Are reflective soft boxes useful?

SpecFoto

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The answer is maybe, it depends if you shoot outside or just in a studio. Silver reflective soft boxes throw more of the light forward and can actually make your light more powerful than what you will get with an umbrella with added reflector lining because the umbrella is going to spill the light much more, and thus lose power. The link you provided does not work but from the qs-24 I think you are referring to the 24" square quicksilver soft box. This is a general purpose softbox, but it does not have a grid attachment, which is helpful in controlling the light, and I would recommend the quick box 24 with removable grid instead.

https://www.cheetahstand.com/product-p/q24nb.htm

With this particular QB you need to get a S2 bracket that works with almost any flash. Your YN 560 III will mount into the "throat" of the bracket just fine and there is room for a receiver as well. You can even mount 2 standard flash in the bracket to double up the power. The outer diameter ring slips into the Q Box, yet allows for it to rotate. These S2 bracket also come with a strobe light mounting bracket built in and the one you want is for the Bowens mount, which is by far the most popular. And you can mount your umbrella to this bracket too, the predrilled hole places the shaft pretty close to the center. The S2 bracket is available from Amazon, B&H and others and is a very easy way to mount numerous types of flash to soft boxes. It will serve you long into the future, I have 4.

S2 Bracket:

https://www.adorama.com/glbdsm02pro.html?origterm=godox+s2+bracket&searchredirect=true

I do a lot of outside daytime portraits and have used a quick box variant for many years. Easy to carry and folds down nicely. But for the last couple of years I have gone to a 16 sided rounded cone type reflective softbox, both with standard and deep parabolic shapes, that throws even more light forward, as I shoot in the bright high desert sun and need to get as much power out of my Godox AD-200 flash as possible. The silver reflective surface can prove more edgy lighting if left undiffused, but it also has a white diffuser to tone it down. The only issue is that these types of soft boxes do not fold down flat, as the metal rods all tied into 6 inch metal ring at the mounting end. Here is deep parabolic one I own from the Glow series that Adorama carries, but this was specific for my needs in very bright sun, so look at the non-parabolic shape for softer and/or more widespread lighting patterns:

https://www.adorama.com/glsbez20.html

Note these Glow softboxes mount via a Bowens mount and needs the S2 bracket described above.
 
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RichardC

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Depends what you are shooting.

I use two for my product photos and find them more directional than brollys.

One near the camera and one on the background - either pointed at the background if I'm photographing opaque objects on white (I can position the edge of the box as little as an inch outside of the shot), or if it's glass, I can light it from the back pointing at the camera through an additional white diffuser.

This photo was one Calumet softbox/Godox TT685 strobe from above to fill in the lid and white collar, same again behind pointing directly at the camera for the glass bottle, and a black reflector either side to add definition to the edges.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

bladerunner6

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Depends what you are shooting.

I use two for my product photos and find them more directional than brollys.

One near the camera and one on the background - either pointed at the background if I'm photographing opaque objects on white (I can position the edge of the box as little as an inch outside of the shot), or if it's glass, I can light it from the back pointing at the camera through an additional white diffuser.

This photo was one Calumet softbox/Godox TT685 strobe from above to fill in the lid and white collar, same again behind pointing directly at the camera for the glass bottle, and a black reflector either side to add definition to the edges.

View attachment 858518
Nice shot- thanks for the real world input.
 

bladerunner6

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The answer is maybe, it depends if you shoot outside or just in a studio. Silver reflective soft boxes throw more of the light forward and can actually make your light more powerful than what you will get with an umbrella with added reflector lining because the umbrella is going to spill the light much more, and thus lose power. The link you provided does not work but from the qs-24 I think you are referring to the 24" square quicksilver soft box. This is a general purpose softbox, but it does not have a grid attachment, which is helpful in controlling the light, and I would recommend the quick box 24 with removable grid instead.

https://www.cheetahstand.com/product-p/q24nb.htm

With this particular QB you need to get a S2 bracket that works with almost any flash. Your YN 560 III will mount into the "throat" of the bracket just fine and there is room for a receiver as well. The outer diameter ring slips into the Q Box, yet allows for it to rotate. These S2 bracket also come with a strobe light mounting bracket built in and the one you want is for the Bowens mount, which is by far the most popular. And you can mount your umbrella to this bracket too, the predrilled hole places the shaft pretty close to to the center. The S2 bracket is available from Amazon, B&H and others and is a very easy way to mount numerous types of flash to soft boxes. It will serve you long into the future, I have 4.

