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Friday, October 22, 2010

LumiQuest Softbox-III Gets a Big Brother


Shown at left is one of my most used light mods, the LumiQuest SoftBox-III. It has just been supersized from 8x9" to 10x14" and released as the LumiQuest SoftBox LTp. (Not to worry -- you can still get the SB III, too. Otherwise I would not be posting this until I had stocked up on SB-IIIs…)

So yeah, bigger -- sure. But why 10x14 inches?

There's actually a pretty good reason for that.
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If you are a shoulder bag type of photographer, the SB-III is about as big as you would want to wedge into, say, the hip pocket on a Domke F2 bag. But a lot of folks, myself included, now travel with a roller case to many shoots. Which means I can easily pack a laptop along, either inside or outside, for the plane trip/tethering/whatever.


The LumiQuest SoftBox LTp is sized to ride flat next to your laptop. (LTp stands for LapTop pro.) It is sized to perfectly fit a 15" MacBook Pro, but can also slide into most places where a 13" MBP will ride. (Ditto the 17" MBP, obviously.) And in that sense it not only takes up almost no room but doubles as an extra layer of protection for your laptop.

Light-wise, the SB-LTp has the exact same profile as an SB-III, only softer. Which means it gets pretty soft in the knife-fight range, which is where I tend to use these kinds of things. But it also will give you a little more distance in that not-hard-not-soft range where it gets very interesting when combined with some fill.

It has an edge to it, unlike bulbous-type mods in this size range. Which means you can feather it away from your subject in close and work with the edge of the beam. It is too big to use on-camera (it would reach down over your lens) so this is a off-camera hand-held or light stand thing. LumiQuest has a video on how to pre-stress it when you velcro it on, a technique which makes it mount very firmly.

The LumiQuest SoftBox LTp is $55, and shipping to dealers now. More info (including the video) is on the product page.


Two More Upgrades

LumiQuest has also improved two long-available items -- the cinch strap and the snoot. Both new products are renamed and replace the older versions.


The Ultra Strap ($8.95) adds neoprene to the traditional cinch strap to place constant tension on the mount, making it much more secure. It's a cool design. You stretch it as you mount it to get the benefit, but once you do it right once it makes perfect sense. There is a how-to video on the product page linked just above.


The original snoot has been recast as the Snoot XTR and now includes an insert that will trim you down to about a 5-degree field of view. The new snoot is the same as the old model if you remove the insert. There is a video demo on the product page. And, like the Ultra Strap, this new version replaces the old version.


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21 Comments:

Blogger Dave McLane said...

I have the SB III and while it works OK when the weather is cool, when it goes over 100F like it does most of the summer where I live in Arizona, it droops to the point of being useless. Same with the Softbox and I have to use the 80-20 with an insert.

October 22, 2010 9:30 PM  
Blogger Connor Walberg said...

Dave McLane,

Have you tried using the extra strap that it comes with over the top and sides of the velcro? It keeps mine in shape when the weather gets very hot.

October 22, 2010 9:45 PM  
Blogger Giấy dán tường đẹp said...

I want to buy, but i'm not much money.

October 22, 2010 9:59 PM  
Blogger Dave McLane said...

Conner, Don't know of any strap except the Honl Speed Strap.

October 22, 2010 11:13 PM  
Blogger djjsm said...

Hey! That would put a SWEET highlight on a wine bottle.

October 23, 2010 12:02 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

These little softboxes are just begging to be DIYd. It looks like a nice piece of kit, but I feel like anyone with somecardboard and gaffer's tape should be able to save the $55.00

October 23, 2010 12:22 AM  
Blogger Connor Walberg said...

Dave,
The strap comes with the SB-III with velcro and wraps around the top and side tabs where it attaches to the flash. If you don't have it anymore I'd try contacting lumiquest. Maybe they could send you one.

October 23, 2010 10:26 AM  
Blogger John said...

Awesome! I use the Lumiquest SBIII a lot (thanks to you). I'll definitely be getting this larger version.

October 23, 2010 11:19 AM  
Blogger Taylor said...

I almost bought the sbIII a few days ago, glad i didn't Think I may up for the lage one. It'll fit in the back of my lowepro stealth quite nicely.

I may even get the sbIII for when i wanna travel with a smaller bag though.

