I have to admit that being a one-man army photographer has made me lazy in some aspects, I have to assemble my gear myself and sometimes depending on which gear I need to put together it becomes more inconvenient than others.
Carrying my gear? That’s OK, I’m used to it. Having to put a octabox together…? Ugh. So the
crypt administrator, I mean, our lovely editor sent me to test the Jinbei K-90, an umbrella-style folding octabox.
What’s inside the box? A foldable 90 cm softbox with two diffusion panels and a convenient bag to carry it around and protect it when stored.
Quality of materials and stitching
I have had all kind of octas and softboxes and the first thing I check out is the quality of the stitching, because that determines how long will it last. In my review of the Godox octa and stripbox I pointed out problems in this area, which end up being a PITA in the long run, as they will end up falling apart sooner or later due to the tension generated by the rods when you put it together.
In the case of the K-90 the quality is good; you don’t see any areas partially or poorly sewn. Nice.
The metal parts of the softbox are good metal without any sharp edges or rough spots; it doesn’t seems like it will break apart.
How does it work and is it any good?
Well the octabox has a nifty umbrella-like design that allows it to be put together in an instant. Just pull the center into the shaft so it clicks in the locking mechanism and voila! Better than battling with rods! After that is a matter of placing the diffusion panels.
As you may be guessing, the space it uses is when stored is larger than a conventional octabox (that can be disassembled in pieces) however you have to trade space for ease of use. That’s a personal choice mind you: while a 90 cm octabox isn’t hard to put together, things start to get a bit more time consuming with 1.5 or 1.7 meter octas… So it is up to you to decide whether or not you can trade that. I sure can do, weight isn’t much of a problem with this one — although bigger ones will weigh more that’s not to say they are heavy.
In terms of diffusion the material works great as it gets you soft light with no noticeable hot spot, if you need to you can do DIY deflector for it.
In terms of color casts it is OK, our contact in Foto Morgen has told me that Jinbei has been doing changes recently in the diffusion panels so it will be more neutral than previous versions of them.
I have been testing this puppy in different gigs for the past months and it has come around as reliable without signs of wear and tear because of the heavy duty usage.
Let’s see some test photos:
All in all, the quality of the K-90 is good; I liked it. While not perfectly neutral, it isn’t bad at all for the price (much better than the Godox ones I reviewed last gear, or the generic no brand you find in ebay that have terrible purple or blue casts). Build and material quality are great with no signs of sloppy manufacturing at all either.
With a cheap price it comes as a really nice package, especially for those seeking a cheap alternative on folding softboxes and octas that are reliable and well-made. While these softboxes and octas take up more storage space than the traditional versions you have to decide if you want ease-of-use vs. space-saving.
You can find the K-90 softbox in Foto Morgen for 94,90 euros. We would like to thank them for allowing us to test it.