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  1. #1
    bluedog's Avatar
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    5' octabox recommendations for location shoots

    I am looking at getting a 5' softbox (octagonal) to take on location for use on full body portraits. I have Bowens Gemini 500 Pro lighting. I have looked at Photoflex and cheap ones on ebay. My main requirements are that it is easy to put up and take down and won't fall apart after 6 months. Some brands get a mixed response on these requirements. Some units also do not offer a Bowens speedring adapter. Can anyone recommend a mid priced quality unit?
    Thanks
    Greg

  2. #2

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    I've own a few Photoflex produces over the years. They are very good when new, but I've learned that the less expensive materials they use to manufacture their produces degrades with time. Ultimately I've had to replace all the Photoflex stuff with better made (more expensive) produces made by other companies. In the long term it is usually cheaper to buy the more expensive products. I don't mean "gold plated" produces, just look at stuff that is one or two price points higher.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  3. #3
    cmo
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    In fact I am looking for something similar, a very large reflector to create very soft light. I find most softboxes pretty expensive for what they are. Currently I use a much smaller 'reflective umbrella softbox', e.g. a reflective umbrella with some cloth on top. It works well, is very fast to setup and survived a year. But it's much too small for full body portraits. I would love to buy two of these because they are just like that, but huge and have a better quality:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ighter_II.html

    My only problem is that B&H charges a fortune for orders from overseas:

    SubTotal: $159.98
    Duties & Tax : $85.86 (that is about twice the percentage that our government charges)
    Shipping: $65.60 (nearly twice the rate of USPS Priority)
    Order Total: $311.44
    The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands smell like fixing bath.

  4. #4

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    look into larson enterprises soft boxes
    they were some of the people that invented it -
    some think they are expensive but worth every penny !

    i have 2 of them that are really old, and they are
    even and beautiful.
    larson is located in florida ...
    http://www.larson-ent.com/
    and often times have huge sales on their products ...
    ( a new promotion every week it seems )


    john
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  5. #5
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    Never had a Chimera product I didn't like and they don't show age too fast.

    Now the "others" they look nice, but some of them don't stand up to teardown and reassembly more than a couple times without the rods bending or a seam tearing. (Photo-flex, Calumet). I think these products are fine if you are going to set it up and forget it.

    I am a location shooter and only Chimera stand up to reassembly year after year..

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpwphoto View Post
    Never had a Chimera product I didn't like and they don't show age too fast.

    Now the "others" they look nice, but some of them don't stand up to teardown and reassembly more than a couple times without the rods bending or a seam tearing. (Photo-flex, Calumet). I think these products are fine if you are going to set it up and forget it.

    I am a location shooter and only Chimera stand up to reassembly year after year..
    +1
    —Eric

  7. #7
    bluedog's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback on Chimera. I will certainly be putting up and tearing down more than a couple of times. I think I will get one when finances permit.

  8. #8

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    BlueD,
    Have you tried Paul C. Buff, Australia?

    In an effort to keep shipping/import tax, etc...at a minimum,
    would a 86 inch (7 1/2 foot), umbrella-reflector, w/diffusion cloth
    work for your mobility needs, instead of a 60 inch (5 foot), octobox?
    Price for the pair in the USA, $104.9f0 USD.

    86 inch reflector, $79.95:
    http://www.paulcbuff.com/plm-silver.php

    Diffusion cloth, 86 in. $24.95:
    http://www.paulcbuff.com/wfdf.php

    Call PCBuff Australia:
    Phone# 1300 73 11 25

    Just a thought,
    Marc

  9. #9
    cmo
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    Marc, a short while ago I purchased an 86" and a 64" PLM from Buff, plus the diffusor cloth. They are just great, big beasts, but easy to set up and they produce great light. Light loss is much less than with a much smaller el-cheapo umbrella softbox that I used before.
    The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands smell like fixing bath.

  10. #10

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    First of all, I'm not sure if 5-ft octabox is the best option for your shoot. There are many ways to light a full length shot, and they produce different looks.

    If you are shooting a fashion catalog or lookbook type work, I’d rather use two small lights rather than one big one. I have Elinchrom Octa 74-inch and I love it for certain things but I prefer two 45-inch or even 30-inch lights over Octa 74-in for this type of work. If you use an incident light meter you see the illumination is even with Octa, but the way shadows and highlights show up is not as nice. In my way of seeing things, huge softboxes are a lot more useful as a fill source. If you use big light as the key, you can easily get dull images.

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