Having never owned a softbox myself, I was intrigued to try the Impact Quikbox Softbox with my Panasonic GH5. I had long wanted to incorporate more flash work into my outdoor portraiture, and having a softbox was the perfect way to do this.
The Impact Quikbox is sized to 15″ x 15″ and folds up nicely. It features two diffusers — one small one closer to your light source, and another one right on the edge of the outer part of the softbox.
The softbox kit comes with two diffusers — a small one latched on closer to your flash, and another one on the edge of the softbox. The softbox itself is sturdy yet easily collapsible for travel.
It also included a hot shoe mount bracket, which can hold any flash (or accessory) with a hot shoe. This was particularly useful, as I had to use a hot shoe sync cord to connect my speed light to my PocketWizard PlusX transceiver.
The bracket also has a locking mechanism that lets you slide it forward and back, making it easy to adjust depending on the size of your speed light.
An 8-foot air-cushioned light stand is also included, which I found to be very lightweight, but strong enough to hold the softbox kit. If you’re hoping to use a large umbrella or heavier lighting gear with the light stand, I recommend using some sandbags to weigh it down.
Finally, the kit comes with an umbrella bracket with a shoe mount, should you want to use an umbrella instead of the softbox to diffuse the light against your subject.
Getting the Impact Quikbox is really quick. I’m able to keep the diffusers inside of the softbox as it’s folded up, making for a quick and easy setup that won’t have your model waiting.
I connected the softbox directly to the speed ring, and locked it on my Impact Light Stand.
Then I connected my hot shoe sync cord hot shoe to my speed light, and placed that on the included hot shoe mount bracket. Finally, I attached the cable to my PocketWizard, and placed another PocketWizard on my camera body.
Why Not Just Use a Bare Flash?
One of the biggest complaints about flash photography is that it can look unnatural. When you’re outside, you usually don’t have something above you to bounce the flash off of, so it can look like the subject is literally popping off the screen.
While this might make for a slightly surreal look, it’s not natural, nor is it attractive to the subject.
By using a softbox with a diffuser, you soften out the flash, creating for more balanced look to the lighting.
You can see how much more natural the subject looks when using the softbox, as it helps to even out the shadows without getting any crazy lighting on her face (like you see in the direct flash example).
Perfecting Your Settings
Depending on your setup, you can control the flash output via your camera. For me, it was all manual, meaning I had to adjust the output of my flash on the actual unit. While somewhat cumbersome, I decided on using a 1/4 power setting, which went well with my ISO 100, f/4 aperture and 1/250 shutter speed.
I tried various different angles of the softbox, but I found that angling it slightly toward the brick worked the best. This made it so the lighting was not direct, which helped eliminate any harsh highlights. It also helped to fill in the right part of the frame a bit, as a part of her face was slightly shadowed from the building and overhang above.
Overall, the build quality of the Impact Quikbox was excellent. With its quick and easy setup, I can definitely see myself using this more and more, especially for environmental portraiture.