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Old April 5th, 2005, 04:10 AM   #1
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softbox and flo's

I've been searching for an answer to this question without too much success so I wonder if you guys can help me.

Is there any advantage of a medium size softbox over a flourescent fixture of similar size. I havent had a chance to use softboxes but I do have a set of flo's I built myself and I'm wondering if I should have some softboxes in my kit.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 09:04 AM   #2
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For use as a key or fill light, I would say no. The quality of light is similar, with a few caveats:

If you are using a flo as an eyelight, you may find the pattern of the tubes looks strange reflected in the eye. A softbox or china ball is more natural looking. Although, flo ringlights and LED arrays have been used for great special effects in plenty of music videos;-)

Also, flos - especially homebuilt - may have flicker problems at certain high shutter speeds, or may have problems dimming down without flickering or changing color temp.

For general purposes, the heat & wattage savings by using flos offesets the limitations compared to tungsten softboxes.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 03:59 AM   #3
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Thats just what I'm hoping to hear. My kits got fresnel hard lights only and the flo's as I've avoided the expense of the softboxes.

I'm looking into getting some open faces to use for bounce and to generally increase light levels for high key lighting. But when you bounce you loss some control with spill light. Using a softbox would clean up the spill. Do any of you guys prefer to use flo's instead of bouncing? I loathe to blast anybody with an open face fixture and always diffuse. Is it worthwhile having open faces in your kit in addition to fresnels?
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Old April 6th, 2005, 07:44 AM   #4
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I guess I would compare an open face & fresnel with an umbrella and a softbox.

They both do the same thing, but one offers more control than the other.

Fresnels have a more controlled beam of light and has only one shadow. An open face can scatter light in many directions.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #5
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Bounce light is very controllable, as controllable as a light box. I personally don't like the quality of light from flouros. But that is subjective choice. Given the choice I'd use bounce, light box, fluorescent, in that order.


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