Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser review

Oct 26 2010

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 is an interesting hot shoe flash accessory for off-camera applications. It is quite large for a diffuser that attaches directly to a flash head, but at same time, it is lightweight and portable. The quality of the materials and the build is great, so the wear and tear shouldn't become an issue for years. If you care about how your equipment looks and want to impress your clients and friends, Pro Kit 6 can be of help, since the design and quality make it very appealing.

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 is made similarly to its little brother, Speedlight Pro Kit 4 Softbox. It utilizes the same silver-lined panels connected together with the help of snap fasteners. Using three panels instead of two changes the shape of the diffuser to a hexagon and gives it a significant increase in the size of the light source (97 sq. inches (626 sq. cm) vs. 40 sq. inches (258 sq. cm) of Pro Kit 4).

Attaching Speedlight Pro Kit 6, however, is not as easy as installing Speedlight Pro Kit 4. Because of its hexagonal shape, Pro Kit 6 does not fit onto a regular rectangular flash head, so two foam collars are included with the product (you pick the one that fits your particular flash better).

It may take some practice before you can install the Pro Kit 6 diffuser quickly, but the procedure is pretty straight forward and the included instructions are there to help should you have any difficulties.

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: whole package, 8 pieces Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: mounting foam collar
Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: side angle view Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: Velcro strap securing the diffuser
Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: reflector panels installed, no front diffuser Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: front diffuser

To achieve the even illumination of the front translusent panel, Speedlight Pro Kit 6 comes with a diffusion dome that is installed inside the diffuser to bounce light off of the sides. Besides that, the front diffusing panel features a honeycomb silver reflector at the center. It reduces the hot spot by letting the light through only partially and bouncing the rest back inside for further softening. According to our tests, the reflector at the center and the diffusion dome work very well regardless of the flash zoom setting. The way the front panel is illuminated is very similar for each flash zoom value. It means that unlike with some other portable softboxes, you don't really have to pay attention to the flash zoom to get the most out of your diffuser (please refer to LumiQuest Softbox III test for more details).

The images below show the light distribution pattern at 24mm (left) and 105mm (right) flash zoom settings.

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: light pattern at 24 mm flash zoom Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: light pattern at 105 mm flash zoom

In comparisson to other flash diffusers, Speedlight Pro Kit 6 is about 2 times smaller than Speedlight Pro Kit Beauty Dish, about 2 1/2 times larger than Speedlight Pro Kit 4 Softbox (top image below), about 2 times larger than Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox (bottom left image below), and about 20 percent larger than LumiQuest Softbox III (bottom right image below).

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: compared to Pro Kit 4 Softbox
Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: compared to Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: compared to LumiQuest Softbox III

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 disassembles in seconds and stores flat, which makes it very portable. The portability, however, comes at the price of carrying around eight different pieces of the diffuser, which may not be up to everyone's liking. Both the front and side panels fit into the laptop pocket of a gear bag, while other small parts can be placed anywhere in the bag.

The size of Pro Kit 6 makes it suitable for different kinds of applications, from macro and tabletop photography to portraiture. Below, you can find a few quick portrait examples taken with Speedlight Pro Kit 6.

The first setup includes two lights. Speedlight Pro Kit 6 is set to the right and above the subject. The distance from the diffuser to the subject is about 4 feet. The rim light with a Speedlight Pro Kit Grid is positioned to the subject's left.

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: portrait example, background shadow

The second setup is very similar to the one described above with the exception of the increased distance from the background and the grid being moved slightly behind the subject.

Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: portrait example Speedlight Pro Kit 6 flash diffuser: catchlight example

In short, Speedlight Pro Kit 6 is a professional grade flash diffuser, which is built to deliver years of service. It is designed for off-camera applications, and it is big enough to be used for portraits. Pro Kit 6 has a modular design and consists of multiple pieces, which potentially can be seen as a downside by some users, but it makes up for that by being portable.

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





Comments