A softbox speedlight is one of the most versatile tools in photography. So we created a list of softboxes for speedlights to help you in your next shoot. You might be surprised… They’re really affordable and pretty easy to use!
When I was a beginner photographer, I used the pop-up flash on my camera a lot. Of course, the results were always terrible. The subjects in my photos often looked like deer in headlights. The bright light hit them straight on. It wasn’t until years later that I found out you can use a softbox with speedlights.
At first, I felt reluctant to place these large contraptions on my flash. But when I did, the quality of my images significantly improved. The small softbox I used created softer lighting. It made my subjects more appealing. And since the flash was less harsh, my models didn’t squint anymore! After that experience, I never left my house without my portable light diffusers!
9 Best Speedlight Softboxes
If you want a breakdown of the different softboxes and mounting systems, go to our buyer’s guide at the end of this article. Otherwise, let’s dive in! We go into detail about each one. Then we list our recommendations overall.
The Altura is the perfect option if you want a classic speedlight softbox. The Altura has velcro straps and a rectangular shape. And despite its small size, it has all the features of a regular softbox.
It has a silver interior to spread the light around. And it features double diffusion material that creates soft, natural-looking light.
The Altura comes in three sizes or a combo:
You have the option to buy them individually or as a kit. I usually don’t like using softboxes with velcro mounting systems. That’s because they easily slip. But these feature rubber grips to ensure they don’t fall off the flash unit while in use.
What makes it versatile is that it’s small and light enough to use while your flash unit is on your camera. But it’s also perfect for off-camera situations if you need to place your speedlight on a light stand.
What makes Waka special is that it comes with more than one softbox. The kit includes a rectangular softbox and an octagonal one. You can attach either one directly to the flash using a velcro strap.
The octagon softbox has a diameter of 8″ (20 cm). The rectangular one is 8 x 6″ (20 x 15 cm) in size. Despite their sizes, they look and function like full-size light diffusers. They even have detachable diffusion material inside. You can remove this to create harder light with stronger shadows.
The Waka softbox kit is also highly portable. You can easily collapse them and store them in your camera bag when not in use. And even if you use your softboxes all the time, you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged. They’re made of durable black nylon and PVC. These materials effectively repel water and other elements. So they’re great for outdoor photography.
We’re all familiar with octagonal and rectangular softboxes. But did you know that there are also circular options for speedlights? Fotocreat is one of the few brands offering this light diffuser type. And we must say it’s among the best choices for producing the softest light.
So what makes Fotocreat’s softbox exemplary?
- The 12″ (30 cm) diameter makes it large enough to spread the light evenly and create soft lighting.
- Its circular structure disperses the flash beam in ways other softboxes can’t… like rectangular softboxes. Its round shape makes for a perfect catchlight. And it’s more natural than an octagonal option.
- It features a grey card in the back for exposure and white balance settings.
The Fotocreat softbox comes with a velcro mounting system. Typically, velcro is terrible at keeping a softbox in place. But you insert this particular diffuser into the flash unit vertically. So there’s less chance of it slipping away.
It also has a slimmer profile. So it’s lighter and less cumbersome than other options, even when mounted on a camera! It’s a great option for travel photography.
Gary Fong released this in 2004. For decades, we had seen all sorts of speedlight light modifiers. But this collapsible flash diffuser offered a novel design. In essence, it’s nothing more than a translucent bulb with a velcro strap that attaches to the flash head. But the results you get from it rival that of more complicated options.
When you expand the Gary Fong Lightsphere, the dome spreads the light from the flash. This creates a soft diffused light like a large softbox or a photography umbrella. This device also comes with a detachable top dome. You can remove it to create more contrast in your lighting.
The light sphere is made of soft silicone. So you can quickly push it down to the size of a hockey puck and store it in your camera bag. It’s durable and portable. So it’s become a favorite for event and wedding photography. You don’t have to worry about assembling or storing it in special bags. All you do is pop it on, and you can start shooting!
Magmod is your best bet for a professional, high-quality speedlight softbox. It comes with a whole system of accessories. It includes items like a snoot and gels you can use for all sorts of shooting situations. But this kit costs much more than the previous ones on our list!
