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PhotekUmbrella - Softlighter II - 46"
 
4.5

(based on 98 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (60)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (31)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

94%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Lightweight (66)
  • Consistent (33)
  • Easy to setup (31)
  • Reliable (31)
  • Easy to set up (25)

Cons

  • Short lifespan (10)

Best Uses

  • Portraits (71)
  • Photography (39)
  • Strobe lighting (38)
  • Artificial lighting (29)
  • Indoors (15)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Pro photographer (38), Semi-pro photographer (23), Photo enthusiast (18), Professional (8), Semi-professional (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (59)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Best modifier ever!

I purchased this product after seeing Annie Leibovitz using it for almost all of her photoshoot and I wanted to achieve similar lighting as hers. I did some research before purchasing it so see...Read complete review

I purchased this product after seeing Annie Leibovitz using it for almost all of her photoshoot and I wanted to achieve similar lighting as hers. I did some research before purchasing it so see if I can use my current lights (Vivitar 285, 580EX II and Alienbees B800) with it because Annie uses a Profoto head which has a smaller diameter that can fit through the sock easily. Anyway, I found a few examples that people posted with their Softlighter II with their speedlites and a B800 and it helped me make a purchasing decision.I was pretty impressed with the item once I received it. It's very well constructed and the umbrella shaft can be made shorter by unscrewing from the main shaft attached to the umbrella. The diffusion material is also well made and has holes cut out with reinforced rings for hooking onto the tip of the ribs. I have seen in Annie's video that the diffusion material was also held onto the umbrella using clips but I don't think it's necessary.The umbrella can be used as a reflective umbrella as well and it comes with an extra silver piece to attach inside.Using this with my B800 was really easy but the sock could have been a bit wider to cover the large square body of the monolight. I didn't want the sock touching the modeling light or the flash tube and the only secure way that I found was to mount the standard reflector that came with the B800 to hold the sock back from coming in contact with the bulbs. It's sort of a frustrating process but the end result will assure you piece of mind.Using speedlites isn't a problem though. I can mount the Softlighter II on any umbrella bracket and angle the bracket so the speedlite is towards the center or parallel to the umbrella shaft and the sock covers the speedlite just right. However, I had to use an L bracket with my speedlite and the umbrella mount to achieve the desired angle needed to fit through the sock and point to the center of the umbrella. The L bracket can be purchased from any hardware store. I got mine from [...].Overall I am happy with the purchase and it's a lot cheaper than a softbox and it also folds easily into a small size that you can carry around in your hand, under arm, bags, case, etc.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great for the studio, but....

...not so great for the field, which was the purpose for purchasing 2 of them.

I do a lot of work in people's homes, and was hoping to use...Read complete review

...not so great for the field, which was the purpose for purchasing 2 of them.

I do a lot of work in people's homes, and was hoping to use this with my speedlights to imitate the effects of a softbox (softness and spillage control) without the hassle of setting up a softbox: quick set-up and breakdown. I was also intrigued by being able to remove the umbrella shaft to get in close, as well as 10 ribs instead of 8 for a more rounded effect.

The reflectors are a real pain to get between the ribs to the top of the umbrella where Photek recommends they be placed, and require the use of a tiny clamp to keep them in place (not included by Photek). It will accept a speedlight on an umbrella mount, but you need to thread the diffuser through the shaft and over the flash/umbrella mount assembly before putting the diffuser on. It takes about 5 minutes to assemble and disassemble 1 umbrella for its intended purpose if you do not use the reflectors, which add about 1 f-stop.

The worst feature of its design is that the bottom portion of the removable shaft is 1-2 mm narrower in diameter than the top portion. If you want to use it as a simple bounce umbrella, you must place it closer to the flash head than you may want, because the bottom portion of the shaft it too narrow to be clamped into the umbrella mount adapter (I have several of different make, and it fits none of them). I cannot understand the need to have made this section narrower, and it fairly limits its use in this regard. The shaft appears to be solid and they screw firmly together, but one section is narrower than the other. That is really weak, Photek!

Great idea, very poor execution, but the light quality is nearly identical to a softbox, and in this regard, for the studio, it is a very cost-effective alternative. Just don't expect it to be very versatile. Would be ideal for a small studio.

Overall build quality is about on par with any moderately priced umbrella.

