With the release of the Spotlight Mini Zoom Aputure also released the LS 60 Softbox. It’s a compact 14″ softbox that is made for the LS 60d and LS 60x fixtures. At only $59, it’s a piece of kit that I would put on the “must buy” list when ordering an LS 60x or LS 60d fixture.
Designed For the LS 60 Fixture
The dimensions of the soft box are:
W: 14.0 x H: 14.0″
W: 35.6 x H: 35.6 cm
The LS 60 fixtures are designed to be versatile and portable. Either AC can power them, the included NP-L adapter plate, or a V-Lock battery. With the front lens, the light has crisper edges than an open face COB. I like how many boxes the LS 60 and LS 60x tick. This fixture was much needed in my kit.
Many will say a softbox of this size is limited, and you are correct. All lights should have a soft option, and that is exactly what it does. It gives you soft light that is easy to use instead of finding a solution that will work. At only $60, it’s also an inexpensive option.
While I prefer using larger softboxes, they are a pain to use in smaller spaces, and it’s not always necessary to have such a broad source. The smaller size is good for headshots, interviews, and tabletop shooting. You can always add a larger softbox to the LS 60 with the included Bowens mount.
My wife uses this setup for Zoom and online meetings all the time. It doesn’t take up much space and looks really great. Much better than a ring light! It also tucks away in the corner, ready to go. The battery option is also handy for times when AC and extension cords are not practical.
The LS 60 is basically a 300-watt tungsten fixture. My ARRI 300 Plus was a go-to for years with ENG cameras that required much more light than modern cameras. Super bright lights have their place, but smaller lights are also needed if space is tight. There isn’t a one size fits all fixture in production. I used a Chimera small softbox with the Arri for interviews back in my ENG days.
- Aputure LS60 Softbox
- LS60 Mini Mount Speed Ring Adapter
- 2 x Front Diffuser. 1.5 and 2.5 stops
- 45° Fabric Grid
- Carry Bag
- Limited 1-Year Warranty
Compact Carrying Case
The compact case is great. It’s the small stuff that makes me happy! Packed down, the LS 60 Softbox is nice and tight and very easy to pack into a case. Unfortunately, it won’t fit into the LS 60 fixtures included in the case, but that is no surprise as included cases generally only hold the light and included accessories.
Inside the carry bag is two full-length pockets. I packed the diffusion in one and the grid in the other. Leave the pools in the box and stuff them in alongside the speedring. This is very compact.
The included speedring is designed for the LS 60. It’s not a universal size, so it might not fit on other lights.
The speeding has four mounting points. It’s easy to flex the poles to pitch the softbox. One advantage of not being the fastpitch type where the rods are attached to the speedring is when they are separate and broken down; they lay flat in the supplied carry bag.
The speeding can be mounted on the front slot of the LS 60 holder leaving the accessory slot open for a filter, or you can mount it in that slot preventing any light leak. It works very well.
The inner silver lining does exactly what it’s designed to do. Bounce the light around and widen/increase the source while the light projects from the softbox. An issue with some silver interior fabrics is they add some green cast, and while the LS 60 does as well, it’s not noticeable to the eye but does appear when testing with a color meter. This is a classic case where meters don’t tell the whole story.
The exterior of the softbox is a ripstop fabric that is durable and should last for many years.
The kit includes two diffusers: one 1.5 and a 2.5 stop, plus a fabric 45-degree fabric grid. The 1.5 is a textured fabric, while the 2.5 stop is milky. Similar to a Chimera front diffuser or the one that comes with the Light Dome.
I prefer the 2.5 stop cloth as it distributes the light more evenly than the textured 1.5 stop panel and works better with the 45-degree grid.
With a short softbox like the LS 60, it will have a hotspot in the middle as the LS 60 fixture has a more narrow beam angle. There is no inner baffle for the softbox to decrease it. I think it would be nice to have the option, but it would also lower the output more, and at a 300-watt tungsten equivalent light, I think it would be pushing its output a bit.
When comparing the two fabrics, the 1.5 fabric causes a pattern that will show shadows. It’s more present when used with the included grid. It’s not as noticeable without it, but it doesn’t look good. I would avoid using the grid with the 1.5.
Above is the LS 60 Softbox with 2.5 diffusions and the grid attached. Much cleaner, but due to the narrow beam, it does make the center brighter.
The second image without the grid looks pretty good; however, a hot spot still exists.
These samples are from three feet from the front of the LS 60 softbox to the wall. If light spill is an issue, then using the grig helps, but due to the size of the softbox, I feel the more even 2.5 without it is a better option.
Remember that if you are using the 1.5 stop farther away from the subject, the patterns diminish and soften, so don’t think the fabric is useless.
The color changes a little warmer when using both diffusions. One advantage to the LS 60x is you can tune the color a touch but to be honest, I don’t think you will need to worry about it as it’s very slight, plus it’s common with diffusion on a softbox, and of course, you white balance when adding any diffusion right?
The LS 60 Softbox is a good value and will come in handy if you need a soft source with the LS 60x or LS 60d. I use mine all the time as it’s small and easy to fit in tight spaces.
The 2.5 stop diffusion gets the most useful for me since it’s very soft and doesn’t have the shadow issues the 1.5 stop has. While having a grid is great, it enhances the narrow beam angle of the fixture and could cause uneven lighting on the subject. This is splitting hairs slightly as the softbox is inexpensive and provides a quick way to get soft light. I also like how it breaks down and fits nice and flat in the included bag. The LS 60 lights are one of my favorites as it ticks a lot of boxes. It’s always good to have various fixtures for different situations and not depend on the big guns all the time.
Since it’s designed for the LS 60 fixtures, it should be on the list when purchasing the light. At $59, it won’t break the bank and again makes the LS 60 light even more versatile. I’ll put my money where my mouth is as I ordered a second one. 😀