Photek
Photek Softlighter II: Picture 1 thumbnail Photek Softlighter II: Picture 2 thumbnail Photek Softlighter II: Picture 3 thumbnail Photek Softlighter II: Picture 4 thumbnail

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Photek SL-5000 46" Softlighter II, Diffusing Umbrella with Black Cover

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$84.95
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List Price: $115.00

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Photek Softlighter II: Picture 1 regular $84.95

About Photek Softlighter II

Give your photo sessions the romantic glow you desire with the 46" SOFTLIGHTER II. The classic umbrella-shaped light source delivers light that has been totally reflected before it is diffused, producing soft and even light reminiscent of moonglow.

• Illuminates 11 sq ft
• Perfect for 1 to 2-person head-to-waist shots
• 3 x 4 ft product shots

This SOFTLIGHTER II model has a 8mm removable center shaft, allowing you to bring the light source closer to your subject to achieve the softest light possible. Although ideal for portrait photography, the SOFTLIGHTER II also a versatile lighting tool, working well in a variety of photo shoots and as strobe and artificial lighting.

For additional effects, the SOFTLIGHTER II includes gold and silver light enhancing discs. Use these light modifiers to warm the color of your light or to give it more sparkle and contrast. The inserts can also increase the light output by a full half stop.

The SOFTLIGHTER II is a convenient lighting option, setting up in minutes with no collars or ribs to set up. It's also light weight, making it easy to transport to your shoots.

• White reflective surface, free of bleach and fluorescence, perfectly reflects the color of your light
• Ten-panel construction (instead of the usual eight) provides more reflective surface and a more perfect circle of light, ideal for capturing light in your subjects' eyes
• Black nylon cover stops stray light and ricochet. Remove cover and reverse its direction to convert the SOFTLIGHTER II into a softbox. The diffused light it produces can be used as a main light or fill.

Note: When mounting shoe mount flash units to the SOFTLIGHTER II, a shoe mount light stand/umbrella adapter is necessary. Shoe mount flash units will have to be set to manual because the entire unit will be inside the SOFTLIGHTER II, unless the flash unit is equipped with a remote sensor.

The Photek Softlighter II is commonly used for Artificial lighting, Photography, Portraits, Strobe lighting, Studio and more.The Photek Softlighter II is most used by customers who consider themselves to be a Enthusiast, Professional, Pro photographer, Semi-pro photographer among others.The Photek Softlighter II is popular because customers like the following qualities of the Photek Softlighter II: Consistent, Durable, Easy to setup, Easy to use, Lightweight and Reliable

Photek Softlighter II Specifications

Compatability
Use with strobe lights. Not for use with hot lights, or modeling lights over 250 watts.
Bulbs 7 1/4" or less in diameter
Tip-To-Tip Diameter
46" (1.17m)
Center Shaft
8mm Removable
Total Light Area
11 SQ. FT.
Mfr #
SL5000
SKU
PTSL54

Photek Softlighter II Reviews Powered by TurnTo®

Review Snapshot®

 
4.6

(based on 61 reviews)

85%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (38)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (22)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Excellent lighting for portraits

I use this as my key light, with a regular umbrella as fill. It replaced my other umbrella. It throws a very nicely diffused soft light. I am very pleased with the light quality. It is better than a regular shoot-through or shoot-into umbrella, and almost but not quite as good as a softbox. With a softbox, you can control the spill. However, a softbox is usually bulkier, harder to set up, and eats even more light. The Softlighter does eat into your light output. For portraits I have be

View full Review

I use this as my key light, with a regular umbrella as fill. It replaced my other umbrella. It throws a very nicely diffused soft light. I am very pleased with the light quality. It is better than a regular shoot-through or shoot-into umbrella, and almost but not quite as good as a softbox. With a softbox, you can control the spill. However, a softbox is usually bulkier, harder to set up, and eats even more light. The Softlighter does eat into your light output. For portraits I have been running my SB-800 at 1/2 power or greater. The actual power you need depends on how close you get the Softlighter to your subject. Getting the Softlighter close produces the best quality light. I move it to just outside of the frame, as close to the subject as possible. Unlike a shoot-into umbrella where the reflective surface is a shaft away from the bracket, the Softlighter is point-blank with the bracket and thus closer to your subject. The ability to unscrew the umbrella shaft and remove it is huge here. Else the shaft would threaten to poke the subject's eye out (very bad for kid shots). The construction is decent but not at the level of pro equipment. I am gentle with it in fear of ripping any seams. Assembly is so-so. Basically you have to open the umbrella (only with the shaft on) and then put the umbrella cover. That's not too hard. It can be a bit of a nuisance putting it over larger flashes like the Nikon SB-800! The Softlighter has a sock by the hole where the flash head is supposed to go. However, the hole is so close to shaft that most brackets will have the flash head high above the shaft. With the Softlighter mounted to where the flash head can peek through the hole -- the hole is not tall enough! I end up playing some games to get the shaft through the umbrella bracket and the flash fully encased inside of the Softlighter. This can be a problem if you want to adjust settings on the back of the flash. You have to access it through the hole which is covered by the sock. I use Nikon CLS so I can control the manual power level via optical signals -- it works fine with my pop-up flash which acts as the CLS Commander. Doesn't matter that the flash is inside the panel. With the flash inside the panel, there's a bit more of a hot spot in the center of the Softlighter. Some people have rigged up a DIY bracket that allows them to mount the flash so its entire length runs across the top of the bracket (flash is "lying down" with the head pointed straight out). This seems to work well but I haven't gotten around to building my own bracket for this. So it's a bit of a pain to set up. Certainly not as quick as, say, a 50" Westcott Apollo. But the Apollo costs a lot more. The catchlight produced by the Softlighter is round but will have the shadow of your flash and lightstand in it. You'll need to clone it out in post-processing if it bothers you. It's better than a regular umbrella's catchlight, which has the umbrella spokes (most umbrellas). Overall, for the money I think it's a nice upgrade over a regular umbrella. The quality of light is very good and will make a positive difference in your photography if all you use now are umbrellas, bare flash, or modifiers that attach to the flash head.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Purchased in 2008 Hardly USED IT BROKEN

Purchased in 2008 Hardly USED IT BROKEN, one of the spin tip broke off, still usable, I wouldn't have written this bad review if I got some use out of it, used maybe 5 to 10 times. You get what ya pay for sometime.

