Best Softbox Lighting Kit
Today we’re counting down our top picks for the best softbox lighting kit.
If you’re an aspiring or accomplished photographer, at some point or another you’ll want to invest in a softbox lighting kit.
The effects that a softbox can produce are essential for clearly-lit photo shoots, and the diffusion of light can make the world of difference.
It can be tricky to distinguish one softbox from another, but in this guide we’ll do our best to cover each in-depth so you can make an informed decision.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best softbox lighting kit
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
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⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Softbox Lighting Kit
- Best of the Best: MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit
- Runner Up: Neewer 700W
- Most Versatile: Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit
Best Softbox Lighting Kit Reviews
MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit (👑 Best of the Best)
By all accounts, MOUNTDOG’s softbox lighting kit is one of the very best on the market, so it should come as no surprise that we chose it as our top pick for the best softbox lighting kit.
First, let’s examine what you get in the box with this lighting kit. There are two 95W 110V photo bulbs, two softboxes with bulb sockets, two 80 inch tall light stands, two softbox white cloth covers, and a carry case. So, in short, you get everything you need to set up a photoshoot in minutes. Plus, the addition of the carry case makes it easy to transport the whole lighting kit, which is a great relief if you don’t want to have to figure out how to move the gear around. This softbox lighting kit from MOUNTDOG is intended primarily for filming, model photo shoots, advertising photography, and capturing portraits. You can also choose between a black and white color scheme for the equipment, or a black one. And you can opt for a three softbox light kit if you need an extra, larger softbox for your photoshoots.
These softboxes work to soften the light stream and remove shadow to show off your subjects in the best possible light. Each one has a silver internal surface, which minimizes the loss of light and optimizes the diffusion of it to illuminate the subject fully. With an E27 socket, you can connect light bulbs directly or use fluorescent lamps. The light bulbs that come with the kit are energy saving compact fluorescent spiral bulbs, which have an approximate life time of around 10,000 hours – just enough time for you to master your craft. The color temperature is 6500K, which should give you the perfect lighting conditions for a great photo shoot.
The softboxes are flexible, and allow you to mess around with the light until you get it just right. This is due to the 210 degree rotatable heads and adjustable stands that can fold to 27 inches or expand up to 80 inches. As a result of this adjustability, you are able to better assume control of the lighting and manipulate it meticulously to suit your needs.
Since the technical jargon might be off-putting if you’re just getting started with photography, let’s take a look at what the real people who used this kit had to say. The Amazon product page reviews for this softbox kit are overwhelmingly positive. Customers appreciate how affordable this lighting kit is, and praise it for being beginner-friendly.
- Available with 2 or 3 softboxes
- Available in black and white or black
- Includes 2x95W 110V photo bulbs, 2x softbox with bulb sockets, 2×80 inch tall light stands, 2x softbox white cloth covers, and a carry case
- Adjustable stands
- 210 degree rotatable heads
- Energy saving fluorescent spiral bulbs
- Silver internal surface
Neewer 700W (🥈 Runner Up)
The Neewer 700W softbox lighting kit is our runner up pick for the best softbox lighting kit, offering excellent value for money and high-quality equipment.
First, it’s worth browsing the many different buying options for this softbox setup as there are over six variations of varying wattage and with various equipment. Included in the box of the basic kit which is what we’re looking at in this guide are two 85W CFL light bulbs, two 24×24 inch softboxes, two light stands, and a carrying bag. While this isn’t as much as equipment as other kits offer, it is more than enough to give you the lighting you need for most photo shoots. Specifically, this kit is designed to be used for advertising products, and for scientific ands technical photography.
You can directly coinnect light bulbs or fluorescent lamps to each softbox using an E27 socket. The light bulbs included are CFL, and have a low operating temperature which means they won’t get hot like a lot of other softobx light bulbs do. This makes them a much safer option, and they still provide a bright working environment for you to work with.
