When MagMod first announced its new MagBox softbox system, I have to say I was excited. While I’ve long been a user of AlienBee strobes, they’re starting to age, and in need of replacement soon. The MagBox had what seemed to be a system that made sense, especially given the fact I had already been using MagMod’s speedlight modifiers for the past two years. In this case, I could get a couple speedlights, attach them magnetically to the MagBox, and I’d be good to go.
And after seeing the MagBox in person at PhotoPlus Expo, I’m even more excited for when it’s released.
“One of the core focuses for MagMod is that we’re continuing to innovate in our space. It’s never been more evident in terms of the innovation that MagMod wants to be involved in as it is with the [MagBox],” said Travis Williams, MagMod’s Wholesale Sales & Global Distribution Manager.
“We originally set out to make a beauty dish and ran into complications making this out of silicone and magnets. The engineering process and journey on this modifier took us instead to making the best speedlight softbox the world has ever seen — one could argue that this was a better next step for us because I think, generally speaking, a small octo softbox is a more widely used modifier.”
The MagBox softbox system is made up of three core products — the MagShoe, MagRing and MagBox.
“It started with this idea that from the [light]stand up, we could make a better softbox or larger modifier for speedlights than anyone had ever made before,” said Williams.
The MagShoe is a cold-shoe bracket that can be operated with one hand. The great thing here is that it’s made your speedlight that much easier to use. Gone are the days of twisting it to lock down to the cold-shoe. Instead, put it in, turn the lock on the MagShoe 90 degrees, and it’s secure and stable. It’s further secured with pressure coming up from the bottom, so you won’t see any wiggle with your speedlights.
It works with any speedlight on the market, and you can adjust the angle of it by pressing an orange button to make quick adjustments. It’s also compatible with umbrellas.
From there, you attach the MagRing, a dual mount that allows you to hold one or two speedlights. They’re connected via the MagGrip, a magnetic accessory that’s at the base of all MagMod products. There’s a door that closes for safety, and you can continue to use almost all the MagMod original attachments, like gels and snoots.
Finally, the MagBox. A 24-inch softbox, the MagBox is connected to the MagRing with magnets, you’re able to quickly open the MagBox with just one push. It’s got a built-in gel slot with a side zipper to access — gone are the days of dealing with flimsy gels. While it’s compatible with speedlights, you can also use it with adapters to mount strobes from Profoto, Bowens, Elinchrom or Paul C. Buff.
There are also two diffusers available — the Fabric Diffuser (included) and the FocusDiffuser. The FocusDiffuser acts similar to a grid, altering the angle of light in a 40-degree beam pattern, which helps to reduce the amount of light spill present. While not technically a grid, it has a similar effect. In turn, the Fabric Diffuser allows for a softer light to be presented.
What’s nice about the MagBox system is the attention to detail. The magnetic approach makes it easy for photographers to use no matter what the situation. The side zipper on the MagBox is the easiest way to attach gels to a softbox I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, this system is the real deal.
In terms of future products? “If there is a next modifier that photographers want us to do, it’s not that big a leap to think that those desires are well documented and likely to be under consideration,” said Williams. “Every product for us has to be innovative and impressive.”
Kickstarter backers should start to see products by January 2019, whereas products will be available for distribution starting in February. The MagBox will retail for $180, while the MagShoe will run $55, and the MagRing will run $80. You can get the whole package — one softbox with both diffusers, gels, a case, MagRing and MagShoe for $499. You can learn more and see all the products and accessories on the company’s Kickstarter page.