Magmod is one of the first to sell Speedlight softboxes with a magnetic mounting system. Since it uses strong magnets, you don’t need to screw on your softbox anymore. All you have to do is “stick” your flash dome to your flash unit. It will stay in place. And when you finish taking pictures, pull it off and store it safely in your bag.
Apart from the light accessories, they now also offer regular-sized softboxes. You can use them off-camera. They may look like your average studio softboxes. But they’re collapsible and feature a magnetic mounting system. There’s a cheaper starter kit, too, for beginner photographers.
If you find the Magmod a bit expensive, consider the Godox flash accessories kit. This brand prides itself on affordable lighting equipment. It now competes head-to-head with some of the biggest photography companies.
Like the Magmod, the Godox kit includes various light diffusers. It includes a flash dome, snoot, and gels. It also has a magnetic mounting system. So you can attach and detach the lighting accessories in seconds.
The Godox accessories kit is compatible with their round flash units. That includes the V1 and the AD200. But it also comes with a speedlight bracket. This lets you use the more common rectangular flash heads.
It’s a compatible, affordable, and good-quality option. That’s why we list this ahead of the Magmod kit. You can also just buy the Godox flash dome.
Honestly, small softboxes don’t diffuse light as well as larger ones. But this foldable, portable softbox gives proper studio-quality diffusion. That’s why we recommend this Godox light diffuser high on our list.
This Godox softbox is several times larger than your standard speedlight softbox. It’s 23 x 23″ (60 x 60 cm). But at the same time, the size is still appropriate for a small flash. When you use large softboxes meant for studio strobes, you risk losing a lot of light output and dark images.
The Godox softbox has a bracket you can install on a light stand. It also comes with an egg-crate grid to let you create a more focused light output. When you finish your photo shoot, you can fold it into a small disc that fits in a six-inch bag. It’s great for studio photographers on the go!
If you don’t want a rectangular-shaped softbox, consider the Neewer Octagonal softbox instead. It’s 32 x 32″ (80 x 80 cm). And since it’s round, it creates that beautiful catchlight in your subject’s eyes. So it’s great for headshots and portrait photography.
The Neewer softbox is also larger than the Godox option. Its large size allows it to create even softer light than its smaller counterpart. It also comes with a detachable internal diffusion panel. This lets you control your photo’s highlights and contrast.
But what really makes the Neewer octabox better than its Godox counterpart? It opens and closes like an umbrella, making it highly portable and easy to use. It’s very large when opened. So Neewer made an excellent decision to include a speedlight bracket. This attaches easily to a light stand!
This octagonal softbox is our favorite because of its versatility and ease of use. First, it has a collapsible construction that makes it portable. To use it, all you have to do is push it up like an umbrella. Its fully expanded 21.6″ (55 cm) diameter makes it as good as regular softboxes as you often find in studios.
Since this softbox is octagonal, it’s the best option for portraiture. It diffuses light effectively. And it creates circular catchlights that make your subject’s eyes glitter. And if you feel like creating moody photos, you can always use the egg-crate grid that comes with it. It cuts the light and concentrates it on your model. So it doesn’t spill into the background.
But what truly makes the Triop KS55 our favorite is its handle. Of course, you can always install it on a light stand. But you can also detach it from the octagonal softbox and handhold your speedlight. And did we mention it has a mounting hole for an umbrella in case you wish to use that type of light modifier?
Softbox Speedlight Buyers Guide
We wrote this section if you don’t know the different flashes, softboxes, and mounts. It may help you narrow down your choice of softobx.
What is a Speedlight Softbox?
Speedlights and studio strobes both produce flash. But there is one main difference between the two. A speedlight tends to be smaller and fits on your camera’s hot shoe. On the other hand, a studio strobe is much larger and produces more intense light. Due to its size, you’ll need to install it on a light stand.
It’s crucial to find the correct type of softbox. That’s because speedlights and studio strobes are physically different. In general, softboxes for speedlights tend to be small and light. On the other hand, the options for studio lights are often larger and aren’t as portable.
Below, we discuss some of the most common softboxes for speedlights. We also talk about the various mounting systems they use.
The Different Types of Speedlight Softboxes
Here we list a few softboxes you can use for your flash unit. Apart from having distinct designs, they also differ in light quality. Some may be good at creating softer light. Others may provide better contrast.
This softbox is the most common and available light modifier. It has a rectangular shape that is perfect for recreating natural light from a window.
