Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By Request: The LumiQuest Softbox III

UPDATE: Lotsa good questions coming up on this in the comments. Doing my best to keep up with the answers.

Those of you who follow my Flickr stream already know that I have been playing with the new LumiQuest Softbox III for a few months now.

It was created in direct response to Strobist reader input, and is one of several upcoming lights and light mods that have been designed for us. (Oh, yeah -- there's some cool stuff coming. I'd tell you more, but I'd have to kill you.)

More details, pics, and how this look was created, inside.


Working Without Stands

One of the advantages of using speedlights is that you can combine good lighting with portability. And you can create pretty sophisticated light without a light stand, too. Which not only makes you more mobile, but also can avoid the need for permits when shooting in a city.

Permits weren't really a issue on our recent camping trip up to the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland where I got a chance to play with the new SB-III. LumiQuest had sent me a pre-production model to test drive.

It's about 8x9 inches on the front, and has an area of double diffusion that is designed to compensate for the hot spot in the center. It folds flat, and will fit perfectly in the back pocket of a Domke F-2 bag, the standard PJ bag over the last 20 years or so.

The SB-III attaches to your flash with the included velcro straps, or better yet, a speed strap. It is about as big a thing as you would want to attach to a flash. So my preference is to use either a second speed strap on the outside, an extra-long single (DIY'd) strap to make another trip around the outside of the mount, or a ball bungee. I am a little anal about that kind of thing -- I like stuff tight.

Whether you are using an off-camera flash cord, remotes or using CLS /eTTL, the flash/SB-III combo makes for a very easy setup to hand hold. If you use it on a stand, you'll want to bring it in close to your subject. You can always move the camera back and shoot with a longer portrait lens, but a light this size excels at close distances.

Why? Several reasons.

One is power: You can nuke the sun very easily in close, and a light that is running 8x9 inches looks a lot better than a bare flash.

Second, bringing it in close (~2 feet from someone's face) really does turn an 8x9" source into a softer source. And last, getting the light in close kills its penetration past your subject, allowing your BG to be controlled separately with ambient or a second light. Also, you can see that it falls off nicely as the light travels down Ben's torso. I like the natural vignetting.


Lighting Ben

The photo of Ben up top was done completely handheld, and very quickly. I shot him with a 50mm lens. I held the Softbox III/SB-800 off to camera left, with a 1/4 CTO on the flash to warm it up. I underexposed the (backlit) ambient scene by about a stop and a half, and set the SB-III flash to run at straight TTL -- using Nikon's CLS wireless flash system. (Pause as DWBell rubs his hands in glee...)

This turned the sun (coming from back camera right) into a separation light, which gives the portrait some nice, 3-D shape. As a little kicker, I let the on-camera (CLS master) flash contribute some fill.

On-axis fill is something I have really been trying to learn more about, and you'll be reading much more on that here soon. The on-camera fill was between 2 and 3 stops below straight TTL.

If this sounds complex, it is not. There are only two decisions to make here. First, how far are you gonna drop the ambient light? And second, how far are you gonna drop the on-axis fill?

The result is a crisp, 3-D look that can be made just about anywhere you have directional ambient light. For something done in full-auto TTL (for the flashes, at least) I think it looks pretty slick -- especially when you consider that you are completely handheld and mobile with the light.

It's a good look to pull out of your bag of tricks during the ugly light portion of the day -- just stick the sun in the back on the opposite side as your key light from the front. This photo was shot in early afternoon on a bright, sunny day. It's the knd of light I used to hate to have for an outdoor portrait.

But with this little softbox, I'd be happy to sked someone at 1:00 p.m. The crappier the ambient light, the better.


Without the On-Camera Fill

Here is an example of pushing the SB-III (no gel) against the ambient in a front-left / back-right crosslight scheme without the on-axis fill. Straight CLS/TTL with underexposed ambient. Looks a little less polished, but fine nonetheless.

I am guessing this would be preferable to some of you, who will not like the double highlights in the on-axis fill version. (They do not bother me at all.)


SB-III, On-Axis Fill with No Sun

Wanting to experiment with on on-camera/off-camera light without a directional ambient source, I shot my daughter Emily using the same technique as in the top photo above. The only difference was there is no ambient rim light on her shoulder, as it was a cloudy day.

