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Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic 48″ Quick Softbox Updated 8-14-18

UPDATE 8-14-18

Our client Hillbarn Theatre just released one of their publicity posters for the upcoming production of West Side Story. This image was shot using a Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO and the Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic 48″ with disk and inner diffusion panel as the key light. Rim light was a Saberstrip v2 using an eVOLV200

UPDATE 8-1-18

I did a re-shoot for a client’s West Side Story publicity imagery since they have actually cast the roles. I decided to use the Glow 48 with the metal disk and inner diffusion panel installed instead of my focusing arm modifiers for this session. I wanted a slightly softer yet still punchy look for the mood the client wanted created. I continue to be amazed and happy with the light quality and the ease of set up with this modifier. My only niggle is that it can be tough to push it open because of the size of the modifier. I have to stand to one side and really push down to get it to click. Ah first world problems eh? LOL.

Glow 48 camera left slightly behind the talent and feathered. Saberstrip v2 as the very slight rim light camera right.

Glow 48 camera right as feathered key light pointing away from the talent to just skim them. Saberstrip v2 camera left as rim/fill light.

UPDATE 7-3-18

I continue to be impressed with the EZ 48, so much so that it was only one of four modifiers I took for a personal editorial project down to El Segundo to shoot Luna Cycle. (I have an upcoming article on that trip along with photos of course….) The other two modifiers were my Fresnel and two the soon to be released SaberStrip v2.0 which comes out later this month. This project was editorial in nature over ‘beauty‘ in the traditional sense. (I find beauty in loads of things that may not seem obvious.) I know a good many of you (including myself) like to ‘learn’ about modifiers and how they apply to shooting beauty or product. But for me the real test of a modifier is just how versatile it can be in a variety of situations.

The light quality is always my first concern and the EZ has that down pat. The ease of assembly and if it is the right tool for the right job is my second consideration. For the two images below it fit both all three of those criteria perfectly.

Light test. This is when I knew I needed to add a light to illuminate the sign behind the chair for the talent.

In this photo of Ashley and her ‘puppy’ the EZ was the key light camera left sandwiched between the couch and some other boxes. I only used the disk reflector and the inner diffusion panel since I wanted a more specular light for these shots. The Luna Command Center sign was lit with one SaberStrip v2.0

How the scene appears without the use of strobes.

You can see the EZ reflected in Kyle’s sunglasses, a rookie mistake on my part, but that’s OK too. A SaberStrip v2.0 was used camera left as a very soft fill. Again the EZ used with the metal disk and inner diffusion panel only.

I have found that the value and quality of light presented by the EZ is remarkable.

UPDATE 5-25-18

I had a client reschedule one of my sessions, so I decided to do a quality of light test today with this modifier against my SMDV 110 using a focusing rod and my Parabolix 35D modifier. Since the Glow comes with this little metal disk I wanted to find out if it could produce a similar quality of light to my actual focusing rod light modifiers. Spoiler Alert: Yes it can! With one major limitation…..

The comparison group. Left to right, SMDV 110, Glow EZ 48″, Parabolix 35D

I was actually away at how good this 95.00 modifier’s quality of light is in real life. The major difference between it and my other focusing rod modifiers is its inability to feather light while using the disk. I almost always feather light using any modifier. I know that many people generally point a modifier directly at the talent, but my taste prefers having the light bounce away from the talent. It produces a delicious wrap that a direct shot just doesn’t accomplish. Because the light source on the Glow is pointing DIRECTLY TOWARD the talent, but is deflected back toward the modifier by the disk (much like a beauty dish), any angle not pointing directly toward your talent exposes the strobe bulb. This creates a severe hot spot and ruins the effects of the modifier. True focusing rod modifiers point the strobe bulb AWAY from the talent toward the modifier. That greatly increases the angle at which the modifier can be turned without exposing the bulb. In addition the housing of focusing rods which hold the strobes have a flange that also shields the bulb from direct line of sight.

One of the “potential issues” I had read somewhere is that the Glow 48 is passing light ‘through‘ the spokes of the housing skeleton. I’m always fascinated how people concern themselves with things like that. In my experience it does NOT affect the quality of light in this modifier.

Light pattern of the Glow with the disk in it’s fully extended position which I call Mid flood.

