A new line of light modifiers is available from Profoto. The Swedish studio equipment manufacturer has unveiled the RFi, or “recessed front, improved” series of softboxes, designed with a “deeper shape that directs the light forward rather than spreading it to the sides”.
Each unit is handmade out of heat-resistant fabric with reinforced seams and edges to increase durability and longevity. The inside of each softbox is highly reflective and silver in colour for increased light output and what the company likes to call “a crispy character”. There are two diffusion panels in each model.
The RFi softboxes come in four different shapes — rectangular, square, octagonal and strip — and twelve sizes, each one “compatible with more than 20 different flash brands”. The speedrings are colour coded. The recessed front panel on the face of the modifier helps “minimise stray light” while also facilitating the attachment of optional grids, diffusers and masks by Velcro.
Stockholm-based Tobias Björkgren has been one of the first photographers selected by Profoto to try out their RFi series. He opted for a small 1×1.3′ rectangular softbox and a 1×6′ stripbox to use on some fashion photos (an example of which is shown below).
“I choose those two models because they are a little bit extreme,” said Björkgren. “The RFi 1×1.3’ is a super small softbox. I used to use the Zoom Reflector or the Softlight Reflector for those kinds of assignments, but this is a lot better. It also takes up far less space. I don’t even need a special bag for it. I can just fold it up and put it with the rest of my gear.
“The RFi 1×6’, on the other hand, is a strip large enough to cover the entire length of a person. This is great if you want to do full body shots. As I shoot a little bit of everything, I think I’ll use it for product shots too. It should be really useful for creating long, beautiful highlights with soft edges.”
But how does the RFi series compare with the RF softboxes that came before?
“It’s definitely an improvement,” Björkgren reckons. “The Velcro attachments that are used to attach the diffusers are much more convenient than the hooks that the older softboxes have, and the color-coded speedrings are just great — incredibly helpful if you’re new to softboxes or if you’re giving directions to an assistant. I also have to say that the softboxes feel better. The material is obviously of higher quality and the rods appear to be a lot sturdier. I won’t throw away my old RF softboxes and buy new ones. That’s a little bit drastic. But this is an important improvement, for sure.”
The Profoto RFi softboxes are already listed for sale at Adorama, starting at US$99 for the smallest 1’×1.3′ model, going up to $429 for the large 4’×6′. To find out more about the new line-up, click here.