Reviewed by 61 customers

 
4.0

Great little modifier

By

I use this for location lighting for a single or two-person portrait outside. This is the perfect size for an assistant to hold or to hang over a boom. It doesn't get caught in the wind as easily as the bigger sized modifiers. It's easy to transport and the light from this is really nice.

 
5.0

My best Adorama purchase ever

By

The removable shaft is terrific. The 60 inch Softlighter fits into my small studio well. I get great light even with one speedlight at medium power.

 
5.0

Must have for Gorgeous Soft Light

By

Well made product that sets up fairly quickly and produces a soft light like no other. It's like having a giant movable source of window light at your disposal.

 
5.0

As good as they say!

By

I read about this lighting modifier at Strobist and was skeptical about it performing anywhere near as good as an octa-box. But now I know better. with an appropriately powerful strobe attached it throws a huge amount of smooth, soft light. I use it with an old Vivitar 285 for outdoor and indoor shooting and it works great! Just be sure you have strong enough stands/booms with counterweight and sandbags if there's any chance of a breeze because it makes a pretty effective kite as well.

 
2.0

Purchased in 2008 Hardly USED IT BROKEN

By

Purchased in 2008 Hardly USED IT BROKEN, one of the spin tip broke off, still usable, I wouldn't have written this bad review if I got some use out of it, used maybe 5 to 10 times. You get what ya pay for sometime.

 
5.0

Excellent product & great value!

By

I have used this for both studio and outdoor shoots with my Alien Bee strobes and am super happy with the results. Its quick to setup, durable and simply gets the job done.

 
5.0

SOOOOO SOFT!!

By

I have used this for a couple of portrait sessions since I purchase this last month and it is amazing. The efficiency and quality of light is great. It gives you the control of lighting equipment along with the large soft quality of natural light. It is HUGE and probably not the best for travel use if you are using it in studio or at home it is great...If you do take it out and damage it, it is far less then some of the competitors options so you can afford to replace it. I really like the breakdown shaft that allows you to shorten the umbrella shaft which allows you to get much closer to your subject.

 
5.0

Big & Beautiful

By

First things first, this thing is huge! I use it in an empty spare bedroom/studio with regular 8-foot ceilings. Obviously you have very little maneuverability with the Softliter. It's worth the trouble though. It really does throw a wonderfully soft light. Used with an AB800 with the shaft removed, you can cozy it right up to the subject for marvelously soft, surrounding light. There is one issue for some people in that the catch lights have a dark center caused by the AB800 as well as a "tail" caused by the power cord descending from the AB800 to the floor. You can either ignore these, or if a perfectionist, go in and clone them out. I have only used this a couple of times, and both indoors. I think almost any breeze would present real problems trying to stabilize this giant sail. Also, it helps even indoors to have a fairly sturdy light stand. You don't necessarily need cinematic C-stands, but $10 stands from some outlet store are probably not going hold up well with the size of this thing. There is also some info out there that the umbrella is difficult to install. I've had no problems in that regard. I use it with the AB800's. I attach the AB umbrella reflector to the AB800, then slide the Softliter II "sock" over the reflector, being careful not to cover the ventilation slots on the AB800. Drape the diffusion screen over the AB800 and insert the shaft of the Softliter into the shaft holder. I then slip the grommets of the diffusion material over the tips of the umbrella ribs and it's done. Ending as I started, to sum up the Softliter II 60 incher, it's big and beautiful.

 
4.0

Good product, Good Quality

By

Excellent product thats very good as a large light source for portraits or studio work.

 
4.0

Very Soft Light

By

Great for large source portrait light

Q&A

Questions & Answers Powered by TurnTo®

Questions about this item:

Shopper  Does this umbrella come with everything I need to mount a alienbees b800 on a light stand or does it need some kind of boom? Is the shaft included? I don't see how to mount the light in the umbrella on a light stand.
STEVE S  shaft fits into an umbrella bracket [bought separately]. the shaft unscrews about half way so you don't poke your subject in the eye. As to the AlienBees, i don't know, i use speedlights, but as i said, it's based on the bracket you purchase, so if the bracket fits an AlienBee, there you go.
Shopper  What is the shaft compared to 7mm on the other option?
Roy M  Don't think I understand ther question. I just know that I really like my Photek umbrella. the best I have ever had and they go with me everywhere I need umbrellas.
Shopper  I just received this and an Alien Bee strobe. Question is about the Sock on this - I pull it over the strobe as far as I can. The opening on the sock is not quite large enough to entirely lay on the strobe casing, causing a small portion of the sock to be very close or touching the flash bulb. Should I be worried about a fire hazard? Anyone else using the Alien Bee with this? Thanks Very Much!
GALE Z  I do--I stretched out the cuff to pull the sock completely over the strobe casing, so the alienbee is entirely within the umbrella and diffuser, and the cuff is lossely around the umbrella st. It makes it a little fidgety to access the controls on the strobe, which are now completely behind the sock cuff but otherwise works fine. I would not use it with the strobe close to or touching the cuff--it seems dangerous and also I don't think it'd create the kind of light effect I want from this modifier.
See more questions and answers

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