disintegrating including the dots which the ink is breaking off as white dust and the internals of the wafer is breaking off as black dust, and it's a dusty mess, your hands get all sooty every time you setup, but the light it so nice....
     
  17. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    Take a standard inner baffle diffuser and get someone to sew a circle of diffusion in the middle. Play around with different sizes & thicknesses (use pins or something) if you want to dial it in.

    When I need something like this done (custom scrim-jim fabrics, etc) I go to the fabric store - many keep a binder of business cards from little old ladies who sew. Anyone who makes draperies & curtains (most of 'em do) can make you all sorts of stuff. I had a blackout curtain made for a large studio I had - 15' x 18'. I supplied the fabric. Lady charged me twenty bucks, all I needed was a grommet tool and a sack of grommets.

    By the way, I have a 6' octabox for my speedotron gear - it fires towards the face, just like any softbox. The only benefit is it's much shallower than a similar rectangle. Can't recall the maker, but it is handy. I like it without the face and just the internal baffle for a look that's soft yet harsh...
     
  18. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Yea I can do it, I have the sewing capabilities, I guess I was just looking for something pre-made if it existed, guess not, I'll just have to cut the fabric and sew it myself and hope it's as nice, the thing about the plastic and dots is that toward the edges it's almost see through, something that can't be easily done with cloth. Thanks guys.
     
  19. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I've got a shoot this week and you guys got me thinking my octa would be the right choice - haven't used it in a while.

    Set it up, and guess what - the inner baffle has a circle of diffusion sewn into the center as a 2nd layer - never noticed that.
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Brand?
     
  21. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I don't see a brand on it, but it's set up right now. It came with a lot of Speedotron gear I bought a few years ago. Not a super-premium model but gives very pretty light.
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Well I guess that's all that matters. I've only ever used chimera and wafer so, I don't have that much experience but as far as every pro I've ever talked to who does people or product, they don't often buy cheap no-name boxes spare one... But he's an exception.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I've owned this one for years, but I don't use it often; the pockets where the rods tuck into the front don't seem very heavy duty and I expect one day a rod will bust through. It's very handy for getting some big soft light under a low ceiling and the diffuser setup is well thought out - very even light. it was basically "free" and after 20 years with never trying an octo, it was a good intro to 'em. I've been surprised at how soft the light stays over distance - much nicer than an XL soft box and very space-efficient considering the size. Just wrapped a 30-person "group" shot across a week and it was just the thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2013