For the purposes of this test I shot all three modifiers directly at Jenni, no feathering. In the focusing rod comparison, no diffusion material was used on any of the modifiers. The reason I prefer focusing rods is the extra contrast, smoothness and punch they produce in the quality of light. They’re certainly not for everyone, but my clients now insist on this type of light for most of their publicity work. There are exceptions, but it’s what we both prefer. The ability to focus or flood the very same modifier to give different lighting moods/looks is wonderful.

For the SMDV and the Parabolix I had the focusing arm in their mid-flooded position (both used the Parabolix focusing arm and an xPLOR 600 with remote head), meaning halfway out from the apex of the modifier. I did this because the disk on the Glow would only go about halfway from the apex of its modifier. I did notice a color difference between the modifiers as well. I’ve decided to post the images without identifying which modifier was which…until the end. After all we each decide for ourselves what we prefer and I don’t want to influence your view of this modifier. So here we go….

The setup. The reflector is a Glow Reflector Panel and Sun Scrim Kit 39″ x 62″ which I will review later. The light used in the Glow 48″ is a Flashpoint 600 Pro.

Shot A

Shot B

Shot C

I also wanted to do a quality of light test using both diffusion panels which is the way most of the people will use the Glow 48. I did NOT use the diffusion disk in addition to the two diffusion panels. The inner diffusion panel has a 2 stop circular panel which effectively reduces any potential hot spots. My gold standard in a two diffusion panel configuration has been my beloved Elinchrom 39” Rotalux Deep Octa. I found the Glow achieves 90% of the light I love in the Eli. And considering the Eli is 290.00 PLUS an additional 55.00 for a Bowens speedring AND 86.00 for a hooded diffusion panel (no grid is made for the Eli Rotalux line) that’s a whopping 431.00 compared to 95 bucks. Is that 10% difference worth the extra three and change Benjamins? That’s totally up to how your client feels about the lighting. And if you’re not shooting client work, how you feel about the light quality.

Glow 48″ with both diffusion panels installed, 600 Pro Strobe, feathered light. Hair/rim light is a Saberstrip Light.

So let’s do a little math:

  • Glow 95.00 (46”)
  • SMDV 110 (44”) 325.00 (not including a focusing rod)
  • Parabolix 35D (89cm) Package 838.00 (including focusing arm)

In order of ease of assembly and breakdown as I used them today (without diffusion panels):

  1. Glow 48*
  2. SMDV 110**
  3. Parabolix 35D

* The Glow is the easiest to assemble and strike IF you don’t use the inner and outer diffusion panels. They must be removed and installed each time you use this modifier.

** The SMDV is hands down the fastest and easiest modifier to assemble and break down if the diffusion panels are installed. You don’t have to remove them when breaking down the modifier. They can remain on the modifier.

Shot Modifiers:

  • Shot A: Parabolix 35D
  • Shot B: Glow 48″
  • Shot C SMDV 110cm

I will simply say that the light quality and value of the Glow Deep 48” Quick is REMARKABLE. Add to that fact its cost and it’s a no brainer. It is going into my workflow immediately and I’ll not hesitate to use it when it’s the right tool for the right job. A side note, Jenni the young woman I asked to be my test subject is also a photographer. She was so impressed she plans on purchasing a Glow 48. Hell who can blame her?!

UPDATE 5-19-18

Zarli, a visitor recently asked me two questions, one of which didn’t take long to research and I’m assuming others will have this same question so I’m adding it here. He wants to know the diameter of the changeable speed ring in the unit. The measurement is 144mm or 5 2/3rds of an inch. If the light quality is as I expect I will change the Bowens speed ring to a Cheetahstand low profile ring. I’ve done this for all of my Bowens modifiers when using them without a focusing rod. The reason is the Cheetahstand Low Profile rings allow my Flashpoint strobe bulbs to penetrate further into a modifier giving me a percentage increase in light output. It’s a very easy change and well worth the extra 25 bucks.

The low profile speed rings I use.

You only need to remove one of the #2 Phillips head screws along with the thumb screw and loosen the other two to remove the speed ring.

Here it is with the speed ring removed. As you can see I didn’t have to remove all of the screws.

Figures a photographer would have a shitty photo of the ruler!

Just to show I can replace the Bowens mount with a Profoto mount. I have these Profoto speed rings to replace them when I’m using my Parabolix focusing arm which is the exact diameter of Profoto’s speed rings. Obviously I won’t be able to do that with this Glow modifier due to the rods. BUT the movable disk is intriguing me…..

