a top brand worth it ?

Started Apr 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
sacentre Senior Member • Posts: 1,854
Re: a top brand worth it ?

Hi Barry

It a question I've wondered about many times.

I should point out immediately that I'm not a pro photographer and don't use expensive, branded lighting kit but I have made a lot of DIY stuff including diffusers and "beauty dishes" etc so have some feel for the engineering, manufacture, materials and finishes etc. I also own a fair range of cheaper, off-the-shelf brands of boxes and umbrellas of perfectly acceptable quality for the light-duty useage I put them to. Bearing that in mind, I offer a humble opinion for whatever it's worth.

From what I've read on this question, the main benefit with the expensive brands seems to be build quality and ruggedness, the range and quality of adapter rings etc. If you're a working pro, you'll need kit that lasts - day in, day out, without fail, especially if you need to travel with it. I've also heard pros say that their high net worth clients expect to see the posh brands like Profoto in their studios for the credibility implying that far cheaper kit would do just as well but just not look as classy. I can readily appreciate this point, and the importance of presentation in many professions, although my jaw still drops when I see the astronomical prices being charged for a simple umbrella.

So it would seem credibility pricing plays a part in lighting kit in much the same way as with the pretty, so called hi-definition, directional, pure, oxygen-free copper speaker cables that audiophiles get so hot under the collar about.

I'm sure you're familiar too with the oft quoted statement that it's the skills that count more than the tools ie that a skilled photographer will get the same result with cheaper kit and a rank amateur can just as easily produce rubbish with kit costing thousands. I take this point as an article of faith.

You hear a lot of talk about of the "quality of light" with a certain piece of kit and I've heard lots of users claim that this brand or that gives certain quality of light or a particular effect not achievable with other brands of equivalent device. I try to keep an open mind about this. However, what I've yet to see is any convincing side-by-side comparions of say, two identical size soft boxes, one a high-end brand and the other a cheaper one, and see if there's much in the way of clear benefit in terms of the resulting shot.

Some of the replies to your OP mention color casts but this doesn't seem to be a phenomenon just with cheaper diffusers and I'd imagine this could be corrected in post anyway.

I'd say for your table top still life, experiment with cheap, readily available diffuser materials that you can put together yourself and only contemplate dropping cash on more expensive, ready made kit when a clear requirement emerges. I'd think it's more to do with controlling the direction, shadows and reflections of light that are more important than some percieved quality difference between soft boxes per se.

Just my ten cents.


activator wrote:

The dreaded ebay has loads of cheap softboxes.........and not so cheap soft boxes.
On the other hand......a 70x70 Elinchrom will cost £200

Im going to be shooting table top still life with a mains etc............what are peoples views on the benefits
of a more expensive soft box....or not ???????



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