Lastolite Ezybox II Octa
I thought I would write this post about some of the kit that I use in the studio…..
It is very easy when you start out in photography to buy all the kit you see everyone else use on training courses or in their studios without necessarily putting much thought in to what YOU would use it for or how it will work for you !
I have been using the original Lastolite Ezyboxes for a few years. Initially I started using them at weddings or for outdoor portrait sessions to soften the light from speedlights off camera. One thing I really didn’t like about them was the way the main softbox fitted on to the bracket that held the flash unit, it never quite felt sturdy enough. Then, when I switched to using the Elinchrom Quadra battery operated units instead of the speedlights I just about stopped using the Ezyboxes. I had the adaptor ring that meant I could mount them on to the quadras but it meant that the Quadra was taking the full weight (and leverage) of the softbox and I had some concerns about the stress that this was putting on the light itself, especially with the larger of the two so I switched to using the Elinchrom softbox designed for the Quadras (very handy for weddings !).
One problem that I have had with the Elinchrom softboxes is that the material gradually delaminates so the reflective foil on the inside comes away from the black backing material. This is far from ideal and has happened to me from quite early on with them so I have been looking for an alternative product that I could use in the studio with the Elinchrom FX units that I have as well as on location with the Elinchrom Quadras.
In January at the SWPP Convention Lastolite were exhibiting some of their new EzyBoxes. I spent some time chatting to them about the design changes they have made and the problems I had with the early model and also with the Elinchrom softboxes. Lastolite are a UK based company and (I believe) manufacture in the UK as well. This does mean that they can listen to their customers feedback and make changes based on how people actually use their products 🙂 🙂
One thing that was very appealing about the Ezybox II Octa is that you can use the same softbox for studio lights, speedlights and the Quadras; all that you need to change is the adaptor ring/bracket combination. This make is a very cost effective solution and cuts down on the number of different bits of kit you need to buy !
The major changes that I spotted were the mounting system (much improved from the earlier model) and the inclusion of flexible rods to make sure that the softbox holds its shape and also provides added rigidity. One really good thing that they have kept is the easy with which they collapse and fold up into a bag (I carry ALL our kits for shoots in a Smart Car ! )
Anyway, I have been using the Ezybox II Octa now for a few weeks in the studio and must say that I love it. I have been working with the “Large” one primarily for portraits of children and babies. I have been using this with the Elinchrom Quadra light and for the newborn and young children this has been the only light source.
Using it in conjunction with the Quadras means that I can get the power down low enough to use quite wide apertures to get the shallow depth of field that I want; in turn this makes the post processing of the images much easier ! The Octa provides a lovely soft light source, it has an inner baffle as well as the outer one (set back from the edge of the softbox) and in addition to this I have been using the diffuser over the front of the reflector with the Quadra. This photo shows how it is all mounted.
The bracket that the Quadra is mounted to can also take two speedlights and the kit includes a sync cable that will connect the two speedlights to one wireless receiver.
Anyway, here a a few photos that show the whole thing setup for a newborn shoot as well as some of the photos that I have taken using this setup 🙂
So, in conclusion…. I love using it ! I love the portability that it gives me when used with the Quadra’s and the fact that it can be fitted to almost any light source. This makes it incredibly versatile and means that if you do start with speedlights and upgrade later to studio flash or Quadras etc you can carry on using it (this fits in with my “buy once” philosophy !)