Best Softboxes For Speedlights – 2021 Guide

Andy
| Last Updated: January 4, 2021

Digital Camera HQ is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photography is all focused around lighting, and a softbox for Speedlight allows you to take good pictures. As the name implies, a softbox is a box made from soft material that can be folded easily and provides you with easy portability. It is used to diffuse light from an artificial source and spread it wider and more evenly.

Speedlight is a term used to describe a special flash used in photography. When both Speedlight and softbox are combined, you get better-illuminated photographs with even look overall. However, finding the best softbox can be very difficult.

With this review, you can find the best softbox for Speedlight present in the market.

Comparison of the Best Softboxes For Speedlights

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Minimizes the loss of light and increases the spread from flash light
  • Made from nylon material and silver reflector that softens the quality of the light
  • Light weight design improves mobility and reduces the setup effort
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best for the Money
  • Made with extra internal diffuser to improve the wrapping quality of the light
  • Simplified and compacted design with easy fitting Velcro strap and one-size-fits-all feature
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Portable Softbox for Speedlight
  • Made with durable nylon and soft plastics for a collapsible design
  • The silver particle reflector baffle with two white diffusers provide the best in light softening quality
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Octagon Softbox for Speedlight
  • Made from durable high-density nylon and superior reflective inner that promises zero loss of light
  • Made with light and strong double metal frame to ensure a long life of service
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What Makes a Softbox Great For Speedlights?

Speedlights provide an external flash option for your photo camera. They can make it easy for you to work in low lighting conditions and provide you with contrast filled images. However, sometimes you need light but want to concentrate on the effects more. This is where a softbox comes in handy. What makes these softboxes great are the following features:

Angle

The specific angle of your light helps in influencing the look of your image. When shooting portraits, you need to make sure that you keep the softbox on your subject's best area. This is where it will provide the highest concentrated amount of light.

Keep in mind that if you position the softbox above your subject, it will cast a shadow over their eyes and under the nose and chin. Finding the optimal angle plays an important part in how the picture will turn out to be.

Size

There are plenty of different sizes of softboxes available, and it can be hard to find the right one. However, with the different sizes, there is bound to be one perfect for you. Keep in mind that the smaller the light source, the more concentrated the light will be, and the larger the light source, the softer the light will be.

Large softboxes are great for portrait photography and larger landscapes as they provide you with soft light and a gradual transition between shadow and light. Similarly, they are good for full body shots as well as they make skin blemishes less apparent and provide you with a good-quality picture.

Meanwhile, small ones are great for product photography and macro shots as they provide you with contrast lighting.

Diffusion

Many softboxes come with two layers of diffusion, and they are designed to produce even illumination over the entire area. The diffusion helps in converting the harsh point of the light source of your flash into a softer one and provides you diffused and even quality of light.

Quick Take - Best Softboxes For Speedlights

Before we dive into our review, here are the best softboxes for speedlights:

  1. Godox 37.5" Umbrella Octagon Softbox
  2. Flash Diffuser Light Softbox by Altura Photo
  3. Neewer 26 inches Octagonal Softbox

Review of the Best Softboxes For Speedlights

Finding the best softbox for speedlights can be difficult to do so, and in order to help you find the best one, we have reviewed the top ones present in the market. We have listed their pros and cons, along with why they stand out, so keep on reading.

Godox UB-165W 65in Parabolic Reflective Umbrella,Black White Reflective Umbrella Studio Light Umbrella with Diffuser Cover Cloth

PROS

  • Known to be highly versatile
  • Has a highly reflective surface
  • Incredibly portable and lightweight
  • Comes with a carrying bag for your ease
  • Allows you to easily set it up whenever you want

CONS

  • Center shaft is very flimsy

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this softbox for Speedlight is incredibly recommended. They claim that it is made fairly well and provides you with a nice soft light when placed close to the subject. It is also very easy to set up and produces a nice, diffused light. Moreover, this light can be easily folded into a very small package, which makes it easy for carrying around.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Godox Octagon Softbox is very large. It is 47.2 inches in diameter and has a black color on the outside. It also has a reflective silver present on the inner layer, and as with the other softboxes, the diffusing layer is removable and allows you to use it as a reflector. It can be used along with flashes and even with studio lights that come with umbrella holes. It also comes with a carrying bag and a cleaning cloth.

