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02-26-2019, 04:34 AM   #1
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Running & Gunning Softbox?

So now that I seem to feel as though my Roundflash (with my AF360FGZII) has some 'outdoor 2-3m back from subject' limitations due to it's effectiveness, I am now considering looking for something else to use for outdoor HSS running and gunning.

My current situation is limiting because;
  • Roundflash Softbox is designed to be fitted around the lens and not perhaps overly effective off camera?
  • The only hotshoe flash I have is the AF360FGZII which is perhaps underpowered for HSS work
  • However even the AF540FGZII is perhaps limited as well due to the fact that HSS only works in P-TTL mode with these flashes

So my thought process was to see if I could hold my camera in one hand, V6ii trigger on top, trigger a RF60x being held by my other hand and a suitable softbox that might work for that RF60x unit (I actually have two RF60x's... so if the softbox could actually accommodate two then I might get more power that way also...).

The only softboxes I have are large 120cm Octagon type things, too large to carry for running and gunning stuff. I may even go to the lengths of using a tripod, keep the legs together and use like a mono pod for extra distance of flash from camera, or spread the legs of the tripod and stand the flash up for the shot for a second or two etc. The idea is the flash is in 1/1 power mode always, I chimp and adjust my distance more than actually mess with settings, I just want it to be cable of doing HSS (which Cactus RF60x's can do in 1/1 power mode) and therefore soften the light and reduce it's harshness factor (as good as we can for HSS circumstances that is).

So yeah, basically wondering what kinda suitable small portable softboxes might be useful, ones that are not intended to be on camera (as those are pretty poor).

Cheers!

02-26-2019, 06:24 AM   #2
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I'd recommend an umbrella because it's lightweight and quick to set up and often cheap. You could use a shoot through, or reflective umbrella. If you really want to soften the light more then you could look at an umbrella diffusor that slides over the umbrella and provides diffusion. Profoto offer these to fit their various umbrellas, naturally given their price point their offering is quite/very expensive, another option might be to just get a cheaper umbrella and some diffusion fabric and make your own diffusor.

in terms of using two Cactus flash units, I'm not sure but I can't see any reason why you couldn't put two in an umbrella just as easily as a soft box (if not easier).
02-26-2019, 07:46 AM   #3
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Matching power with the sun and outdoors means fall off is strong. Its not like the bounce off a wall will impact much where a softbox and grids help alot. A straight bracket attaching a flash and a large bounce card might work great. You could hold the bracket and even put a grip on it and make it fold down. Just hold the flash and angle the card towards the subject. I might diy this myself.
02-26-2019, 07:56 AM   #4
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You could get a grip style mount and use regular softboxes for it.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01LOS9N3Q/?tag=pentaxforums-20&coliid=I1TT09XBK...v_ov_lig_dp_it

02-26-2019, 08:08 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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Yes, umbrellas are cheap and there's loads to choose from. I think we can pretty much forget about reflective ones for sunny outdoors HSS work however, the power loss is just too great for the light to reach far enough to be practical. Shoot through might work though, and especially if Bruce can use both RF60x's in tandem. The light spread is wide but that might be helpful for the "running and gunning" scenarios where things are quite mobile, so less need for precision.

The realty for me in the Uk is that umbrellas outdoors are impossible due to wind, and unpredictable sudden little gusts that send the brollies flying and I'm jumping to try and grab the flashes before they smash down. Luckily I've only damaged umbrellas so far, not flashes, but I don't take the risks now. My 24' x '24 softbox is stable on a wide legged stand outdoors, but this requires time to set up and exact placement of the subject, so it needs a slower studio like approach to things. But anything smaller is going to produce harder light, and frankly outdoors with a mix of ambient and flash light you're then better off just using on camera bare flash for fill. ......

---------- Post added 26-02-19 at 15:43 ----------

Honestly, I wonder if for the purposes you are thinking of Bruce, whether there's really any point to using a diffuser at all ? Perhaps its just not worth the extra work and consequent power loss …. ?

Here's a few examples of mine where I took the attitude that its not worth the bother. These all mix ambient and flash exposures ( so there's ambient light playing on the faces, but the flash helps it out by reducing contrast) …. they are all taken with bare, direct on camera flash (AF-540FGZII) …. in some there might be a 1/4 CTO gel.




































I'm just not sure if these could really be significantly better if I'd gone to the massively extra effort to use diffusion and managing lightstands etc etc …… ?

Last edited by mcgregni; 02-26-2019 at 08:52 AM.
02-26-2019, 10:19 AM   #6
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If pure fill I think mcgregni is right.

