- Softbox with no diffusers - f4 - 3/10th
- Softbox with inner diffusion only - f4
- Softbox with both diffusers - f2.8 - 7/10th
- With metal reflector only f2.8 - 7/10th
- Softbox is somewhat difficult to put on. Release tabs on the pockets at each corner would help. Don't plan to assemble this at the last minute, with a client watching. Plan ahead :-)
- Dish Reflector is poorly designed for efficiency
- Would be nice to have a traditional "speed ring" design that would allow adding/removing the box and the ring from rear of the unit as a separate, assembled piece. Currently you must assemble the box around the bulbs (unless you partake in the tedious task of removing all bulbs each time you put the box on) and you could bump and break a bulb if not careful.
- Great price!
- Good output power
- Beautiful light quality with full softbox and diffusion
- Sufficient power adjustability
- Sturdy build
With the softbox attached it is as compact and portable as a typical studio strobe setup. The kit I got did not come with the light stand, but they offer a kit with a light stand for only $40 more.
The front diffusion face easily slides over the edges of the box and secures with velcro. It is really quick and easy to attach or remove.
Great controls over the pairs of light bulbs for a total power range of about 3-1/2 f-stops from minimum to maximum.
An internal diffusion panel adds additional softness to the light quality. The included clips are not ideal for quickly attaching and detaching, but they are adequate.
The highest output from this light is achieved by removing the two diffusion faces and using the softbox solo around the bulbs. It is broad, even light.
The included dish reflector is not designed well for maximum output and 5 of the bulbs have to be removed to be able to install or remove it. Because of this, I don't see myself ever using it unless I needed to work in a tight space and couldn't fit the softbox.
This image was made using the Octacool with both diffusion faces and the box placed about 2 ft. from Alycia. The ambient light in my studio created the fill light and the Octacool was the main light. A window created the hair light and accent on her cheek. 85mm f1.4 lens at f2.5 and 1/250. ISO 200
Outside on the deck in open shade, the light was pretty sad...
Adding the Octacool with the softbox changed everything. There is enough power to add a nice kick, even outside–as long as you aren't in full sun. 85mm f1.4 lens at f2.5 and 1/500. ISO 200
In a darkened studio, without any fill, the Octacool softbox creates a nice main light–although some fill is needed.
Here's a cool setup. I kept the Octacool softbox as the main, but added a fluorescent ring light as my fill light–nicely opening up the shadows. 85mm f1.4 lens at f2.8 and 1/400. ISO 200
The ringlight adds a great twinkle to her eyes, further enhancing her natural twinkle ;-)
This is the headshot setup with the Octacool as my main light and the ringlight as a filler, twinkler. A version of this ringlight with dimmer control can be found here on B&H.
Color balance, when the camera is set to daylight, is very good. The bulbs are rated at 5300-5800K. My glitter covered skeletal remains retained their natural tones and flesh-less color. The other stuff rendered nice too.