Today, we bring you a review of an unorthodox device and the way to transform your existing flashlight (or Speedlite) into a start-up studio or a mobile studio unit without causing you an arm or leg – The MagBox 24″ Octa Starter Kit.
Picture this, as a hobbyist, you started out with photography and have invested a great deal in your camera gears. Along the journey, you have found your calling in photography and decided to give it a shot to go professional by offering services to your clients but financially reluctant to spend on expensive studio light systems at the beginning of your venture. So what other options do you have?
Made by MagMod – the MagBox 24″ Octa starter kit consists of three core components, a MagBox 24 inch Octa, a MagRing to adapt your speed light and a MagShoe to hold the pieces together. You will also need to get MagGrip (sold separately) to work with your existing Speedlite.
Before we assemble them, let’s take a look at the material and built of all the components. The first item to have it all going is the MagGrip, it is made from a very strong and durable silicon rubber with a super magnet on its head. Just like the rubber band, you stretch it over the flash head and it will just stay there. MagMod claims that it retains the same elasticity even over a long period of time.
The MagBox 24” Octa deploys like an umbrella. Gone were the days when we need to put the pieces together to form a conventional softbox, the MagBox open in seconds and is ready to use with a magnetic fabric diffuser to cover its front. The material is durable, good enough for outdoor use. It has a ring base with strong magnets around it to work with MagRing which will hold the Speedlite.
The MagRing is a piece of adapter that assembled the other components together. It has a quick release and locks levers to secure your Speedlites or detach the MagBox in a flash. MagRing is dual mount and is compatible to work with dual Speedlites, depending on your shooting requirements. The bottom of the MagRing as coldshoe adapter which is meant to get secured with the MagShoe.
MagShoe is a universal coldshoe, its top will hold the MagBox kits, and its bottom to fit the light stand or a tripod. It has a yellow release lock (Similiar to a gun grip) to change the angle for lighting precision. When it is not mounted on a light stand, the MagShoe itself is an ergonomic grip where you can handheld your light for better versatility.
In this review, we will set up the MagBox 24″ Octa Starter kit using the Canon Speedlite 580EX Flash. The first step is to mount the MagGrip over the flash. You will need a little strength to pull it over. We use our laps to hold the Speedlite and insert MagGrip to one side of the Speedlite top first the then stretch over it to the other side like a rubber band to secure it nicely in position. Depending on your strength, we manage to do it less than one minute.
Next, we deploy the MagRing, we open up the latch and place the Speedlite with MagGrip in one of the slots, it snaps in snugly and just sits strongly. We close the cover and lock it with the latch and your setup sits firmly and securely. Next, we joined MagRing’s coldshoe together with Magshoe and lock it down firmly with the lock lever. All these steps took less than a minute altogether.
As mentioned earlier, the MagBox 24” Octa opens up like an umbrella. Once it is full-blown and locked in position, we cover the front with the magnetic fabric diffuser, this action is simple and easy, the magnet diffuser just snaps in position neatly. We then placed the MagRing which holds the Speedlite over the rear end where both components snap together to complete the action. All these happened under three minutes.
To test how firm it holds, we try to swing the whole setup rigorously and surprisingly, the systems hold the pieces together pretty well. Okay now the basic system is assembled, there are a couple of ways to use it. One of it is handheld. You can just hold the MagShoe yourself to position your desired light direction or having an assistant to move around or walk along with your subject while you keep shooting – minus the attachment of a light stand. If you don’t have an assistant, you can just attach the MagShoe to a light stand or tripod to shoot.
In some situations when you need more flash power to light up your subject, just get another Speedlite, strap over a MagGrip and simply mount on the other slot in the MagRing and you get double power, or double shooting time, whichever you want it. Packing up after a shoot is as easy as setting up, just reverse the order and you are in ready to go home in less than five minutes.
Should you buy the MagBox Starter Kit?
If you already have an existing Speedlite and not ready to invest heavily in another studio flash system, the MagBox 24″ Octa Starter Kit is one solution you have to look into as it could transform your speedlite into a basic studio system with space for upgrades with the MagMod product ecosystems. For event or outdoor wedding photographers, this system could streamline your workflow using your existing Speedlites. The MagBox 24″ Octa Starter kit will cost RM1,529 to get you started, a little steep but this kit is one of its kind for now.
As this review is based on MagBox Starter kit as a whole, we recognised that each component could have its own review separately, that’s how modular the MagMod system is. We will bring the individual component review to you soon. To know more about the modular system, you can contact the distributor Srishti Digilife.