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Thread: Softbox vs. umbrella

  1. #1
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    Default Softbox vs. umbrella

    Hi,

    I am planning to set up a simple lighting system using SB900. This setup is mainly targeted to be used a small indoor environment. I came across Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox & umbrellas with both shoot through & reflective options.

    Initially, I preferred to try with umbrellas because they are very portable. Later, when I saw Ezybox, it is equally portable.

    What are the factors I should take into considering in choosing between the 2?

    Or should I just drop this idea & get a studio lighting (such as Elinchrom) instead. I foresee eventually, I will be going for 2 & 3 lighting setup (but will still remain as hobbyist only).

    Very much appreciate your input on starting up my first lighting system.

    Cheers,
    Ben
    Last edited by UncleBen; 26th March 2010 at 06:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Curious.. how much is the Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Ive seen lots of these answers. Try doing a search over at youtube and theres a couple of answers. Goodluck!
    PortFolio
    the best camera is the camera that is with you; A200/500/33 (:

  4. #4

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBen View Post
    Hi,

    I am planning to set up a simple lighting system using SB900. This setup is mainly targeted to be used a small indoor environment. I came across Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox & umbrellas with both shoot through & reflective options.

    Initially, I preferred to try with umbrellas because they are very portable. Later, when I saw Ezybox, it is equally portable.

    What are the factors I should take into considering in choosing between the 2?

    Or should I just drop this idea & get a studio lighting (such as Elinchrom) instead. I foresee eventually, I will be going for 2 & 3 lighting setup (but will still remain as hobbyist only).

    Very much appreciate your input on starting up my first lighting system.

    Cheers,
    Ben
    they both light differently, personally i prefer the softbox.

    if you're looking at the ezybox, there's a cheaper alternative in mass sales. If you're gonna be a hobbyist, prolly wanna stick to speedlights or those cheap lighting offers in mass sales. Also since you've considered elinchroms, might as well use that money and get a mix of umbrellas / softboxes to try different set ups. my 2 cents.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Curious.. how much is the Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox?
    100++ depends on what size also.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Hi folks,

    Don't get me wrongly. I get to know Elinchrom & Lastolite because the 2 nearest shops to my office are selling them.

    I am trying to gather as much information as I can before I commit on either softbox or umbrella. This, hopefully will lead me to just a single purchase instead of multiples .

    Is there any obvious differences in terms of the quality of light (from hobbyist perspective) from a $100 softbox/umbrella material as compared to one that cost a bomb?

    Cheers,
    Ben

  7. #7

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    hiya,

    just started myself on using flash and softbox / umbrella. am a hobbyist myself and i bought third party flash and triggers.

    i purchased both softbox and umbrella in mass sales. i find that softbox gives softer shadows as compared to umbrella. but i did find use for both items shooting different things, depending on the effect i wanted to achieve. for portraits, i realized i preferred the softbox. i also bought a reflector and 1/8 grid spot. reflector i found particularly useful since i don't have a 2nd flash. the grid spot worked wonders for me personally. really like its effect.

    i've never used the expensive softboxes or umbrellas so i can't say what the diff is. but it's heck of a lot of fun shooting off-shoe through various light modifiers! have fun!

    my 0.15 cents worth.

    cheers

  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    in term of Softbox vs. umbrella, you can simply google it, tones of very details info out there.

    there is a China made version of Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox, check out the mass sale section, the price is much cheaper. I can't tell you Lastolite is better or China made is better, as many people think cheap is good and they can't tell the different in term of quality.

    as for studio light set up vs hotshoe set up, that is really depends on individuals and what are the outcome you are looking for.
    for more info of hotshoe set up lighting, just check out the stroblist.com and Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally,
    for studio lighting set up, please check out many books in our National Library.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    As previous posters have said do look on YouTube its invaluable. I again prefer SB's but Umbrellas are dirt cheap in comparison IMO the bigger the better for both and a large umbrella can be a cheap lightweight solution and worth considering.

    Nick

  10. #10
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Quote Originally Posted by eleveninth View Post
    100++ depends on what size also.
    Thanks for the info...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Hi folks,

    Based on the fact that the bigger is the light source, the softer is the light, what is the max size of softbox & umbrella I can go for with a SB900 as light source?

    Cheers,
    Ben

  12. #12

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBen View Post
    Hi folks,

    Based on the fact that the bigger is the light source, the softer is the light, what is the max size of softbox & umbrella I can go for with a SB900 as light source?

    Cheers,
    Ben
    I believe the 86" PLM is the biggest "umbrella" you can use with a SB-900..



    Whether the SB-900 has enough power for your purposes is another thing..

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBen View Post
    Hi folks,

    Based on the fact that the bigger is the light source, the softer is the light, what is the max size of softbox & umbrella I can go for with a SB900 as light source?

    Cheers,
    Ben
    that depends on how high ISO and how big aperture setting you want to shoot with.

    btw, when the flash is not powerful enough, we can use multiple pop in one shot to increase the exposure we want, so let says when flash only one pop you get f2,
    two pops you will get f4
    four pops you will get f5.6
    eight pops you will get f8
    sixteen pops you will get f11

    but this only work well with static subject and you need to shoot in total darkness.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Thanks, folks.

    The more read, the more I find myself is missing out.

    I would very much appreciate if someone could recommend me some good reading materials on lighting, more on the technical aspect of lighting.

    Yes, Joe McNally wrote very good books (at least I benefited from it). I read all his books.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  15. #15

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    What I would suggest is getting a book on the BASICS of light for photography. Library has a few good ones that also cover artificial light and equipment.

    Or Google stuff like:

    'Studio lighting basics'
    'Understanding studio lighting equipment'
    'Studio lighting a beginner's guide'

    CHEERS!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Softbox vs. umbrella

    Here's two interesting reads.

    "Studio and location lighting secrets for digital photographer" - Rick Sammon
    The included DVD is very informative and a must-see.

    "Speedlights & Speedlites - Creative Flash Photography at Lightspeed" - Lou Jones, Bob Keenan, Steve Ostrowski.

    RICEBALL has a very good selection of books.

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