Photoflex Silverdome NXT Softbox (Medium)

Today we're looking at the photoflex silverdome nxt softbox (medium)!

Admittedly this is a softbox system, and I use it with the Chimera dual strobe speedring, the Manfrotto 680B monopod, a Manfrotto swivel adaptor, a Pocketwizard III, and one or two strobes, and even occasionally I'll mount my Rotolight NEO into it.  But with that much investment, is it worth getting one yourself?

 
 

Single Sentence Summary

Unlimited lighting potential, pain in the butt to assemble in a pinch.

Why I Bought It

You may remember this unit from when I did a blog post a year ago on Shooting Winter Engagement Photos. Basically, I needed some portable powerful light to create contrast or fill shadows that (preferably) didn't require my assistants to have to lug a car battery on their hip for the full wedding day.  I wanted it to be light, powerful, and sizeable enough to get the softness I needed, but to also be easily packed for destination weddings, etc.  Plus, I'm a big fan of the guys from FStoppers, and they recommended this unit on their instructional DVD's, so I checked out B&H and it turns out they had a used one in mint condition.

What I Like

 I love the versatility of this setup.  It's super light, easy to maneuver, big enough to be soft, but not so big that it's cumbersome.  I like that I can toss this in the back seat as I'm changing locations without having to collapse it like I've had to with other Phottix parabolic setups.  I love the tough materials, as well as the fact that all-in this thing won't tip me too hard when I'm weighing in at the airport.  I like how the baffle easily clips in and out, and how I can port the sides to prevent from overheating.  The Chimera speedring is built like a tank too, and that Manfrotto monopod could take a serious beating if I needed it to.

What I Don't

Setup time.  If there's one place this system goes sideways it's in how long it takes to set it up.  This past weekend I was shooting an engagement shoot with a couple in Petawawa and it was pretty cold (-15 or colder).  Setting one of these up requires you use your fingertips and takes some time, and I immediately wished I had done it at home before I left.  It's such a pain.  That being said, once it's set you can easily toss it in the back seat and travel anywhere.

Also the cost was a bit much once you factor everything else you'll need in (2 Pocketwizards, Chimera speedring, monopod, adapter, 1 or 2 speedlights, eneloops and an RT-32CTL adapter for my Sekonic L-358).

Bottom Line

If you're serious about wedding photography get one.  That's all I've got to say about that.

Score

8/10

It's a bunch of pieces all put into one system, and I'm not in the business of selling equipment.  I just put this out here to recommend/deter other people from things I've learned myself in my work as a wedding photographer and photojournalist.  That being said I could make this much simpler by posting links to where you could buy this, but I feel you should take your time before committing to such an investment.  That being said, google the elements and research them further if you're interested so you can make the best decision possible ...and find the best price points. ;)

 -Wes.