May 29, 2012

review: Impact Quikbox Softbox (24 x 24″)

My favorite diffuser / modifier for off-camera flash, is the Lastolite Ezybox 24×24 for speed lights (vendor). The Lastolite Ezybox has featured often on the Tangents blog. (Here is the review). It’s easy to use and super-easy to set up. And in its original configuration, folds up to a surprisingly small bundle.

The good news for photographers who have been curious about the Lastolite Ezybox, is that Impact now makes a softbox – the Impact Quikbox 24×24 softbox (vendor), which is virtually identical, at a lower price.

The main advantage of this type of softbox, is how it folds open, and clips onto a “lollipop”. None of the metal rods that need to be flexed into a speeding, like you’d have to do with more traditional soft boxes. This makes the Impact 24×24 softbox supremely easy to set up.

The Impact Quikbox also comes with two diffuser layers (or baffles). The inner baffle attaches via rings that clips into hooks, and the outer baffle velcros onto the inner edge of the sofbox. Dead simple

The one significant difference to the Lastolite Ezybox, is that the cold-shoe to which the speedlight attaches, has a thumbscrew to secure the speedlight’s foot. The Lastolite has a tendency to slip out because of the slipperiness of the plastic coldshoe. Not a problem with the Impact Quikbox.

The one thing I didn’t like about the Impact Quikbox, is that it comes in a large triangular soft bag. The original Lastolite folded up double, and fitted into a much smaller bag. Lastolite appears to have changed that configuration though, and only offers their Ezybox in a large soft bag too now. Oh well.

It’s easy enough to recommend the Impact Quikbox 24×24 softbox (vendor), when it works so well, and brings a grab design in at even a lower price.

I would still recommend these two accessories to make the softbox even more flexible:

This Tilt-Head w/ Spigot (vendor) is a handy addition to any Lastolite softbox because it allows the softbox to be tilted forward (or up). It also has a hole for an umbrella in case you decide a shoot-through or bounce umbrella is a better option.
Since the PocketWizard flash triggers elevate the speedlight too high for the regular bracket (or lollipop) holding the actual softbox, you will need the Lastolite hotshoe mark2 bracket (vendor) to bring the flash and trigger to the correct height for the throat of the softbox.

Back to the photograph at the top.

To see how this softbox worked in practice, I met up with a model, Molly K, in Manhattan.

I used TTL flash, and dialed down the FEC to -2 EV.
The technique is as simple as described here - why I love TTL flash

Here is the pull-back shot. I stood where the bags are.

I used TTL flash, and dialed down the FEC to  -2 FEC
And again, the the technique is described here - why I love TTL flash

Here is the image with the flash disabled, which will show just how sweet the light is from this type of softbox.

I stepped back for this pull-back shot – and it clearly shows the importance of being very specific about the background we choose for our photographs.

 

help support this website

 

{ 46 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Stephen May 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Neil,
Does the Lasolite lollipop ring fit in the Impact Quikbox bracket? If so, one can order just the lollipop from Manfrotto directly rather than buying the entire Lastolite Hotshoe Mark II.

Also, have you tried removing the Impact Quickbox cold shoe and seeing if the Frio screws in its place? I have a frio, but I can’t use it on the Lastolite bracket.

Reply

2 Stephen May 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Neil,
I just read your previous article:

I might be able to use that Matthews Hot Shoe part to mount the frio cold shoe.

Reply

3 Neil vN May 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Stephen .. the lollipop and bracket are identical between the two brands. The only difference is the cold-shoe.

I think you’d still need something like this to fit the Frio on. The Frio is also 1/4″ thread.

Neil vN

Reply

4 doug darelius May 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Neil, What is the ‘LightStick’ that you use to hold the softbox? In your archives you list a B&H Manfrotto 679B monopod, would this be correct? Thanks, Doug

Reply

5 Neil vN May 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Doug .. it’s that monopod that I still use. But monopods aren’t all that specialized, and certainly not for this task. Any monopod would do.

