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Update on Photek Softliter II

March 30, 2008

Here are a few more pictures (with Q&A) of the softliter to demonstrate some of the not-so-obvious things. Excuse the photo quality, I did them rather quickly…

Q: What does the “removable shaft” mean and how does it help me?

In the standard (non-slim) version of the softlighter, you can essentially remove about half of the umbrella shaft so you can get closer to your subject, which counter-intuitively, creates softer light. There is a version of the softliter (slim version) which is made with a 7mm shaft. The reason for this is that there are some strobes (like Elinchrom) whose receptacle for the umbrella is too small for the standard size, so Photek decided to make a slimmer shaft for those strobes. So which one should you get? Well, if you already have Elinchrom lights and need to use the Softliter, the 7mm shaft version would be easier without resorting to DIY methods to mount the umbrella. On the other hand, if you’d like the flexibility of being able to set the umbrella as close to your subject as possible, you should get the standard shaft.

The picture below shows the umbrella attached to the bracket with all parts in place; this is what you would get with a run of the mill umbrella. The arrow points to the point where the shaft is detachable.

Here is the umbrella with the distal portion of the shaft removed and placed on the floor.

And here is the shorter umbrella placed back on the bracket:

Q: What did you mean when you were talking about the flash head not pointing to the center of the umbrella?

Well, if you put your flash on the bracket as most people normally would do, the flash sits too high up and the angle results in the flash being pointed too high up, off center. The solution? There are a few DIY methods on the web to overcome this, but essentially it involves trying to place the head of the flash exactly along the shaft.

I happened to have a piece of metal, don’t know what it’s called, that I attached to the bracket, and the flash sits flush against this with the head pointed to the center of the umbrella!

Here are two diagrams to demonstrate. The first is the flash in standard position on the bracket. The light is flashing too high on the umbrella.

Turn the flash upside down, and the light points directly to the center! The grey “Z” looking thing behind the flash in the picture below is the piece of metal I have to keep the flash in place, which you can also see in the photo above.

Hope that helps for those interested in purchasing the softliter!

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