This kind of softbox is also known as “octabox.” It’s a light modifier that functions much like a rectangular softbox. But the difference is that it spreads light in a circular shape instead of a rectangular one. Photographers love to use this for portraiture. It creates a beautiful circular catch light in the eyes.
This speedlight softbox is much like a regular softbox. But it’s explicitly designed to fit a flash head. So it’s exponentially smaller than a standard softbox. It comes in a variety of shapes, including rectangular and octagonal.
Due to this light modifier’s tiny size, its light quality isn’t as good as its larger counterparts. But it still softens the light from the flash significantly… especially if you know how to use a softbox properly.
This light diffuser isn’t precisely a softbox. But it acts much like one. The dome is made of translucent plastic or silicone. This softens the flash from the speedlight. It’s small and durable. And you can easily carry it in your camera bag.
Mounting Systems for Speedlight Softboxes
The regular flash head from a speedlight wasn’t designed to fit all sorts of attachments. That includes softboxes.
A sturdy mounting system is necessary. It ensures a speedlight softbox doesn’t fall off easily while in use. We discuss some of the most common options below.
Elastic Velcro Strap
Most smaller softboxes use an elastic velcro strap. It wraps around the speedlight head. Since this mounting system is lightweight, it’s perfect for on-camera flashes.
Unfortunately, most softboxes that use velcro tend to be small. That’s because velcro loses its grip when it has to handle heavier objects.
S-type Speedlight Bracket
This is the most versatile mounting system for your speedlight softbox. The S-type bracket is sturdy and can hold large light modifiers. It comes with a Bowens mount, compatible with many regular-sized softboxes.
Since this bracket tends to be bigger, it often needs to be installed on a light stand. But that’s not an issue because you get the best results when the flash is not physically on your camera.
This mounting system uses magnets to let you attach softboxes to your flash unit. It’s perfect for quickly swapping one light modifier with another on the go.
The downside of using this design is that you can only use softboxes that have magnets. And light diffusers with such a mounting system tend to be small. That’s because magnets can only carry so much weight.
By itself, a speedlight is perfect for creating a bright light like direct sunlight. Unfortunately, a speedlight also produces strong shadows. And they can often make your photo look unpleasant and downright unusable.
The job of the flash diffuser (light softbox) is to soften the light coming from your flash head. It works like a curtain that covers your window. It diffuses the sunlight and evens out the light in the room.
We’ve listed plenty of great options for portable softboxes. But what is the best softbox for speedlight? And which one is the best for you? We have some recommendations below.
Our Softbox Speedlight Recommendations
The Triopo KS55 Portable Softbox is our top choice. But here are our recommendations for different photographers. We hope you find the speedlight softbox that best fits your needs as a photographer!
Best Softbox for Beginner Photographers
If you’re still new to flash photography, we recommend buying the Waka flash diffuser. Why? Because it’s cheap, small, and easy to use.
All you have to do is unfold it and strap it onto your flash head… and you’re good to go! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the kit comes with two softboxes to get you started.
Best Softbox for All-round Shooters
Are you an enthusiast or professional that does a little bit of everything? Then the Gary Fong Light Sphere is for you. It’s small and foldable. So you can bring it anywhere.
And due to its unfolded shape and size, it creates wonderful soft lighting. So it rivals even large softboxes! It’s also made of hard plastic and silicone. So you can be confident that it will last you a long time.
Best Softbox for Run-and-Gun Professionals
Are you an events photographer or wedding photographer? Then we suggest buying either the Godox flash dome kit or the Magmod Starter Flash Kit 2. They both have magnetic mounting systems. So they’re easy to snap on and swap out in a middle of a shoot.
And most of the accessories that come with these kits are silicone. So they also tend to endure more wear and tear than plastic options.
Best Softbox for Studio Professionals
Do you have a studio but don’t have a budget or don’t like large studio strobes? If so, you can choose between the following:
- Triopo KS55 portable softbox
- Godox 23″ x 23″ (60 x 60 cm) foldable, portable softbox
- Neweer 32 x 32″ (80 x 80 cm) octagonal softbox
These options all have the S-mount system. This allows you to use your speedlight on light stands. And these light diffusers are large. But they create the best results compared to the other softboxes on our list.