Lighting: Softbox Lighting Vesres Umbrella Lights - What works best for digital?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by - \(James\), Aug 18, 2004.

  1. - \(James\)

    - \(James\) Guest

    What are the pros and cons of continuous Soft-Box Lighting Verses Umbrella


    - \(James\), Aug 18, 2004
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  2. - \(James\)

    Hunt Guest

    Only two cons - one each:
    1.) hot-light softboxes build up a lot of heat
    2.) umbrella lighting is usually "harder" than through a softbox

    Now, umbrellas can get hot and burn too, but are less likely if you are
    careful. For a softer look with umbrellas (Lowell in my case), I'll often fire
    the light through the umbrella.

    Now, one thought would be to construct a shooting arena using wooden frames
    and herculeen (drafting film), or Rosco-lux diffusion material. The un-
    modified lights would be placed behind these panels and their distance, plus
    the instrument's reflector design, and adjustment would control the light.
    Calumet Photo (IL, US) sold plastic tube frames with various panels for
    diffusion and reflection, and I'm certain that there are many other outlets.
    Those kits were fairly compact and required no more setup than an average
    soft-box. This also puts a bit of a shield between the pet and the light

    Just some thoughts,
    Hunt, Aug 18, 2004
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  3. - \(James\)

    - \(James\) Guest

    Thank you Hunt. I guess I should of mentioned that this operation will be on
    the road, coming to their home. It has to fit on my car and assemble

    Thank you for you wonderful input.

    - \(James\), Aug 18, 2004
  4. - \(James\)

    - \(James\) Guest

    CORRECTION: It needs to fit into my car's large trunk

    - \(James\), Aug 18, 2004
  5. - \(James\)

    Hunt Guest


    In that case, another thing to think about is the type of circuit that you are
    likely to find in a residential setting. In US, 15amp is about the most you
    can hope for, so you need to be concerned about how many lamps, and how many
    circuits you can likely access, that do not have other appliances, etc. on
    them. Even in commercial settings, I have to spread my hot-lights around and
    run a ton of chords to keep from tripping breakers, or blowing fuses. You
    might want to consider lower wattage units, with very effective reflectors,
    and efficient material for diffusion. In US a company called BD used to sell a
    heat resistant diffusion material in roll, called "diffuse." I have all I
    need, so I have not attempted to buy in last 8 years. Its light absorption
    properties were better than most cloth, but it did a great job of diffusing
    the light.

    Also, if you are UK, or Europe, you might want to carry various sizes of
    fuses. I guess the same could be said for parts of US too. Otherwise, ask
    where the breaker panel is, just after you inquire, "you do have your
    checkbook handy, don't you?" <G>

    Good luck
    Hunt, Aug 19, 2004

  6. When it comes to lighting control, there are absolutely no differences
    between film or digital.

    Dwight Stewart
    Dwight Stewart, Aug 19, 2004
  7. Light is light regardless of if there's a sensor or film in the back of
    your camera.
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 19, 2004
  8. - \(James\)

    BillB Guest

    Unless the diffused and reflected light is traveling towards the
    back of a camera containing a roll of IR film. Not a typical shoot,
    but something a pro should and would know.
    BillB, Aug 19, 2004
  9. Who said anything about infrared?
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 19, 2004
  10. - \(James\)

    Fitpix Guest

    BUT the quality/type of light will differ greatly between an umbrella and a
    softbox. No mention of film vs digi here.
    Fitpix, Aug 19, 2004
  11. - \(James\)

    Fitpix Guest

    James one thing I did (using studio strobes) was take a traditional umbrella
    set up and then covered it w a translucent white fabric nylon (it is like
    tent material) and attached it w velcro. Similar to the Photek soflighter
    ( ). Also I read the posts by you in
    reverse and I saw you complained about the eyes on animals glowing, with the
    off camera light (hot or flash) you won't need to worry much. When I have
    had people bring dogs in I get good results making a clicking noise or
    kissing noise to get the dog's attention.....cats well if you learn to get
    their attention you have surpassed 87.3% of the human population LOL!

    Sorry to ramble a bit, best of luck to you!
    Fitpix, Aug 19, 2004
  12. - \(James\)

    Fitpix Guest

    my bad...was in the title that was truncated by my newsreader...... still
    the quality of umbrella vs softbox is different
    Fitpix, Aug 19, 2004
  13. - \(James\)

    BillB Guest

    I did. Couldn't you tell? :) You are the one that said "Light
    is light" and as far as I can determine, infrared is light, not a
    floor wax. I've used IR film a time or two, and my Nikkor lens said
    "Yeah boss, it looks like light to me. Better take care focusing!"
    BillB, Aug 19, 2004
  14. - \(James\)

    D.R. Guest

    He shoots, he scores! :p
    D.R., Aug 20, 2004
  15. - \(James\)

    BillB Guest

    Shucks, I missed a chance to call him an imbecile for knowing so
    little about light. Guess I haven't yet reached his level of
    perfection. With luck I never will. :)
    BillB, Aug 20, 2004
  16. Dickwad...
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 20, 2004
  17. - \(James\)

    D.R. Guest

    "Randall Ainsworth" <> spouted unpleasantries in message
    Another Gem. Thanks for not disappointing me. :)
    D.R., Aug 21, 2004
  18. Well, let's recap.

    Someone asked a question about lighting. I gave a generic answer. So
    you retort with some off-the-wall comment that was stupid.
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 21, 2004
  19. - \(James\)

    brian Guest

    It is a physical and mental impossibility for YOU to give any kind of helpful answer to any kind of question, although perhaps you may have slipped a little on this one, you were almost helpful with "light is light", but unfortunatley you are wrong...........
    MORON!!!, IDIOT!!!, my god , dont' you know ANYTHING?????.
    not very nice to recieve an answer like that, is it Randall.

    Actually, Light is variable. Light can be diffracted, refracted. Light can be different colours, Light can be different temperatures, ever heard or the SPECTRUM??, the spectrum of light contians many different colours of light all at different temperatures , there are even colours of light outside the visible spectrum, Infra red, Ultra violet. light can be intense or soft, Light can be directed. different films and film speeds can change the way light is viewed, use a soft box on a harsh Flash unit, and it softens the light so that the light falls evenly over the entire subject, casting softer shadows and flattering the subject, use flash on its own and the light is harsh and powerful, leaving heavy shadows and showing every blemish on the subject, umberella's reflect light back onto the subject, therefore the light falling on the subject will be stronger and harsher than the soft box, but softer than the flash itself, even the flash can be changed in intensity, giving harder or softer shadows, the backdrop can have an influence on the way the light hits the subject too, simply by firing light directly onto the backdrop itself can eliminate or soften shadows. it is even possible to change a black bacldrop to white by simply firing more light at it. But it also comes down to preference, whether you like using umberella's or softboxes, or even a combination of both.
    I thought a "professional Photographer " like yourself Randall, would have known this, particularly as you claim to have done studio work during your "career"

    brian, Aug 21, 2004

  20. Are you sure of that, Brian? At the same size and distance, I would expect
    a white umbrella to provide slightly softer subject lighting than a softbox.
    Light bounced through an umbrella is spread over a wider area, producing
    less intense light at any given point in front of it. Whereas, since a
    softbox limits the spread of light, the intensity should be greater in front
    of it. That intensity is further increased by the flash head aimed at the
    subject versus away from the subject with the umbrella. Of course, all that
    would clearly change as the softbox is increased in size beyond that of a
    normal umbrella and then moved closer to the subject.

    Dwight Stewart, Aug 21, 2004
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