I just did a quick trial with my bounce idea. Flash was to close to the bounce about handwidth. Bounce hit at handlength. And spread bounce nicely. I could stand 2 arms away and hold the bounce at arms length. At f6.3 1/2000 went from silhouette to fairly soft wrap around fill.
A little longer bracket and a bounce card cut to just catch all the flash and no more so wind is minimal.
02-26-2019, 12:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dericali Quote
I'd recommend an umbrella because it's lightweight and quick to set up and often cheap. You could use a shoot through, or reflective umbrella. If you really want to soften the light more then you could look at an umbrella diffusor that slides over the umbrella and provides diffusion. Profoto offer these to fit their various umbrellas, naturally given their price point their offering is quite/very expensive, another option might be to just get a cheaper umbrella and some diffusion fabric and make your own diffusor.

in terms of using two Cactus flash units, I'm not sure but I can't see any reason why you couldn't put two in an umbrella just as easily as a soft box (if not easier).
Thanks, I'll try that and test the results (think I have a couple of diffuser umbrellas kicking about that I have never really tried utilising like this).

QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Matching power with the sun and outdoors means fall off is strong. Its not like the bounce off a wall will impact much where a softbox and grids help alot. A straight bracket attaching a flash and a large bounce card might work great. You could hold the bracket and even put a grip on it and make it fold down. Just hold the flash and angle the card towards the subject. I might diy this myself.
Not sure I follow your setup, any pics to illustrate?

QuoteOriginally posted by Navmaxlp Quote
You could get a grip style mount and use regular softboxes for it.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01LOS9N3Q/?tag=pentaxforums-20&coliid=I1TT09XBK...v_ov_lig_dp_it
That grip style looks ideal actually! Can you get ones that would allow for two speedlights to be stuffed through the hole?

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Yes, umbrellas are cheap and there's loads to choose from. I think we can pretty much forget about reflective ones for sunny outdoors HSS work however, the power loss is just too great for the light to reach far enough to be practical.
Yeah, that's been my experience when trying with a 120cm reflective umbrella octagon softbox. I mean it works in lower light (dusk) and if the setup is close to subject, but it's pretty much studio hassle now and not what I want to be doing. I think it has the be shoot through, if possible catering for double speedlights....


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
... The realty for me in the Uk is that umbrellas outdoors are impossible due to wind, and unpredictable sudden little gusts that send the brollies flying and I'm jumping to try and grab the flashes before they smash down. Luckily I've only damaged umbrellas so far, not flashes, but I don't take the risks now. My 24' x '24 softbox is stable on a wide legged stand outdoors, but this requires time to set up and exact placement of the subject, so it needs a slower studio like approach to things. But anything smaller is going to produce harder light, and frankly outdoors with a mix of ambient and flash light you're then better off just using on camera bare flash for fill. Honestly, I wonder if for the purposes you are thinking of Bruce, whether there's really any point to using a diffuser at all ? Perhaps its just not worth the extra work and consequent power loss . ?
Australia is a bit more predictable. If it's a still day in the morning, it's still all day, when it's windy its tornado! But having spent half my life in the UK I fully understand your issues

Well that's where I'm at right now... go bare, or try for something that is a little more flattering. I've posted this question elsewhere and a lot of the suggestions are to move to godox and ad200's. That's cool advice an' all but this guy needs to stay with Cactus for a few more months/year, I just can't afford a platform switch and also I'm wanting to explore what is possible in terms of pushing the envelope of traditional speedlights etc.

I think you've seen my examples in my other thread where I did just go bare flash (but erring more towards actual flash shots than just fill, which I think you're starting to understand is 'more my thang')








So yeah, just wondering if I can handhold the flash, or put on a light tripod with a softbox and give a softer light whilst 'punching the subject out' of the scene more than just fill light etc. Simply looking for something other than the roundflash to do some on location outdoor flash work

Nice example shots by the way



QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
If pure fill I think mcgregni is right.

I just did a quick trial with my bounce idea. Flash was to close to the bounce about handwidth. Bounce hit at handlength. And spread bounce nicely. I could stand 2 arms away and hold the bounce at arms length. At f6.3 1/2000 went from silhouette to fairly soft wrap around fill.
A little longer bracket and a bounce card cut to just catch all the flash and no more so wind is minimal.
I need pics, I'm not sure I follow your set up :S
02-26-2019, 01:57 PM   #8
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Imagine a selfie stick with a bounce card instead of a phone with the flash at the handle. Looks like this P__/
Try taping a flash to the umbrella handle and having the model hold it up. Same idea. With the afg360 it's enough for bounce this close at f5.6 with the weaker HSS.
The main difference is with a stick you can mount the stick to a tripod in the middle at the balance point. Then the flash goes closer to the subject and the bounce farther away.

02-26-2019, 03:34 PM   #9
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Why not just get the Godox S bracket.. Then you can use whatever modifier or umbrella you prefer...?
02-26-2019, 04:21 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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This is me holding camera with right hand, Pentax 540 in my extended left with very small Acon radio triggers. A small softbox that folds flat is attached, but if you're likely to run into people in a crowd, a Rogue Flashbender (big as you can get) is perfect.

It's not fill, it's the keylight, so I'm looking to create both highlights and shadows to honour the 3D subject.


02-28-2019, 03:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Imagine a selfie stick with a bounce card instead of a phone with the flash at the handle. Looks like this P__/
Try taping a flash to the umbrella handle and having the model hold it up. Same idea. With the afg360 it's enough for bounce this close at f5.6 with the weaker HSS.
The main difference is with a stick you can mount the stick to a tripod in the middle at the balance point. Then the flash goes closer to the subject and the bounce farther away.
I understand now. cool.

