After several hours of research on the subject, I have selected for you the 5 best softboxes among dozens currently available and my personal choice is very logically on the model Samtian is practical, cheap and good quality. You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to enlighten you on the criteria to take into account when acquiring your softbox.
The best cheap softboxes
In a world where the photo but especially the video through the stream or Youtube are in turmoil, we can find very good inexpensive softbox as is the case of the two products offered at the entry level.
Phot-R: the best cheap step
Adapter for a grid "honeycomb"
No universal foot included
Does not replace a softbox with traditional bulb
If rectangular softboxes including a powerful halogen bulb form the basis of the material needed for photography or studio work of all kinds, an alternative (or addition for the most professional) often considered is the umbrella-style diffuser, where fits a flash.
This is the case of this product, the octagonal Phot-R softbox, an excellent entry-level diffuser, available for less than 50 euros.
This model is 95 centimeters in diameter, to stay in what is standard enough, but is also available in a range of sizes between 80 and 150 centimeters, with or without "honeycomb" net.
It is really easy to assemble and disassemble, in a few minutes, with a minimum of effort, since it is not necessary to assemble the bars that form it, as is the case with other products of the genus . It opens and closes like an umbrella, simply.
We appreciate the possibility of opening the back of the system to help dissipate the heat, even if the inner reflective surface can withstand lights up to 650 watts (and therefore heat enormously).
As mentioned earlier in this article, this product contains a velcro adapter for honeycomb nets, sold separately or included in another model costing around ten euros extra.
On the other hand, it includes two diffusers which make it possible to create an even softer and effective light for a studio, especially when it comes to making portraits.
The only thing we can regret with this model is that it does not come with a foot of attachment, but if you already have a regular softbox (it is certainly the case, this system does not replace not a bulb system in most cases) you probably also have a tripod that does the trick, or you can buy one separately.
But all the same, one is entitled to wonder why the Phot-R does not offer this addition from the start.
In terms of transport, it's also very simple, since a nylon bag comes with the softbox, which contains only 4 separate parts before assembly. Difficult to do better at this level.It is worth adding that the customer service seems very effective to solve a possible problem, which is a real plus when you buy on the Internet.
In short, if your photography needs require the addition of an umbrella-type softbox, the Phot-R is an affordable and uncomplicated solution.
Esddi: laying the foundation
Easy assembly and transport
Bulb 85 watts sometimes too little power
The options are many when it comes to making a choice for a softbox.
We have something for everyone and especially for all price ranges.
But let's first look at a good little entry-level product, which does a great job, mostly for hobbyists. But it can quite suit more professional users who need extra equipment.
This is simply the Esddi softbox, sold for around 30 euros.
The model is rather standard in design, power and versatility.
Level first dimensions, the light box itself measures 50 × 70 centimeters, a regular size in the field that amply suffices to ensure optimal light diffusion.
The tripod that accompanies this softbox is also standard and universal, made of aluminum, as is the case of most adaptable feet for multiple uses. It can be deployed at a minimum of about 65 centimeters and a maximum of 2 meters in height.
So you can easily deploy Esddi pretty much everywhere, without requiring too much space and a ceiling height worthy of a church.
In addition, the universal end cap attached to the light system can also be adjusted independently, allowing an adjustable angle of 210 degrees that fills any desired lighting effect. Everything turns on and off via a simple wired switch all that is more basic.
Note that the E27 halogen bulb included with the system emits 85 watts of 5500k light, close to daylight. This bulb is obviously also available for purchase separately, if necessary (even if these bulbs display nearly 8000 hours of life).
It can be added that these bulbs have an effective heat dispersal system, but nothing more.
I must add that personally, as a streamer, I opt for a 135 watt light bulb, which, for a single softbox, provides a full lighting of my broadcast space. But I invite you to do your own experiment according to your needs. These 135 watt bulbs are nevertheless also simple to acquire.
As for the practical use, the coating of the light box is in focus, the diffusion is extensive with of course a cache to obtain the best result possible, without visible shadow.
And finally, we appreciate the nylon carrying bag not too strong, but enough, which comes with the system.
So we have a softbox easily mountable, removable and transportable, largely powerful enough for regular use. If you need an inexpensive, fast and unsophisticated solution, the Esddi is for you.
The best mid-range softboxes
If the entry-level is usually limited to a low-budget softbox, with the mid-range, are two pairs of studio lighting of excellent quality found here, ready to use.
Samtian: the best mid-range
Easily mountable and removable
Bulbs 85 watts by default
If a single rectangular softbox can sometimes provide sufficient light diffusion for a small space or a small specific project, it is quickly realized that most uses in a professional environment (or want to professionalize) requires a more complete installation , with a minimum of two softboxes distributed on either side of the subject to be photographed / filmed.