S2 Bracket:

https://www.adorama.com/glbdsm02pro.html?origterm=godox+s2+bracket&searchredirect=true

I do a lot of outside daytime portraits and have used a quick box variant for many years. Easy to carry and folds down nicely. But for the last couple of years I have gone to a 16 sided rounded cone type reflective softbox, both with standard and deep parabolic shapes, that throws even more light forward, as I shoot in the bright high desert sun and need to get as much power out of my Godox AD-200 flash as possible. The silver reflective surface can prove more edgy lighting if left undiffused, but it also has a white diffuser to tone it down. The only issue is that these types of soft boxes do now fold down flat, as the metal rods all tied into 6 inch metal ring at the mounting end. Here is deep parabolic one I own from the Glow series that Adorama carries, but this was specific for my needs in very bright sun, so look at the non-parabolic shape for softer and/or more widespread lighting patterns:

https://www.adorama.com/glsbez20.html

Note these types of softboxs mounts via a Bowens mount and needs the S2 bracket described above.
It sounds like you are advising against this one.

This link might work better.

https://www.cheetahstand.com/product-p/qs24.htm

Thanks
 

RichardC

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[

With just the octagonal or both? Thanks.

Just the octagonal because the flash is mounted inside.

Mine are these cheapo jobs - available in a number of brands, but basically a collapsible softbox which mounts on a ring with a flash holder behind. The flash is outside of the softbox with the head poking through the hole in the back.

I also always mount the stofen diffusers on my strobes when using these.

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/interfit-60-x-60cm-pop-up-softbox-1632493/
 

bladerunner6

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Just the octagonal because the flash is mounted inside.

Mine are these cheapo jobs - available in a number of brands, but basically a collapsible softbox which mounts on a ring with a flash holder behind. The flash is outside of the softbox with the head poking through the hole in the back.

I also always mount the stofen diffusers on my strobes when using these.

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/interfit-60-x-60cm-pop-up-softbox-1632493/
The one I am looking at has the flash mounted inside.
https://www.cheetahstand.com/product-p/qs24.htm

I like using the the flashes with wireless control so I making a note of this.

Thanks.
 

RichardC

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The one I am looking at has the flash mounted inside.
https://www.cheetahstand.com/product-p/qs24.htm

I like using the the flashes with wireless control so I making a note of this.

Thanks.
The diffusion is potentially better with the flash inside facing backwards into the reflective material. Also keeps the whole setup smaller.

The wireless controllers I was using were Pixel Pawn branded radio triggers. They would not work at all with the flash head mounted inside my octagonal box. Furthermore, because I needed to access the flash unit to change the output settings, being inside the softbox was a PITA.

I have not tried the same set up with my Godox trigger.
 

PakkyT

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I will just add, having not as much experience as others here, that many softboxes are a pain in the arse to deploy and put away. So if you are using hotshoe flashes which tend to imply mobility and a lot of your shooting it out and about, you might find yourself always reaching for the umbrellas instead.

On the other hand, if you are going to do a lot of your shooting at home in a sort of studio setting and you can set up and leave up a softbox stand for long periods of time (days, weeks, etc.) then they can be fun to play around with. And in that case I would recommend getting a basic monolight strobe that plugs into the wall. The recycle super fast and even the "low powered" ones are much brighter than most hotshoe flashes so they easily fire through softboxes with several layers of diffusers (as @RichardC pointed out). You don't even need to get an expensive one, such as this $50 160 watts seconds model...
https://www.adorama.com/fplfbf160.html
which I have found when used around the house I rarely need to turn the power up past one third or so. They also sell a 120 ws ($35) version and a 300 ws version ($60). Softbox ring clamps right onto the monolight and the monolight sits right on top of that nub on top of light standards (no adapter needed).
 

bladerunner6

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At $23 each I decided to try a couple. It is so low risk compared to other investments in gear especially since they will work with my current lighting equipment.

Thanks for all the constructive input.
 

bladerunner6

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I got them in and I am pleased with the build quality and how they fold and unfold.

Thanks everyone for the input.
 
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