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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Decently sturdy hardware
Individual power switches for each bulb
Good-quality softbox material and stitching
Two counterweights for the boom stand
Boom stand is difficult to adjust
Boom stand softbox only has one bulb
Packs into two carrying bags instead of one
The StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit is sturdy and well-made for a kit with this price tag, offering bright and consistent lighting in any situation. It would make a good upgrade from other entry-level kits.
The StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit is a quality mid-level lighting kit. With a total of eleven 45W CFL bulbs, this kit is bright enough for studio photography or semi-professional video. It also has a surprisingly good build for such an affordable price tag.
Although this kit is portable, it’s more suited to be left stationary because of its three stands and three softboxes, one of which is a boom. We tested the StudioFX and evaluated the design, how easily this kit is set up and broken down, and it’s overall performance.
The StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit has two straight stands and one boom stand. We’re going to take a look at the straight stands and their softboxes first. The stands are adjustable to seven feet and made of aluminum—if you’ve ever had a lighting kit before you, they are pretty much the same stands you’d find in any other entry or mid-level kit.
These stands do feel somewhat heavy duty but still not quite as strong or high-quality as we would like. They are both lightweight, and when extended above 70 inches they become very wobbly. The softboxes need to be positioned over one of the legs because they are so top heavy.
The mounting points on top of the stands are made of softer material, and we immediately noticed that the tightening knob from the bulb socket head was eating away at one of them. The heads also didn’t fit well on the mounting point, with or without the rubber cap you always find on these stands. The bolt from the knob has a flat end instead of round, and it doesn’t reach below the bevel on the mounting point. This causes it to not line up completely and kind of gnaw away at the metal.
The bulb socket heads are well-built, have a sturdy handle, a freely-accessible 5A fuse, a power light, and individual power switches for each of the five bulbs. There is a detachable power cord for each head.
The angle adjustment was actually quite difficult and we had to use two hands and a lot of force to move it even after loosening the adjustment knob.
This StudioFX kit has a surprisingly good build quality for such an affordable price tag.
The softboxes are attached using four rods. They consist of an interior fabric diffuser attached with velcro and an exterior fabric diffuser that covers the front, with velcro at the narrow end to help get them fitted around the socket heads. The softboxes in this kit seem very durable and are the thickest and most high-quality that we tested.
Also included is a boom stand that is noticeably different than the other stands. We appreciated that, although similar in design and build, the boom stand was slightly more heavy-duty and had a much wider leg base for better stability. The stand adjusts to a maximum head of seven feet and has a 31- to 71-inch extendable boom arm.
A clamp with a hook can be attached to the end of the boom arm for a counterweight. It’s also noticeably good quality, as are the two counterweight bags. The smaller bag is meant to be attached to the end of the boom while the larger bag can be placed on top of one of the stand’s lower stage legs. Neither bag comes with anything to use as a weight. Rather than filling it with sand, we opted to use some small wrist and ankle exercise weights we had nearby.
The boom’s softbox is the kind with a collapsible circular ring in the center and it is attached to the socket head, as is the power cord. The softbox is the same 20 x 28-inch size as the other two and includes only the outer diffuser cover and no inner diffuser. Instead of five bulbs, this softbox uses one large CFL bulb.
We actually loved this stand at first, but when we started making adjustments to the boom arm we noticed a very bad flaw in the design. The mounting point for the boom arm has a large handle knob on both sides. One side attaches to the lower stand and the other to the boom arm, while also allowing angle adjustments.
The problem is that anytime one of the handles is loosened, the other side also loosens. So if you go to make a small adjustment to the boom arms angle and only turn that handle, the whole boom assembly will fall down on the lower stand. Each time you need to make an adjustment, you need to use both hands and firmly hold the softbox and boom arm at the height you want so it doesn’t fall out of place.
Depending on how you plan to use this kit, the boom adjustment issue could be a deal breaker. Because we are sometimes photographing many different-sized subjects on the same day, we need to make a lot of adjustments. We found ourselves regularly frustrated when we had the camera in one hand and wanted to make a quick boom adjustment with the other.
