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Old August 14th, 2003, 06:10 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
On camera lights with softbox

i know we've discussed it, but no one really had any experience. It was all heresay and guesswork.

Has anyone taken the plunge? Does anyone have anything to share?

I have to do a 50th aniversary and was toying with the idea of taking my medium (large chimerta) Photoflex. Then again, I could spend more money. My patriotic tyhing for our nations economy>
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Old August 15th, 2003, 03:46 PM   #2
Chimera Lighting
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Santa Cruz CA
Posts: 293
I don't understand your question.??

Can you tell me what light you have. Are you buying a lightbank or do you have one? Are you putting the bank on camera?
Let me know.
Thanks and break a leg
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Old August 15th, 2003, 05:40 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
n camera lights with softbox

I thought the header splained it. I'm looking at a rig that will camera mount and give me some difusion. I assumed that a run and gun sized softbox would fit the bill. I realize Chimera, westcott and Photoflex all have their own version.

I'm asking people who have experience with such a rig to comment. I'd like the most bang for my buck as well.

I also commented that I may just use a medium photoflex and mount it on a stand
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Old August 16th, 2003, 04:48 PM   #4
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Albany, NY 12210
Posts: 2,610
I've got the Chimera (with a Frezzi dimmer mini-fill) and I really like both. Sturdy construction, both, and the setup stores really nicely in my bag. I keep the light in the speed ring, and store it upside down in a bag compartment. Previously, I didn't have a good way of storing the light -- its an irregular shape, and was always bumping against my other equipment. The speed ring, which is square, holds it steady, and also protects the light from bumps. I just roll up the softbox and tuck it next to the speed ring to help hold things in place. For run and gun, the speed ring mounts really quickly, but it does take a few minutes to stick the metal poles in to attach the softbox.

The softbox throws the light wide and diffused enough that if you use it sparingly, it doesn't look like you're using any light at all. I also don't get any problems with red eye either. Having used this setup, I couldn't live without it now. Photoflex makes really good stuff, and I'm sure their softbox is good (it's what B&H recommended to me when they didn't have the Chimera in stock), but I figured this would be the only chance I would get to own a piece of gear that says "Chimera" on it for a while. :) I don't know what the dimensions of the screen are on the Photoflex, but the bigger the better -- it gives you more diffusion.

For the light, I chose the mini-fill over the mini-sun gun (real cute 10 watt HMI) because I thought I would need the extra light output, and I find that I don't need it as often as I thought. Given that the mini-sun gun offers the equivalent of about 50 watts tungsten and uses much, much less juice, I plan to add one to my gear some time. I find that you can control the light output somewhat by pointing the light down, and letting reflected light do the job, so that the fixed wattage of the sun gun wouldn't really be as much of a problem as I had thought. Also, the screens on the softbox come in saeveral different thicknesses.

By the way, the prices on the Frezzi's seemed excessive at first, but the minute I opened the box and picked up the light I felt good about the purchase. Very rugged, and obviously designed so that it can be repaired if necessary. The light makes no noise that I can hear, and color balance shifts seem minimal on the dimmer. I also own a set of Frezzi barn doors and diffuser for the light. The diffuser works okay, but just isn't enough. The mount is machined so precisely that you can't remove or put the barn doors on when the light is hot.
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Old August 16th, 2003, 07:45 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
I use the Photoflex with a NRG Varilight Pro behind it. Using the 100 light bulb, we varied the output between 60 and 100%.

The last setting was a 16th birthday party in a restaurant with blue and red neon lights around the perimeter of the room at the top of the walls and mini-par bulbs sunk into the low ceiling. Dark too and natural light modified by plastic on the front windows came streaming in on one side of the stage.

This combo filled in the shadows and none of the footage looks like we lit it at all. Very natural. Way better than I imagined when I first reviewed the room the week before the party.

Nobody squinted when the light was on either.

Is there a catch? Yup, It gets heavy and by necessity has to sit up off the camera quite a bit. I put it on my DSR-300 and was even able to walk around without any balance problem, powering the light with a battery belt.

It also is quite ugly I might mention.

Not certain how comfortable I'd be with the rig hanging on the shoe on my PD150. I think that would be a lot of strain on the whole rig.

The weight of the setup stuck up there changes the center of mass of the camera system and necessitates changes in camera placement on a tripod and in counterbalance and drag setting for the tripod.

Here is where a HMI would pay off with the much lower light but high light output I think.

It would also lower the battery consumption. I switched off two battery belts and was barely able to keep the light going all the time. Good thing I had quick chargers for the belts.

The Photoflex does not require an attachment for the light. It has an adjustable support frame for the softlight 'box' and you can adjust the way everything attaches. The light just pokes in the rear of the open softbox frame. I found no problems with bothersome light leaking in this environment. The box stayed fairly cool too.

I bought the Photoflex when I visited the Frezzi booth at NAB 2002, salivating over their HMI lighting and they were using the photoflex and highly recommended it. So I bought one from one of the dealers on the floor.
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
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Old August 17th, 2003, 08:46 AM   #6
Regular Crew
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 138
I just bought the Photoflex, myself.

Nice little softbox... although I think that I will wind up ripping it eventually (it's the way the interior rods hold it together)

I plan to use it tonight for the first time.
If you're not the lead dog...
the scenery never changes
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