The diffusing layer on this softbox attaches to the Velcro, which makes it stand out. Additionally, the setup is incredibly easy and very fast. It folds in an umbrella shape and even provides you with zip access that makes it easy to attach to a studio stand. Once it is mounted, a degree of tilt can be achieved with it as well.

Bottom Line

Godox Umbrella is a gorgeous looking and very user-friendly softbox that is perfect for portraits and also product photoshoots. This is a reasonable unit that is extremely versatile, has a solid yet light build, and is also very easy to set up. The highly reflective surface makes this very handy and good for your picture sessions.

Flash Diffuser Light Softbox 6x5” by Altura Photo (Universal, Collapsible with Storage Pouch) for Canon, Yongnuo and Nikon Speedlight

PROS

  • Has a reasonable price point
  • A very sturdy softbox that doesn't collapse
  • Lightweight nature ensures greater portability
  • Features a durable build that makes it long-lasting
  • Comes with a carrying bag that makes it easy to travel with

CONS

  • Not suitable for larger subjects

What Recent Buyers Report

Consumers of this product claim that this softbox is worth every penny. It is ideal for traveling as it is lightweight and very versatile with a tough build. The spines on this product are stiff and hold the periphery illuminating area static in place. It is the perfect size and not small enough to soften the photograph excessively or large enough to cause undue bulkiness when shooting with it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This softbox stands out because it can be handheld easily for your shoots. It can fit universally on all Speedlight brands, and Altura makes sure that their camera accessories are reliable. The advantage of having a softbox that can be placed directly on the Speedlight ensures flexibility in shooting. This provides you with the ability to easily carry out your photography without any issue.

You can bounce the light off a wall or a ceiling and aim at the subject directly. When it is not in use, the softbox folds and attaches itself around the flash. Also, it can be folded flat and collapse for easy storage and portability. The 90-day money-back guarantee that it comes with eases the user’s mind.

Bottom Line

Overall, this softbox is a great investment to make for photographers. It comes with a rubberized mounting grip that makes sure that the diffuser is in place. The elastic Velcro straps tend to provide you with a secure fit onto your flash head, and the portable and collapsible design can fit inside any gear bag. All these features make this worth investing in.

Best Portable Softbox for Speedlight:
Neewer 26 inches Octagonal Softbox

Neewer 26 inches/65 Centimeters Octagonal Softbox with S-Type Bracket Mount, Carrying Case Compatible with Camera Flash Speedlites TT560 NW561 NW565 NW625 NW635 NW670 750II, etc

PROS

  • Very easy to install once you get the instructions
  • Comes with a carrying bag that makes it portable
  • Can fit with plenty of speedlights and their equipment
  • Versatility allows it to be used for different photography styles
  • Contains two detachable diffusers for you to control the different light output from

CONS

  • Doesn't come with instructions

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers of this product have only one word to say about this softbox: "WOW." It is one of the best-looking products they have bought that provides them with a compact structure, bracket in all the right positions, and a reasonable price point. It is also very good with different kinds of photography and provides you what you need.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason this Neewer octagonal softbox stands out is that it is incredibly portable. It comes with a dual zip system which is very handy and makes it easy to pack for when you are traveling. It also has a silver reflective surface, which gives you great light diffusion capability and doesn’t let it leak.

This softbox comes with a rugged design and is suitable for all kinds of photography and environments. It can be used inside the studio and even on an outdoor shoot. The two-way zip design makes it incredibly sleek, and since it provides an easily adjustable angle, it is worth investing in. The zero light leakage is also very good and gives it the edge that it needs to be great.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Neewer Octagonal softbox is very versatile and portable. The best part about it is that it doesn’t cost much and at the same time provides you with outstanding photography results. Its features are pretty decent, which includes a high-quality silver reflective inner surface that prevents the light from leaking.

Best Octagon Softbox for Speedlight:
Neewer 32 inches Octagon Softbox

Neewer 32 inches /80 centimeters Octagon Softbox Octagonal Speedlite, Studio Flash, Speedlight Umbrella Softbox with Carrying Bag for Portrait or Product Photography.

