The other day I decided to test all my light modifiers with one of my XPLOR600 lights to get an idea of light pattern, hot spots, light intensity and light quality of all the modifiers I have.
My "test" was to place the bulb 8ft from the wall (or the stand vertical arm 8ft from the wall for the Cheetah Stands Chopstick test since it's a focusable system), XPLOR 600 in manual at 1/4 power and take 3 readings with my Sekonic L-478D at the center of the projected light. For every modifier and combination I have tested, all 3 readings were exactly the same (which shows the consistency of the XPLOR 600 light).
I've tested the following modifiers:
* The supplied 7" reflector
* Haoge metal snoot
* Mola Euro 33.5" beauty dish
* Cheetah Stands 120cm Rice Bowl (RB-120)
* Paul C. Buff 64" Soft Silver PLM
* Paul C. Buff 47" Octabox
* Paul C. Buff 30"x60" softbox
I had the L-478D meter set for 1/200 and iso 100 and took the measurements, here are the results:
First, I tested the light "as-is" with no modifers, and got a reading of f/5.02. As you can see the light does cover a large area, but it is a harsh light typical of a bare bulb.
I then decided to test the 7" reflector which is included with the XPLOR 600. A diffuser is also included, so I tested that too. And since I had Paul C. Buff grid set, I tested those with the 7" reflector as well.
The 7" reflector on its own yielded f/10.1, adding the diffuser helped soften the hard light and gradient while still giving a result of f/9.03
As for the grids, the 40°, 30° and 20° all came back with a f/9.0 reading while the 10° had a little more loss at f/7.01
Next came the Haoge snoot, with and without its included grid, which gave a result of f/4.02 and f/4.01 respectively
Next came the Mola Euro 33.5" beauty dish, which gave a nice warm tone, and showed f/6.31 with the aluminum diffuser and opal glass, and f/5.6 with the nylon diffusion fabric added
Next I tested my newest modifier from Cheetah Stands, the Rice Bowl RB-120. I first tested it as a stand alone and then with the Chopstick focusing system.
As a stand alone, here are the results we got:
With no diffusers, it came in at f/11.1 Then we tried different combinations of inner and outer diffusers, the results were f/7.02 with inner only, f/5.6 with outer only and f/4.51 with both diffusers in place
Of course, the RB-120 comes with a grid, so I tested the grid on its own which yielded a reading of f/10.1 but I wasn't thoroughly satisfied with the light pattern, so I tested it with the inner diffuser in place and got a reading of f/6.3 with a more consistent gridded light.
Next I tested with the Dim Sum plate in place with different diffuser combinations, Cheetah Stands recommends the Dim Sum plate to use the Rice Bowl as a large beauty dish.
With only the Dim Sum plate, I got a reading of f/10.0
Adding the inner diffuser the reading went down to f/6.33
With only the outer diffuser, the reading was f/4.53
And both diffusers brought it down to f/4.02
I then added the chopstick focusing arm and tested that. Please note that Cheetah Stands recommends using the 600 extension cable if you are going to use the chopstick, especially in the fully extended position, as the weight of the complete XPLOR 600 even with a counterweight is too high and causes creeping of the U arm holding the RB-120 and chopstick assembly.
With the chopstick, the results of the different focusing positions were:
f/5.6 fully extended, with a wide light pattern
f/10.1 fully retracted with a narrow light pattern
f/7.02 with the main arm (the larger diameter arm) extended and other arm retracted (mid position 1)
f/6.33 with the main arm retracted and other arm fully extended (mid position 2)
Now it was time for the Paul C. Buff modifiers to be tested. I started with the 64" Soft Silver PLM, which had an output of f/9.0, and got down to f/6.3, with a smoother light, with the White Front Diffusion Fabric (WFDF) in place
Next was the Paul C. Buff 47" Octabox, which has been my workhorse modifier for several years now. Like the RB-120, it comes with an inner and outer diffuser, but no grid is included (a grid is available for purchase as an option however).
The 47" Octa came in with a reading of f/8.02 with no diffusers, and only dropped to f/7.02 with the inner diffuser, but giving out a much less harsh light from the Octa. Over the years I had rarely removed the inner diffuser as I think the Octa with inner diffuser worked best for me.
With the outer diffuser alone, I was getting a reading of f/6.3, and with both diffusers in place I got f/5.61, with very little difference in light quality versus the outer diffuser alone
Last, but not least, came the Paul C. Buff 30x60 softbox, which - like the Octabox - comes with the inner and outer diffusion fabrics included.
The results for the 30x60 were as follow:
No diffusers f/8.02
Inner diffuser only f/7.0
Outer diffuser only f/5.62
Both diffusers f/5.02
You'll notice that the 30x60 and the 47" Octabox have similar results with no diffuser or inner diffuser, but the outer diffuser on the 30x60 seems to "rob" more light
This concludes my very unscientific test of my light modifiers on my Flashpoint XPLOR 600 light! I feel this has helped me understand better which modifier and what combination to use for each specific type of photography I will be achieving!
What did you think of the results? And what, if anything, would you have tested differently? Feel free to leave your comments below and don't hesitate to share this post!