In the photo studio, a large lightbank will effectively make your light source bigger and more diffuse, sending light everywhere for softer shadows. A bare light bulb or even a simple metal reflector will have your lamp behave much more like a point source for a harsher look. Beauty dishes — also known as softlight reflectors — fall somewhere in between, being bigger than a typical reflector but smaller than a softbox, for a balance of softness and control.
However, while large softboxes will fold flat and small reflectors tuck away neatly in a studio case, beauty dishes are big, relatively heavy, awkwardly shaped and rigid. This can cause headaches for photographers who travel a lot or do not have much storage space. To solve this problem, Hong Kong-based firm Falcon Eyes have developed what they call a “Foldable Beauty Dish”, combining the collapsible design of a softbox with (presumably) the reflective qualities of a beauty dish.
The company unveiled this mutant modifier at the Photokina trade fair in September. The form factor is similar to their line of double-folding octagon softboxes, but with a convex deflector that sits in front of the light source.
According to the manufacturer’s catalogue (which you can download from their web site) the Foldable Beauty Dish will be available in 40cm (16″) and 55cm (22″) variants for small lights, with larger 70cm (28″), 85cm (34″) and 100cm (40″) “EX-mount” ones featuring interchangeable speedring adapters. All sizes will come in both white and silver-lined versions, in case you prefer softer or more specular light output.
Retail prices and release dates will depend on whether your local dealer decides to carry them. In Europe, Falcon Eyes products are distributed by Benèl BV.
“It’s true, a foldable beauty dish!” Falcon Eyes boast. “Now you can put your beauty dish even in your bag pack!”
Can you see yourself adding one of these to your gear bag? Can its softbox-like design deserve the “beauty dish” moniker? Share your thoughts below.