LumiQuest Softbox-III Gets a Big Brother
Shown at left is one of my most used light mods, the LumiQuest SoftBox-III. It has just been supersized from 8x9" to 10x14" and released as the LumiQuest SoftBox LTp. (Not to worry -- you can still get the SB III, too. Otherwise I would not be posting this until I had stocked up on SB-IIIs…)
So yeah, bigger -- sure. But why 10x14 inches?
There's actually a pretty good reason for that.
If you are a shoulder bag type of photographer, the SB-III is about as big as you would want to wedge into, say, the hip pocket on a Domke F2 bag. But a lot of folks, myself included, now travel with a roller case to many shoots. Which means I can easily pack a laptop along, either inside or outside, for the plane trip/tethering/whatever.
The LumiQuest SoftBox LTp is sized to ride flat next to your laptop. (LTp stands for LapTop pro.) It is sized to perfectly fit a 15" MacBook Pro, but can also slide into most places where a 13" MBP will ride. (Ditto the 17" MBP, obviously.) And in that sense it not only takes up almost no room but doubles as an extra layer of protection for your laptop.
Light-wise, the SB-LTp has the exact same profile as an SB-III, only softer. Which means it gets pretty soft in the knife-fight range, which is where I tend to use these kinds of things. But it also will give you a little more distance in that not-hard-not-soft range where it gets very interesting when combined with some fill.
It has an edge to it, unlike bulbous-type mods in this size range. Which means you can feather it away from your subject in close and work with the edge of the beam. It is too big to use on-camera (it would reach down over your lens) so this is a off-camera hand-held or light stand thing. LumiQuest has a video on how to pre-stress it when you velcro it on, a technique which makes it mount very firmly.
The LumiQuest SoftBox LTp is $55, and shipping to dealers now. More info (including the video) is on the product page.
Two More Upgrades
LumiQuest has also improved two long-available items -- the cinch strap and the snoot. Both new products are renamed and replace the older versions.
The Ultra Strap ($8.95) adds neoprene to the traditional cinch strap to place constant tension on the mount, making it much more secure. It's a cool design. You stretch it as you mount it to get the benefit, but once you do it right once it makes perfect sense. There is a how-to video on the product page linked just above.
The original snoot has been recast as the Snoot XTR and now includes an insert that will trim you down to about a 5-degree field of view. The new snoot is the same as the old model if you remove the insert. There is a video demo on the product page. And, like the Ultra Strap, this new version replaces the old version.