Using slaves with softboxes

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by achristensen, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Several years ago I purchased some really junky softboxes/fluorescent lights on ebay. I don't believe they ever worked properly. The switch in one has quit working and both lamps have since broken and I don't wish to replace them for $60-$90 a pop. I would like to use the softboxes themselves for an upcoming school portrait shoot but can't afford anything- my husband has put me on a spending freeze (I don't know about you but I don't make much doing this). So about the best I can do is locate some used speedlights to use as slaves along with my Canon 430ex/gary fong diffuser on camera. Can someone tell me exactly what I would need to be able to attach the softbox and the flashes to my stands?
  2. Since you're going to put it in a softbox and have to use it on full manual, you don't have to buy a fancy expensive speedlight. A Vivitar 285HV ($90 new, you can find them for less used) will do just fine. You can use Wein peanut slaves (optical slave units). Photek, Phofoflex and Bogen/Manfrotto all make brackets/adaptors that go on top of a light stand and hold a speedlight in a cold shoe (like a hot shoe but without electrical contacts) and allow it to swivel. You usually use a "speed ring" to attach a flash to a soft box, but they are generally made for specific brands of softbox so you need to know which one you need. Photoflex makes a "basic" speedring and others make a "universal" speedring that are adaptable to varoius boxes.
  3. So, I would attach the softbox, using the speedring, to the flash and then attach the speedlight, using the coldshoe, to the stand? In this way the softbox would not be attached to the stand at all? How does the speedlight attach to the speedring? Is that another bracket? I have a vintage Vivitar flash (no slave)- this would be compatible with the wein slave units?
  4. You also need a powerful flash unit as you will loose a lot of light with the soft-box....but yes you could use most any flash.
    But you will not have a modeling light so it will be hard to know what kind of light coverage you are getting.
    Just remember soft boxes need to be close to the subject to stay soft. Have fun playing......

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