I specifically wrote three flashes in the title, because it was supposed to be a four light + 1 reflector set up, but… I BROKE one flash right before the photoshoot (cry)! I mounted it on a trigger that sits on a stand, and I was carrying it along with three other flashes and stands. It was too much equipment I could handle with my two hands and the flash somehow slipped from the trigger (or maybe smashed at the wall), and the next thing I knew was: the flash fell on the ground; the hot shoe totally broke, and the LCD was shattered as well. Lesson learnt, never try to carry too much equipment again; asking for help instead.
Below is one of the pictures:
I shot this on F2.8 but I should have closed my aperture by a bit (like F4) to have a bit more depth of field and get his right shoulder in focus.
Let me talk a little about the main light here. The main light was a flash with a 26 inch Westcott Rapid box. This item comes with a free diffusion panel, which is missing in my purchase. I called Westcott customer support today and the lady said she would mail one to me. I couldn’t help thinking I should have just exchanged for a new one at Henry’s where I bought this item, which would be much faster and eliminate the hassle of waiting for delivery, as well as the risk of picking up should the delivery failed. This aside, the quality of light is actually quite good.
The rapid works by firing the flash onto a deflector plate (optional purchase for roughly 20 dollars) mounted at the centre of the box, which bounces the light onto the whole interior surface of the box. The concept is kind of like a beauty dish. I never did any scientific test on how much this rapid box resembles a beauty dish in the light quality, but when used without any reflector, the rapid box produces a light crisp and specular enough to my taste. Obviously with the reflector the shadow almost erased and it’s difficult to tell. I really should post a picture (a test shot I did) when the reflector was not there to show the light quality! But I never asked my model whether I have the permission… Maybe I can post of picture of some random test object later.
The one thing I LOVE about the rapid box is it’s ability to fold like an umbrella. I think this is amazing and brilliant. Traditional softbox consists of a speed ring, a couple of flexible rods and the fabric. To assemble a softbox is to go through pain and frustration. You will have to insert the one end of the rod into a whole on the speed ring and insert another end into a little pocket on the fabric by fighting against the tension of the rod. It gets progressively harder with more and more rods are set into place, and you will almost tear the fabric by inserting the last one or two rods.
Then there comes softbox that opens up like umbrellas… Oh my goodness, after I own my piece of umbrella like softbox, I just wish all the traditional softboxes could be eradicated from the market.
I said previously the rapid box is supposed to have similar light output as a beauty dish. However when it comes to portability, they don’t compare, or the rapid walks all over a beauty dish in the category of portability. Do I even need to explain why? 😛