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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.