Neil vN

Reply

6 Gary Smith May 30, 2012 at 8:43 am

Many thanks Neil for this review. I have the Lastolite Ezybox 24×24 for speed lights, and I take it with me when I’m doing wedding shoots. But so far have never used it as I try to use the black foam thingy lighting technique. However, there have been a couple of times when I should have used the Ezybox as it would have made my life far easier. I reckon my 2nd photographer will have to accept that he will be my portable light stand every so often from now. :)

Gary

Reply

7 Bobby May 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

Personally I would get Cheetah QBox24″. Comes with a grid.

Reply

8 Jeff Hill May 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Neewer also has a great option as an alternative that is pretty affordable. The construction of the speed ring is a bit stiff to move around and there is no front diffusion panel but so far it has been very good for the price.
http://tinyurl.com/7zveh8n

Also Neil, thanks for all these tutorial, reviews, and inspiration. Your work is genius.

Reply

9 Hoang Nguyen May 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Neil,
I’m not sure if you can angle the softbox because the bracket is in a fixed position when the speedlight is mounted on a tripod instead of having someone holding it with a monopod. In other word, if you want to angle the softbox down, can you do with the fixed bracket?

Hoang

Reply

10 Neil vN May 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hoang .. if you want to angle the softbox while it is on a light-stand, you’re going to need something like the Tilt-Head with Spigot, as mentioned in the review article.

Reply

11 Troy May 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Neil,

Just to be sure, ttl is not possible off camera with the sb600 correct??
It seems I can only use commander mode and adjust the power from the
d90.

Reply

12 Neil vN May 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Troy, you can use the Nikon SB-600 only as a Slave, not as a Master. So you could use it with the softbox , and control it with the camera’s pop-up flash which is then set to Master.

Neil vN

Reply

13 Stephen May 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Troy,
The SB-600 does not support Commander mode. It can only be used as a remote flash. You will need the SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SU-800, or your D90 to serve as the Commander.

Neil,
I bought the Matthews Microgrip hotshoe adapter from Adorama. It fits on to the Lastolite Mark II bracket perfectly, so I was able to mount the Frio. Finally, a way to use my Frio adapater instead of the Lastolite adapter!

Reply

14 Alex May 31, 2012 at 4:16 am

This is an enticing set up–thank you for offering such clear explanations.

I have one question concerning the cold shoe adapter. I have read that metal adapters may short the flash, but most companies seem to offer only metal versions.

Is my information wrong? Or should we use something on the cold shoes to make sure there is no contact (gaffers tape, etc.)?

Reply

15 Neil vN May 31, 2012 at 8:34 am

Alex … I doubt it really is a problem, and especially one that causes damage to flashguns – otherwise these companies would be beset by hordes of photographers wanting their flashes replaced.

Neil vN

Reply

16 Mauricio May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Neil, thank you so much for helping us to be better photographers using on / off camera flash units. I do have a question about the Pocket wizards ( don’t have them but I am going to buy my first units ) min TT1 and the transceiver TT5. Let’s assume that I want to use only one flash off-camera, so the question is, how do I dial my FEC to control ( from a distance ) the off-camera flash ? Do I need to dial the EC on the camera or directly on the off-camera flash ? I understand that if I use two flashes, one on the TT1 and the other on the TT5, that would not be a problem to dial the FEC from the flash unit mounted on the camera, but if you only have one flash off-camera, how do you do it ?
I also know that any EC setup in the camera when using a flash off the camera, is not the best option, so how do you do it when using only one flash off-camera with the pocket wizards in mention ?
Best regards,
Maurice

Reply

17 Neil vN May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Dialing the FEC on the camera, would affect all the flashes.

If you want to control the individual speedlights, then you do it via the Master flash’s menu.

Neil vN

Reply

18 Stark-Arts May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

At Maurice – you can use the PW AC3 to control up to 3 groups from your camera…from +3 to -3 stops in TTl or from 1/1 to 1/32nd power in manual…

Reply

19 Wallace May 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Theses softboxes are just what I need. I’ve had my eye on the 30″ one.
Any advantage to going bigger or is the 24″ the sweet spot?

