Light modifiers keep getting better and better. Softboxes, in particular, although portable when collapsed, have often been an exercise in frustration and wasted time when it comes to setting them up. Yes, the light quality you get from them can be just right, but they are sometimes such a pain that they go unused except when really, really needed. Enter the Angler FastBox Octagonal Softbox 24" and its smaller compeer, the 20" version.
Here we have an octagonal softbox that is a great size for portraits, incredibly easy and fast to set up, supremely portable, and adaptable to all sorts of speedlights and small strobes. Light shaping has never been so convenient.
The Angler FastBox softboxes have silvered interiors, inner baffles, a front diffuser, and can be handheld or mounted on a standard 5/8" pin found on most light stands. The combination of inner baffle and front diffuser renders a fairly even light source without drastic hotspots.
The FastBox setup is incredibly easy. Simply remove the FastBox from its carrying case, pop it on a light stand (or hold it by hand), and grab the ring and pull it back. Click. Boom! Done!
Compared to a standard rod-filled, speed-ring-attached softbox, the easy and fast setup of the FastBox cannot compare.
If I owned a studio, I would likely have softboxes constructed and set up, ready for use for still life and portrait sessions. But, like most of us, when I set up lighting, it is in a living space in the house and the gear cannot stay in place for any length of time because 1) it is in the way and/or 2) other people live with me and they don’t want the living room to be a photo studio.
The Angler FastBox Octagonal Softbox is the first softbox I have used with which I feel I could do a softbox-lighted session without setting up an hour before my subject arrived, nor have to spend time afterward breaking the studio down. It takes virtually the same amount of time to mount an on-camera flash as it takes to set up the FastBox—and that is pretty awesome for a softbox.
In use, the light modifier performed exactly as expected. If you go catchlight pixel peeping, you will see the octagonal shape of the light and a symmetrical variation of the light spread (a brighter center, slightly dimmer ring around the center, and bright edges)—nothing objectionable or out of the ordinary. At normal viewing distances, you see beautiful circular catchlights.
Easy to set up, easy to use, easy to store. What else do you want in a softbox? Let us know in the Comments section, below!