Instead of an on-camera master flash, I used the D300's pop-up flash both to trigger the SB-III main light and fire as a fill light - I think the pop-up was set at -2 2/3 stops from straight TTL. The idea would be to see how this setup would work in flat light.

You can see the soft shadow of the SB-III on the bottom right of her nose. But it is being filled exactly as much as I want it to be filled by the pop-up flash, with is even closer to on-axis light than a shoe-mount flash so it leaves a hard, very close-in shadow of its own. I think I prefer the pop-up flash as an on-camera fill.

This is a sweet little technique for anyone with an SB-600, -800 or -900 and a pop-up flash camera that can act as a commander. Which is just about any recent Nikon pop-up model.


One to the Face at Point-Blank Range

LumiQuest chose the top photo of Ben for the ad for the SB-III, which means I'll be buying a big yacht soon. At least that is what I am telling the missus. But they also wanted a shot of me, showing the SB-III, to go along with it. The rest of the family was away for the weekend, so I pulled a Strobist Flickr Pool Special and did a tripod self-portrait.

I setup an on-camera flash in manual and bounced it off of the ceiling. After adjusting the flash's power level so my photo looked good at f/2.8, I closed down three stops to turn that strobe into my fill. Then I lit myself to my new working aperture with the SB-III at camera left. (1/4 CTO included, to help my cadaverous skin.) There was no ambient in the photo at all.

If any of you work at the Ford Agency, or maybe at Elite, you can reach me by leaving a comment beneath the post. I am doing my best to avoid that "underweight heroin" supermodel look, too.

____________

LumiQuest Softbox III's will be hitting shelves over the next few months, but they are already available at MPEX and direct from LumiQuest.

Supermodel not included.


__________

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69 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

What a cool product. I'm so happy that there's more in the pipeline. Good to see that the companies are at least somewhat in tune to the market and tapping in to this (ever-growing) niche that his hotshoe, shoestring budget 'togs.

Your pose is FIERCE, by the way.

September 24, 2008 1:26 AM  
Blogger tangcla said...

I'm liking the Softbox III. I have the Softbox I because I cared about the AF-assist lamp on the 580EX, but now that I am using an ST-E2 on camera and the 580EX in hand, it doesn't bother me any more.

September 24, 2008 2:01 AM  
Blogger Matt Sanderson said...

LumiQuest are getting wise, wouldn't you say?

Not only have they had input from their target market, but getting The Strobist readers involved ensures they're going to sell a hell of a lot!

8" x 9" though? Hmmm. Is it really big enough to warrant buying over something a lot cheaper and bigger?

September 24, 2008 2:18 AM  
Anonymous kristof Pattyn said...

Nice to see that they thought of a commercial version of one of those little softboxes. I made myself one of them little ones with a bugcover and some reflective inside of a rainjacket and some diffusionmaterial. Inspired by emarc. You can also buy the lastolite EZbox but I don't think its that easily tucked away in a bag.
Nice pics of your kids,
greetings Kristof

September 24, 2008 2:32 AM  
Anonymous G. Chai said...

Why, I thought strobist is all about DIY (except, of course, cameras and flashes).

September 24, 2008 3:12 AM  
Anonymous Zenndott said...

Very nice posting, and congrats on the selection by Lumiquest. Very tempting product, even half way around the world. (I live in Japan.) The discussion of the settings was also very helpful.

Now, I just need to find a bike shop.

Zenndott

September 24, 2008 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

David, could you please confirm if this softbox can be used with an on-camera speedlight, or is it too large? Thanks.

September 24, 2008 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Quoc Huy said...

photographers' wives must be hating you David! Every time you write a review of a product you just make us buy!
LOL

September 24, 2008 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Nigel Walker said...

David,

I love the portability of this simple lighting setup. I was trying to figure out your settings, but no EXIF data so I'm guessing you shot at f11/16 at 1/250th (Sunny 16 rule, assuming your shooting with ISO 100) judging by the DoF. Just curious on the 2-3 stops below for the Master - if your using CLS I assume this is -0.7/-1.0 on the master flash set in TTL, with Group A at straight on TTL?

