Umbrella Octabox vs Shoot Through Octabox

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 14,741
Re: Umbrella Octabox vs Shoot Through Octabox

The reason for using any diffuser is that you want soft evenly diffused light, light that is flattering in portraits since it reduces shadowing that emphasizes skin texture.

A good softbox will use double diffusion.

If the light is mounted outside and at the back there is usually an inner diffuser about half way between the back of the softbox and the diffuser at the front of the softbox. Some light passes through the inner diffuser before it hits the front diffuser. It also reflects light back onto the walls of the softbox where it can bounce around before reaching the front diffuser. The result is soft even diffuse light.

A softbox like the one you linked to bounces the light off the back of the softbox as the first diffusion. The second diffusion is provided by the front diffuser. The result is soft lighting but and slightly less even lighting. The light is also very slightly more specular, i.e. capable of producing shiny reflections.

If the interior was white instead of silver then you get more even lighting and less specularity. This is a white reflection umbrella with black backing and a sock. A perfect example of this is the Photek SOFTLIGHTER II Family.

If you use a hot-shoe flash inside an umbrella softbox be sure mount the flash as far from the back of the softbox as possible.  You should also set the flash zoom to the widest focal length setting and use the drop down wide angle diffusing panel.  The aim is for the flash to bounce off as much of the interior of the softbox as possible.

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