Portable Lighting Solution Modifiers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by chuasam, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Lately, I have been moving towards a more portable lighting solution. I had been using Profoto and then later Elinchrom monolights with CStands and the works.

    I'm looking into a more portable system. What sort of light modifiers do you folks have good results with? In the old days, I had to use lots of light but now with faster lenses and better sensors, I have found that maybe I can switch over to a speedlight based system.

    There are so many brands out there and I am not familiar with them as to the colour balance of the modifiers (being inconsistent) and the build quality.

    I have a total of 3 SB600, 2 SB800 and a Meike SB900.
    I'm a portrait photographer and and seeing what I can do without bringing the heavy kit.


     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't drag my equipment around a lot (only part-part timer). But I have had good luck with mid-priced to lower priced equipment (stands, softboxes, reflectors, umbrellas). I have all my speedlights from over the years so have a large collection. Recently I have dabbled with tripple speedlight brackets to get some more light out of a single light modifier. I have also decided to get some larger reflectors. As I am trying to get more out of the reflectors than using more lights.

    I have not really noticed any color cast differences between softboxes or my current reflectors. I might not pay as close of attention to that as others might though. Not a perfectionist photographer.

    As for build quality, first thing I look at is stitching. I have seen some top end gear with uneven stitching on its materials. And I have had some cheap gear nearly fail out of the box. Unfortunately I have not lived anywhere near a store I can check out gear for over 10 years now. So, I am stuck with order it, look at it, keep, or send it back.
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Westcott and Photoflex make very good umbrellas. I like the Lastolite umbrella box. There are some decent made in China imitations of this box, one in particular that has been good and which is sold by Steve Kaeser enterprises, each pair 29 US dollars.
    I dunno... there is a ton of made in China soft box stuff available from the web. I have a bout worn out my last set in four years, so it's time to get more made in China stuff for me on the soft box front. I still use speedotron stuff more than speedlights. I prefer the little 405 blackline or brownline d402 orD202 packs.
     
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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Here are the exact, specific 42-inch umbrella boxes I like. Softbox Umbrella Reflective 42inch

    These are similar to the Lastolite Umbrella Box, buy much less-costly, and made of different materials. What I like is that these use a simple drawstring closure, and these work well with large flash heads, OR with my SB-800 or other similar-sized, shoe-mount flashes on umbrella swivel mounts. For $29.95 US dollars for a pair, these are a strong value, IMHO.

    Steve Kaeser Potographic Lighting AKA Steve Kaeser Enterprises...I've been aware of this company going back to the mid-1980's. Always been good to me. One of the early importers of MIC stuff.
     
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  5. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks! I will look into that. I love my studio lights but they are a PAIN to setup and take down. They take up a huge amount of space when I shoot on location. I'm trying to evolve to be more nimble.
     
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  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought one like that, but can't remember the brand. Either from Adorama or Amazon. Have not actually tried it yet. The price from SK seems to be very good though.
     
  7. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I use the ones Derrel recommended a lot. I have two softboxes that are unwieldy and heavy and actually caused my strobe mount to become very flaccid.

    They provide light similar to an octobox, yet carry like an umbrella. I have a small bag that I can fit my two stands and two umbrellas in that I can either use for strobes or speedlights.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Umbrella boxes are handy...set-up and break-down is FAST and EASY. And you never forget the speed ring with this type of modifier. Storage is easy as well, either in a fabric tube-case, or in a pasteboard type case, like the Photoflex umbrellas come in.

    Annie Liebovitz likes and often uses a high-end, 10-rib umbrella box, called the Photek Softlighter, which has morphed into the Photek Softlighter II, with additional features and capabilities, and which is fairly round, due to 10 ribs in the umbrella structure, and not the more common 8 ribs.

    I think if you want to go for light, affordable, easy to transport, easy to set-up, and easy to tear-down, these umbrella box type modifiers are FAR easier to use than typical rod-and-speedring rectangular or square softboxes.

    OTOH, I've got a pair of 24 x 24 inch MIC softboxes which are very handy, and fairly small, but they are assembled on hard-PVC plastic speed rings, for Speedotron Universal bayonet-on mount...NOT so smooth for speedlight mount attachment, but still, SMALL, light, and affordable; I leave these permanently set-up on their metal rods as my car setup...I do not tear these down after shoots, just leave them permanently on their rods and speed rings.
     

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