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Old August 27th, 2009, 05:23 AM   #1
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Best Softbox - Dedo Octodome, Rifa 88?

Hi all

I'm overhauling my lighting gear and looking at softboxes.

I want something that packs small but opens BIG and soft.

Was thinking about the Rofa 88 or Dedo Octodome. Did consider a divalight but they don't pack down very small.

Any other ideas or views on the above?

Thanks
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 09:51 AM   #2
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Well, since it's been a week, I'll chime in.

I've used RIFA 44 & 55 (I own a 55) softboxes and they are certainly convenient AND incredibly easy to set up in a hurry. I've used other softboxes of varying manufacturers and while I loved the quality of light, setup using speedrings (and I use the term "speed" loosely...) has always been frustrating for me.

At the price point on the RIFA, it's really hard to go wrong for well thought out professional lighting. Just be SUPER careful with the Lowel branded light stands - the stage locks are made of aluminum and I have seen approximately a DOZEN of them crack due to "over" tightening. I use Manfrotto stands for packable collapsable and plan on buying Century stands once I complete my imminent move for heavier duty "studio" style light stands.

Hope this helps.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #3
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I dont personally own a Rifa yet, but as an assistant on shoots have been involved in setting them up, RIFA is my choice for quick setup. Will be adding them to my portable lighting setup
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Old September 5th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #4
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Much as I'd like to buy a brand name, because of the my success with the Chinese redheads and the support from the local agent I bought them from ... and the fact I don't use them every week, I'm looking at the same brand again for their soft box kits.

I've had the demo, seen their sample videos versus brand names and the only thing that rankles is .. I suspect it won't be long before LEDS are used rather than the $A33.00 globes they feature now.

With 3 globes per box x 3 boxes it'll get to be expensive over time. But then I don't use them every week.

Cheers.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 11:40 PM   #5
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I have a Rifa 88 and take it on every shoot I do. Period. I bought the FLO-X3 lamphead for it too so that I can run CFL lamps in it. Nice to be able to put daylight, tungsten, or super-warm bulbs in it when I want. Highly recommended.

BUT.... buy a decent stand for it if you don't have one already. Forget whatever it comes with. MSE grip have plenty of good lightstands and c-stands to choose from. The Rifa 88 is very front heavy, and you'll need a solid stand for it.

On one shoot, I ran out of C-Stands so I had to use the kit stand. I had 6 Daylight balanced CFLs in the Rifa. I was filming in a historic building in a sensitive room. 20 minutes before the talent was due to arrive the Rifa fell over. 4 of the 6 CFLs shattered into a million pieces. It was after hours. I had to find the cleaning crew, get those mercury laden CFLs cleaned up, and re-rig the entire shoot to tungsten. While the talent waited. Not a banner day.

So take my advice or proceed at your own risk.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 05:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated.

I already have a rifa 55 so I'm quite familiar with them. I had tried the CFL version at a trade show and thought the output was pretty weak, especially as I tend to use daylight lamps only when there is a natural source like a window which tend to be pretty bright.

How have you found the CFL light output?

Thanks!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated.

I already have a rifa 55 so I'm quite familiar with them. I had tried the CFL version at a trade show and thought the output was pretty weak, especially as I tend to use daylight lamps only when there is a natural source like a window which tend to be pretty bright.

How have you found the CFL light output?

Thanks!
I put about 6 CFLs in the unit, so I find the output adequate. Especially since it's so cool I can put it much closer to the talent.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #8
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I agree with Perrone about the supplied Lowel stand on many levels. And I have no interest is disparaging the dead (nor do I know if this advice would have helped at all...) but IF you are forced to use an inadequate light stand, make sure that one leg points out in the direction of the heaviest load (ie. the front) and don't place the legs so the space between the legs faces the heaviest load. Perrone's a pro and I'm sure he didn't make this mistake but when you need to get every ounce of load carrying capacity out of a stand, it helps.

Plus, use sand bags on the legs.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I agree with Perrone about the supplied Lowel stand on many levels. And I have no interest is disparaging the dead (nor do I know if this advice would have helped at all...) but IF you are forced to use an inadequate light stand, make sure that one leg points out in the direction of the heaviest load (ie. the front) and don't place the legs so the space between the legs faces the heaviest load. Perrone's a pro and I'm sure he didn't make this mistake but when you need to get every ounce of load carrying capacity out of a stand, it helps.

Plus, use sand bags on the legs.
Pro or not, this is sound advice. Yes, I had one leg pointed in the direction of the light, but the big Rifa is very front heavy, and the legs on the Lowel stand don't extend out anywhere near as far as they should for stability. Lowel sell a bracket to bring the Rifa back more centered on the light stand and I HIGHLY recommend those even if I don't have one.

I have another shoot this week, and you can bet the Rifa will be on a C-Stand and the lowel stands will be supporting the small lights only.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #10
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I bought my Rifa 66 used. The guy who had it wanted to change over to Chimeras with speed rings. He thought they were easier to set up which I have a hard time understanding. I have been really happy with the Rifa. Mine is not set up for the flo lights but I can upgrade it if I want. Another guy I shoot with often also had a Rifa 66 but he switched over entirely to Ikan flo lights (2 - 4 tube, 1 - 2 tube). I think the Rifa's have a great light quality and the 66 has been large enough for my needs, so far.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 07:59 PM   #11
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I still have a Rifa 55 and used to use it all the time. But now it's in the equipment closet replaced with a Caselight 4. I switched to Caselight for primarily two reasons. First, subjects in interviews over 10 minutes with the Rifa light would start sweating because its like sticking a heater next to them. Secondly, I'd say about 60% of the time I want daylight balance. You simply can't get it with a Rifa. Yeah I had blue gels, but it would be so dim and not look right anyways. Now I take the Caselight with 3 Daylight and 3 Tungsten bulbs so I can switch to any color temperature. The extra 2 bulbs are heavily padded and I regularly fly with it and haven't had a bulb break on me. Plus the stand fits right in the case too. It's a very clever design.

That being said. If you're doing mostly studio work and you don't think heat is an issue, the Rifa lights work great. I actually prefer the look of them to the fluorescents. They have a bit more punch to them. Fluorescents can look a little flat because the light is too even.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #12
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I switched to Caselight for primarily two reasons. First, subjects in interviews over 10 minutes with the Rifa light would start sweating because its like sticking a heater next to them...

Secondly, I'd say about 60% of the time I want daylight balance...

You simply can't get it with a Rifa...
Did you notice my post? I use daylight fluorescent bulbs in my Rifa. No need to go to the Caselight. Glad that's working out for you, but I prefer my ability to go with either the 1KW standard Rifa light, or with 600W of daylight balanced fluos.

But it is wrong to say you can't do this with the Rifa. I do it all the time, and have posted pics here of that setup.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 07:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
Hi all

Was thinking about the Rofa 88 or Dedo Octodome. Did consider a divalight but they don't pack down very small.

Any other ideas or views on the above?

Thanks
The Rifa is great, I got a 55 myself.
But the Dedo Octodome is very nice also. You might wanna consider an octodome, if you go extreme close up many times. The octodome shape has a better/rounder reflection in the eyes then the boxed Rifa. But the only time I really notice this, is when I am doing stills...
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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #14
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What about the Cool Lite CL-SFT1 Softbox? Any love for that unit? Lower cost for sure...
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