Original Post

Although I have not had time to evaluate the actual light quality of this modifier, I wanted to give my impressions of the Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic’s physical build quality of the unit. As is my workflow, until I can test any modifier I won’t be using it on commercial shoots. Since this is my hectic time of year I’m not sure when that will occur. But once it does I will post my impressions here. And I’m not going to get into the fucking bullshit back and forth about whether this is a true parabola. If you’re one of those best of luck and start babbling about geometric facts somewhere else. My world is about creating compelling and excellent imagery, not having to be fucking right. Plenty of other troll places you can go online for that.

Ok…

Even though it’s marketed as a 48″ modifier, my measurements show it’s 46″ at the widest portion. Not a big deal, but if you’re looking for 48″ I didn’t find that to be the size of the opening. The outer fabric is a high quality rip stop nylon. I had read on some site that an individual didn’t like the yellow stripes and that their clients may disapprove. To each their own, but my clients could care less what my gear looks like, what I wear, what wine I drink, the brand of toilet I use ….blah blah blah. What they DO care about is my imagination, putting it into an executable and relevant concept along the quality of my imagery. 

I love it when retailers include a grid. Especially a high quality one like this. The squares are 1.5 inches and the grid fits very well in the rim of the modifier. No slop.

Just the other side, but I wanted to note that my 600 Pro holds this thing snugly and securely.

I always appreciate when the modifier fabric easily covers the speed ring. Not all do, but this one does. More about that zipper below….

I’m not sure why they’ve included a small zipper. Because of the rod that remains in the center of the modifier I cannot use a focusing rod where I would run a remote strobe head cable out of this opening. Perhaps it’s to make expanding the unit easier when opening. Because it’s DAMN TIGHT to open which is a good thing to keep the fabric nice and tightly stretched. Cussing level (4 of 7) to push the thing open.

I like to remove the rod ends from a modifier’s pocket to see the quality of the end caps. These are great and the pockets are deep enough so the rod ends don’t fall out unless you pull them out like I did to examine one. Also the width of the Velcro is nice and wide, about 2″. Even when I don’t use a grid, feathering light is much easier when a modifier has a wide dark edge.

The fabric is a shiny smooth silver made of a high quality rip stop nylon. I tend to prefer pebbled silver, but until I actually test the light quality I cannot say how it will perform to my taste.

In addition to the grid you get an inner and outer diffusion panel. As you can see they use a 2 stop circular piece of fabric on the inner panel to prevent hot spots.

A personal pet peeve of mine is when makers use those blasted infant clothing snaps on diffusion panels. Sure they’re fine to snap together, but a real bitch to take apart. I was pleasantly surprised that these are both easy to snap together AND APART. Cussing level 0 of 7!

This is the interior of the unit when expanded. The lock is very secure and almost identical to the Cheetahstand quick strip boxes I use. Very secure.

So Adorama includes this little disk which slides onto the rod using friction applied by a rubber ring. I “think” this “may” have a similar affect as my focusing rod modifiers. The marketing material states that the disk can be used this way or inverted to spread the light in a different manner in the modifier. I will test this when I have the chance.

I “believe” that the disk this close to the strobe “may” yield a more specular look to the light like my focusing rod modifiers. When I have my focusing rod strobes close to the center of the modifier I call it ‘focused’ which is much like this configuration.

At this point it’s way too early to give my impressions of the light quality, simply because I haven’t tried it! But from a construction standpoint I feel that for 95.00 USD it presents a great value. Is it ‘better’ than this brand or that brand? I can’t say, but will say that IF the light quality is great to excellent I will add this to my workflow when it’s the right tool for the right job. More to come…..later.

21 thoughts on “Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic 48″ Quick Softbox Updated 8-14-18”

  1. Hi Mark, thanks for the review. I am eager to see sample shots… especially if the theory that moving the deflection plate would be similar to a focus rod. One question. Based on your photos, it looks liek i could remove the Bowens mount adapter from the ring and attach a different adapter? (say one for PCB? Could you confirm?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Zarli yes the speed ring is easy to change. Thanks for your question, I’ve actually added it to this post to help others. I’ll let you know my impressions of the light quality once I run my test. I have a feeling it will be high quality and may replicate a focusing rod to some degree.

    • Thank you for the answers! Apparently, Adorama is on back-order for the 48 and 38″ units. I didn’t want to get a focusing rod unit, till the Godox 600Pro remote head comes out. So if that comes out before Adorama is back in stock, i may go that route. Especially since you mentioned the limitation of the feathering.

