Interfit's Strobies are studio lighting tools for portable flashes that are available in a Portrait Kit or an EFX Kit better suited to background and product photography. The Portrait Kit includes a beauty dish (often used for soft high-glamour portraiture), globe diffuser, softbox, barndoor set for controlling light spread, snoot and honeycomb grid. Each item is available separately. Strobies require a separate, but inexpensive Flex Mount to secure the items to the flashgun, which are available in sizes to accommodate popular flash types. The tools also can be used with a new or alternate flash by purchasing another fitted Flex Mount. Estimated Street Price: $129 (Portrait Kit); $8 (Flex Mount).
LumiQuest Ready for Anything Kit
LumiQuest's Ready for Anything Kit includes everything offered in their complete ProMax System of flash-modification tools, as well as the FXtra gel holder with eight Rosco gels and the nonadhesive UltraStrap for attaching LumiQuest accessories. The ProMax six-piece system offers an 80-20 ceiling bounce (with a 20% fill spread) and interchangeable white, gold and silver inserts. There's also a frosted diffusion screen. LumiQuest's Strobist Kit is a similar set with an extra gel and the on-flash SoftBox III solution instead of the ProMax reflectors. Estimated Street Price: $79 (Ready for Anything Kit); $65 (Strobist Kit).
California SUN-MOVER Reflector
For bigger bouncing needs, California Sunbounce makes highly regarded, professional light-modification equipment. What makes their SUN-MOVER reflector so nice is that, with its comparatively stiff PermaTense construction, just one person can hold it, and it will stay flat, even in high wind. The oval shape and tensile strength of the reflector give it the ability to focus the reflected light into a tight spotlight by bending inward, or a wider diffuse spread by turning outward. The 32-inch reflector system is available in Zebra/White for a subtle warm feel and Silver/White for a more neutral reflection. List Price: $109 (Silver/White 32-inch); $122 (Zebra/White 32-inch).
SOFTENING LIGHT: SOFTBOXES, DOMES, SILKS
Diffusion spreads light rays out for more even—but less powerful—coverage. There are a variety of different tools for performing diffusion, such as silks, softboxes, domes and panels. All of them work by passing light through a semi-opaque material. The light quality is soft and flattering, and gels or reflective surfaces can be added to influence the feel and color temperature of the light.
The Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce is an affordable and simple little flash dome that secures to the front of a flash for spreading light evenly to the front and the sides. (The distribution of light is especially effective around reflective walls that will return the light.) It's also available in green for working with fluorescent lighting and gold for warming skin tone and flash output. List Price: $19.
Harbor Digital ProPack Ultimate Light Box Diffuser
Harbor Digital Design's Ultimate Light Box Diffuser ProPack acts as a large softbox for your flash by sliding over the front of the unit, with interchangeable tools in the kit that help to diffuse and shape light. The system includes a large Ultimate Light Box, a smaller Diffuser Dome and a Black Box that channels light directionally for snoot-like performance. A large reflector and Sensor/Lens Shield are also offered, and there are fitted color gel filters in red, blue, green, yellow and pink, as well as a 1/2 CTO gel for correcting white balance under fluorescents. Estimated Street Price: $104.
Photoflex OctoDome nxt
Known for their studio lighting solutions, Photoflex also produces a selection of smaller softboxes that are compatible with shoe-mount flashes, including three sizes of their LiteDome softbox. Additionally, the 1.5-foot OctoDome nxt and larger, but still quite portable 3-foot OctoDome are eight-sided softboxes with a much larger light spread and, hence, even subtler, softer light. Rather than the rectangular shape that you get with a typical softbox, with an octabox you also gain more natural circular highlights and catchlights. Both OctoDomes include removable faces and baffles for two levels of control over diffusion, and they're available in kits with stands and other features. List Price: From $165.
Honl Photo traveller16
Honl Photo's traveller8 and traveller16 softboxes replicate the traditional softbox design and miniaturize it for use with shoe-mount flashes. The larger 16-inch front diffuser of the traveller16 features a removable interior light baffle for reducing light further, and a stabilizer cord keeps the system from weighing down the flash. The smaller traveller8 weighs less than four ounces. Both models include a Speed Strap for attachment to the unit, and they will fold flat for
stowing in camera bags. List Price: $69 (traveller8); $149 (traveller16).