Fstoppers Reviews the RapiDome Collapsible Speedlight Modifier by Photoflex

Fstoppers Reviews the RapiDome Collapsible Speedlight Modifier by Photoflex

There are a ton of speedlight modifiers on the market today. Some utilize the miracle material we call Velcro, others use rare-earth magnets to affix their product to your flash. Photoflex takes a more traditional approach with their latest speedlight modifier by developing a collapsible octobox style modifier specifically designed for speedlights.

Why Speedlights?

Simply put, bulky strobes aren’t always the best tool for the job. Speedlights are to photographers like a hammer is to a carpenter. Sure, a pneumatic nail gun may be better for certain applications, but most of the time a simple hammer will get the job done. The same can be said for a photographer’s lighting setup. Oftentimes, a single inexpensive speedlight, if used properly, can be just enough to create stunning portraits.

Senior portrait taken using a single speedlight.

What I Like

Portable and Lightweight

The Photoflex RapiDome is a lightweight modifier for speedlights that collapses neatly to a convenient size that can easily be packed in whatever means of storage you’re taking with you.

Included in the kit is one RapiDome, front diffuser, egg crate grid, reversible deflector center dish, adjustable tilt bracket, and LiteStand. All of this (minus the stand) fits neatly into the included carrying case. My only gripe here is that I wish the case was a few inches longer so the stand could fit inside. Or perhaps a couple of straps to secure the stand to the bag. I hate fumbling around with light stands while on the move.

Construction

If you’ve ever used cheap umbrellas, you’re familiar with how flimsy and delicate they can be. The Rapidome isn’t like that at all. The modifier expands and collapses easily and the aluminum rods and heavy-duty fabric materials used feel much like other Photoflex modifiers: sturdy and well made. I have no doubt that the octobox is up to the tasks I’ll throw at it.

Setup for the RadiDome is easy and takes seconds.

Light Quality and Performance

The reflective silver interior is constructed of a heavy-duty material that’s highly reflective. Used in combination with the included center deflection disc, the 25.5-inch softbox produces an even white light that’s free of hotspots that can be common with other modifiers without a center deflector. The light can be modified further with the included diffusion panel and egg crate grid.

Image taken with center deflector only.

To soften the light output, the modifier can (and in my opinion, should) be used with the included diffusion panel. The diffusion panel is easily attached to the octobox in a matter of seconds.

Image taken using center deflector and diffusion panel mounted to the RapiDome, producing a more subtle quality of light.

In just a few more seconds, you can mount the included egg crate grid to create a more direct source of light and control light spill, which better isolates your subject. In this case, a certain charismatic and brilliant Fstoppers writer. Grids can also be effective in creating more dramatic portraiture.

Image taken using the center deflector, diffusion panel, and egg crate grid.

What I Dislike

No Mount for Radio Receiver

Depending on how you trigger your speedlights, you may find yourself in search of a way to secure your radio receiver neatly to the unit. One possible solution would be purchasing an adjustable shoe mount that features a second shoe mount, which can accommodate a radio receiver. This mount is included with the Photoflex XS Octodome kit. Of course, there are other ways to secure a radio to a light stand or flash.

Some sort of way to mount a radio receiver would be a welcomed feature.

Stand

It’s not that I particularly dislike light stands — you may recall my frustrations with stands from a recent article. The stand is just heavy-duty enough to support what it’s intended to support. And that’s fine I suppose. After all, if the stand were bulkier, it’d increase the overall size and weight of the package, and that’s no beuno. It might be nitpicking, but like I mentioned before, some means to fasten the stand to the bag (and even perhaps use the bag as a weight for the stand) would be a welcomed feature.

If the carrying case were just a few inches longer the stand would easily fit inside.

Conclusion

Like with any other Photoflex product I’ve ever used, the RapiDome doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s found a place neatly within my kit and it’s hardly even noticeable in terms of the space it consumes. I often find myself in environments where it simply isn’t practical to pack strobes and heavy light stands, and the Photoflex RapiDome will fulfill a need nicely.

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10 Comments

Tony Frattle's picture

I've been wanting to purchase a grid for the Westcott Rapidbox but I could never justify the $150.00 for it (it's nearly the same price as the Rapidbox), so this looks like a far better option because it comes with a grid at nearly the same price. I'll then have two speedy pseudo beauty dishes! Great review.

Michael DeStefano's picture

This looks pretty good I might have to check it out. I'm a big fan of Photoflex products.

michael buehrle's picture

for all you flash guys out there, is 24" big enough for most stuff ?

Jordan Parker's picture

The bigger the light source, the softer the light. That said I've found that 24" is the sweet spot for speed lights–I use the impact hexi 24. Anything larger starts to push power requirements for speedlight flash use, especially outdoor. With a large box (48" or more) you can always add more than one light inside to increase output, but the 24" seems to be the perfect balance of soft-light, portability, and power. It's also great when you have a human flash stand for rapid shooting/multiple looks.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

That's just about right for speedlights

"Knit-picking." Good lord.

Jeff McCollough's picture

So a Westcott knock off?

Looks absolutely identical to the aurora firefly softboxes, that are out since ages. Not sure why a knock-off like this needs such a big "review".
But it's still one of my favorite tools on the go with light equipment, so can't do much wrong with it.

Eric Stoner's picture

I had much more respect for Photoflex when they weren't making copies of other manufacturers products! I'd never buy from them again despite the price and what's included because I have more respect for ORIGINAL designs!

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Thank you for your original response to the review. I appreciate your original opinion....