I Drank The Kool-Aid

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.

To see the full full-sized photo, right click it and open it in another tab or window.


The bare flash.  Notice that the photo is somewhat overexposed and the sharp, pronounced shadows.


The 8″ soft box (used off camera)

02-03-13_069The results are very sharp, pronounced shadows.  Notice that the light is indeed diffused and not as harsh and overexposed as in the bare flash.

02-03-13_076I decided to compare my first “soft box”, a 4 3/4″ x 6″ cardboard soft box that fits on your flash and can be used on camera.  For this experiment I used the flash off camera.

02-03-13_070Again, notice the sharp, pronounced shadows.  But, again, also notice that it is an improvement over the bare flash.  Notice the orange color cast to the photo!


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.

02-03-13_072The results are astounding! What is missing in the photo?  SHADOWS!  The shadows are still there but they are not as sharp and pronounced as with the other two soft boxes I used.


What happens when you take the diffusing panel off the 2×3?

02-03-13_077Again 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
Manchester CT
e-mail:  ctpicman@aol.com


About Jim The Photographer

I am a photographer from Manchester, Connecticut. My photographic interests are many and varied.
This entry was posted in photographic lighting, photography, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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