New Bit of Kit – the Cheetah Stand Qbox 24 Soft Box – Impressions

Here’s another set of initial impressions about a piece of kit.

So, I bought a Cheetah Stand soft box a wee while back, the Cheetah QBox24 Proffesional-H. Direct from the company in Texas.

First, I have to say, I was very pleased with their service. They don’t usually ship outside of the North American continent, but they hooked me up quite nicely. They did ship USPS and I would have preferred UPS, as they seem more reliable, more secure (better tracking), faster and a tad cheaper, but things worked out just fine. My fault really, I should have asked for UPS if I really wanted it.

Anyway, how’s the soft box itself?

Very good. I haven’t really had much experience with such light modifiers, so it’s hard to compare. There are several similar (near identical) options on the market, ranging from a bit cheaper to much more expensive.

The CheetahStand QBox seems to be built just as good as those I’ve seen in person, if not better. The current version has a rubber strip around the mounting ring to reduce wear on the fabric of the soft box itself, which is a good idea. It also has an apparently new and improved ball head, which is supposed to be better than before. I find that the whole thing is heavy, and you do have to make the effort to ensure the head is tightly secured, but once this is done, is doesn’t slip (if you are not careful about this, you will find the soft box slowly tilting down to the floor). Overall, it seems robust and the whole set folds and packs away nicely – with options for semi- compact and truly compact storage / transportation.

I like the wide edges that extend well out past the front screen. This is good for controlling the light and getting it to fall where you want, or rather, for preventing it falling where you don’t want it. You can see here in the photo in this post, that even with the subject quite close to the white background, I’ve been able to control falloff and turn it grey without too much effort. And that’s even without the optional grid (see more on this below).

I also like the idea of the extra wide strip of Velcro on one of these edges too. I have’t used it yet, but I will soon make a gobo to attach to said wide Velcro strip, using Cheetah Stand’s excellent suggestion of adapting one of those shinny, metallic car window shade things to make a gobo that’s reflective on one side.

I really like the fabric ‘egg crate’ grid it comes with. This too is apparently a unique feature,* and an excellent one to boot. This allows you to really control the light falloff with precision. It’s great having this included.

At 24 inches, this particular soft box is not so large, but living in Japan that’s quite a good thing. Space here is tight, and often I find that indoors you don’t have much head room, nor even much sideways room. So, a smaller modifier like this is really good. My 60 inch umbrella for instance, while being great as a large, soft light source, is really just too big here to use indoors most of the time. Typically, I find myself going to a 42 inch umbrella in it’s stead. Now of course, I find myself preferring the Qbox 24.

So, overall, I find the Qbox quite impressive. It is versatile,** it is quite robust, and it is eminently portable. I’m pleased with this purchase.

* it’s inclusion I mean, not the concept itself
** especially when paired with a larger modifier like the aforementioned 60 inch umbrella, it makes for a good kit

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