Monday, September 5, 2011

Flash Strip Softbox , on the Cheap (as of this date , at least)

First,  this is a GREAT Value!  could not find anything better at this price. and I do NOT regreat my purchase.
Would recommend buying it, but you also need to know the rest of the story.

After a long search, I bought two(2) of these,   us$79.99 + ship each.
Even AB (Paul Buff strip box is $119 and it does not have a a Bracket for Flash, or Grid)
It arrived pretty quick , and the shipping to Hawaii added about $30 each.

VALUE is how I would describe this.
1) The Soft box looks pretty durable
2) It comes with a Grid!  and inside diffuser ... and bag
3) The Flash bracket seems pretty heavy duty for a "strobist" Flash solution ... and it seems you could probably load your studio strobes on it.

The BUT:
1) It looks more like a Strobe set up that was altered for Flash ... now depending on your point of veiw this could be good or bad.  imho, it is NOT as "Elegant" of a Flash/Strobist solution as my FourSquare Flash Softbox ... in fact my Four(4) Flash Softbox solution is "way" Lighter than this one(1) Flash strip softbox ... and Faster and easier to Set UP.  and the FourSquare Packs for Travel a lot smaller, WAY smaller.

* For what I wanted to use this for , it is a bit of a problem ...  a FourSquare , Two Flash Strip Box would be less than half the weight and size , IF they had one. (but there FourSquare Grid is way too expensive, imho)

2) The Speedlite bracket L on this is designed WRONG !  and at "first" you will not get WHY they included a picture of the Speedlite bracket "T" ... but, when you start using it with the "L" bracket with this Strip Softbox .. you realize quickly that this "L" design was a mistake!

So, YES  I bought two(2) of the Speedlite bracket "T" and extra $30 Free ship ...  * at about $130 total I still concider this a VALUE. TOTAL is:  $79.99 for the original Strip box , Grid and L flash bracket , add $30 each for shipping , then add another $30 for the "extra" T flash bracket (which I like better) ..  That gives you a TOTAL cost of  $ $139.99 each for this (and you have an extra L bracket).

Want to know why I bought the "T" bracket even when the "L" bracket is OK?

* Well, When you set up the Strip Softbox Vertical (which I will probably do most of the time) the L bracket does not easily allow you to keep the Flash vertical with it.  Not a big deal really cuz you can work around this ... but, it is bad enough that there is a Hot Spot in the center that with one flash is hard enough to avoid.
* But, that's not all ... you cannot move the Flash  Deeper into the Strip Softbox  ... after a while you start to realize there is benifits to this :) ... and you get pi$$ed that the picture of the "T" bracket solves this.

I think the Hot Spot can be helped a bit by putting on a Diffusion dome on your Flash ... and moving the Flash more inside the Softbox , then the Silver Reflector on the sides can help bounce the light around more and not have it in such a strait path to the center of the box.

It also helps if you have a sb900 where you can flip the Wide angle diffuer down and have the sb900 automatically go to a 17mm wide zoom , combine this with the dome and it really evens out the light on this 36" strip box.  Or as best that can be expected with one Flash

* The other benifit of paying extra for the additional "T" bracket is ...  the  Softbox "Swivel"  will work as it should ,  keeping the the strip and the flash , vertical with each other

* now this whole bowens softbox screw on bracken , T bracket ... starts to get heavy , and less "strobist-y"  ...  probably best as a studio set up , vs a Travel, On-the-Go ,  GUN and RUN Strbist Set UP.
BUT, it is the Cheapest , Flash Strip Softbox solution I have found , so far.  
Well,  at least until  Foursquare can make a two(2) Flash Strip Softbox

p.s.  Did I say that this Strip Softbox comes with a GRID ?  :)

Hope this helps someone, looking for a Flash Strip Softbox.

*** anyone wants to buy two(2) New / Unused  Speedlite bracket "L" ??? 
email me  ...   If I get  $20  each on these I will be happy.

Ross Hamamura
The Tourist of Light  :)

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