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Review: Chimera Softbox Octa Speedring for Canon Speedlites and Nikon Speedlights

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Chimera Speedring with Softbox for Speedlites review (1 of 9)

Like many of you, I use on-camera flashes. In fact, I love them. If I don’t want to carry a giant monolight out, a speedlite (or speedlight for you Nikon users) can get the trick done with some use of the inverse square law and some smarts. I currently own the Photogenic SB2432 softbox that I absolutely adore. Adapting it required a bit of some trickery. But by using the Chimera Octa Speedring with on-camera flash adapter, I can actually use nearly any softbox there is with the exception of Westcott’s.

But is it really everything I need?

Gear Used

Tech Specs

Specs borrowed from the B&H Photo listing. I’m going to add to this that the entire thing is made of solid aluminum because whoever the writer is there did a terrible job.

Compatibility Most professional sized camera flash units with a height of 4.5 – 7.5″ (11.43 – 19 cm), measured from base to middle of the reflector.
Weight 1.0 lb (453g)

 

Educational Facts

Before we start:

- Any speedring can basically hold any softbox. Beauty dishes are another story.

- Any speedring cannot be adapted to any light. You’ll need adapter rings for that. This is because of the way that lights are designed.

Ergonomics

 

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up this speedring is just how solidly constructed it is. It came to me in a small box but it packs a bit of weight to it and feels as if it was designed to take major abuse. This goes for both the ring and the bracket.

The bracket lays on the ring in an L shape form. In fact, when you get the package together, you’ll need to screw the bracket on using the included screws. This is really a piece of cake.

Putting the flash in requires loosening the hot shoe foot holder and then adjusting the height using the according knob.

The bottom of the bracket features a tripod screw for mounting it onto a lightstand. The screw mechanism can be taken apart and placed in any one of the holes you choose.

Placing the flash is in simple enough as stated earlier. The same goes for adjustments of the height. You’ll want the flash to be as close to the inside of the softbox as you can to prevent light loss. That means moving the hot shoe foot holder in. But as you know, many on-camera flashes can be a bit bulky. And we haven’t even put on the wireless receiver yet.

With the radio receiver on, your flash will get a height boost. Depending on the design of your receiver, you may need to tilt the head another direction.

In Use

Chimera also includes a special sleeve in the box to go around the flash head and prevent light loss as well. You can see that in the photo above.

In practice, this is what I will have to mount onto a light stand when shooting.

Conclusion

I’ve shot a couple of times with this speedring, and I’m glad to report that it works just fine. With my old hack, the softbox would fall off of my flash unless someone held it in place. With the speedring, that doesn’t happen because it is so sturdy.

My only complaint is that it takes some fiddling around with to place your flash and receiver in just the right spot, but once you do you’ll be fine.

The speedring gets my highest recommendations for photographers looking to expand the capabilities of their on-camera flash; especially due to the minimal lightloss.

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