Reply

20 Neil vN May 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Wallace … for me the 24″x24″ softbox is just comfortably manageable on the streets when I shoot on location. But if you have the space … then I am sure the 30″ softbox would give you a little bit softer light.

Neil vN

Reply

21 Mark B June 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Neil, I’m interested in buying my first soft box and this one looks really good, however I have seen other comments around saying that such a small soft box requires you to have it close to the subject, i.e. more for close head and shoulders shots and that anyone using it more than 6ft away for more of the subject’s body may just as well use a bare flash.

Looking at the images above it certainly looks to be further than 6ft away and appears to evenly light up the model’s whole body.

What do you believe to be the optimal distance from the subject when using a 24 x24 softbox? And how much of a person’s body could you expect to light with it?

Thanks, Mark

Reply

22 Neil vN June 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Mark … tough question to give a specific answer to.

I’ve photographed small groups of wedding formals with this softbox. Holding it further back, gives even coverage of light, but the light becomes more contrasty. So there’s that.

With a photo of a model like this, I don’t necessarily want perfectly even light from top to bottom. I prefer a gradual fall-off.

It’s for this exact reason that a softbox like Bruce Dorn’s Asymmetrical Soft Box, is so popular. It gives you that gradient in light fall-off.

So back to your question … you can get even light, but you have to hold the light & softbox further back … and this makes the light more contrasty, and also cuts down heavily on the amount of light you get.

As with most things in photography, there isn’t one do-all device. One item might work perfectly in a specific situation … but if you change things around, or your scenario change, then you might have to go with another piece of gear. Same with lighting. Especially with lighting.

Reply

23 Blake June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Neil, you always seems to have very low shutter speeds, wide open apertures, and relatively high ISO (800). In my area it normally is fairly bright throughout the day and this would lead to overexposure. How are you doing this? Is the ambient light just lower – the canyons of Manhattan – time of day? Or do you use an ND filter? Perhaps I’m missing something else obvious.

Thanks,
Blake

Reply

24 Neil vN June 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Blake .. that is because when I photograph a couple or a model on location, I pick my battles in terms of light and lighting.

Neil vN

Reply

25 Ron J June 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Why not just have a 1″ longer braket on it (costs them nothing)instead of making us spend another $74 in order to use a radio trigger. Makes no since. The real cost of this unit to make it usable starts at around $200. Plus another $35 for tilt.

Does the $175 Lastolite work with shoe mount radio triggers?

Reply

26 Ron J June 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Looks like I got the two brands mixed up, its the Lastolite that needs the new Mk 2 braket. So my question is does the Impact version work with a shoe mount radio trigger?

Reply

27 Neil vN June 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Ron .. if you don’t use the RadioPoppers or PocketWizard TT1 / TT5 units, then the shorter lollipop that comes with the unit, is too short. You need the height.

The taller lollipop is too tall to work with just the speedlight.

This Impact Softbox will also need the taller lollipop if you use those radio triggers.

As for the cost of the unit … I am sure it is a fair price. There is such hefty competition between the manufacturers, that no one would stay in business for long if their gear was unreasonably priced.

Neil vN

Reply

28 Libby June 6, 2012 at 5:37 am

The hotshoe thumbscrew is a welcome improvement. Looks like manufacturers are watching and listening, and that’s a good thing.

Reply

29 Harry June 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Great review Neil. I had just purchased this box a little before you posted this. I am loving it. I have been following your posts, here, and also reading your books like crazy. Your detailed examples have helped my outdoor and indoor photography get easier and easier.

Question about your use of the box: I am only using mine with my 580ex. Do you most always have both the inner and outer baffles in the box?

Reply

30 Neil vN June 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Harry, I often remove the inner baffle if I need a touch more light than the double baffle gives me at the flash’s full power.

