Is This the Best Octabox for Small Flashes? It Could Be!

Speedlights and similar flashes can be a wonderful way to bring high-quality lighting on location. However, adapting a small flash to take softboxes, gels, diffusers, and other modifiers can be a bit of a slog. By the time you bring everything you need you're back up to a sizable kit. For that reason, I don't usually bother with small flashes, preferring to go with my larger setup. That may be changing.

When we received the SMDV Flip at work, I was pretty skeptical. After all, a lot of modifiers come and go in the photography world and I've tried most of them. This one was different. 

The Flip is a hybrid modifier, combining the utility of an S-Bracket, the versatility of a Mag Mod, and the diffusing power of an octabox. The result is an incredibly speedy tool to use on-location that may change the way you work.

In the accompanying video, I talk about how the Flip not only made me more likely to use small flashes but also why, dollar for dollar, this may be the best modifier out there for speedlights and similar flashes. There are two sizes, 20-inch and 24-inch, $139.95 and $159.95 respectively. You can get them with a standard S-Bracket, an A1 Bracket for Profoto, or a V1 Bracket for Godox circular speedlights. I used a Godox AD200 for the test shoot with it, and it didn't fail to impress. They also sell a $99 accessory kit with magnetic gels, a grid, a diffuser, and a gel holder.

After opening the Flip, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Why didn't I think of that?" It's so quick to set up and break down and folds down flat while not in use. I'd like to take it on a few more shoots to really put it through its paces, but I'm thoroughly impressed so far. I'd love to see a grid come out for the octabox, as well as maybe a 30 inch model for when I need just a bit more coverage.

Thanks to Cam from UC Models for helping with the shoot!

The SMDV Flip is available here.

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10 Comments

Tammie Lam's picture

These guys are NOT authorized SMDV distributors in the US: http://www.smdv-usa.com/where-to-buy.html

Hans Rosemond's picture

Yes, they are. I dont believe that the SMDV website has been updated in some time. In fact, they are the only distributor currently selling the product in the USA.

Tammie Lam's picture

You're right - the first comment in their official channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hup4sn7Uy9M

They do need to update the site...

Jan Holler's picture

That looks really interesting. Would by it if there was an adaptor for Elinchrom right away. Thank you for the article.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Interesting little softbox. Reminds me a lot of the Magbox just that it folds flat and can't mount 2 speedlights but does it at a lower price point. Neewer also makes something very similar in a 26" size.

Like the Magbox, though, 24" is too small. Put out 36" and they will have my interest but I never shoot with 24" personally.

Hans Rosemond's picture

I felt the exact same way until i tried it. I qould definitely like to see a larger version, but even as a supplemental light (rim, hair, etc) it's worth the price.

Nicolas Racine's picture

This is the first time I've seen a grid on a speedlight IN a softbox. What is the benefit? Surely, it is not the same as putting a grid on the softbox itself? BTW, is there a grid for the the octobox?

Hans Rosemond's picture

Honestly, i was confused by that as well. If you use the grid outside of the softbox then it makes more sense. From what i understand, they are working on a grid for the softbox that will fit over the box itself.

James Palmer's picture

Hans, thanks for the quick review on the Flip! I was thinking about getting one of these for a fill light or put it on a boom pole and give it to my assistant when I'm doing lifestyle shots. Sometimes just a feather of light on the product is all that is needed. I have been using SMDV products for several years and can say from first hand experience they are VERY good quality. The Alpha Speedboxes I use have survived thousands of photoshoots in the studio and on location. They also have speed rings for most major light brands.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Theyre definitely an underrated brand for sure!