Does size REALLY matter? 59inch vs 36inch Softbox Comparison

Are bigger softboxes always better for photography? This is a question that many photographers ponder when it comes to choosing the right equipment for their shoots. In this blog post, we will delve into the comparison between a 59-inch softbox and a 36-inch softbox, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each size. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, understanding the nuances of softbox sizes can greatly impact the quality of your photographs. So, let’s dive in and see if size indeed matters, or if it’s just a matter of personal preference and shooting style.

Does Size REALLY Matter? 59-inch vs 36-inch Softbox Comparison


In this article, we will compare the performance of two popular softbox sizes: the 59-inch zeppelin parabolic and the 36-inch octa from Westcott. Both of these modifiers have their own advantages and it’s important to understand how they differ in terms of lighting quality and versatility.

Zeppelin – The Big Boy

The zeppelin parabolic softbox, with its size of 59 inches, is often considered the go-to choice for many professional photographers. It provides clean and evenly lit images, with no hot spots. The light it produces fills in shadows beautifully, giving a commercial look to the final image.

36-inch Octa from Westcott

The 36-inch octa from Westcott, on the other hand, is a smaller modifier that offers versatility in both outdoor and indoor photo shoots. While it does create harsher shadows compared to the zeppelin, it still has its own advantages.

Comparison Results: Image Quality

To compare the two softboxes, pictures were taken with both modifiers, focusing on capturing the same subject, Gabby. The images taken with the zeppelin showed clean and evenly lit results, providing a pure white background and an overall commercial look. On the other hand, the images taken with the 36-inch octa displayed harsher shadows and did not fill the entire image with the desired white light.

Live Demonstration

In a live demonstration, the photographer experimented with both softboxes, changing the distance to the background and shooting with a wider lens. The zeppelin continued to produce a gorgeous quality of light, while the 36-inch octa offered a more dramatic look. The distinct difference in shadow fall-off and the overall lighting effect proved the strengths of both modifiers.


When it comes to choosing between the zeppelin and the 36-inch octa, it is important to consider the desired lighting effect and the specific requirements of the shoot. The zeppelin excels in providing clean, crisp, and evenly lit images, while the 36-inch octa offers a more dramatic look with its harsher shadows.

Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preference and the desired outcome. Both softboxes have their own unique advantages and can be utilized effectively in various photography scenarios. Whether one prefers the soft and commercial look of the zeppelin or the dramatic lighting of the smaller octa, understanding the capabilities of each modifier is crucial in making an informed decision.

By considering factors such as shoot requirements, subject, and desired lighting effect, photographers can confidently choose the right softbox size for their specific needs.

Does Size REALLY Matter? 59inch vs 36inch Softbox Comparison – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Does size really matter when comparing 59-inch and 36-inch softboxes?

Q: What is the difference between a 59-inch and a 36-inch softbox?
A: The main difference is the physical size. The 59-inch softbox is larger in diameter compared to the 36-inch softbox. This means it will produce a wider spread of light.
Q: Does the larger size of the 59-inch softbox provide better light quality?
A: While the 59-inch softbox can have its advantages, such as softer light due to a larger diffusion area, the light quality is not solely determined by the size. Other factors like the quality of the materials and design also play a crucial role.
Q: Can the 36-inch softbox be sufficient for most photography or video lighting setups?
A: Absolutely! The 36-inch softbox is a versatile option that works well for many setups. It provides a good balance between portability and light spread, making it suitable for various shooting scenarios.
Q: Are there any specific situations where the 59-inch softbox is a better choice?
A: The larger softbox may be preferred when shooting group portraits, larger product photography, or when a wider spread of light is desired. It can help create a more even and gentle light across a larger subject area.
Q: Are there any downsides to using a larger softbox?
A: The main considerations are portability and cost. A larger softbox can be less portable and more expensive compared to its smaller counterpart. It may also require more lighting equipment for effective use.
Q: Is it possible to achieve similar results by using modifiers with the 36-inch softbox?
A: Yes, using additional modifiers like diffusion panels, grids, or reflectors can help control and shape the light from a 36-inch softbox to achieve similar effects as a larger softbox. Experimenting with different accessories can enhance the versatility of a smaller softbox.

I hope you find useful my article Does size REALLY matter? 59inch vs 36inch Softbox Comparison, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

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