need some recs on softboxes

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okay, im going to do it.

pulling the trigger on some strobes for my make shift studio. i settled on elinchrom 600rx. now im just wondering, with so many different shapes of softboxes, what are generally best used for 3/4 body shots/portraits and kids/newborns?

should i get two of the same softbox? or mix it up with something like a 39" octa and a 14x35 mini recta?

i've been looking at the elinchrom site, but i cant determine which reflector i need (or if even i do need it) with softboxes?

would appreciate some insight on this. :smile:

these is my first step into real strobes as i will just use my speedlights for location. tia!
 

IsamuM

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I think you should get the biggest octa that you can afford, especially if you are doing 3/4 to full body portraits. If I'm not mistaken, I think the Elinchrom 53" octa is their most popular softbox. They also have a 69" octa, but that could be a little unwieldy unless you have a big studio.

I doubt if you will need or want two of the same softbox. If you are going to spend that kind of money, it would be better to have different modifiers available.
 
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Hi Isamu,

many thanks for chiming in. :smile:

thats a good point on having a couple different modifiers. unfortunately, the 69" octa is just massive and will no way fit in my teeny-weeny make shift studio. the price of the 53" pushes it a bit, but i may be able to squeeze that in...thanks for the recommendation on that. and it looks like buying the elinchrom softboxes supply me with everything i need as far as attachments go.

hmm..why do i keep looking at the ranger sets??? are these sets really the next best thing just because they are more portable? or am i missing something here? power output is just insane on those..?
 

IsamuM

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Yeah, I know. I lust after the Rangers, too, but there is no way I need that much power.

However, just to feed your lust a bit more, you might want to look into the new Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kits. Pretty compact and portable kit that provides 400 w/s. I'm seriously considering these since it looks like I'm going to be doing a lot more shooting at my kids' grade school.

There's a short video on the Quadras over on Scott Kelby's blog:

http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/5548
 
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I used to use a softbox for my key, but I find I actually prefer the round catchlights of a shoot-through umbrella- but if you want inexpensive octaboxes, Amvona's deals are good- last time I bought from them (a 5' strip box) it was cheaper to get off eBay than their site because of shipping. They come with universal speed rings for many lights- not sure if yours will fit or not. 40' shoot-throughs with reflective covers are <$20 each- and travel way better too.

Paul
 
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Yeah, I know. I lust after the Rangers, too, but there is no way I need that much power.

However, just to feed your lust a bit more, you might want to look into the new Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kits. Pretty compact and portable kit that provides 400 w/s. I'm seriously considering these since it looks like I'm going to be doing a lot more shooting at my kids' grade school.

There's a short video on the Quadras over on Scott Kelby's blog:

http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/5548
aww, youre an evil man Isamu! i was considering the quadra kit too...since it was a perfect portable solution. and now seeing the size from that kelby preview makes me just want to reconsider my decision, lol!

darn, if these can take the modifiers, then sometimes i wonder if these could a better option than the RX strobes and the likes? i mean kelby showed it attached to that monstrous octa!
 
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I used to use a softbox for my key, but I find I actually prefer the round catchlights of a shoot-through umbrella- but if you want inexpensive octaboxes, Amvona's deals are good- last time I bought from them (a 5' strip box) it was cheaper to get off eBay than their site because of shipping. They come with universal speed rings for many lights- not sure if yours will fit or not. 40' shoot-throughs with reflective covers are <$20 each- and travel way better too.

Paul
Paul,

Im gonna have to check this out. was it just that you preferred the catchlights only of the umbrellas or was the output of the SB's not what you were expecting? hopefully i said that correctly...:)
 
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Paul,

Im gonna have to check this out. was it just that you preferred the catchlights only of the umbrellas or was the output of the SB's not what you were expecting? hopefully i said that correctly...:)
I was fine with the nice soft light from the boxes, but square catchlights just bug me. When I shoot in a friend's studio he has a huge octabox that works really well, and I don't mind the cut off corners as much as square/rectangular catchlights- just a personal peeve- none of my portrait subjects ever really had an issue with it.

Edit: For location work, the brolly set-up is so much faster and easier that it'd take a lot for me to want to travel with a softbox again too.

Paul
 

IsamuM

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Hi Paul,

In general I'd agree about brollies being easier to set up than softboxes, but then there are softboxes and there are softboxes. I'm specifically referring to those by Lastolite. While the Lastolite Ezybox softboxes are more expensive than most other makes, they are just as easy to setup as some umbrellas, especially convertible/all-in-one umbrellas. Check out the following video:

http://www.lastoliteschoolofphotography.com/setting-up-packing-away-the-ezybox

However, they are still square in shape. :smile:
 

IsamuM

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aww, youre an evil man Isamu! i was considering the quadra kit too...since it was a perfect portable solution. and now seeing the size from that kelby preview makes me just want to reconsider my decision, lol!

darn, if these can take the modifiers, then sometimes i wonder if these could a better option than the RX strobes and the likes? i mean kelby showed it attached to that monstrous octa!
According to Elinchrom's website (or was it that video?), the Quadras can use all the Elinchrom light modifiers, but there's one catch; each Quadra head will require an adapter which costs about $100 at B&H. The Quadra unit by itself isn't robust enough to hang some of those huge softboxes off of.

Another plus of the Quadras, however, is that the power packs, with an adapter, can run regular Ranger flashheads.

Don't let me tempt you, though. :biggrin:
 
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Hi Paul,

In general I'd agree about brollies being easier to set up than softboxes, but then there are softboxes and there are softboxes. I'm specifically referring to those by Lastolite. While the Lastolite Ezybox softboxes are more expensive than most other makes, they are just as easy to setup as some umbrellas, especially convertible/all-in-one umbrellas. Check out the following video:

http://www.lastoliteschoolofphotography.com/setting-up-packing-away-the-ezybox

However, they are still square in shape. :smile:
Those are interesting for travel- as they're very compact. I just ordered some 40" convertible brollies from Adorama- $15.95 each- as I'm having space issues with larger ones in folks' homes. It'll be interesting to see how they compare to my current shoot through.

Paul
 
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According to Elinchrom's website (or was it that video?), the Quadras can use all the Elinchrom light modifiers, but there's one catch; each Quadra head will require an adapter which costs about $100 at B&H. The Quadra unit by itself isn't robust enough to hang some of those huge softboxes off of.

Another plus of the Quadras, however, is that the power packs, with an adapter, can run regular Ranger flashheads.

Don't let me tempt you, though. :biggrin:
thanks Isamu...im going back and forth again :rolleyes:
 
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It's all about the modifer and when it comes to those Elinchrom is one of the best. However, you should evaluate your ceiling height. If you have the room the 53 is wonderful and the 14" strip makes a perfect rim or hair light. If you don't have the height, the 39" Octa or better yet the 39" Deep Octa is awesome. You're just not going to get results, especially in a small space with umbrellas as you'd get with a box. Unless you want to flag everything. But the 41" white or better yet the 41" Elinchrom Varistar is very good. If you only have two lights you can use a reflector for fill. I have them all and it's hard to decide.
 
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Hecky,

Thanks for the insight. The DO has definitely peaked my interest. rather than working a bunch (sssshhhhh), i was researching the DO and I might need (more like want) it for some head shots i do for a client.

very good suggestions...
 
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