Presumably you dropped the master down a few stops so as not to overpower the image and provide a fill only. I'm always wary of adding another flash to cut down on shadows, but I've no doubt you are much more skillful with lighting than I'll probably ever be.

Lumiquest have some great products, but I'm thinking that a sheet of A4 typing paper might have been just as good in this case.

Nigel

September 24, 2008 6:42 AM  
Anonymous tom@thewarriorseye.org said...

Morning.
Would you please be kind enough to contact me. I promise it will not be a waste of your time.
Thanks
Tom

September 24, 2008 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what you touched on here, about not being able to set up a light stand. I shoot for my school news paper and sometimes i have to rely only on 1 sb800. I really have to get very creative (lucky) with how i can bounce the flash. My school has some really evil rooms sometimes (18 foot tall black ceilings or green walls).
Keep up the good work!

September 24, 2008 8:24 AM  
OpenID modellfoto said...

That seems like a really nifty little box, sure would be nice to try one out. Too bad that they are $39.95
+ $12.50 shipping, that seems a bit over the edge (at least for my sorry economic situation).

Great photos though!

September 24, 2008 8:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

Awesome review! I've been waiting for this to come out ever since I saw the posts on your Flickr gallery. I bet this would be really handy for doing closeup portraits at weddings too.

Would you care to touch on the differences/similarities between using one of these and a shoot-thru umbrella?

Thanks!

September 24, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Looks like hauling all those strobes around has given your arms quite some definition. Think you can market the Strobist Workout Plan?
Lose 20 pounds in [50 minus however many flashes you buy in that period], or your money back! Either it'll work and you can make a few bucks and have gotten more of your readers to get out and do something, or it won't and you won't be out a cent.

September 24, 2008 8:40 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I think the examples are a little misleading because the first image appears to me to have less fill than the 2nd.

Probably because you have more ambient fill in the 2nd, which I think deserves a mention. If you're only using one light off camera, your chosen exposure for the background will also set the fill for the subject. What I've learned for "nicely lit outdoor portraits" (though maybe this isn't the look you're going for) is not to frame the sky in the image so you don't have to underexpose the ambient as much, and as a result you get more ambient fill. And so a single umbrella w/o fill looks 'good'.

I have also experimented lately with on camera fill, but I don't like it. If you shoot in full manual with manual flash, this means you have to adjust the power of your on camera flash if you change your distance to the subject, which is a pain.

September 24, 2008 10:20 AM  
Blogger LiteningKid said...

Does anyone have all the demension for this box?

September 24, 2008 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 thoughts:

1. Will you ditch the camera gear and play with your kids already? You're supposed to be on vacation, fercryingoutloud!

2. Awesome! Nevermind the kids! We want more photo info!!

;)

You rock, Dave!

TIM

September 24, 2008 11:34 AM  
Blogger David said...

Nigel-

FWIW, I do not show my EXIF info in Flickr because it is an "all in" kind of thing and I have many photos from The Sun with contact info in the captions.

But yeah, you are very close if not dead on. Drop the ISO down, go to 1/250th, underexpose the aperture, TTL the flash to bring the subject back up.

You may be overthinking the CLS stuff. The SB-III'd mail light was on TTL 0.0, and the on-cam fill was at (I think) -2 1/3. Might have been 2 2/3.

That ratio is not set in stone, either. I would adjust to taste and circumstances.


_________


Will-

Oh no. That'd be the lighting doing that...

_________


Robert-

They also have a different quality to the shade. Lots of variables at play here. The first was shot in the shade, while the second was shot at the water's edge (light sand, water -- lots of natural fill).

Your environment has a lot to do with your natural contrast ratios, so you want to take that into account both when shooting and when reverse-engineering.

_________


Liteningkid -

The face is about 8x9 inches, and it folds flat. (~1/2 inch or so)

__________


Anon (11:34am)

I tell people that my work is a little like vacation and my vacation is a little like work. You guys give me a constant level of upstream stuff to keep up with, so I am never truly "off." But at the same time, I can reserve chunks of time for the important stuff any time I like.

We are into a lot of activities: Ben has Cub Scouts, soccer (I help coach and am, of course, the team photographer). Em has Peabody Chorus, Girl Scouts and ride horses.

