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Old December 14th, 2003, 06:45 PM   #1
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Best light for softbox?

I need a softbox that will be used primarily on a boom stand to act as a key over people's heads. I was thinking of a medium Photoflex Silverdome with a Starlight, mainly because it's so light and is advertised as being exceptionally bright, despite its narrow dimensions. Still, people in here are constantly saying that Chimera is much better than Photoflex, and for an extra $100 I'm considering getting a small Chimera. I also like the apparent wider variety of screens that Chimera makes. So, my question is, what would be a good light for what I want to do? I would like to have the option of going up to 1,000 watts, or at least 750. I think any kind of fresnel would be way too heavy, and the length of softboxes designed for fresnels look really inconvenient to me. I'd like something very light, rugged, portable, and efficient. I like the way the Starlight pokes into the softbox, but I don't think Chimera makes a speed ring for it. Also, being able to use scrims would be a big plus, which you can't do with a Starlight. My emphasis here is on getting the most convenient and efficient light for use on a boom stand, so I'm not so worried about getting something that has a lot of other applications, although if it did, I guess that would be a bonus. Anyone have any recommendations?
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Old December 14th, 2003, 08:52 PM   #2
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Marco,
I like to use a Lowell Tota in my soft boxes. It's a very light, compact fixture for which speed rings are readily available. Frankly, it's hard to find many applications for the Tota other than soft boxes, since they are completely open-faced and their light sprays everywhere. It works well on a boom, due mainly to its lightness.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:13 PM   #3
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The Tota is the ideal light for a softbox. It has a very broadcoverage, roughly the same shape as a softbox. The light is reflected off the walls of the box and then difused through the baffles. The tota reflectors can be set beyond 180 degrees

Many other lights won't be fully diffused, the light will shine straight through the baffles and not reflect off of the softboxes sides.

The Tota is alsoinexpensive, only $110 at B&H. It folds down to nothing and it's very inexpensive to relamp. Lamps are easily found. In a pinch, you can relamp it using a worklight bulb. The color temp may be off a few hundredK but you're still in business.

You can also use the GE HIR lamps in the Tota. That gives you 1000 watts worth of light in a 650 watt HIR lamp. 2 Totas with the HIR would still be legal on a 15 amp circuit (10.8 amps)

Chimera and Photoflex speedrings are interchangeable. The rods and fabric of the chimera will work with a photoflex speed ring and vica versa.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 10:15 PM   #4
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I actually have two Totas, so logically it makes sense to convert one of them over. (I was planning to use the Totas in conjunction with the softbox.) I have to say, it feels weird buying a $126 speed ring for a $110 light. I didn't realize that I could use a cheaper speed ring. Is it worth spending the extra money on the Chimera? If not, what's a good substitution? I'm using both totas with Bogen 3086 stands. What kind of a rigging system would I use for one of these stands if I went with the Chimera? The 3086 will support 11lbs. Is that strong enough?
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Old December 14th, 2003, 10:57 PM   #5
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The Photoflex speed ring is $70and is quite sturdy. I filed a notch in the brass hexagonal spigot so the mount would lock the tota onto the speedring. That way the Tota could never slip. The Photoflex medium (24x32) is $180 from B&H and includes a set of louvres and some strip and circle masks.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=123631&is=REG

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=152322&is=REG

The stands will be OK if you sandbag them. I use a Manfrotto boom stand or a manfrotto master stand. The boom stand is 160 for black and $140 for silver. You can buy better from manfrotto or their sister company Avenger, but this one is good and sturdy. It doubles as a reg heavy duty light stand as well.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=152013&is=REG
The 3397 boom/mafrotto 320 is good for 11lb on the boom and 22lb as a light stand

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=5334&is=REG&si=spec#goto_itemInfo

The Master stand is good for 20 lbs

At minimum there is a $110 spread between the two brand, plus the louver and mask kit. I couldn't really see that much of a dofference. I actually liked the Photoflex better. But that's only my opinion.
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