When you’ve been around photography for even a short time, you hear of every gadget that will take your photography to the next level. They promise to give your photographs that extra bit of “umph”. I recently saw a video touting the virtues of a new 8 inch, round soft box that will do wonders for your photography. I drank the kool-aid and ordered this photography transforming gadget. I used it outdoors on camera. I liked the results. But today, I decided to put the soft box to the test, using it off camera. After I looked at the results I decided to test the new soft box against some old standbys. The flash I used was a totally manual Youngnuo YN460. It is a manual flash that lets you control the flash power from full all the way down to 1/64th power. The light stands were kept in the same position, the flash was at 1/4 power. The camera settings were 1/200 @ f/5.6.
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The bare flash. Notice that the photo is somewhat overexposed and the sharp, pronounced shadows.
The 8″ soft box (used off camera)
I received a new 2 feet x 3 feet softbox. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get back far enough to show the whole softbox, but it is there.
What happens when you take the diffusing panel off the 2×3?
Again the results are astounding. The shadows are a little more pronounced than when you use the diffusion panel. There may be times when I am looking for that edgier look and will use the soft box as a big, reflecting umbrella (so to speak).
What did I learn? Well, women are right: bigger is better! All that being said, I will still use my new 8″ soft box when I’m outside. This little experiment has shown me the advantages of the larger soft box. And, no, my 2×3 soft box did not cost a bundle of money. It cost a little over $30 on Amazon.
Jim the Photographer