LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser review: first impression

Found in: ReviewsLumiQuest
May 20 2009
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Lumiquest Softbox III

LumiQuest Softbox III (best flash diffuser rating: 8.48) is the largest softbox available from LumiQuest at the moment. The light-emitting surface is approximately 8 by 9 inches. Using of Softbox III is pretty straightforward and does not require any tweaking of bounced light, like with many other diffusers and bouncers. Just put it on and shoot through. Everything else depends on your creativity. Change the angle, change the distance to the subject, take the softbox off camera, etc. The diffuser itself requires no adjustments.

Softbox III is built LumiQuest style. Selection of materials, attachment design, and quality are similar to other LumiQuest products. So, if you already use any of the LumiQuest flash accessories there are no surprises in this one. If not, you will be pleased with the way Softbox III is built.

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: on a flash, side view LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: on a flash, angle view
LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: diffusing screen LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: company logo and product name

The center of the translucent diffusing screen is made thicker to let a lesser amount of light through in order to compensate for the hot spot and provide more even illumination.

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: center spot, inside view

To minimize the light spill while being able to fit a large variety of flash units, LumiQuest Softbox III features two flaps on each side panel. This allows the panels to sit closer to each other when attached to a flash head.

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: side panel flaps

Softbox III folds flat and, while still being bigger than many other diffusers, fits into most gear bags.

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: flat, side panels sticking out LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: folding
LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: folded flat for storage

Creating a larger softbox LumiQuest brought up the problem of the increased weight of the unit. Bigger weight results in a less secure attaching to a flash head. The company addressed the issue with Velcro hook fasteners that you can adhere to the three out of four attachment tabs. Having those fasteners installed allows you tightening the Softbox III attachment with the included 6-inch Velcro loop strap. It's a bit of an additional hassle, but it does provide much more secure connection to a flash head. Alternatively, you could just use a simple Velcro strap to tie the tabs up.

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: attachment tab LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: hook fasteners
LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: secure fit

It has to be noted that the size of LumiQuest Softbox III causes the flash auto-focus assist beam to be blocked. If a flash has a built-in light sensor it might be affected as well. However, if you do have to use the auto-focus assist beam while shooting with Softbox III simply tilt the flash head upward to acquire the focus by pressing the camera's shutter release button half way down and then put the softbox back into place. This, of course, is not very convenient and is not a common use case, but may help in some situations.

LumiQuest Softbox III works well on camera, but it shines even more in off-camera setups. Having it set, let's say, from two to six feet from a person can produce great portraits. Also the large diffusing screen makes the unit suitable for many macro photography applications as well as product shooting. Obviously enough, Softbox III is not an all-around unit, but is a very well designed gadget for its own niche.

Here is a couple of sample shots taken with LumiQuest Softbox III:

LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: sample shot, mannequin LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser: sample shot, speaker

Also read: LumiQuest Softbox III flash diffuser test

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.





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