Reviewed by 98 customers

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4.0

Love it

By T

from Washington, DC

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Set Up
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not very sturdy

Best Uses

  • Artificial Lighting
  • Photography
  • Portraits
  • Strobe Lighting

Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

Very versatile. For the price there really is no reason to always have one or two in your car.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

Fantastic Product with Fantastic Light

By Kyle

from Boston, MA

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent
  • Easy To Set Up
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Artificial Lighting
    • Beauty
    • Environmental Portraits
    • Fashion
    • Photography
    • Portraits
    • Strobe Lighting

    Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

    Great for: environmental, beauty, and fashion portraits/images.
    Quick and easy set up. Great modifier. Nice soft light.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    2.0

    Not a quality product

    By Michafoto

    from London

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Pros

    • Easy To Set Up
    • Lightweight

    Cons

    • Short Lifespan

    Best Uses

    • Portraits

    Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

    The quality of light is beautiful, but the built quality is very poor, the umbrella breaks easily and is not good for busy location work. There are much sturdier and better quality umbrellas available, I would not buy them again.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    AWESOME!!!

    By Big Blu

    from Myrtle Beach,SC

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent
    • Easy To Set Up
    • Lightweight
    • Reliable

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Photography
      • Portraits

      Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

      I love the type of light this umbrella produces. It is truly amazing how soft the light is.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      Great product

      By OP

      from Burlington, VT

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent
      • Easy To Set Up
      • Lightweight

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Portraits
        • Strobe Lighting

        Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

        This is a great product. It has the convenience of an umbrella (quick setup and easy to pack) and the soft directional look of a soft box. My only complaint is that it's not super durable...

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Awesome! a must have

        By Marco

        from San Francisco

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Set Up
        • Lightweight
        • Reliable

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Photography
          • Portraits

          Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

          I alrady had a 46" Softlighter v1. Love the II :-)And now you can unscreew half of the umbrella rod so it doesn't stick out and end up in your frame.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          2.0

          Not as good as I thought

          By nicejacketman

          from London

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Nice Quality of Light

          Cons

          • Better Products Out There
          • Hollow Shaft When Divided
          • Metal Spindles
          • Short Lifespan

          Best Uses

          • Artificial Lighting
          • Photography
          • Portraits
          • Strobe Lighting

          Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

          I use umbrella boxes a lot and really wanted to buy a quality item that wouldn't look like a cheap piece of equipment in front of clients.

          I thought I would love this item.

          I'd seen Annie Leibovitz use this model and thought I would give it a try.

          The spindles are made of soft metal. It would be much better if they changed this to fibre glass like most premium models.

          The diffuser hole is a very tight sock that is a little too tight to get even a qflash head with reflector through. I know they also sell a speedlight diffuser which may be more useful for my qflash.

          It's a nice idea to have a removable shaft but this then becomes a hollow tube and if this gets dented you may struggle to screw the shaft back on.

          On all my other umbrellas I cut the shaft shorter anyway and replace the end plug.

          I love using umbrella softboxes and I know the quality of the light from this product is great.

          However, I recommend buying a profoto 105cm umbrella diffuser instead that can be added to any umbrella which can be replaced cheaply.

          This review is mainly for people buying from overseas. I bought and paid for shipping to the UK as you can't buy these in London. If I'd have seen it in the flesh I wouldn't have bought it.

          Brilliant service from BHphoto as always.

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          • No

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          (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          softlighter vs paul buff plm

          By jim atlanta

          from atlanta

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Set Up
          • Lightweight

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Artificial Lighting
            • Photography
            • Portraits
            • Strobe Lighting
            • Weddings

            Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

            compared to the plm, softlighter's construction is less impressive, and reflective material less reflective. white material much lighter so light bounces around less within. softlighter has much greater light spread than plm. softlighter is decent and will be used when we need more light spread, but in the studio, the control given by the plm makes it our first choice.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Awesome lighting modifier!