Gets a little crazy, but I get to be far more invovled than when I was shooting for the paper. If that means taking a few minutes on a camping trip to test a new light mod, I will happily do that!


-DH

September 24, 2008 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Jesse Rosten said...

Your on-camera strobe reminds me of a technique I've seen before (but haven't tried yet). Here's an interesting article on creating fill light from the same side as the key.

http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/aadams/story/go_craaaaazy_fill_from_the_key_side/

September 24, 2008 1:37 PM  
Anonymous JohnF said...

David,

I can't really tell from the pictures how this is made. Since you've handled this, would it be easy to put in some type of reflective backing, such as silver or gold, within the box?

Thanks for covering this. I have generally been very happy with Lumiquest products.

September 24, 2008 1:38 PM  
Blogger shawnpix said...

Hey David,

I love the photo, but there is one thing that kind of gets me about it. That would be the reflection of the softbox in the left lens of the goggle (Ben's right). It's so bright, and the other is so dark. That hotspot totally distracts my eye. Is there a way around this?

September 24, 2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger David said...

@ JohnF-

Yeah, that would be very easy to do, in a permanent way or otherwise. I would rather do it via a small gel on the flash, tho, for far more color flexibility.

(Easy to carry a selection of small warming gels, FL's, whatever.)

@shawnpix-

Yep - just rotate the head a little in either direction to get a reflection in both lenses, or neither. Although, filling both frames entirely would be almost impossible with a light source this small.

If you were using a normal-sized soft box (on a stand) you could easily fill both halves of the goggles with a full specular reflection.

And that would look pretty kickass...

September 24, 2008 2:51 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi David,

Great post. I am looking forward to the SB-III. I have been using the Westcott Micro-Apollo (plus onboard fill at -1.7), but it is way smaller than the SB-III so I have to get in REAAALLLY close.

My question is this: I have a 1/4 CTO taped over my D80 on-board. Between that and the SB-III eating up light, how does this confuse the flash metering shooting away on TTL?

Emily and Ben look adorable as ever.

September 24, 2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

PS re: avoiding that heroin supermodel look, how about switching from Diet to regular Mountain Dew?

September 24, 2008 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you define on verses off Axis?

Does this mean on/off camera?

September 24, 2008 3:46 PM  
Anonymous very1silent said...

Telling flickr to hide your exif doesn't do a thing if you let people download the original size, since that contains the exif.

In this particular case, you've got:

Camera Make: NIKON CORPORATION
Camera Model: NIKON D3
Image Date: 2008:08:16 16:45:24
Flash Used: Yes (Manual, return light detected)
Focal Length: 50.0mm (35mm equivalent: 50mm)
Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200)
Aperture: f/16.0
ISO equiv: 200
White Balance: Auto
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual

If you want to hide private information which is in the exif on some of your images, the right thing to do is to replace those photos with versions where you've stripped the exif.

September 24, 2008 3:52 PM  
Anonymous JASONGROVER said...

Awesome! I ordered mine last night and just got the email stating its shipping today. This will work perfect for those tight location and windy days when putting up an umbrella isn't an option.

September 24, 2008 4:03 PM  
Blogger Sergei Rodionov said...

Thanks for heads-up, David. I ordered mine.. They also got new neat gel holder out, with real useful gels.

--
Lets hope they will get to Dallas in time, as in - before i leave in mid-October, so i can write russian review on this stuff ;)

September 24, 2008 4:37 PM  
Anonymous ShotsbyRick said...

Great shots David, I checked out your pics on Lumiquests site, smashing! I have been using the LumiQuest's Softbox for about a year now, in fact I use it sometimes when I am shooting corporate portraits. Works great in a pinch, specially when there is very little room for a small umbrella. I may have to get this bigger one though, just to keep up with the Davids :D

September 24, 2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Debbi_in_California said...

B&H carries a ProMax lll Lumiquest with the same item number LQ-119 and at the same price and it's not new. What's gives with that?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/576949-REG/LumiQuest_LQ_119_PROMAX_SOFTBOX_III.html

Debbi

September 24, 2008 4:53 PM  
Blogger David said...

