My Softbox Setup

Following on from the Zen of Hardware, how do I setup my equipment.

I use Westcott Apollo softboxes, primarily because they are designed to work with speedlights. This makes me a little more flexible, and more mobile.

I currently use their 28″ and a 50″ collapsible Softboxes. These need an umbrella mount to attach them to a light stand. I use the Manfrotto 1052BAC fold down light stands and the Manfrotto umbrella mounts.

I also use PocketWizard TT5 radio transceivers. This presents a problem with the umbrella mounts, as it places the speedlight unit very high in the softbox. This isn’t a major issue, but when you are trying to get a full spread of light out, and achieve a nice soft coverage… every little bit counts…

I discovered that PocketWizard produce an AC-7 radio interference (hard) shield (lovely idea by the way, very cool), and this places the Speedlight on axis with the umbrella column bringing a much more even spread. I am still testing to see if a dome diffuser works better with this, than the 14mm wide-spread cover.

I can now setup my softboxes on their own channel with the PocketWizard’s and adjust them independently with the AC-3 commander from on top of the camera. I get up to +/- 3ev points of adjustment in 1/3 stop adjustments. Plus the in camera flash global compensation adjustment.

An alternative to the light stand is a Monopod or a Tripod. This can give a slightly lower perspective with the Tripod, and you will need a Voice Activated Lightstand with the Monopod.

Please note that I could use a sync cable to achieve what the PocketWizards do, but my speedlights do not have a sync socket… which would mean an extension cord and socket (try, they have some awesome cables), which still lifts the speedlight away from the umbrella spine. The combination of the AC-7 and the umbrella works out for me right now.


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