            By KFerg

            from New York, NY

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Easy To Set Up
            • Lightweight

            Cons

            • Short Lifespan

            Best Uses

            • Portraits
            • Weddings

            Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

            Love them! Too bad they act as big kites when there is even the smallest of wind, but I could not get by without them for wedding portraits! Fantastic output, and consistent softness to the shadows! Love them!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            4.0

            Great umbrella

            By Ben

            from Los Angeles

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Set Up

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                the easy way to do a portrait: a very soft light source like this one.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Best light for the $$

                By Peter

                from Illinois

                About Me Professional

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Great light
                • Lightweight

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Portraits

                  Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                  Great light, not expensive. Beggars can't be choosers.
                  It probably won't last forever. I thought it would assemble with a bit less fussing around.

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                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  great for location portraits/fashion

                  By Fedz

                  from Brooklyn,ny

                  About Me Professional

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Lightweight

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Portraits
                    • Studio
                    • Traveling

                    Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                    I use this with my AlienBees 1600.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    5.0

                    Perfect Light

                    By wayne

                    from San Francisco, CA

                    About Me Semi-Professional

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Easy To Use
                    • Lightweight
                    • Reliable

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Portraits
                      • Studio
                      • Traveling

                      Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                      Big and wrap around your subject with catch light in the eyes. Nice!

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      5.0

                      Great for on location

                      By Sprog

                      from Adelaide, Australia

                      About Me Semi-Professional

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Durable
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Lightweight
                      • Reliable

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Portraits
                        • Studio
                        • Traveling

                        Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                        The modifier produces great light. I will use this for on location lighting. So far so good.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        5.0

                        Awesome and convenient!

                        By Jamari

                        from Chicago, IL.

                        About Me Semi-Professional

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy And Quick Setup
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Lightweight

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Everyday use
                          • Home
                          • Portraits
                          • Studio
                          • Traveling

                          Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                          I use this item for parties and wedding setups. It's great for quick setup on location and getting the soft lighting you need for portraits. It folds and stores like any umbrella and easy to carry.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          4.0

                          Versatile, compact - love it

                          By Steve

                          from London Canada

                          About Me Professional

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                          • Slow Set-up

                          Best Uses

                          • Everyday use
                          • Portraits
                          • Studio
                          • Traveling

                          Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                          Extremely versatile, gives a wide range of light characteristics. In the field it feels just a touch fragile (compared to my old Balcars) but has stood up well so far for over a year. If you use all of the add-ons (silver/gold insert, front diffuser) it takes awhile to get it all set up but once you're there, it's a lovely light. Definitely recommended.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          4.0

                          Great light shaper

                          By Oskar

                          from Luxembourg

                          About Me Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Durable
                          • Easy To Use
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Portraits
                            • Studio
                            • Traveling

                            Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                            This is very good value for money light shaper. Really a must have I think, at this price it works as quick replacement for softbox, shoot through umbrella and reflective umbrella. Great for use on location, set up takes few minutes.

                            Only reason why it gets 4 stars instead of 5 is the inserts (gold/silver discs) are pain to use... :/

                            Also the 8mm shaft (removable part of it) fits the Elinchrom Quadra 7mm umbrella holder perfectly.

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                            • No

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                            3.0

                            Not the best

                            By Vadim Daniel

                            from Montreal, QC Canada

                            About Me Professional

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Cheap
                            • Easy To Use

                            Cons

                            • Bulky
                            • Poor Design

                            Best Uses

                            • Home
                            • Traveling

                            Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                            Cheap product. Takes time to assemble.
                            It's good if you travel and want to save $
                            Good for studio on location, but to for weddings (take smaller one)

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                            • No

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                            4.0

                            Great light at a great price!

                            By Luke S photo

                            from Chicago, IL

                            About Me Semi-Professional

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Easy To Use
                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Portraits
                              • Studio

                              Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                              I use this product as a light modifier for studio photography. It delivers nice soft light at a great price, and collapses easily to the size of an umbrella! Great for a photographer on the go who doesn't have a permanent studio space!

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              5.0

                              Perfect Brella

                              By Von Neumann

                              from NYC

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Attach Securely
                              • Durable
                              • Good Color Value
                              • Long-Lasting
                              • Powerful

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Indoors
                                • Night Time
                                • Outdoors

                                Comments about Photek Umbrella - Softlighter II - 46":

                                Amazing what a little name can do to lower the price and not the quality of over priced photo gear ;) No need to waste tons of loot on the big names.. this quality umbrella serves everyone I know who uses it (including me) very nicely in this rat race we call photography. Good Luck Y'all

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                                • No

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