Phottix introduced an Octabank earlier this year that is not only collapsible, but also fairly large at 43 inches. In the right situations, you can get some beautiful and soft light, but the overall feeling that you can get is also very punchy. And for the person interested in shooting fashion, this modifier is an invaluable and affordable piece of your kit.
Pros and Cons
– Super portable when attached to the light
– Very quick to breakdown and put together
– Nice build and design overall
– Beautiful and punchy light output that is both soft and harsh at the same time.
– There is only so much that you can do with an octabank.
For this review, we used the Phottix 43 inch Octa with the Einstein E640 light, the Nikon D800, and the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens.
One of the most important things that you need to know is that the interior of the Octa is silver–so any light output that you have will automatically have more punch to it. Because of its design, the silver also gets wrinkled a bit, which causes it to act a bit like a silver beaded interior.
In order to give it its shape, you need to snap these ribs into place. Snapping them the other way lets you break down the Octa to make it easier to tote around.
To use the Octa, you need to first put an interior diffuser to prevent any hot spots from forming. This is attached via velcro, which is very standard for Octa designs.
Then to soften the light even more, you’ll need to put the exterior diffuser on. This is attached just by slipping it on and over the outside.
To assemble the unit, one needs to snap all of the sections together. But it isn’t as tough as inputting rods into a speedring. Instead, Phottix uses a system that forms ribs and that keeps each section sturdy and in place. It’s quite nice in real life use and lets you set up very quickly.
On top of that, nothing about the ribs or the octabank feels cheaply built.
Light Output and Evenness
We metered each section of the Octabank with a handheld light meter and found the light output to be very even. When the exterior diffuser is taken off, the light output becomes stronger on the outside. Because of this, you can’t really use it as a beauty dish–which would instead need a reflective panel on the inside.
At 43 inches, we’d mostly recommend it for tight headshots or fashion. For the latter, it delivers a beautiful look. Granted, an Octa is an Octa, so it can’t mimic the look of an umbrella or softbox.
Overall image quality of the Octa is bright, punchy, and really beautiful. Octa banks deliver a very particular look that is very highly valued in the fashion world, and so that is something that we strongly recommend that you use this for.
Here are a couple of other sample images.
The Phottix Octabank does the job that it is intended to do. And if you’re looking for this particular look, then it will satisfy you to no end. The American Apparel, Terry Richardson, and direct flash look is very highly prized by many folks and editors. But for our uses, we prefer something a bit more versatile. This is why we love parabolic umbrellas so much.
Comparing the two is like apples and oranges though, and if you need the high fashion look, then this Octabank will do wonders for you.
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