I've been looking at softboxes for the last, oh... perhaps a year. Testing and playing and pricing out all kinds and I even was fortunate enough to play with Profoto softboxes so I got a good feel for top of the line equipment as well as mid and lower end setups. About 3 months ago, I made my choice and started the saving process that is now familiar to me. In between then and last week I picked up the DVDs from Zack Arias (highly recommended, BTW!), and was pleasantly surprised to note that his choice of softboxes in the DVDs and mine were identical. Today I picked them up but unfortunately I don't have the time to put them through their paces as I have an after business hours kinda-sorta emergency job to do tonight. In the meantime, though, don't think that I could control myself and not pull out the 28" Apollo and 50" Apollo softboxes made for battery powered flashes (from BH Photo) and test them out and do a few pics with a single SB-800 flash and a pair of Pocket Wizards. First off, kudos to B&H. Their site said the 50" was not in stock and an expected delivery date of 3-4 weeks is what it was... both came within 5 days! A single battery operated flash inside 28 and 50 inch softboxes. A few months ago, if someone had asked me about the possible effectiveness of such a mismatch (small flash, huge softbox), I would say nay... but, wow, was I ever pleasantly wrong! Starting with the 50 inch Apollo, my settings were ISO 200, 1/2 power on a Nikon SB-800, subject to softbox distance of 8 feet and I was getting perfect exposures at F/5.6 (center of softbox was about 5 feet off the ground, lighting pointing lightly downwards)! That meant that this softbox was properly lighting an area of about 16 feet wide by 10 feet tall! I am a stickler for keeping the flash power around 1/4 power for fast recycle times and extended battery life... so I lowered the power to 1/4 power, upped the ISO to 800 on my D700 and increased aperture to F/8 and tested it... not surprisingly, a perfect exposure as per the histogram (minor flashing blown highlights, nothing worth writing home about). Nextm out came the 28" Apollo. No surprise that the same settings gave me the same perfect exposures as the 50 inch softbox. What this smaller softbox gave me, though, was a more precise control in a smaller area. This smaller softbox I initially thought was going to limit me to 1/2 and maybe if I was lucky 3/4 length portraits, but I was again wrong. Using my Sekonic meter, the 28" softbox at a distance from subject of 8 feet gave me an area width of 8 feet horizontally and 7 feet vertically where the light was all within a 1/2 stop! Incredible. I am used to the way umbrellas work and their very finikky fast light drop off from the edges... and this latitude was not what I thought a softbox was supposed to be able to do! The 28 inch is a great size and very usable in tighter/smaller rooms and basements and is good for 1-2 people portraits from head to full body. Placed very close to the subject like for a head or bust shot, it will deliver incredibly diffused light that just wraps the around the subject beautifully. The 50 inch... advance warning... it is HUGE. It is my 'Big Mama" as Arias appropriately called it. Installing it, it is easy to bump into standard height ceilings, walls, the family dog, whatever is close if you are not careful. But what got me every time was the fact that it gave me PERFECT even coverage from corner to corner with a battery powered flash. So, does all this praise mean that I am packing away my umbrellas? No. Umbrellas do things that softboxes cannot. Visa-versa is true too. They are tools that help me get the shot based on my needs. Knowing how each works and when to use either gives me greater leverage and both belong in my equipment bag.