SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce system: focusable reflector & softbox for the masses

SMDV's Zoom Bounce System for the BRiHT-360 bare-bulb flash lets photographers continuously focus a light source in a large softbox, without paying top-end prices.

SMDV Zoom Bounce System

Mere mortals cannot afford the Briese Focus system, but Korean manufacturer SMDV has brought something somewhat similar within our reach.

The SMDV BRīHT-360 is the company’s bare-bulb portable flash, with similar features to the Godox Witstro AD360II (if not superior, because it has an LED modelling lamp). It runs on a removable lithium battery pack and has a built-in radio trigger with Canon/Nikon TTL control and high-speed synchronisation. Various reflectors are available for the BRiHT mount, as well as adapters granting access to SMDV’s Speedbox range of softboxes.

Now, SMDV has added a unique accessory system that could have photographers switching over from Godox et al. The BRiHT Zoom Bounce system fits in between the BRiHT-360 body and its flash tube, adding a sliding arm that allows the photographer to position the light source precisely where desired in a large softbox.

SMDV Zoom Bounce System

The body and controls remain outside the modifier, so you can make adjustments and swap over batteries without having to disassemble anything.

SMDV Zoom Bounce System

SMDV Zoom Bounce System

Slide the rail forwards or backwards to ‘focus’ the light and change the apparent size of the light source. If it’s anything like the Briese system, this means you can effectively increase the intensity of your light source (at the cost of size/diffusion) with no colour shift because you didn’t change the actual power setting on the flash.

Unlike the Cheetah Chopstick system, Broncolor Para or alternatives from CononMark and Parabolix, the body of the flash stays outside the softbox, giving you full access to the power controls, battery and so on. What’s more, the entire thing can be set up in seconds, thanks to the quick-assemble design of the softbox.

A deflector plate at the very front ensures that there is no hotspot from direct flash. Also, like the Godox AD-B2, the Zoom Bounce adds an LED modelling lamp, so you can preview the effect before taking the shot.

SMDV Zoom Bounce System

The 100cm, 12-sided softbox advertised with the Zoom Bounce System kit is called the SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce 100, and comes with a removable diffusion panel. There are two versions: silver-lined, for an efficient, specular effect or white-lined for a softer look (pictured below). The focusing rail is also compatible with the company’s Alpha Speedbox softboxes, which come in a range of sizes from 80cm to 110cm in diameter.

SMDV Zoom Bounce W100

The following test photos, courtesy of dealer Legio Photo, show the effect of the white-lined “W100” version of the SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce in action.

SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100 test photo
Image lit with the SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100. The BRiHT-360 is in the rearmost position, near the speedring.
SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100 test photo
Image lit with the SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100. The BRiHT-360 is at the midway point.
SMDV Zoom SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100 test photoBounce W100 test photo
Image lit with the SMDV BRiHT Zoom Bounce W100. The BRiHT-360 is all the way forward, near the softbox rim.

US pricing for the Zoom Bounce System is set at $659.90, available before the end of November. One Austrian seller has the Zoom Bounce System listed at €540 plus VAT and a Dutch dealer is offering it for €599 including VAT.

For more information, visit the SMDV web site or contact the US distributor, SMDV USA. The “premier dealer” in the US is Legio Photo.

Another key accessory announced for the SMDV BRiHT-360 this year is the SB-07, a Bowens S-fit mounting bracket, which also helps support the weight of heavier Alpha Softboxes.

Would you use a focusable light modifier? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

David Selby
Based in the West Midlands, UK, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a statistics PhD student.
selbydavid.com
  • Is it me, or the bulb looks just like the ones from Godox AD series? #fullofhope

  • Maya

    I just want to point out that a white modifier isn’t by definition focusable, since white bounces light rays in all direction, regardless of the angle of the light ray that strikes them. To be focusable, a modifier needs to have a shape that’s got a focal point (Ellipsoid, parabolic – BTW 95% of modifiers sold as parabolic, such as deep umbrellas, are nowhere near the ideal paraboloid shape, it’s a marketing lie) and a silver material that’s quite mirror-like in terms of finish.
    Unless having a light stand in front of the modifier is a problem (maybe for example for catchlights), or the type of mount used (indirect with a rod) proves preferable for practical, mounting reasons (easier to push it closer to a subject for example), the white version of this modifier is completely useless, as a white umbrella will do the same job.
    The comparison above also shows a problem with SMDV’s solution (and many others, including Broncolor’s) : bare flash tube spill. The first shot’s shadows are harsh because the softbox was slightly feathered, and that was enough to make the flash tube visible from the sides. It also wastes power since not all the light from the light source goes into the modifier. With these indirect modifiers, an adjustable spill kill reflector would be ideal (Profoto’s mount is a natural, simple solution to that problem, which is why I actually prefer to use Bron’s paras with Profoto’s Pro or Acute heads).
    SMDV’s solution only has 12 sides, and the silver material is quite directional, which means that the illumination of a silver zoom bounce will be uneven and may produce multiple, stepped shadows. Their bigger lineup, made of 24 sides, seems a better solution (but alas there aren’t any in smaller sizes).
    SMDV’s boxes tend to not be rigid enough and droop a little, which may cause problems when the rod is pushed far from the speedring, as it positions the light source off-centre. Remains to be seen how much off-centre (if it’s moderate it should be fine).
    Finally, I believe that there is no provision for a modeling light.
    So it’s great to see manufacturers attempting to bring more affordable competition to Broncolor or Briese parabolic reflectors, but I think that a few tweaks are necessary before they become truly excellent.

    • Useful information, thanks!

    • Class A

      Even silver reflection material is not a mirror. Yes, it will have more specular reflections than white material, but I do not believe that the difference is as “night & day” as you claim it is. Even the silver material used in modifiers creates some diffuse reflection. Most certainly, the white version is not “completely useless” as it does not “do the same job” as an umbrella. If the adjustment rod is pulled back, the modifier provides a deep rim/baffle that prevents light from spilling to the sides. It is effectively a giant snoot. This is very different to just a plain white umbrella. The blocking behaviour of the modifier remains effective for other positions of the adjustment rod as well, with the focusing obviously becoming less effective the more it is pushed out. You will have a similar effect on a modifier with a silver reflective material as well. BTW, one can use these modifies as efficient softboxes as well (using a diffusing front baffle) and in this case the white interior is preferable as it leads to a more homogeneous internal illumination. In an ideal world, a silver interior would work just as well with the flash bulb precisely in the focal position, but I very much doubt that the parabolic shape is precise enough to make that happen.

      N.B., I don’t think you have any way of knowing whether there was “bare flash tube spill”. How do you know that the box was “slightly feathered”?

  • J.L. Williams

    $659.70 and that’s just for the modifier? I guess as I don’t even qualify as “mortal” in today’s economy. I’ll check back when there’s something priced for the “undead” or “zombie” photographer (zombies don’t have much disposable income because they don’t have pockets…)

    • Well, it’s more affordable than some of the competition. But probably still not for enthusiasts.

  • mario

    I am not so impressed, sorry. Pictures don’t look what the price pretends.

  • Phil Do

    how long till Godox brings out there own option!?