Here is the article that I chose to be my favorite for this selection, I named the lighting system Samtian.
For just over 50 euros, this Chinese manufacturer specialized in photographic equipment since 2006 offers two softboxes of excellent quality.
When we compare this price to a single-lighting system where it takes about 30 euros, we realize that take two devices at once is clearly advantageous (provided we have the space required, of course ).
The Samtian offers something quite comparable in terms of quality to what is findable in some of the entry-level. So we do not expect hardware that surpasses everything in the field, but we quickly realize that even for a professional studio, or a self-respecting streamer, the reliability of the system is excellent.
So we find in a standard nylon carrying bag two softboxes of 50 × 70 cm (wide diffusion), with velcro attachable diffuser and two halogen bulbs E27 of 85 watts in 5500k.
As for the entry-level, I strongly advise to try light bulbs 135 watts, a little more expensive, but much more effective for a perfect lighting. I live in a small apartment and an 85 watts is not enough to make properly disappear shadows and especially the defects of inlay of my green screen.
But of course I leave that decision to your liking, since 85 watts may be suitable for specific uses and more powerful light bulbs can easily be obtained online if needed.
Each softbox is mountable on a universal tripod which can vary on its height between 70 centimeters and 2 meters, sizes which are again standards of the kind. Everything is obviously adjustable over 260 degrees to direct your light as you see fit.
It is good to keep in mind that the tripod once deployed is rather imposing, but it can be adjusted to take up less space, to the detriment of its stability, which is a shame.
Easy assembly, easy transport (just 4 kilograms for the whole thing), standard switch-on lighting all that's easy, durable nylon finish, excellent reflective surface and high-quality heat-evaporation bulb . All in two copies for a price more than reasonable and no problem.
In short, everything that makes this softbox a perfect choice for the vast majority of photo shoots or lighting a Youtube or Twitch space. I love it and I just invite you to try it.
Neewer 700W: two is better
Tripod adjustment superior to competitors
No bulbs more than 85 watts by default
The lighting equipment for photography can sometimes be expensive, especially with the current trend of LEDs, which are certainly economic and increasingly powerful.
But halogen systems are and remain the benchmark for studio lighting and photography sessions. This is certainly due to the fact that this lighting is very powerful while still remaining quite economical.
Then the cost of these machines is really affordable for tighter budgets, while offering excellent quality and a flawless finish. This is still the case here with the Neewer softbox duo.
Two light scattering systems, this time square in 60 × 60 centimeters, perfect for any type of studio or photographic installation!
If you have read the rest of our selection, you already know that most of these systems are very similar in design and the accessories that make them up, and that's no different for Neewer broadcasters, with a few small exceptions .
Two E27-type halogen bulbs with a power of 85 watts 5500k (a style imitating daylight, it should be remembered), including a system of heat dissipation, even if the reflective surface of the square resists perfectly without it.
Two good-quality aluminum tripods stand out from most of their competitors, since they can be adjusted this time between 40 centimeters and 2.24 meters for the most demanding users who have the necessary space to this installation.
The feet are of course also adjustable to allow the softbox to rotate on an angle of 210 degrees, with a simple screw nut could not be easier to use.
The lamps turn on and off with an independent wire switch on each lamp.
Finally, transport is provided via a nylon bag that I can describe as more robust than the average, which is not likely to break (even if it is unlikely that it happens, even on other models, the material being extremely light).
This pair of softboxes does not suffer from any major fault except for the imposing side of the tripod and its lightness, which can see the system easily falling under a shock, but since the material used is aluminum, it is after all, quite logical.
A great alternative if you need the other mid-range product available in our selection.
The best high-end softboxes
Solid, durable, transportable, a lot of options, that's all a high-end model has to offer and this is of course the case of the product put forward in this latest range. What to be equipped as a professional.
Fovitec StudioPRO: the best high-end
11 adjustable lamps according to most needs
Editing a little annoying the first time
Bag not suitable for transporting all these bulbs
In this selection, we were able to review a good number of softboxes running on a light bulb per broadcast box. I pointed out almost every time, the 85 watt bulbs included may not be enough to get a perfect diffusion, soft or not visible shadows.
And even if the possibility exists to buy more powerful bulbs to make the lighting soft and uniform, the ideal is certainly to have the ability to manage a power of several bulbs as you see fit … Better still, if you have the opportunity to equalize the light by adding a third softbox above the position of the subject (in addition to the other two present on both sides of it), go for it.
This is where the Fovitec system comes into play, high-end hardware that includes everything I mentioned above and is offered for less than 190 euros.
First, let's list what Fovitec has in common with most other softboxes.
