Thursday, January 20, 2011



You know what they say, "photography is all about lighting", so here is another post on lighting. Actually I was so stoked that someone commented on my last "FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS" post (thanks JT), that I decided to answer their request comparing these two softboxes. 

As always I am stating my disclaimer that this not the way it is or should be, just my opinion. We'll leave it at that and get on to the good stuff.

Oh yeah, one more thing.  I asked Kenya to pose for me since I was doing an experiment. She didn't know I was going to post these for everyone to see, otherwise I'm sure she would have done herself up. OK enough talkin'.

Actually just one more thing -I promise. Inside each Apollo was a single Canon 580ex II speedlight. I used the awesome Canon 5d Mark II and the even more awesome Canon 85mm F1.2l II lens. The images you can produce with that combo are drool worthy!

This first one is with the huge 50" Apollo

This is with the smaller, yet nicely sized 28" Apollo

Here is an awesome size comparison shot!

CONCLUSION: Do you want softer, wrap-around light (50" Apollo) or do you prefer more of the sculpted look (28" Apollo)? For me it depends on the situation. 

I thought it interesting that the background in the first image (50" Apollo) looks brighter than the second image (28" Apollo) even though neither the camera settings nor flash settings changed. Subject to light to background distance didn't change either. The only thing I can guess is that the 50" Apollo is a much larger light source, thereby causing more light to "wrap" around Kenya and reach the background instead of a smaller light source like the 28" Apollo which would cause less light to "wrap" around Kenya and therefore cause the background to be darker. The background may have been only 6 feet away by the way.

Any how, you can definitely see a more "sculpted" look (harder more pronounced shadows) produced by the 28" Apollo. The 50" Apollo has a "softer" look to it with less pronounced shadowing since the light can wrap around the subject, eliminating shadows.

If any of my fellow photographers found this helpful (I know there has got to be at least a few reading this) then let me know please. It makes me feel like I'm not the only gear-geek out there.

If anybody has any requests, leave a comment at the end of this post and let us know. We will see what we can do. I'm planning on a review between pro grade cameras and lens versus consumer grade cameras and kit lenses next week. If anyone has ever told you that equipment doesn't matter, just the person behind the camera, I'm here to tell you they are dead wrong. I will show you next week. Until then...



  1. Peter,

    Thanks for doing this comparison! I immediately went to the B&H website to look at the 50" Westcott. I love the 28" model, but that 50" has some amazing wrap-around light. Very impressed that the 50" works that well with one 580EXII. However, I will say that I like the catchlight of the 28" a little more. As you said, depends on the situation.


  2. Some day I hope to get one of the Elinchrom Octabanks and compare it to the 50" Apollo. I think the catchlight would be very nice with one of these. I've heard that the deep octas are similar to an actual beauty dish with a sock. Guess we better start booking more sessions to pay for the my gear addiction.


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