This seems like a sweet product. I'm currently using the Lumiquest Big Bounce in a similar way. I wonder if I can get more power out of this softbox.

Nikon CLS is perfect for this. I usually plus my off camera flash which I hold in my left hand, built-in -2 or -2 2/3. It works great in clubs which is where I mostly use it (with full CTO filters on all flashes). But the technique is useful on all sorts of occasions. I've used it at weddings to take pictures of the guests during the "after ceremony drink" etc. (same TTL-settings, under-expose the ambient slightly, looks great if the sun is out, makes all the colours pop). Only bad thing about CLS is that some people tend to start to close their eyes because of the many pre-flashes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wagasuki/

September 24, 2008 5:04 PM  
Blogger Hans Bakker said...

I met mr. Quest at PhotoKina today, and after mentioning strobist.com he proudly showed the ad for the sb-III sporting you and your cute kid. Way to go, supermodel! Of course I took a look at the sb-III and I think looks big and solid but very manageable because of its ability to fold very flat... Will order soon!
Keep up the good work!

September 24, 2008 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Roman Makhmutov said...

Look at Lumiquest Big Bouncer:

- Bigger (10.5 x 9)
- Easier to attach
- Did not block AF-assist
- Did not block TTL-reciever
- Easier to hold in hand

Of course, it spreads light wider, and eats 3 stops (not 2 like SB3), but you can add silver insert and get 1 stop back.

September 24, 2008 5:45 PM  
Blogger David said...

@Debbi-in-CA:

Just looked at it -- that is apparently a typo. They are showing a Soft Box II

@Anon 3:46 -

On-axis light means light that is coming from close to the lens axis. On-cam is decent. Ring is better. Umbrella directly behind the (tripoded) camera would work, too.

@VS1-

Yeah, I am aware of that, as well as all the little tricks for stealing photos that are supposedly "protected" on Flickr. Just not hanging the EXIF info out there for just one click. That's all.

September 24, 2008 5:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

@g.chai (3:12AM)

Well, then you were wrong!

:)

September 24, 2008 5:59 PM  
Blogger bobby said...

david,

what can you tell us about the FXtra? looks like an interesting product. probably not worth $20 when you can do the same thing with a little velcro.... but still looks interesting.

thanks,
bobby

September 24, 2008 8:25 PM  
Blogger David said...

Bobby-

I have been using them on my SB-800s for about a month now. I like them because they (a) are quick to work with, and especially, (b) because they keep all of my gels organized and right by the flash.

I am notorious for losing/crinkling/destroying my go-to CTO-series gels and FL gels.

I am going to talk about them soon, along with another related gel topic that goes right along with it and is even cooler. (Not LQ, tho.)

September 24, 2008 8:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

Ordered mine today from MPEX, looking forward to playing with it!

September 24, 2008 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Jim Allen said...

This is not directly relevant to this article, which by the way is full of good tips and info, as usual, but I ran across this guy's photos, and they're pretty good. NSFW, but art photography of nudes and various different artistic portraiture subjects. It is not for puritans, but people with the ability to view an artistic nude without offense might like his photography. I think he's using lighting to good effect, and making some unique images. Check it out
http://www.emmanuel-poncelet.com/v2/galleries.html

September 24, 2008 11:12 PM  
Anonymous James said...

So here is the $40 Strobist question:

How do we make something like this ourselves, using scraps from home and the local hardware store? I'm certainly not saying the price is expensive, it's just that I find it more fun to make something myself(if it's easy) and use it, don't you think?

I can envision something fairly simple, and certainly even rollable or foldable -- a couple coat hanger wires, black cloth shroud with reflective fabric inside, tight-weave white silk in front perhaps?

Any elegant ideas out there...like that for the home-made beauty-dish posted a while back? (strobist.blogspot.com/2008/05/diy-david-x-tejadas-beauty-dish.html)

September 25, 2008 8:44 AM  
Blogger Patey North said...

David,

Just ordered mine from MPEX (along with a 2nd 285HV and Cactus trigger).

You are our Oprah, and we are your Book Club! Recommend away!!!

-Mark

September 25, 2008 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Washington DC Headshots said...

I just love this blog, it is so inspiring and gives me great ideas!