The light stands are heavy-duty, made from aluminum alloy which means they shoulds stand strong and steady throughout the photo shoot. Some softbox lighting kits don’t priortitize the stands, and as a result, they are flimsy and easy to accidentally knock over which can damage the softbox and be potentially dangerous. The softbox has a white front clover which gives you several different lighting options.
Previous customers praise the quick set up of this kit and the affordable price. They also pick up on the fact that the kit is sturdy with the heavy-duty stands, which makes it more secure.
- Includes two 85W CFL light bulbs, two 24×24 inch softboxes, two light stands, and a carrying bag
- 5500k low operating temperature CFL bulbs
- Heavy-duty aluminum alloy stands
- White front cover
Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit (💎 Most Versatile)
The Fovitec 3 studio lighting kit is a more upmarket pick, suited more to the professional photographer than the amateur, and it’s our pick for the most versatile softbox lighting kit.
If you’re on your way to becoming a pro photographer or you’re already there, this softbox lighting kit from Fovitec 3 is an excellent option. There are three options with this kit, so you can buy it either with a single softbox light, with two, or with three which is the option we’re reviewing in this guide. Here’s what you get included in the box: two 5-socket heads, two 20×28 inch softboxes, one single-sockethead with a built-in softbox, eleven 45W fluorescent lamps, three 7 foot 6 inch light stands, one 4.5 inch boom stand, and a carrying bag. So, as you can tell, this is serious kit with a lot of equipment that you can use to play around with and find the perfect lighting setup for your photo shoots. The kit is suitable for a variety of photo and video applications, which includes conducting interviews, leading online tutorials, and even live streaming.
The adjustable socket heads hold up to as many as five bulbs at a time, and has a three-prong plug and 10-foot cord. This means you can play around with the lighting a great deal. You can have five lamps turned on in one socket head, and three switched on in the other for example. To see what this might look like, check out the Amazon product page for this softbox lighting kit where there are photos showing a man in different configurations of lighting.
The boom arm that comes with the kit is perfect for attaching a light fixture directly above the subject to act as a hair light. The arm stretches out to 4.5 inches, and comes with a sandbag that weighs it down and keeps it stable. The boom is capable of supporting a weight of up to 9lbs.
As for the light source, you’ll be working with 45W fluorescent lamps which provide a color temperature of 5500K and are energy-efficient bulbs with a standard E26 base and a CRI of over 90. There are eleven of these lamps included with the kit, so you have enough lamps to distribute between the two socket-heads right out of the box.
As for what previous customers have to say, the feedback is largely positive. Again, people point to the affordable price point of this lighting kit, and how much value it provides for the money. But they also talk of how portable this kit is, and how flexible it is with all of the lamps and lighting options at the photographer’s disposal.
- Available with 1, 2, or 3 softbox lights
- Includes two 5-socket heads, two 20×28 inch softboxes, one single-sockethead with a built-in softbox, eleven 45W fluorescent lamps, three 7 foot 6 inch light stands, one 4.5 inch boom stand, and a carrying bag.
- 5500k color temperature energy-efficient bulbs
- 4.5 inch boom arm
It can be tough to figure out which softbox lighting kit will be best suited for your photography.
As such, we’re going to go through some of the most important factors to bear in mind, so you can make the best decision for your needs.
We’ll get into specific factors such as the size of the softboxes and adjustability, but first, we’re going to ask and answer the most important question.
Why use a Softbox?
There are many reasons to invest in a softbox lighting kit if you’re an aspiring or experienced photographer.
A softbox is primarily used to soften the light and make a small light source more able to illuminate a larger area.
It achieves this by increasing the diffusion of the light which will spread more evenly across the subjects causing them to be well-lit.
With the square-like shape of softboxes, you can expect a natural-looking light source too since it imitates the shape of a window. So if you’re capturing a human subject and you want it to look as if the morning light of the sun is beaming through the window and illuminating their face a softbox is the way to go.
