Elinchrom: Understanding the Rotalux Softbox

The Elinchrom Company produces a number of softboxes for professional photographers. Under the company line, there are two types of softboxes: the ROtalux Deep Octa and the Portalite Softbox. Both products are simple to put up and easy to carry around, giving the photographer more time to spend with the subject. Softboxes are used to diffuse light, making it softer. The softened effect of light reduces the amount of contrast between the light and dark areas. In comparison with umbrellas, softboxes allow light to be controlled more easily.

Shapes and Sizes Available

The Rotalux comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, to fit the varying lighting needs of photographers. There are four basic shapes: square, rectangle, strip and octagonal. The smallest is the strip, which measures 35x90 cm, while the largest is the 175 cm octagonal. Each shape is built for a specific purpose. Strip shaped softboxes are great for still life subjects and portraits, while rectangular shapes are used for fashion photography. Square shaped boxes are also great for still life work and are commonly found in the studio, while the octagonal shaped softbox is ideal for reflections.

Using Deflectors

There are four types of deflector available for use on the Rotalux. The four deflectors come in a set with two rods. To attach the deflector, simply insert the rods into the holes behind the deflector and insert the other end into the hole at the inner center of the softbox. These deflectors are used to change the effect of the light being emitted and going through the layers of diffusers. As they cover the flash tube, the deflectors effectively eliminate the central hot spot.

To replicate a beauty dish, use a silver deflector on an octagonal softbox. For a warmer tone, use the gold deflector. Other types include the frost and translucent deflector. The translucent and frost deflector function similar to a diffuser, allowing some light to pass but much softer.

Opening and Closing the Rotalux

Rotalux softboxes come with their own bags, which allow photographers to conveniently carry the softbox with them wherever they go. Simply remove the softbox device from the bag and place it onto a level surface. Open and push the arms downward until a clicking sound is heard. This is the sign that the softbox has locked in place. To close, locate the spring loaded sockets attached around the circular ring inside the softbox. Push down slightly to relieve some of the pressure and towards the center.

Setting up the Rotalux

The square softbox comes with 4 rods, one for each hole and corner. To install, simply place the rods inside the holes. Bend the rods slightly inward towards the reflective interior and into the corner pockets of the softbox. This will help retain the shape of the sofbox. Fasten the light source through the circular hole and attach it on the post. A softbox commonly consists of at least two layers of diffusers. With the Rotalux, the first diffuser is attached to the clips located inside the reflective material. The second, larger layer goes around the edges of the softbox, attached by a lining of Velcro which surrounds the black exterior of the softbox.