September 25, 2008 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Mark Doyle said...

Hey, not quite related to the topic but has anyone congratulated Dave on his article in Outside Magazine? He teams up with another photographer and gives us the "strobist" solution to common pro photo techniques. Thank you for all the good advice. I'm now addicted to this blog.

September 25, 2008 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, We love your blog, your talent and your willingness to teach others. You do some great work.
However, please do not use "anal" and "tight" in the same blog :-)

September 25, 2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger David said...

@anon-

Sorry to have missed that. Frequently I get too busy and have to crank out the posts without the proper editing procedures when I get a little behind.

-DH

September 25, 2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger Patrick Snook said...

(". . . a little behind"! Well played, Sir. That's the way to "correct 'em".)

But (but!) how do you use TTL (or ETTL?) and yet still dial down the ambient . . . can you do that because you are in Shutter priority (Tv, as Canon says)? So the flash is operating as fill?

Or did I misunderstand, and you used Manual exposure and flash power setting for the first picture?

September 25, 2008 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Dionisio said...

I have to say that while I do love being taught how to make DIY modifiers for flashes... I also love saving the time and just buying ready made modifiers!

September 26, 2008 3:19 AM  
Anonymous dominique said...

Just wanted to say to get rid of the potentially distracting shadow under Ben's chin on this example created by the on-camera pop-up flash, a small portable ringlight (Q-flash is it?) running off a shoe mounted SB might be a good solution as on-axis fill. It is essentially shadowless and should still be able to work with TTL. Of course it will make the catchlight situation very odd. Might be worthwhile exploring though

September 26, 2008 10:35 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

pRe: Axial fill - since it is already on the proper plane, can a DSLR's pop up flash, diffused of course, be used for the axial fill?

Can the outpu of these flashes be controlled to achieve proper balance?

Thanks, Bob

September 26, 2008 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, ever since I read about you and Strobist in USA Today (thank God for newspapers!)I have become a Strobist junkie. I love reading your--and others--how to articles. And like another poster stated, you have made a consumer out of me (I bought two Pocket Wizards, a Vivitar strobe, Manfrotto ball head which I attach to a large spring clamp. But the best thing is that in my semi-retirement, you have given me something to aspire to--taking better pictures. And I am already a pro. Thanks.

September 27, 2008 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would I need to attach this + SB-28 to a lightstand?

September 27, 2008 12:02 PM  
Blogger SASDALLAS said...

Based on this article, I bought the product.

Pleased to say it was delivered within three days (USPS) and is as described.

Easy to setup, well made and produces a nice result.

SAS

September 28, 2008 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so you recommend this, but dont like gary fong. how much did lumi pay you ?

September 28, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger David said...

@Anonymous 12:44-

They did not pay me anything to recommend it. I did the shots used in the ad for free, too. FWIW, I have been using LumiQuest stuff since the 1980's and have been very happy with both the fold-flat designs and the price points.

I do not recommend things to people unless I believe in them and get good use out of them. And those latter qualities are not for sale, either.

I am not a huge fan cost-to-value proposition of the Gary Fong products, and have declined to recommend them because of that. When their distributor wrote to me to suggest a review, I pretty much told them the same thing I just told you.

But I will give them credit for signing their name when they wrote to me...

September 28, 2008 2:37 PM  
Blogger lornecameron said...

David: A few people have asked this here already but with no answer:

What's the difference between this small softbox and a shoot-through umbrella? Both in terms of light quality/power and how quick and small it packs?

September 29, 2008 6:43 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

David,
I missed Mr.Quest last week at Photokina. One day is waay too short to cover all ground over there, specially when chatting half an hour in the interesting stands. I'd have liked to see this in person.
From what I can appreciate in the Lumiquest website, there's a design issue that should be addressed: the softbox blocks the IR sensor in front of the flash. As an user, you'll have to take care of turning the flash body towards the master in order to ensure the IR communication.

-greetz, Gerard.
www.gerardmaas.net

September 30, 2008 4:36 AM  
Blogger David said...

lornecameron-

Actually, I think that info is already out there.

It is 8x9 -- smaller than an shoot-thru. It folds flat (1/2 inch) and the light loss specs are on the LumiQuest site.

