What do i need ? A softbox or an umbrella ?

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Sailor Blue
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Re: What do i need ? A softbox or an umbrella ?

MayaTlab0 wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

MayaTlab0 wrote:

With your flash I'd be careful about efficiency if it's about lighting outdoors. Modifiers have different degrees of efficiency (ie how much power is needed to land x amount of light on your subject). With a few recent exceptions softboxes aren't very efficient. Same goes for white umbrellas.

The "efficiency" of my matte silver double diffused 40" softboxes and my white reflection 43" umbrella are roughly the same. By that I mean that the exposure I get by placing them the same distance from the subject is within a stop of each other when I use my 300Ws studio strobes as the light source.

A well used silver umbrella is likely to be the most efficient cheap modifier available but I wouldn't recommend most of the current ones on the market today for various reasons.

Well used implies a matte finish due to rubbing, folding scrunching up, etc. That would certainly give more diffuse light that a shiny silver umbrella.

Well used meant to me : kill the effin' source spill and properly position the source :D.

Glad you cleared up any misunderstanding about that.

For those who don't know why positioning the light source in an umbrella is so important:

I recommend photographing the back side of the umbrella so you can see how much of the interior is illuminated. Do this with the umbrella in shoot through mode. It can be done even if the umbrella has a black backing - enough light will leak though.

Put the light source too close to the inside of the umbrella and you only illuminate part of the interior, making your umbrella a smaller light source than what is possible.

Put the light source too far from the interior of the umbrella and you get light spill past the rim of the umbrella, which can produce stray light.

Put the light source at the right distance and it fills as much as possible of the interior of the umbrella without spilling past the rim.

Once you find the right position of the light source be sure to mark the umbrella stem so you can always put it in the umbrella holder at the same position, which will always make sure the light source is in the right position.

My Westcott matte silver 43" umbrella gives me exposures within about 1/2 stop of my white one. The efficiency difference is negligible in real situations.

Depends on the umbrella and how well it's used.

Also depends on where it's used (a small room with white walls won't produce the same results as an open field), and the distance.

Most silver umbrellas come with black backings to reduce stray light and I always recommend using a black backing with a white reflection umbrella to reduce stray light.

When doing environmental portraits you might want lots of stray light to light up the environment so use a white umbrella in shoot through mode.

Difficult to provide exact numbers for these reasons but I routinely averaged several stops of increased efficiency with a Paul Buff Soft Silver vs. a gridded soft box, even more with their extreme silver umbrellas.

Far more exposure gain than I see with my Westcott matte silver umbrella vs the Westcott White umbrella.

This one thanks to its beaded silver could however be easy enough to use (very reflective silver umbrellas can be tricky to use) and still provide decent efficiency.

With a diffuser it can be turned into something similar to a softbox.


Without a diffuser the light would likely be harder than from a matte silver interior umbrella.

Difficult to say without a direct comparison. But from tests I've seen on FredMiranda it scatters the light sufficiently to avoid the "bicycle wheel" illumination pattern and multiple shadows problems very reflective silver umbrellas often have. Harder or not depends on many factors (such as the shape of the umbrella for example).

As far as wind is concerned I prefer to use softboxes. MagMod's fresnel softbox is supposed to address the efficiency question while producing a light quality similar to a gridded box. But it's very expensive.

I couldn't find any Fresnel (the word is a proper name so it should be capitalized) softbox from MagMod so I'll assume you mean using a Fresnel lens with a light inside a softbox.

Nah. The Focus Diffuser is basically a soft plastic Fresnel : https://magnetmod.com/collections/magbox-system/products/focusdiffuser-24

I can't see why you would need one with a hot-shoe flash that has a pop-up drop-down wide angle diffuser, and any decent hot-shoe flash should have one.

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