Fluorescent Softbox Kit: Better Quality for Beginners

Octacool A few years ago I reviewed my ePhoto fluorescent softbox kit which is a workhorse kit for talking head and interview style shoots. The upside of that kit was that it only cost $200. Today it sells for even less. But quality and durability were not amazing on this kit. In fact, I never break the softboxes down for fear that I'll break them. When I first received it, one of the porcelain sockets was literally dangling from the head by its wires. One of the bags for the light stands was shredded. The stands are pretty flimsy. But the light worked well if you treated them with kid gloves and left them assembled and out of harm's way...

ePhoto Kit


I'm really hesitant to recommend that old kit, mainly because of the lack of quality.

So for those that are willing to spend a little more, I highly recommend looking at a kit like the Impact Octacool series of flood/softbox lights. The quality is much, much higher and the light it produces is beautiful, soft, wrapping light that will flatter your talent for talking head or interview setups. The light heads are solidly built and should hold up to use on the road much better than the ePhoto kit. You still need to be careful since fluorescent bulbs are fragile, but with care, this kit should last for several years. The stands are sturdier. This is clearly a case where "you get what you pay for" applies.

Octacool Kit

The Octacool lights come in 6 or 9 bulb versions and in kits with light stands and multiple light heads. The 2 light, 6-bulb kit works great for talking head setups. I'd use one as a key light, the second as a kicker (from behind and off to one side), and use a bounce board or reflector to fill in the other side of the talent's face. Solid look without a lot of fuss.