-D

September 30, 2008 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought one of these SoftBox III and am surprised how poorly they attach to a strobe. The fabric tabs tend to twist under the weight of the front panel and the whole thing collapses over the lens.

I think that waiting for version 4 may be advised.

October 01, 2008 3:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

" ... The SB-III attaches to your flash with the included velcro straps, or better yet, a speed strap. It is about as big a thing as you would want to attach to a flash.

So my preference is to use either a second speed strap on the outside, an extra-long single (DIY'd) strap to make another trip around the outside of the mount, or a ball bungee. I am a little anal about that kind of thing -- I like stuff tight. ... "

October 01, 2008 4:48 PM  
Blogger justamistere said...

I've been using the Lumiquest Promax System with the Silver insert outdoors as a fill flash. I've gotten some great results.

Please let me know what is the difference between my current setup and the Lumiquest Softbox you described. Thanks.

October 02, 2008 10:54 PM  
Blogger Slaggie said...

Ive got a D3 and an SB-800... So, i understand this completely if I were shooting manual, but if I wanted to shoot in Program or Aperture Priority, would I just use the exposure compenation setting to about -1.5 steps and then just set the CLS to fire straight TTL?

I guess what I'm not understanding is if I shoot in P or A, how does exposure compensation effect the TTL flash output (if at all)? I assume since it's TTL, it intelligently decides on a flash output to correctly light the subject regardless of your exposure compensation, and that is how the subject and background are controlled separately? I hope that made sense haha!

Great article by the way!

October 08, 2008 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Alex from Suffolk said...

I've been looking for something to recreate studio lighting that is quick enough to use at a wedding.

While I have seen other softboxes for speedlites, I am very impressed with the image you presented here - will certainly be looking at getting some and practising a new technique

October 17, 2008 5:08 AM  
Blogger Levi J Webb said...

For those that want to do the DIY option the lumi is a great example of what's possible, I have made a 600 x 600mm version of this (bofore seeing it) but still also want a lumi at some stage.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/levijwebb/3125219291/

April 09, 2009 1:31 PM  
Blogger jrstenlund said...

I like the light from the softbox3,it needs to be strengthened for hot weather though. 100+ in Arizona gets this thing sagging like...

January 07, 2010 12:08 AM  
Blogger BargainMemoryCards said...

David, on your self portrait of the Softbox III you said

" I lit myself to my new working aperture with the SB-III at camera left. (1/4 CTO included, to help my cadaverous skin.)"

Could you please explain how you did this.

Ian

April 13, 2010 7:51 PM  
Blogger Stuart said...

"How far down should you go? One stop? Two stops? Five stops? That is entirely up to you and depends on the look you are trying to achieve.

Now, bring in your lights. You will have to dial them up to a power level sufficient to properly expose your subject at the aperture you have chosen in the last step. "

My question is once stopped down, how do you set the light power other than doing what I am doing at the moment, trial and error chimping!

June 02, 2010 6:10 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I know this is a really old post but here's my question anyway - I tried to duplicate your setup by firing my LP120 (handheld, off camera) with the popup flash of my Canon 450D. The LP didn't register on the image because I am told the Canon fires a preflash (for measuring) and a second flash for 'taking'. But the LP fires when it sees the 1st, 'measuring' flash. If true, does this mean that I can't duplicate your technique here with my current gear?

Thanks, Bob

July 05, 2010 11:13 AM  
Blogger David said...

Nikon pop-ups do the same. You need to set your Canon pop-up to manual. That is how I removed the preflash in Nikon. Probably will work w/Canon, too.

-DH

July 05, 2010 1:49 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi David. I've been reading your site for quite some time. I'm a long way from being a pro but my family's eBay listings, my friends' university assignments and shots for my own site have all been improved with what I've gleaned from these pages. After reading this I bought an SBIII and, using your concept of softness relying on the relationship between the size of the source and the size of the subject was delighted with the results I got shooting a compact disc on a 'ghetto' paper cyc with it recently. Many times in the last couple of years I have thought, "Thank you Strobist" and thought it was finally time I put fingers to keyboard. So, thanks David.

July 12, 2011 2:38 AM  

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