PROS

  • Can be tilted easily for your ease
  • Has Velcro detachable diffusing covers
  • Very portable due to the lightweight nature
  • Comes with carrying bags, allowing portability
  • Occupies less space, making it easy for you to breathe and work

CONS

  • Mount has a plastic construction that gives it a cheap feel

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers love how compact this softbox light becomes after folding it. It comes with easy disassembly and assembly, and when assembled, it is quite large. The versatility it provides makes it outstanding in usage and also allows you to shoot in different environments, even if you use different subjects.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This softbox stands out because it comes with a black color on the outside with a silver reflective present inside. It pops up quickly and contains two different removable diffusers that come in handy. The first layer is placed as the reflective interior and is a standard partially-opaque filter, whereas the second one is closer to the subject and is a grid-style covering.

Both of these layers can be used on their own and thus allow you to fully control the way the light falls on your subject and shot. Moreover, without both the diffusers, you can use the softbox as a simple reflector. However, this is not a good idea for portrait photography as the softbox on its own cannot provide enough light for full body shots. Larger sizes are suitable for full body shots.

This softbox comes with a Bowens mount for compatibility with other stands and equipment. Even though it is not a traditional styled Bowen's mount, it does attach with the plastic grip firmly.

Bottom Line

This softbox for Speedlight is no doubt great due to plenty of features. It comes with high versatility and is easy to install. It is also very simple to use and has two layers that can be used either together or separately, depending on the kind of shot you’re going for. The carrying bag provides you with good portability and also protects the accessories. It can fold down and become small or be opened up and work perfectly for larger subjects.

Best Mini Softbox for Speedlight:
GODOX Softbox Foldable Mini Size

GODOX Softbox with S Type Bracket Bowens S Mount Holder Foldable Mini Size 8080cm Soft Box Kit for Flash Camera Studio Photography

PROS

  • Comes with an adjustable mount size
  • Requires no assembly or disassembly
  • Versatile lighting options are highly appreciated
  • Also highly portable which makes it great for usage
  • Has a very compact and small design that is easy to use

CONS

  • Comes with a plastic bracket

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers claim that if you are going for flash photography, then this softbox is outstanding. It folds very compactly and makes it easy to assemble on your own. It is pleasantly large once put together and can be folded back easily on your own, which is what the consumers really like.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for flexibility, then this softbox is your best choice. The reason for this is that it is suitable for both horizontal flash setups and also vertical setups. Furthermore, it can also change into an umbrella when you need to use it inside the studio or for reflective purposes.

Also, it provides you with stable support where it is connected to the speedlight. Breaking this softbox down is very easy, and assembling is next to nothing. For this reason, it is a quick solution and comes in handy, especially when you need to move often and set it up, such as for wedding photography.

Moreover, this product is good for studio settings as well because it provides you with different light diffusion levels. It is light, stores easily, and can be carried around easily as well.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this softbox for Speedlight is a great product to buy. It is handy to use, easy to assemble and disassemble, versatile, and can be carried easily. It can be used for different kinds of photography and provides you with different diffusion levels. It is a great softbox to get for beginners and professionals both.

MOUNTDOG 1600W Photography Professional (Studio Umbrella-Blue)

PROS

  • A carrying bag and soft light cloth also included
  • Always in position and simple to install your flash
  • Has a 360-degree rotatable Bowen mount that is easier to use
  • Features a double soft layer design that makes your pictures even
  • Comes with a very reflective material, making it ideal for professional use

CONS

  • Requires delicate use since the inner frame is pot metal

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this product claim that the construction of this softbox is very nice. They love the two-layer design it comes with and the affordable price point it has. Also, with a diameter of four feet, it is incredibly versatile and provides you with soft light. It can easily fold up and be carried from one place to another without any problem, which makes it very popular.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This softbox is easy to install and good to use, which makes it stand out. It comes with installation instructions, which makes it great for beginners too. The Bowen mount is made with full aluminum alloy with a baking finish. It is firm, good looking, light, and very durable. The support rods are made of fiber and have a low weight, good elasticity, and avoid the defects of yellowing and rusting of steel wires.

