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Lifewire / Benjamin Zenman
Brightest lighting kit we tested
Bulb switches to choose the amount of light
Sturdy boom adjustment
Large carrying case
Boom lighting box is only one bulb
Boom stand isn’t heavy duty
No attachment for boom counterweight
The Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit is an inexpensive but versatile photography lighting kit. With two bright, five-bulb socket heads and a single-bulb boom, it delivers plenty of light for any subject you are shooting.
Fovitec is a popular, well-known manufacturer of lighting products and the Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit is one of the better lighting kits we’ve reviewed. With two straight stands (each with five bulbs) and a single-bulb, boom-style overhead, this system puts out a lot of light.
We’ve used Fovitec lighting for photos and video before—their Square EZ Set-up Softbox Light Kit has been our go-to for the past year and this new kit is a nice upgrade. We’re going to take a look at the design, setup process, portability and performance for this kit to see whether or not it’s a good investment for the price.
The Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit includes two straight stands with an adjustable height from 32 to 90 inches and two five socket softboxes, as well as a stand with the same height adjustments, a 30- to 58-inch adjustable boom arm and one bulb socket head. Also included is a large carrying bag and a sandbag counterweight for the boom.
The boom arm has a large adjustment handle and a metal ring on one end to attach a sandbag counterweight. Nothing was included to actually attach the counterweight to the boom, so we used a keyring we had kicking around.
The stands are the weakest part of this lighting kit. The two straight lights are very top-heavy because of the large socket head and the number of bulbs—when extending the height above 70 inches, the cheapness of the stands becomes very apparent and they wobble a lot. If you position the softbox in the same direction as one of the legs the stand stabilizes a little.
The boom stand is a different story. Its counterweight is almost essential unless the softbox is set very close to the rest of the stand. And even with the counterweight in place, the stand is very wobbly and not very sturdy.
If you want to shoot at different locations but still want the benefits of an overhead boom, this system fits the bill.
The boom would have really benefited from a more heavy-duty stand with a wider base, like the StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit we also reviewed. While the length of the boom arm on the Fovitec can be adjusted, we found that even with three pounds of counterweight the stand would tip over if extended more than halfway.
All of the adjustment knobs are easy to use and decently-sized, but they definitely feel cheap, as do the plastic pieces at each adjustment point. The boom arm has a large adjustment handle, and at the top of each stand is a metal mounting point with a plastic cap. We had to remove the cap on the boom to get the boom’s adjustment piece seated properly.
The sandbag has two compartments and is made of what looks like a cheap, thin nylon material. We immediately noticed tearing between the fabric and the metal ring at the top. The use of velcro to seal the two compartments makes using actual sand a no-go because it escapes very easily—we ended up opting for a few wrist and ankle exercise weights we had so that we didn’t make a mess.
The socket heads for the two straight stand softboxes are well-built, with detachable power cables, a solid handle, and three power switches to select different configurations for the five bulbs. The overhead for the boom has a hardwired power cable with an in-line power switch. It has a single socket and uses the same size bulb as the others.
The actual softbox material is thicker and more durable than the sandbag material. The two straight stand softboxes use detachable rods to attach the material to the socket head, have an interior fabric diffuser that attaches with metal clips, and an exterior diffuser cover that attaches to the front with velcro. The boom softbox has no interior diffuser, and the softbox material is attached to the socket head so no rods are needed.
The padded carrying bag is large and pretty durable and can carry all of the equipment easily with room to space. It feels comfortable enough in the hand and has a large zipper that looks to be good quality.
The setup for this Fovitec kit can be time-consuming with the number of bulbs and rods in the softboxes. With some practice, you can probably get setup and breakdown to about 15 minutes or less. But if you haven’t used a lighting kit before, expect a learning curve here.
There are 11 lightbulbs in this kit, and you’re required to do a decent amount of assembly to construct the softboxes. One thing to note is that the fabric diffusers fit somewhat loosely over them, but there’s no need to worry as it won’t affect the functionality of the lights.
Once the softbox heads are set up, they easily attach to the stands and boom arm. You’ll also need to attach the sandbag counterweight to the ring at the end of the boom arm, and there’s nothing for this included in the box. We used a key ring, but we think a carabiner would work better and be easier to put on and take off.
This was the brightest kit we reviewed and overall it performed very well. The three power switches on the straight stand softbox heads have diagrams for bulb configurations, so you can turn on paired adjacent bulbs and the center bulb by itself in any configuration. This is helpful when you already have some decent light or are in a situation where having all the lights on would wash out the subject or the background.
Like all CFL bulb lighting kits, these softboxes do produce some heat but they are capable of running continuously for long periods of time. We tested this kit continuously for four hours in a larger studio situation, and the heat wasn’t too bad. If you are shooting in a small space, however, they might make it uncomfortably warm after a while.
These softboxes do produce some heat but they are capable of running continuously for long periods of time.
The boom only uses one bulb and doesn’t produce very much light in comparison to the other softboxes. This is probably okay for most people because of the wide light distribution and brightness of the five socket heads. You can also swap one of those heads with the boom if you want more light distribution from above.
Overall, this kit performed really well and we were happy with the results.
This kit is very portable—it only weighs about 26 pounds and everything fits nicely into the included bag with some room to spare.
The stands fold up very quickly and the softbox heads can quickly be collapsed. If you want to shoot at different locations but still want the benefits of an overhead boom, this system fits the bill.
The most time-consuming part of setting up and breaking down this system is the number of bulbs. You’ll want to keep the boxes and styrofoam they came in to protect them in the carrying bag.
At $189.95 (MSRP) the Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit is a little on the expensive side. We think it’s worth the price, though we do wish the stands were a little more heavy-duty. Either way, this kit is still a pretty great value and we think it’s a keeper.
If this is your first lighting kit and you are a beginner, you might want to look at a cheaper two-piece kit since the boom light isn’t necessary for most applications. For anyone who specifically wants a boom, though, this kit is priced right where it should be.
A slightly less-expensive competitor to the Fovitec SPK10-037 is the StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit and we got a chance to test them side by side.
The StudioFX is also an 11-bulb system but uses a larger 85W 5500k CFL bulb for its boom softbox. It has a more heavy-duty boom stand and two counterweights that come in very handy. The five-bulb socket heads also benefit from a set of five power switches that allow you to turn each bulb on and off individually.
The StudioFX softbox kit is $149.99 (MSRP) but isn’t without its problems. This system packs into two carrying bags that are nowhere near the quality and durability that the Fovitec kit offers. It’s also much more difficult to fit all the pieces of the kit into the carrying bags, and the boom arm adjustment is frustrating.
After several hours of testing, we concluded that the more heavy-duty stands didn’t offset the problems we had with the adjustments on the boom—ultimately, we would choose the Fovitec SPK10-037 over the StudioFX lighting kit.
Check out our guide to the best LED light kits on the market.
A versatile mid-level lighting kit that isn’t the most durable, but is still a great value.
Whether you are upgrading from a smaller kit, jumping right into mid-level photography, or trying to up your video quality, we think this Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit is a solid choice.
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