Fstoppers Reviews the New Magbox Pro Softboxes From Magmod

The wait is over, and by now, you all have now heard the news! Magmod just announced the release of seven new products: two upgrades and five all-new additions to the MagBox lineup. So, let's jump into them.

To start, I'm not going to talk about each box individually because they are essentially the same, aside from the obvious size and shape differences. In this post, I'll share the elements that make these boxes amazing, as well as a couple of suggestions for minor future improvements. These new boxes also use the exact style mechanism to open the box (which is super fast and simple) and the same MagRing to attach it to a light stand. For those unfamiliar, the opening mechanism is a simple hinge that you press to lock and pull to release. The great thing about this is that there is no need for inserting poles or turning small screws to lock things down. The locking mechanism is also set up so that there are no elements in the box that can block light as it bounces around the box like you see with traditional quick-setup softboxes. All the boxes also attach via magnet to a ring which is then attached to your light. This is great because you can simply pop these boxes on and off the ring in order to change sizes. Lastly, all the boxes have an easy gel attachment near the ring of magnets. This allows you to quickly gel a softbox without the need for giant sheets of gels and messy tape.  

One of the first things avid users will notice is that there are no longer the distinct little yellow markings around the box's rim. These were used in the past to help you visually locate the magnets to attach the diffusion panels easily. Instead, MagMod has opted to no longer use magnets to attach the diffusion material and is instead using a zipper. As of right now, I cannot fathom the right words to describe how much better this setup is over any other softbox I have used in the past: no more dealing with velcro panels only to rip it off and try again because you didn't line things up perfectly. Even the past magnet system of the prior box feels inferior to this new zipper setup, and that way was extremely convenient and straightforward.

The panel is now permanently installed on the softbox. So, no more losing it or forgetting to bring it with you. But have no fear if you like to shoot without a panel sometimes, because it conveniently stows away in a pocket without hindering the use of the box. But one thing I found missing with this setup was no magnet or fastening mechanism to close this pocket. So, there were times that the diffusion material would fall out of the pocket and flop around during transport. This is not a huge deal and was never an issue during use. But it would have been nice to have something on that flap to secure the diffusion material inside of the pocket.

The box still does have magnets that line the entire rim. These are now used to attach the newly added MagMod Pro Grids. These grids can be placed on the box, and the magnets will pull everything into the correct location. However, you need to make sure to align one of the seams with a corner of the box for everything to fit into place the right way. 

One slight downside to these new egg-crate style grids is that they come at the ever-popular Focus Diffuser's demise. While the Focus Diffuser will still work on the smaller 24-inch box, the cost to produce a 42-inch and strip box version was just too much for MagMod to justify. So, the bad news is it will not be available for the new boxes. But the good news is the new egg-crate style will be available upon release instead of you having to wait.

Another area of change comes in the overall material of the boxes. While the older box felt rather stiff and rigid, the new box feels much softer and pliable, but in a high-end and rugged sort of way. This softer ripstop material combined with the magnets along the box's rim allows everything to remain more secure when closed down compared to the older box that always seemed to lay half-open when not being used. But for those that don't like to let their softbox roll around the trunk unprotected, they will also have new cases designed for each box to help you transport and protect them.

The box's interior also now has a soft silver finish instead of the more crunchy-looking silver of the old box. But with a quick side-by-side comparison between the two, I couldn't see any noticeable difference in light quality or effective output. So, I'm rather happy with the change.

Aside from the new boxes and grids, Magmod is also releasing a new Magshoe. This newer model is the same as the older model, with only a single benefit. The new Magshoe features stronger internals to withstand the added weight and torque caused by the larger boxes. The top plate of the new model is a nice gold color so users can distinguish between the two. It also adds that bit of "pro" feel to solidify its place among the new pro lineup.

What I Liked

  • Same easy and fast setup as the original MagBox
  • New build material feels much more refined and high end
  • New zipper-attached diffusion material is now the gold standard
  • Easy-to-install egg crate grids for all new boxes

What I Didn't Like

  • I wish the pocket that held the diffusion material had some type of fastener to keep the material inside the pocket during transport.

These new Magmod Pro Softboxes are a much-requested addition to the company's softbox lineup. But not only did they bring in new sizes, but they also brought in products with an updated look, feel, and added usability. These softboxes solve some of the common complaints most users have when using large modifiers. With super-easy setup and teardown, a rugged yet professional feel, and the option to use them with most lighting options, these are sure to become one of the more popular softbox options on the market. Look for preorder availability soon.

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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These look cool, I am going to check 'em out.

No inner baffle?

Hi Benoit, appreciate the question. We designed and tested these boxes so that we get great spread across the entire front diffusion panel. By putting an inner baffle we were just cutting down the amount of light reaching our subject with no considerable improvement in quality.

Product looks good, I love the speed.

Thanks for sharing your experience Jason. For those interested here is a link to the site on Kickstarter. https://magmod.co/xoDEU - We already surpassed our funding goal. The first production run was started weeks ago and already finished. We are now just waiting for them to ship to us so we can get them out to our first backers.

Has any one done a light meter test to compare these on video lights? Where that LED chip sits effects the light spread with different brand modifiers (aperture vs Nanlight vs Godox for example). I like the idea for speed when doing gaffer work.

I have not, but the header image here showing all three boxes was taken with video lights in each one and I couldn't see any sort of spread/hot-spot issues.