Also, this softbox has a high-quality flash present over it, which maximizes the spread of light and minimizes the light loss. This ensures soft and even photos, which is what every photographer wants to achieve.

There is also a professional high reflective material present on it, which makes the flashlight more even and natural. With the 360-degrees rotatable Bowen mount, you can easily install the flash and keep it in position.  

Bottom Line

If you are on a budget and need a studio diffuser for a Speedlight, then this softbox is highly recommended. It has all the amazing features other high-end brands have, and it is versatile, easy to set up, and overall promises great quality. It ensures that your pictures come out first class and have even toning throughout.

Comparison Overview

You can change the studio lights in many different ways and adjust them as per your needs. In this portion of the review, we will compare the most popular modifiers: umbrella, beauty dish, and an octabox with a softbox. You can see the differences and similarities down below.

Softbox vs. Umbrella

Softbox and umbrella are two of the most commonly used light modifiers. They provide soft, diffused artificial light but have their own differences and similarities. Read on to find out what they are!

Similarities

There’s only one major similarity in between the two, which is:

Ease of Setup

Both of them can open quickly and easily. Softboxes come with a Velcro attachment present on the front panel as well, but they both are easy to assemble and disassemble, which makes them similar to one another.

Differences

The differences between the two areas follow:

Control of Light

This is where the real difference between umbrellas and softboxes starts. Both of them tend to create good-quality photographs, but in an ideal room with white walls and ceiling, an umbrella tends to provide softer light.

However, a softbox is a better choice if you are shooting in a room with a ceiling and colored walls. The light doesn't pick up the coloring since it comes out straight at your subject. Knowing this difference can change your entire photo. When there are colored walls, the light reflects from the coloring and can contaminate the look of your picture.

For this reason, softboxes provide you with more precise light control.

Softbox vs. Umbrella (Source)

Wind

This is another huge difference between the two. Softboxes have the ability to stand on the ground and won't get scooped with the wind. Umbrellas, on the other hand, work as a ship’s sail does. They rotate with the wind and can even blow over aggressively.

Reflections

In specific places that have glass windows and artwork, an umbrella can create a strong reflection. A softbox, on the other hand, can be pointed away easily to get rid of it. For close portraits, the softbox’ shape can be reflected in the subject's eyes, which can ruin the image or make it better, depending on what you're going for. Octagon shape softboxes are better with reflection, and you can read about them below.

Beauty Dish vs. Softbox

A beauty dish serves to sculpt and provide more emphasis on facial features. The quality of light with a beauty dish can be very harsh, and you will need a diffuser to soften it.

Similarities

The similarity between a beauty dish and a softbox is primarily the quality.

Quality

Both these modifiers tend to provide you with great quality of photographs. They ensure that all your features are enhanced and tend to sculpt your face as properly as possible. This provides you with outstanding images every time.

Differences

Meanwhile, the differences include:

More Contrast Look

Beauty dishes have punchy sculpting lights, and they provide you with a more contrasting look as compared to softboxes and umbrellas. However, they do not have a sparkly touch to their images that softboxes have. If you want contrast, then beauty dishes are what you need.

Harsh Lighting

A beauty dish goes under a rapid fall-off of light, which can produce harsh lighting conditions. This isn't flattering for the subjects. In order to soften the light, you need to invest in different accessories, and if you can afford additional equipment, then this light is good for your otherwise, a softbox is a better investment.

Affordability

Beauty dishes are more expensive than softboxes. If you want something more affordable, then the latter is a better choice. Also, with beauty dishes, you will need to invest in other accessories as well, and if you can do that, then this is the option for you.

Octabox vs. Softbox

Another directional tool present on the market is an octabox. While it is similar to a softbox, there are differences between the two. Let’s have a look!

Similarities

Let’s first see how the two are similar 

Same Working Way

The only similarity present between the two is the way they work. Both of them are attached to a stand and allow you to direct the flow of light.

Differences

On the other hand, the differences between the two are many.

Shape

The first thing you are bound to notice is the shape. An octabox is shaped like an octagon, whereas a softbox has a rectangular or squarish shape.