On the other hand, if you tend to leave your lighting in one place once it's set up, then this probably won’t be a big deal for you.
The setup process for this lighting kit is easy, especially if you’ve used another lighting kit before. The hardest part is unpacking and putting all the bulbs in because there are so many of them. They are meant to be stored in the styrofoam and boxes they come in and it’s somewhat time-consuming to get them all out and screw them all in.
To assemble the two five-bulb socket heads and softboxes, four metal rods are used. One end is a little bigger than the other and fits into fabric holders in the corners of the softbox, while the other end fits into slots on the socket head. The softboxes have velcro near the narrower part so that it’s easier to get them around the socket head and to attach the fourth rod.
The interior has white velcro that is used to attach the inner fabric diffuser. We wished this was a loop and hook or clip style connection. The velcro seemed strong but the surface area was small and the side attached to the softbox is located directly under the rods so it’s difficult to get to them. The outer diffuser cover slips over the softbox and is attached by velcro on each edge.
The boom is assembled by sliding the adjustment point over the boom arm and the top of the straight stand and then tightening down the two handle-style knobs. The softbox is attached to the socket head and is expanded by pushing a circular piece into position around the bulb socket. It locks into place from the pressure and after screwing in the bulb, a diffuser cover can also be attached by velcro on each edge.
The power cord is hardwired with an in-line power switch and a cable that we found to be way too short—when the stand was extended to maximum height, it didn’t reach any of our outlets and we had to use an extension cord.
Weighing in at 29.9 lbs, this kit is a little heavy to be considered portable, which explains the separate carrying bags for the boom stand and the other stands. We would have actually preferred one larger and better-quality bag over the two thin nylon bags, but everything was easily stored between them. If you are using counterweights, don’t forget what that will make them even heavier.
Weighing in at 29.9 lbs, this kit is a little heavy to be considered portable.
The most time-consuming part of breaking down this kit is repackaging the CFL bulbs in their original styrofoam and boxes. The stands and softboxes collapse quickly and easily.
This is a fairly large kit, and we feel it would be much better suited to stay in the studio. It’s a little unwieldy to port around, but if you need to, you certainly can.
The StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit has ten 45W 5500k and one 85W 5500k compact fluorescent daylight bulbs. It’s very versatile, with individual on/off switches for each bulb. When all of them are on, it produces plenty of light for any photography or video shoot.
The bulbs do get hot (as would be expected), but the kit can run continuously for long periods. We tested this kit for two hours of continuous lighting without encountering any problems, though we did wish the kit had a slightly brighter boom bulb.
When all of the bulbs are on, it produces plenty of light for any photography or video shoot.
This StudioFX softbox kit is usually priced between $150 and $200. That’s a pretty big range, so we’d recommend shopping around for the best deal. If you can get it for around $150, this kit is a great value for its quality. It seems like it’s built to last longer than other kits we’ve tried and the boom stand has much better stability.
The Fovitec SPK10-37 is a close competitor to the StudioFX lighting kit and also comes from a well-known manufacturer. We got a chance to test these kits side-by-side and were surprised that the StudioFX kit won out when it came to build quality. It has a much more stable and heavy duty boom stand, better attachment for the counterweight, and better softbox quality.
If you’re concerned by our mention of the StudioFX’s boom adjustment issues, the Fovitec is easier to adjust with one hand. But because the stand is flimsy and wobbly, we found ourselves sometimes using two hands to adjust that boom as well.
Overall, we think either kit would be a good buy if you find them similarly priced. We would choose the Fovitec over the StudioFX, but only by a small margin.
A solid mid-level lighting kit at a good price.
If you are a beginner or hobbyist photographer, you might want to consider a smaller and more portable kit instead. But if you are looking to upgrade or invest in a mid-level lighting kit, the StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit is a great value, especially at the $150 price point.
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