We note the presence of two adjustable universal tripods in the same way proposed by its competitors, but with the addition here of a third which gives the possibility of attaching a "boom arm", a perch suspended via a bag system sand which serves to keep it in balance and which is placed above the subject to photograph (or streamer / Youtuber).
The latter is used with a single softbox 45 watt bulb (included) comparable to the rest of our selection (mountable on the universal tripod, size 50 × 70 cm, with an independent wired switch).
The big difference is nevertheless in the lighting of the other two softboxes, which work on a support that allows the installation for each of them of 5 ampoules of 45 watts (225 in total for each softbox), that we can turn on and off on the support in question.
Each light adapter has 3 switches that can turn on and off the bulbs that are arranged in X, so that we turn on either 2 bulbs at a time, each end of the cross and / or the middle independently.
So you have the option to adjust the brightness of each softbox with the angle that suits you best, which is really very significant.
No major defect to note either on this product.
One can however look very closely and note that the mounting of the pole requires a little effort and that the other two softboxes require a rod assembly that is not necessary on most competing models. All of this is actually quite anecdotal, but worth noting.
We can also quickly go on the nylon carrying bag, as the rest of the selection, which seems a little light for all the material to be transported here, especially the large number of bulbs rather fragile.
But apart from that, Fovitec stands out as THE professional type softbox solution that is well suited to amateurs.
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
That's it, it's decided, you open your photography studio.
Another scenario: that's it, it's decided, you open your Twitch channel.
In either case, you must have, in addition to your photographic equipment, cameras or microphones (in the case of streaming) sufficient lighting that is useful for your photography subject or for your live broadcast appearance.
You have opted for a softbox system, but you do not know how to determine the one you need.
We will therefore take a look at the essential criteria to consider for a purchase that best meets your needs.
The type of broadcast system
Before getting to the heart of the matter, let's move quickly to the question of the usefulness of umbrella delivery systems.
These systems are often designed especially for photography and less for activities related to Youtube, Twitch (or others).
We recommend an umbrella system, generally less expensive, for beginners, who can start with this type of light diffusion and then move towards more traditional softboxes.
Be aware that a softbox has a much higher and customizable brightness control, where an umbrella system tends to offer less contrast.
The softboxes are usually square or rectangular, for a better imitation of a natural light frame, whatever the size of it (which is most often standard with 50 or 60 x 70 cm)
From now on, it's up to you to see which system is most useful to your business.
The power of bulbs
I have indeed hammered several times in this article, many softboxes offer 85 watt bulbs by default.
It may be enough for your activity, especially if you are a photographer, but according to my experience of streamer, the 135 watt bulbs seem to be the right solution for adequate brightness, especially in front of a screen of green or blue inlay. It's also handy if you want to hide flaws (or spill if you're familiar with jargon) that tend to come out with less power.
Systems with several bulbs on the same softbox are generally limited to around 45 watts per bulb, but have 2 to 5 on the same support. These are also usually the same models that offer a pole with another bulb.
It does the trick in almost every case, except of course if you're in the middle of a huge Hollywood studio. But I think I can declare without taking too many risks that this is probably not the case.
It is worth noting that LED panels are increasingly appearing on the market for the same purpose as our traditional softboxes.
This is certainly an even more economical alternative and sometimes less imposing than halogen, but which at present represents a cost generally very high if one wants to have a system as sophisticated as the model of 3 softbox proposed in our selection.
I honestly think it is too disadvantage for most of us to try to switch to a fully LED system, when a traditional softbox is so inexpensive and can properly light entire studios almost effortlessly.
Transportability and maneuverability
If you are a photographer, you may be lucky enough to own a studio, but you may also travel regularly for sessions outside of your fixed place of work.
If so, having an easily mountable, removable, and transportable system can save you a lot of trouble.
The softboxes in our selection are all easily transportable, based on aluminum legs that can certainly be easily reversed if you're not careful, but are devilishly practical and light.
The same goes for the synthetic material of diffusers and nylon bags.
The only problem may be the bulb needed, but some bags offer a compartment provided for this purpose and at worst, you can always (or) carry them apart in your photography bag for example.
The problem can also arise for youtubers and streamers, which sometimes have a small space that requires regular disassembly. Fortunately, these systems take up almost no space once in the bag.
In terms of maneuverability, simply make sure that the different softboxes can be easily adjusted in height as needed and that they can rotate on the tripod to direct the light at the angle necessary for your work. .
And if you want to have the opportunity to adjust your halogen for increased or reduced brightness, there are of course systems where several bulbs are present on the same support and can be lit in groups according to your wishes.
If you are a creator on the Internet, you can obviously make these adjustments not only thanks to the adjustability of your bulbs, but also via software, so it is a little less problematic for you.