Photography

Octaboxes are perfect for photographing people because of their shape. People photographed with this accessory tend to have a sparkle in their eye, which makes the image look natural and good.

 A softbox, however, is more of a universal and general lighting tool. It provides you with good product photography and even other kinds of pictures but is not good for portrait photography.

How to Use a Softbox With Speedlights

In order to use a softbox in the studio, you can easily hook up your Speedlight behind it to get a better-quality image. This allows you to bring your studio softboxes instead of purchasing new stuff for photography. So if you are on a budget, this technique is ideal for you.

  1. To do this, you will need a basic Manfrotto clamp with an adapter made for small strobes. This allows you to create a Justin clamp.

  2. You can add a pivot ball hand and pen over it, which allows you to put anything on the clamp, including a camera, video camera, and even the flashes on it.

  3. Then you should place the adapter on top of this and screw it on.

  4. To fix this on the softbox, you need to unscrew the top part and place it in the clamp hole present on the clamp and tighten it up.

  5. After the clamp is set up, take your flash ring and clamp it from underneath the ring. This is good for you if you do not like a tripod.

You can also refer to the video down below to get a better grasp on how to use a softbox with Speedlight.

Softbox Photography Tips, Tricks, and Hacks For Success

A softbox can easily be used as the main light or the key light, depending on your requirement. However, you can use this as a fill light or a secondary light as well. When working in any studio setting, there are certain things you must consider, including:

The Proximity of the Softbox With Your Subject

You need to place the softbox far from the subject so it lights up evenly. If it is placed too near to the subject, it cannot be illuminated properly. Placing it further away will provide you with a soft light.

Where You Should Place the Softbox

The angle at which you place your light will place an important role in the outcome of your image. When shooting portraits, the softbox should be kept on the best side of the subject. If you place it above the subject, then this will create a shadow under the nose, chin, and eyes. Finding the best angle requires you to focus on where the shadow will be.

How Powerful the Softbox Light is

The light output you have depends on the power of the softbox. If using an unmodified light source, then the light will be less. Each softbox has a different amount of output and diffusion. Similarly, when working outdoors, you will need to take into account the sunlight falling on your subject since it balances with your exposure.

How Reflective the Subject is

A highly reflective subject allows light to bounce right back in the camera. A softbox reflection in any one's eyes can be noticed easily, and you should consider how it looks. If you do not like the reflection, you can move it farther away or take a new angle.

Conclusion

With the above-mentioned guide, you can easily shop for the best softbox for Speedlight present on the market. However, make sure that you carry out your own research as well and understand what works best for you. We hope that this guide is helpful to you.

People Also Ask

Even with all the information, there are some questions that can still confuse you. These are answered below so that you can get the ideal product.

What is Softbox?

A softbox is a kind of photographic lighting device. It allows you to control where the light is focused and where it shouldn't be focused. It helps in diffusing the light to get you the perfect contrast and exposure for your photo.

How to Fold a Softbox?

Every softbox has a different way of being folded. In order to understand how to fold yours, you can easily watch a tutorial or read the instruction that comes with it.

What Does a Softbox Do?

A softbox diffuses the light and creates a pleasing soft light. When it is used properly, it helps in reducing harsh shadows, and the closer it is placed to the subject, the softer the light appears.

Is Softbox Better Than Umbrella?

A softbox helps in controlling the shape and direction of the light more than the umbrella. An umbrella, however, helps in preventing the light spill from occurring. A softbox, due to its shape, has the advantage of producing natural-looking light as well.

What is the Best Size Softbox For Portraits?

For portraits, keep in mind that a 12x56 inch rectangular softbox is ideal for portraits. However, large ones are ideal for full-body portraits and group shots.

Do I Need a Softbox?

If you feel like your images are very harsh and have bad lighting, then you must invest in a softbox right away.

Share to Pinterest

Andy

Hi, I’m Andy. I’ve been taking pictures for just about as long as I’ve been old enough to hold a camera. I studied photography in community college after high school but was encouraged to follow a career path that was more stable. I do gigs here and there on the side but never took the leap to focus my efforts full-time. When Pam reached out to me through a mutual friend, I jumped on the opportunity to be a writer. Favorite type of photography: macro and street.