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The Photogenic SB2432: Best Speedlite Softbox Ever?

The Cardinal Rule of photography is that boredom leads to creativity. The other day while bored in my room, I started playing around with the Photogenic SB2432 softbox. It’s an awesome light modifier being 24 x 32″. Then I tried to figure out how I could get a speedlite in there for extra portability. After some very quick experimentation, the result is something delivers security to your flash and softbox while delivers some really amazing light output.

So how did I do it?

Gear Used

Canon 580 EX II

Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible

Photogenic 24 x 32″ Softbox kit

Phottix Odin TTL Wireless Radio Triggers

The Hack

Set up the Photogenic softbox as usual. First off, it’s important to note that the box comes with a speedring to be fitted onto their lights. The problem is that there are so many different lighting mounts and trying to adapt a hot shoe flash onto one is quite difficult to do unless you have brackets. Right?

Wrong.

Harkening back to my beauty dish hack, I’ve come to realize that the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible, though an excellent light modifier by itself, can also be used for much more. Indeed, I’ve come to think of it almost as gaffers tape for flashes. Why? Because it fixes so many problems.

To make this hack work, I simply extended the Lightsphere Collapsible, bent it inward and shoved it into the back of the speedring. Then I went into the softbox and flattened out the Lightsphere so that it wouldn’t block any light coming from the flash head.

Now came the tricky part: this is a tight squeeze for a 580 EX II but a 430 EX II can make it with no problems. Carefully try to shove the flash into the end of the Lightsphere so that the connection between the softbox and the flash is tight.

Once that’s done, close up the front of the softbox using the Velcro diffusion panel.

Now I hooked up the Phottix Odin TTL trigger to my 580 EX II and put the transmitter on my 5D Mk II. For best results, I like to start at 1/4 output and adjust my F stop accordingly when I need to.

Words of warning: unless done right, there can be a couple of hazards:

- The Lightsphere can fold inwards.

- The flash can fall out unless positioned correctly. Therefore this can be tough when on a light stand. However, with an assistant holding the light, you can often get the best results.

Results

This photo was shot with the softbox positioned camera left with my speedlite going off at 1/16th power. Here are a couple more samples. They were highly unedited; only sharpening and clarity adjustments were applied.

All photos were shot by myself, Joseph Carey, Joshua Wright, and John Faison:

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