  2. Looking forward to your impressions of this. Was going to order a CheetahStand quick 48″ or the one that you can use the adjusting arm with but I rather wait to hear your impressions and how they compare before making my purchase. 🙂

  3. Good afternoon Mark,

    Hope you are doing well 🙂 A quick question: how hard is it for you to lock this softbox to the open position? Mine arrived last night and it is a real fight to lock it open. I have to push it down then twist the knob where the release button is (sometimes to the left, sometime to the right). Is that normal? Doesn’t it work like an umbrella where a straight push would lock it?

    • Hi Tien, thanks for asking and I’m doing well. Hope you are as well. Yes the modifier IS difficult to open, but in many ways I view that as a good thing. It keeps the fabric very tight which is something I look for in any modifier or reflector. I found that over time it gets easier and if you unzip the zipper, hold down the button as you push the modifier open it makes it easier. Hope this helps. I will be doing light tests tomorrow and plan to update this post over the weekend.

      • excellent. awaiting your review while exercising my arms ..mm .. modifier, loosening it up 🙂

        Hope you catch a chance to relax and have some fun over the long Memorial Day weekend Mark.

  4. Nice.
    I bought the 42″ quick soup bowl (shallower than the deep para) from Cheetah and love it, need to use it on location ASAP. ~42″ seems to be a safe size outdoors in wind which is my main interest.

  5. Oh wow this test totally threw me off!!!
    I was so sure that A was the Glow as it was less controlled and kind of washed out compare to B which I thought was the Parabolix as it was more controlled and contrasty as I would expect from the smaller parabolic diffuser and C I was expecting of course to be the SMDV.
    Color me impressed with the GLOW and not impressed with the 35D (I was planning to get the Parabolix 45 but not so sure now).
    The only reason I am holind now on buying the Parabolix is that I read that the new Cheetash Stand Ricebowl 48″ design will not only be Quick setup BUT will work with a new designed Chopstick. That could be a fantastic setup!

  6. Mark

    You bast*** ;), I went out and bought the Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic Quick Softbox (28″) to go with my smaller SMDV Speedbox.

    I am thankful really, as I was considering the Parabolix and the Ez Lock Glow is just to good for the money. So I bought it instead. It will go with the 2 Ez Lock Umbrellas I bought (again your fault :))

    Now I have a basic set of modifiers without costing me a bundle of $.

    Great blog, I enjoy reading it.

    • Hahahahaha! Michael thanks for your note it made my day. Yeah the gear you’ve assembled is wonderful and will serve you well. It’s always great to purchase gear that is not expensive but produces excellent results….if you use it well. And that’s the secret. Go get ’em. Make the shadows delicious.

      • Mark

        Heading out into the Australian Outback next week, taking the Glow umbrella, for some macro work (probably native flowers and maybe some bugs). Kangaroos do not make co-operative models.

        Michael

  7. Hey Mark,

    In the third photo from the top, what light stand are you using to hold the 48″ and 600 Pro? Do you have a sand bag on it? I find my Xplor 600+48″ Octa makes my Flashpoint Heavy Duty stand a bit top heavy and it gets a bit wobbly.

  8. Mark, thanks for a great overview!

    I just purchased Glow EZ Lock Collapsible Silver Beauty Dish (42″) and with only a deflector disk (without diffusion panels) there is a lot of bright light spill in the periphery and the shadows are not as soft as in shot B.

    Could you please confirm whether diffusion panels and/or the deflector were used in shot B?

    • Hi Michael, yes I confirm that shot B is the Glow EZ with the disk installed without any diffusion panels. Keep in mind my comment that unlike a focusing rod modifier ‘feathering’ or placing the Glow at any angle other than directly centered at the talent may give unwanted light. Subsequent to my review I have found that using the Glow with the disk and the inner diffusion panel is the best alternative to a focusing rod modifier. Give that a try.

      • Thanks Mark. I also find that disk and inner diffusion work nice with the non-parabolic as well. The reflection of it in the eyes is particular though. I am used to a clean circle or rectangle.

        I suspect that parabolic version may be more power-efficient, but there is no manufacturer data. They quote 2.1 stops loss with the disk for the parabolic version, but not the beauty dish.

        I am still debating if using the parabolic would be more flexible.. and whether 38″ parabolic would be about same as 42″ beauty dish version… I have a huge Octa in the studio already, so am aiming to get an additional large modifier but not too bulky and portable & versatile.

        We always have to find a compromise, don’t we?:)

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