Lastolite EZ Box VS Calumet Speed Box

For the last few years I own a Lastolite EZ Box 24″x24″ (With the silver interior) and I like it a lot. It is quite versatile, easy to set up and transport and most important I like the quality of light I get with it. On the other side I feel it is on the pricey side for it’s quality. I believe I spent somewhere close to $200 for the box and the bracket. At that cost I would have like to receive a metal flash bracket holder as supposed of the plastic one they provided. The black elastic band surrounding the edges, wore out on one side and now there is a small section on the box showing its metal rib that shapes the box. Back when I got it it came inside a caring bag large enough to fit a sliced bread sandwich. I was able to take it out but is not worth performing the double twist and forcing it back every time you need to use it. To me, the caring case it was worthless.

Two days ago I found out that Calumet is going out of business and I stopped by their store to see what I could find. I ended up purchasing a Calumet 24″ Speedbox for $59 and a beautiful, strong metal bracket for $39. Granted it was on sale therefore I did save about $50 to $60 from retail price between the 2 items. I can’tt say that the box itself it’s better or worst in terms of construction compared to the Lastolite. The fabric does feel a bit thicker though. The lastolite EZ Box does have an internal diffuser that the Calumet speed box lacks. The last noticeable thing between them is that the Calumet Speed Box came with a great caring bag that fits the box perfectly.

Here are 2 images I took of my trusty model Niky. She did not move a muscle during this trial therefore we can see the difference in illumination between these two boxes quite clearly.  I used a Canon 7D with a Canon EF 80mm f1.8 set to manual mode iso 400, speed @ 250th, f8, and manual color temp to 5500K. For the first image I used the Calumet Speed box with  Canon flash 580EXII set to manual at 1/64. I took the picture and then removed the box from the stand and replaced it with the Lastolite. I used the same flash unit to make sure the light source was the same and although the Lastolite EZ box comes with the internal buffer and needs more light output to compensate for that, I decided to leave the light power set at the same to see in real life the actual difference. (in Lightroom 5.5 I estimated that if I increased the exposure by .6o I would get about the same exposure)

 

Click on images to see large.

 

The picture on the left side was the one taken with the Calumet Speed Box and the one to the right is the one with the Latolite EXBox. These images are SOOC “straight out of camera” with the exception of adding .60 more exposure on Lightroom 5.5 to the image taken with the Lastolite, there is no other adjustments of any kind. No color correction sharpening etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

Again the image on the left is the one taken with the Calumet Speed Box and the one to the right with the Lastolite EX Box cropped 100%.

 

 

And the last two images are in the same order. Calumet Speed Box on the left and Lastolite EX Box to the right side. the only thing I did to these pictures was bringing the withe balance to the same values on Photoshop CC .Altough I used the same color temp to take both images the boxes show there is a difference and the background shows it quite well. I selected a point on the background right above her hear and took a reading of the RGB and brought the values on those two spots to be the same R30 G30 B30.

So the results…

It’s up to you. You have some of the facts here. Seems like the shadows at 100% are a bit softer on the Lastolite EZ Box; since it has an extra layer of diffusion it was expected. I’n my mundane world I can’t see that fact to make such a big difference. In terms of color cast, that should not make that much of a difference on this digital world. (It might if you mix them in the same shoot since you will have warmer and color tones in the same image)

If you have any thoughts you like to share about this topic or post fell free to make any comments.

Regards,

Alex Elias

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Little league, baseball game pictures.

My little one decided to try baseball to see how he liked it. So far so good. He enjoys the game and training up to now and seems to be a happy camper.

Here are some pictures of his first game. He was really happy when he hit the ball and run the bases.

One of the many joys of being a parent.

Pictures of a hand Made pen.

Happy new year. It has been quite a few months from my last update. One other thing I enjoy doing besides photography  is woodworking and making pens. That is one of the reasons for my absence here. I just finished making a pen that I wanted to make for a while and here are some pictures of it. I hope you enjoy them.

Regards

Alex

Pandora’s Box. Portrait and lighting technique

Lately I have being playing with light a bit more than usual. After spending some time reading the Strobist blog http://strobist.blogspot.com/  I came up with the urge to make a different kind of photo using some found knowledge and an old idea I had running on my head for a while.

I wanted to have the light to come from an unusual place like in this picture here

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7397779&size=lg

but I wanted a bit more of ambient light around like in this image here

keeping up with the concept and making some lighting modifications I came up with this image here.

Click on image to enlarge

Pandora's box

On this picture, I got just enough ambient light to show around the room but not so much to detract from the the main idea of a mystery box. It took a bit of playing around with the position and power of the lights (3 of them) and some reflections  until I got what I considered a decent balance of ambient light and flash light. So this is how I created this picture.

