</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (BobF @ Mar 13 2003, 04:54 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I use shoot through umbrellas frequently and have yet to find a reason to go the softbox route. I can see certain advantages to a softbox such as easier control of light and especially less problem with lens flare, but they are far less portable and much more expensive. Are there other positive qualities that I am missing?
I am an amatuer that already has more lighting equipment than can be justified, but softboxes are recommended so frequentlty compared to umbrellas that I can't help thinking I am missing something in the quality of the light. That is besides square catchlights and controll.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
The light from a softbox is, generally, more even and "softer". Whether or not that is important enough to justify their price and, as you say, lack of portability, is a question only the photographer can answer.
I use both ... most often I'll use the sotboxes in the studio, and umbrellas on location.
One way to get an idea of their application is to study the fashion photographs in magazines like Vouge, Elle, Cosmo, etc. (I only have access to those when I get my haircut with my wife - we've had the same woman do our hair for one hell of a long time).
It has been said that the most difficult thing to photograph is a plain spherical silvered Christmas tree ornament - due to the fact that *everything* will be reflected.
The human eye has the same characteristic - and one can usually determine the type of lighting - softbox, umbrella, window light - and get some idea of the direction of the lighting from the reflection in the model's eyes (a.k.a. "catchlights).
A very common setup there is a single *large* square softbox, with the camera directly in front of it. I've even seen "catchlights" that show the photographer AT the camera.
Even in the most elaborate setups, the use of umbrellas is NOT uncommon.
The only drawback to paying attention to these magazines is trying to avoid the stares of those around you ...