Neil vN

Reply

31 Matthew Smith June 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Love the 24×24 size for a softbox. Add in a monopod and you’ve got perfect ‘available’ light. :)

Good post – thanks!

Reply

32 Ron J June 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Thanks Neil. It looks like the Impact may have made some changes to the bracket as the B&H specs say radio receivers work along with the SB910 using the supplied bracket. So I assume we don’t need to buy an extra bracket now. I will probably get one soon.

“The included flash bracket is adjustable vertically, and features a universal shoe which is adjustable horizontally. These adjustments make this unit compatible with virtually all standard flash units (incl. Nikon SB-900 & SB-910), as well as radio receivers. In addition, for those receivers that do not feature a bottom shoe connector, the bracket shoe is removable to expose a male 1/4″-20 screw. There are also three plastic washers included in the shoe assembly, to accommodate receivers of various sizes”.

Reply

33 Ron J June 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I got the Impact unit today, not very compact but fast to put together which is important. The bracket will not allow the SB900 and radio flash to attach together ( just 3/4″ too short). Even the SB800 when set sideways really does not go far enough inside the softbox. So for me I will be using velcro for the triggers. As a machinist, photographer & backyard engineer I can say this bracket needs a redesign.

Reply

34 Franklin L July 14, 2012 at 12:59 am
35 Neil vN July 14, 2012 at 2:23 am

Franklin, those all look like good choices as well.

Neil vN

Reply

36 Stephen July 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

Ron J, was your setup the PocketWizard TT5 and SB-900 stacked together? It sounds like Impact’s lollipop is based on Lastolite’s old design. Lastolite increased the length of their lollipop shortly after the SB-900 was released.

Reply

37 Kurt Vinion August 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

Neil – you are the man!

Seriously, flash is a big part of what we do and we do a lot of night shooting with both flash and video lights here in Prague. I am very curious as to what you had your flash zoom set on in the last picture? 70 mm perhaps? Are you adjusting your zoom of your flash depending on the situation that you are in?

Many thanks in advance.

Kurt Vinion

Reply

38 Neil vN August 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

With a softbox, the spread of light is determined. So I don’t change the flash’s zoom angle at all, once I’ve connected the flash to it.

I do keep the flash zoomed to around 28mm or 35mm. I don’t zoom wider, since the flash-head is then more likely to melt. Have a look at how the flash-head zooms inside as you go to the wider settings, and you’ll see what I mean.

Neil vN

Reply

39 chaim meiersdorf November 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

I have lumedynes for outdoor shooting and I have been using the norman 19 inch octagon which slides on the lumedyne head. I have already broken a few bulbs since the system is not secure. Can you make a suggestion for some easy to fold up softbox that does not require taking off the lumedyne protective head and exposing the bulb.

Reply

40 muralidhar November 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Neil

my question is, are those lasolite accessories compatible with impact soft box. And do we need those accessories for sure if i am using flex tt5 for nikon SB700 flash.

Thanks

Reply

41 Neil vN November 19, 2012 at 3:41 am

Yes, those accessories are compatible since the two softboxes are virtually identical.

And yes, you will need to extend the height of your softbox with the longer lollipop if you use the Flex TT5.

Neil vN

Reply

42 Andrew Etchen January 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Hi Neil,

Do you use the QuikBox or EzyBox?

thanks,
Andrew

Reply

43 Neil vN January 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

The Impact was a loaner for review purposes. I already own the 24×24 Ezybox. But they are essentially the same device.

Neil vN

Reply

44 rex February 9, 2013 at 12:24 am

do you think Impact Quikbox 24×24 softbox can be used with LumoPro LP739 Double Flash Speedring Bracket. i think we can have more power faster recycle if we can use two flashes in one softbox. please share your opinion. thank you. if there is any other double flash softbox set up please let us know.

Reply

45 Neil vN February 9, 2013 at 12:29 am

I doubt it. The Impact softbox has a tight throat.

Neil vN

Reply

46 rex February 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

what you think of Firefly Beauty Box 26″

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: