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Old April 12th, 2008, 11:13 PM   #1
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Any Rifa eXchange softbox users here?

I'm primarily a still photographer but I'm building up my video lighting kit and was interested in the Lowel Rifa eXchange softbox. It seems a little pricey for what you get but was wondering if anybody had any experience with these fixtures....good or bad. Also, are you using the tungsten bulb fixtures or the FL's? Finally, for a single, talking head sit-down interview situation, which size do you find best?
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Old April 13th, 2008, 02:52 AM   #2
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I have several Rifa lights, but the Tungsten model, not the Ex model.

The new Ex model is the same as the older one but has the exchangeable lamp base so you can use CFLs -- which is fantastic I believe.

I think the Rifas are great. They set up quickly, close down quickly and give nice light. Other softboxes work, but they are often time comsuming to setup and are not as nifty and easy to setup.

For one person interviews the Rifa 55 is probably a good choice. You should also get grids -- probably the middle angle (40-45 degree).

I would suggest you try to see the lights before you buy.

The flourescent option is bulkier, but cool. I think both the tungsten and flourescent versions have uses. Since the flourescent base is extra, you can start with the tungsten.

Rifa lights probably have the best resale value of any of the softboxes from what I've seen.

Here's a link to the Rifa 55, separately (a Top Seller) and in kits.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feeback, Jack. I've been using electronic flash softboxes for years but this will be the first time I'll have bought a new system based around "hot" lights. The usual problems I've associated with cheaply built softboxes occur around the corners (where the box anchors to the rods) or with yellowing of the interior or diffuser panels. I presently have two identical 6' softboxes that were both made by the same manufactureer (Photoflex) and they couldn't be MORE different in color temp. One of them has yellowed noticeably internally (the diffuser panel looks fine) so getting balanced color is nearly impossible without having to gel one of the strobe heads. I always wanted to buy Chimera but never could afford it. In hindsight, it would have been better in the long run to get the more expensive brand. I'm trying to avoid that problem again. Does the foil interior of your Rifa hold up well if you are using the tungsten bulbs? Does the construction (overall) seem pretty robust? Thanks again for any help you can offer.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #4
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I have found the Rifa lights to be exceptionally well-built, very sturdy, holding up very well. The silver also holds up. The material of the umbrella/reflector is a heavy canvas. The diffuser panel is sturdy and well made. The panel is made like a shoe lid, with an edge that fits over the umbrella. There are four gromets, one in each corner, that fit over the corner ribs. Velcro pieces in the middle of the diffuser keep the diffuser in place.

They open like an umbrealla (but don't pull on the cable) and the diffuser cloth goes on in seconds -- as well as does a grid if you have one.

The lights come with a heavy canvas bag for storage and porting.

All the parts are replaceable.

There are several dealers in Tampa. If you are able I suggest you look at the lights so you can see the construcition, how they operate and the sizes:
http://www.lowel.com/dealers.html
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Old April 13th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #5
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A lot of these places are "dealers" in name only. They don't stock much of anything that you can touch or operate ".....but we can have it here for you in a few days!!" I guess it's the unfortunate result of buying gear off of the web. The days of being able to walk into a brick-and-mortar camera store are numbered. In Tampa Bay, we are down to ONE pro-level camera store (North Tampa Photo) and they aren't doing all that well either. That's why forums like this are SO helpful. Thanks again.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 03:51 PM   #6
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anyone know what they put out at a standard distance/shutter/aperture.

Such as 320iso 1/48th f 3.0 at what distance?

And if you have tungsten vs fluorescent and which model?
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Old April 14th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Eastwood View Post
anyone know what they put out at a standard distance/shutter/aperture.

Such as 320iso 1/48th f 3.0 at what distance?

And if you have tungsten vs fluorescent and which model?
If you can do the conversions from Lux or Foot Candles, here's the page with the output charts using all the different lamps:

http://www.lowel.com/rifa/rifa55_b.html#info

dave
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