Another popular option for diffusing light is the umbrella.
The umbrella is typically seen as a more portable option and provides more definition to the edges of the shadows due to its curved shape.
The main differences between the two flash modifiers are that softboxes provide a more natural-looking window light and evenly distribute the light while umbrellas give you more direction with the light and defined edges.
The type of flash modifier you use will determine how you are able to control and distribute light in your photoshoots, so take the time to think about which would best suits your needs.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of a softbox will affect what it can provide for you in the way of light diffusion.
While the large softbox will give you softer light, it will also require a more powerful light source. On the other hand, a small softbox will be better for shooting with a handheld camera and it can spread the light well across subjects at a close distance.
As for shape, there are many different shapes you can find softboxes in and each shape will provide something a little different for your lighting.
Some examples of common shapes include rectangular, square, octagonal, and thin strips.
When choosing a shape, consider what affect you want to have with the lighting and how you want it to diffuse across your subject.
For the most part, though, if you’re just starting out the rectangular or square softbox will be fine and there isn’t much difference in the beginner-friendly kits.
Adjustability is a hugely important factor for any softbox lighting kit, since it will give you more options in how you control the lighting.
For example, if you have a height adjustable stand you can experiment with different angles of lighting coming in and spreading across the subject.
It can also be useful if your subject is taller or shorter as you can adapt to the situation with your lighting.
Another example of useful adjustability is the lighting stand head.
The MOUNTDOG kit for example features a 210 degree roatable head for its lighting stands, which means you can plant the stands in one place but move them around if necessary.
This can prevent a lot of effort when it comes to finding the perfect light configuration, since you won’t need to pick the stand up and move it each time you want the light to hit a different spot.
There are some examples of extra equipment that will really help you expand the possibilities of what you can do with your lighting kit.
The carry case should be a top priority, since it allows you to pack up your softbox lighting kit and easily transport it.
Without one of these, you might find that your kit won’t be very portable and you’ll have to leave it in a single place.
A boom arm is an interesting extra piece of equipment that will allow you to use a light fixture as a hair light, which will illuminate the subject from above.
This is great if you want a different source of lighting, and a good example of a kit with a boom arm is the Fovitec kit.
While some kits simply allow for a single bulb in each softbox, others will let you mix and match and use a large number of lamps at a single time.
The Fovitec lighting kit, for example, provides as many as eleven different lamps and this gives you many options for manipulating the light.
Between the two fixtures you can distribute the light in many ways to achieve different lighting effects on the subject.
Related: Ring Light vs Softbox
Frequently Asked Questions About Softbox Lighting Kits
Which softbox is best?
In our view, the MOUNTDOG softbox lighting kit is best.
This lighting kit has everything you need to get started, is suitable for beginners, and widely praised by previous customers.
The adjustable height stands with rotatable heads allow you to experiment with lighting and find the best setup for your photo shoot.
What is the best studio lighting kit for a beginner?
If it was down to us, the MOUNTDOG softbox lighting kit would take home the title of being the best studio lighting kit for a beginner.
Having said that, all three of the kits we review in this guide are suitable for beginners, so it depends what you’re looking for.
While the MOUNTDOG kit provides great flexibility in how you use the softboxes, the Fovitec kit has more equipment you can experiment with and the Neewer kit provides a sturdy setup with heavy-duty stands.
How do I choose a softbox?
To choose the right softbox for you, you’ll need to consider everything from size to shape.
While a large softbox will give you softer light but the tradeoff is that you’ll need a more powerful light source to filter through it.
On the other hand, a small softbox is great for spreading the light across your subjects at close range, if that’s what you’re looking to do.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Choosing a softbox lighting kit for your photography studio or for a shoot can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be.
Shift your focus from the fact that they all look the same, to the specific differences such as the shape, size, and surfaces and you’ll be in a much better decision to make the right choice.