The camera was a Canon 7D with a 24-70mm f2.8L set at 30mm and f5.6, Speed 60th, ISO 125. The flashes were triggered with Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and the AC3 controller and 3 Pocket wizards Flex TT5 one on each zone A,B,C for fine control.

The first test picture I took was with the accent lampt by itself to determine the ambient light, color temp and exposure I needed for that side of the frame. Then I set up a Canon 580 EX @ 1/64 power with a snoot to shoot a controlled beam of light over the boxes on the side table ( I ended up gelling the flash with 3/4 CTO to compensate with the existing light from the lamp) and then set the camera withe balance to 4600K. The next step was to power Pandora’s box. There I put a Canon 430EXII @ 1/16 of its power with a 1/2 cut CTO and covered it with a paper towel to diffuse the light, also I lined the back of the lid box with foil to reflect light into her face from the front since the single light coming from the box was giving me some weird spooky shadows that I did not care for. With those two lights I ended up getting something like this picture bellow and that was the look I was trying to avoid. To dark around her.

Click on image to enlarge.

That is when the third light comes in to the rescue and made all the difference. Another Canon 580EXII at 1/16 power, set at 50mm and gelled with a 3/4 CTO cut . The placement of this light is the trickiest one since is the one that is doing a double duty (I learned this one at the strobist site on the lighting 102 files) this is the light that opened up the shadows on the left side to the frame (primary function) but it also created the reflection (specular light) on the headboard that defined and separated her head from an otherwise black background. The tricky part about this light is that it has to hit the headboard to create the reflection behind your models head and  that reflection is what creates the separation we are looking for.  Therefore the angle of the light and the one from the camera have to coincide in the right place and that is when the fine tuning part comes in. I will write a post about that but make sure you check the strobist site to get more details about it.

The one last thing that helped me wrap this image was the reflection of the lamp on the lid (I really like that) I have a few without it and  I did not liked them as much, the lid looked to dark and flat. Small details like that make a big difference at the end.

Here is a quick image that shows up the set up I used to get this image done.

Click on image to enlarge.

Thanks for stooping by and as usual I’d appreciate any comments or questions. I also welcome ideas for new topics.

Regards

Alex Elias

PS: A bigger and special thanks to my wife that put up with my ideas when coming tired from work.

Photo of the day. Portraits inside of a picture frame.

Nothing new that hasn’t been done before but always fun to try. In a effort to organize my garage I stumbled into this frame and decided to use it for some fun portrait session.

The set up was not complicate it at all just a backdrop and a picture frame that I hung with a wire to the necessary eight. The light source was a Travelite 750 with a Photoflex 36″x48″  softbox place to camera left and a White reflector to the right to fill in the shadows. The Camera was a Canon 7D and the lens a Canon EfS 10-22 set a the 10mm end (to make it more cartoon looking, since I wasn’t going for the glamour look) set the lens at f 5.6. Iso was 100  speed 250 and custom white balance. The flash was triggered with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and a Flex TT5.

The one thing I would recommend to make the post work simpler is to try to keep the frame as square as possible to the camera’s sensor plane to avoid to much distortions, specially working with such wide angle lens. Once in Photoshop I corrected the perspective to make the frame square before I did anything else. once the frame was square enough I made a selection of the subject put it on it’s on layer, created a new background  and added a drop shadow the the bottom right side of the frame.

Thanks for looking and as always do not hesitate to comment or ask any questions, I do appreciate both.

Regards

Alex

 

Click on image to see larger.

Ring announcer portraits.

Here are a few portraits I took of my friend Barrie. He’s a ring announcer for boxing and MMA. We did a quick session at a local boxing gym to update his business cars and some other media. The place was challenging due to very limited  space  and unattractive surroundings but it ended up working out.

The equipment used for the shot was a Canon 7D with a Canon EF 24-70 f 2.8L and Canon EF 70-200 f 2.8 is L The lighting was primarely done with 2 Calumet travelite 750, one was fitted with a Photoflex 48×36 soft box and the other one with an 11″ reflector with a 30 deg honeycomb grid. For some other shots I added a third light source, a 24″x24″ Lastolite soft box with a Canon 580 EXII. The lights were controlled by Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5.

Thanks for looking and a special thanks to Barrie.

Click on image to see larger.

Picture of the day. Painting with light II

Here are a few more images done with an LED flashlight. The basic idea an camera settings are the same as in my previous post https://alexephotos.com/2011/11/08/photo-of-the-day-painting-with-light/

Again thanks for looking and following the blog.

Make sure to ask any questions you might have, or if you have any comments or ideas feel free to post them.

Regards,

Alex Elias

Click on  image to enlarge.