Best flashgun softboxes to improve your flash photography

Amateur Photographer

Whether you use on or off-camera flash, there’s a wide range of portable and affordable modifiers. James Abbott looks at four of the best options for bending flash to your will


Flashgun softboxes: things to consider

Fitting

Look for a softbox that connects easily and allows you to fix it to other flashes should you change camera systems in the future

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Storage

If you want to transport your portable softbox easily, always check how it folds and whether it will fit inside your camera bag

Diffuser panel

Some softboxes will offer more than one diffuser panel, giving you greater control over softening the light

Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox

Amateur Photographer


The main idea behind flashgun modifiers is that they are lightweight and compact, and the Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox ticks both boxes. As the name suggests, its diameter when assembled is 8in (20.3cm). This is small for a softbox, but on the flipside it weighs just 115g and folds down flat for transportation. This makes it possible to use the traveller8 at the top and bottom to make it circular, and the front diffuser attaches with Velcro. The softbox then attaches to your flashgun with Velcro tabs that hook to a Velcro band (included) that straps around the flash head.

This design means the softbox will fit most flashguns securely. The main downside to this product is that it’s small, so you won’t get quite the same level of light spread and diffusion as you would with a larger softbox. Plus, there’s only one diffuser panel, where a second would have been better for softening light. At £54, it is expensive, but it’s well made and incredibly portable. What’s more, the circular shape creates pleasing non-square catchlights in the eyes when shooting portraits.

SCORE: 3 out of 5

Interfit S-type Speedlight bracket and 60cm softbox

Amateur Photographer


If you’re serious about off-camera flash, and want the best lighting possible, you really need to consider a larger, more traditional-style softbox. The Interfit S-type Speedlight bracket and 60cm softbox is medium sized and comes with a flash bracket that allows you to attach it to a light stand, and tilt it up or down. It also allows you to attach Bowens S-type modifiers for increased versatility. The kit comes in a small carry case that belies the size of the pop-up softbox when assembled. At just 33x25x11cm, it’s fairly compact and packs away neatly. The softbox itself is quick and easy to assemble, taking just a couple of minutes at most. And with an inner and main diffuser, light is effectively diffused before reaching the subject. Packing down the kit is even quicker, making this a compelling option for the photographer on the go.

Overall, this softbox is nothing short of fantastic. The Bowens S-type bracket is strong and lets you attach your flashgun confidently without the flash taking any of the weight of the softbox. The ability to attach any Bowens S-type modifiers is great, although if your studio kit uses an Elinchrom or other mount you won’t benefit, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

Lastolite by Manfrotto Ezybox Pro Square Medium Softbox

Amateur Photographer


FOR photographers working with flashguns on location and studio flash indoors, the Lastolite by Manfrotto Ezybox Pro Square Medium Softbox works seamlessly across these two types of flash lighting. Available in small, medium and large, the medium option reviewed here is a premium competitor of the Interfit softbox.

The Ezybox is, like the other options, quick and easy to assemble. Two rigid sides are supported by two poles that make the softbox self-support. Inner and outer diffusers then attach via Velcro, and the high-quality material is said to block two stops of light. This is a lot for a flashgun, but the diffusion is excellent and no problem for more powerful flashes. A speedring mount is then placed at the back to allow a speedring or speedlight bracket to be attached.

The caveat here is that you have to buy an additional attachment for your flashgun or studio flash. The advantage, though, is that you can use the softbox with most popular lighting brands – a unique feature in this test. A Speedlight bracket or speedring for Bowens, Elinchrom, Profoto and Balcar costs £38 each, which is expensive considering the price of the actual softbox. However, excellent light diffusion and the ability to use the softbox with different lights is a huge bonus and it’s fantastic with more powerful studio and portable heads.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro

Amateur Photographer


If you’re looking for an all-round solution that can modify light in a number of ways, the Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro might be perfect for you. And not only can it be used as a white reflector panel, softbox and stripbox with grid, but also it packs down into carry case that’s shallow enough to be squeezed into the laptop section of a camera bag.

The FlashBender is made up of one main reflector panel that secures to a flashgun. The other attachments can then be secured to the front with Velcro, so it’s incredibly simple to use. And although the Rogue only offers a single diffuser panel, the flashgun is inserted into the bottom of the modifier while the light is bounced out of the front. This creates a second level of diffusion despite the single panel, which is a simple yet effective way of softening light.

The downside of this is that the flash head has to be aiming upwards with the Rogue attached by its secure strap. This is fine indoors or in calm outdoor conditions, but a little wind can force the head to tip forwards. This is a small issue that’s certainly more than outweighed by what you get in terms of modifier options for the price.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

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