QuoteOriginally posted by stub Quote
Why not just get the Godox S bracket.. Then you can use whatever modifier or umbrella you prefer...?
Might just do that! Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
This is me holding camera with right hand, Pentax 540 in my extended left with very small Acon radio triggers. A small softbox that folds flat is attached, but if you're likely to run into people in a crowd, a Rogue Flashbender (big as you can get) is perfect.

It's not fill, it's the keylight, so I'm looking to create both highlights and shadows to honour the 3D subject.

Hmm... I hadnt heard of the Rogue Flashbender, but it made me think of my Magbounce so I spend some time this evening testing it out properly. It seems I have overlooked some of it's functionality, it's more useful than the sphere (which isn't hard, the sphere is quite gimmicky).
In the past I've used the Magbounce indoors only really, and when I tried it outside I was angled wrong and not a lot of light hitting the subject. Today I did a much better job and I think replicated some results similar to what a small softbox or perhaps a Flashbender could manage.
I took a series of shots and recorded which image/file name had what attached, I'll post the results later on this weekend when I have some time to properly sort them. I think tho I'm sorted, just use Magbounce
I'll be interested to hear on some of your feed back from the images I upload in due course, see if you think it can be much improved or pretty decent for what is considered a pretty sleek and discreet set up.
02-28-2019, 07:42 AM - 1 Like   #12
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How about a Joe McNally discreet strobe hss set up?😀
Strobist: Joe McNally Desert Shoot
02-28-2019, 08:33 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
That grip style looks ideal actually! Can you get ones that would allow for two speedlights to be stuffed through the hole?
I've not seen any that allow two regular flashes to be mounted simultaneously. There is an adapter for the Godox AD200 that will allow you to mount two of those into a similar S type mount but they are more expensive and only work on that specific type of strobe (also made under the Flashpoint branding and called the eVOLV 200)

QuoteOriginally posted by stub Quote
Why not just get the Godox S bracket.. Then you can use whatever modifier or umbrella you prefer...?
The grip type mount is a bowen S bracket mount but has a grip on the bottom of it. You bring up a good point however that a simple bowen S type bracket would be cheaper and since both can be mounted to a hand held extender, it might make sense.
02-28-2019, 02:02 PM   #14
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There is an extension piece for the "S" Bracket that will hold upto 3 flashes.
03-01-2019, 09:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
How about a Joe McNally discreet strobe hss set up?😀
Strobist: Joe McNally Desert Shoot
That made me laugh

--------------

So here are the pictures I took in my garden with my trusty assistance 'Davo' to help me out. My purpose of this outing was to see the difference between the Magbounce vs Roundflash vs No Flash etc. I didn't really do any bare flash shots as I kinda know what to expect from those kinda shots already. Flash provided from v6ii and one single RF60x
It was dusk and I deliberately chose some challenging lighting conditions. If you pay attention to the backdrop you will see there are strong shadows being cast, big contrast between bright and dark spots. Davo was of course in the shade. Shots taken RAW but used in camera Jpg conversion, seen absolutely no adjustments, just Jpg exports.

Shots 5591-5592 and 5593-5594 were tripoded (both cam and flashes), with the flashes about 2.5-3m away from subject, position camera left.

Shots 5596-5597 and 5603-5604 were handheld, camera right hand, Cactus RF60x left hand, Live View Face Detection mode.

The shots;

5591-5592



5593-5994



5596-5597



5603-5604



My take away message was;

1) 200mm zoom or 80mm, it didn't seem to make a difference through the Magbounce or Roundflash, results looked the same.
2) Angling the Magbounce correctly gave more power and light to the subject than the Roundflash at the equivalent distance.
3) There didn't seem to be much of a difference between using 1/1 power with the magbounce vs P-ttl +5.0, which is interesting. It might be that the extra +3.0 EV steps that I get with the Cactus RF60x/V6ii vs/over the hotshoe AF360FGZII/540II (which only gives +2.0 in P-TTL mode) actually matters. It turns the P-TTL from being biased towards being a fill light to actually being a key light?
4) Overall the Magbounce was producing not too bad shadows on the subject. If you inspect the model's face the nose shadows in particular are softer than what bare flash gives (a straight edged shadow). Not bad for something that is uber slick and easy to bring/stow away.

I want to do some further testing, I might even consider buying a second Magbounce (I already have a second maggrip), if I could build some kind of rig that involves a nice handle, something that allows for two RF60x's to be attached to it, then have two Magbounces for more power, the results might be even better!

Here's another SOOC, this time taken later at the end of the session, you can see now on my lawn that the sun is well and truly going down, the lawn no longer showing the strong contrasting light. I could now ease up on the -2ev and I think this was taken Av P-TTL -0.7 ev, Magbounce. The shadow on the nose is still kinda harsh but not too bad, and possibly overdid the power here a little bit which probably contributes to that;

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