October 23, 2010 1:08 PM  
Blogger Threiner said...

I really like to get all this nice Informations here!

October 23, 2010 10:01 PM  
Blogger Dave McLane said...

Conner, I had a look at the Lumiquest site but didn't see any about such a strap. However, looking at the video, I suspect that my problem is coming from the fact that I use the Honl strap which doesn't fit tightly. I think I could use the new Ultra Strap, or maybe two, or maybe put velcro on the flash and add an Ultra on top of that.

Thanks for the help.

October 24, 2010 12:17 AM  
Blogger info said...

Looks grand. I've got a home-made softbox about the size of the SBIII, and I'll echo Dave H, it's my most used mod. At $55, I'm more than happy to pay for a well made one, especially with little things like the hot-spot diffuser, etc.

I've yet to experiment, but does anyone have any experience with the upper size limit of softbox that a little ole strobe can fill?

October 24, 2010 6:08 PM  
Blogger bechbox said...

Very clever to make it the size of a 15" laptop!

Someone should help them with the before/after pics on their website though ;-)

October 24, 2010 6:35 PM  
Blogger Robert Davidson said...

David, you are a genius to consistently come up with light mods that are not only extremely useful but also very compact and easy to carry and set up. The first time I read about the SoftBox III on your blog, I bought one right away. I am still amazed at how easily it packs into a shoulder bag. I am definitely going to get one of the LTp's also, because it will fit nicely in my ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 bag.

While searching for something else on the web, I stumbled across what appeared to be the perfect 24 inch square softbox for strobelights. The price was so reasonable, I just had to buy it. It turned out to be extremely well made, durable, and easy to set up. It is a 24 inch X 24 inch softbox made by an outfit called "Cowboy Studio". I assume their name comes from the fact that they are located in Mesquite, TX, just outside of Dallas. Mesquite is the home of an outstanding rodeo that I had the opportunity to attend several years ago.

Here is a link to where I bought mine. http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-Photo-Speedlite-Softbox-L-Bracket/dp/B003C0ZG2W/ref=pd_cp_p_1 For the price, I really didn't expect to get much in quality, but I was wrong. I was completely blown away with how well made and durable this light box is. It packs down into a carrying bag that is 12" X 8-1/2" X 2". If you ever have a need for a larger size softbox for strobes, I highly recommend it.

October 24, 2010 7:03 PM  
Blogger Corey Sandler said...

David, I just ordered two Lumiquest SoftBox LTp diffusers to work with my Cheetah Stands, thanks for the tip!

October 24, 2010 8:22 PM  
Blogger Alger said...

What about the Lastolite LL LS2420S Ezybox Speed-Lite compared to this?http://www.lastoliteschoolofphotography.com/using-ezybox-speedlite
What are your thoughts about it?

October 24, 2010 8:44 PM  
OpenID kurtwerks said...

Ehh, might just be me, but the banner ad for the ProFoto BatPack (http://www.macgroupus.com/banner/strobist_ad_auto.html) actually took me to X-Rite's video of Brian's Smith's burlesque shoot(s). I don't mind looking at provocatively dressed and posed women, but this time I really was more interested in the battery back.

October 24, 2010 11:56 PM  
Blogger junyo said...

Hmm, I just bought a "Fotodiox" branded 8"x12" softbox instead of the SBIII. One the one hand it's not as large as the LTp. OTOH, it's bigger than the SBIII and 16 bucks. Should make for cheap experiments with the rim light and ring fill.

@Robert Davidson - The Cowboy Studio sb is kinda well known, an imported knockoff of the Lastolite Ezybox. Lots of threads on the Flickr group.

October 25, 2010 9:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

@Kurt-


You probably clicked on an ad while they were in the process of updating. They need to rotate both the image of the banner and the redirect of the landing page. It takes a couple minutes in between, which is exactly when you clicked I am guessing.

Thanks for the heads-up all the same, and thanks for visiting a sponsor!

-D

October 25, 2010 4:14 PM  
Blogger Treebird Photography said...

I have never used a Snoot XTR... I am on my way to get one NOW!..thanks.

October 25, 2010 6:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Mr Hobby and all,

Should softboxes be used with or without the supplied SB's dome diffuser?

Thanks in advance,
Skunk

October 28, 2010 4:44 PM  

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