After buying and being impressed with a 90cm Westcott softbox, I decided to try out a more portable version and ordered the Mini Apollo kit. These work in a similar way to the larger unit and the flash is fully contained within the softbox. Unfortunately, with any sort of hotshoe mounted trigger the flash will not fit inside due to the umbrella style of the mount. I also tried with my Radio Poppers which mount on the front of the flash but no joy.
So, I sent it back and plumped for the horribly expensive Lastolite 54cm Ezybox Hotshoe kit. I found a deal for about £170 which included a grid to reduce the spread of light, a nice quality lightstand and a short handheld stand for holding the box up. It’s all good quality kit and the only issue I had to address was again mounting the flash on the back of the unit. Using the Radio Poppers requires you to use their specific shoe for the flash which has a screw thread in the base. The lastolite expects you to mount the flash using a hotshoe clamp, so I had to ditch this and buy a decent size thumbscrew. All works a treat now I figured it out!
The softbox connects to the ring mount literally by squashing it in – a little disconcerting, but time will tell if it’s a reliable solution. The softbox and stands come with their own good quality fleece lined bags and the softbox folds up to fit. The grid attaches with velcro and works well, but you do lose a lot of light even when the subject is directly in front. Quite how much, I’ll have to measure with a meter but it does a fine job of controlling spill as it’s quite a deep grid.
These first two images are taken indoors with the grid using a 24-70L and below are a couple taken outside with the Sigma 50mm 1.4. I’m amazed that these are basically straight out of camera – the contrast and colour are really nice using the Lastolite softbox.
I’m using it for it’s first wedding next weekend, so I’ll see how it goes.