Professional Reviews & Comments


 
 
Michael, I  just wanted to comment, some time back I ordered a Ultimate Lightbox for a Quantum Trio, and for the most part was pleased, however, the interface between the light box and the trio, was at best just crappy (don't stop this isn't a complaint). It worked, but not well and I had pretty much just decided that it was one of those lessons learned and that I probably would not order again from Harbor Digital Design.

Then you guys did something that really caught me off guard, you sent a far far superior replacement for the Trio/Lightbox and you didn't charge me a dime. This actually shocked me and I will now be a future customer. I just wanted to tell you that I greatly appreciate the effort on your part and will be a future customer and recommend you to anyone I can. Thanks, it is not many places that put their customers first.

 

Regards, Michael Smith
February 17, 2010

"The Ultimate Light Box is my favorite new flash modifier. It's light quality and flexibility topped our recent testing ..and it's built to last too."
- Will Crockett, Chief Tech Writer for shootsmarter.com
 

 
I feel like a traitor writing this as I have been a devotee of G.F., but after reviewing my third wedding I have to say that this is the best light modifying system I have ever used.  The benefits to your system are many.  First, the shape and the modification system make it easy to go from bouncing the light to using it as a direct flash.  The illumination over a wide area is excellent.  Secondly, it draws less power than the previous system I have been using.  

Lastly, the speed of your service is excellent…. I purchased another system for my partner.  Keep up the good work.

 

Peter

January 5, 2009

Peter Wallburg Studios


 
As I was driving to a job after lunch today I noticed a flock of Geese off to the side of the road with their young chicks...being close to Easter I thought it would be some fun images to have...

 

It was about 1pm and the first sunny day we've seen here in Seattle in long long time...harsh mid-day shadows everywhere... I already had my D3 set-up with a Quantum Trio and the Ultimate box on an adjustable height bracket in anticipation of the shoot I was heading for and they were moving away rather quickly so I decided to go with what I had and just grabbed the rig, dialed in a spot of compensation, laid on the ground and proceeded to shoot away...

 

I don't know if any of your other customers have been using the box as a mid-day fill for wildlife or not but as you can see from the attached photos it works VERY well at that task too...

 

These haven't been to photoshop yet...just brought them into Lightroom, cropped and output them...even left the extra catchlight in the eye in a few so you could see where both lights (the sun and the Trio) were and how nicely it fills the shadows and knocks down the harsh mid-day contrast...

 

Yet another way to utilize this cool little tool...I just keep finding more.
 

...Ric

 

Trio & ULB

 
 
 

     "At PMA in Las Vegas this year, we stumbled on what looked like a Sto-fen designed by NASA...
Mike Pasini,
Editor,
ImagingResource.com
Read the full review here... 

 
 

Here is a comment from Mary Buck, Photographer, Lightscapes Photographic Artwork

 

I recently saw an ad for the Ultimate Light Box System in the PPA magazine.  I ordered one right away and could not wait to try it out. I have been a professional photographer for over 10 years and have not found anything quite as good as this.

I often take photographs on location and this system is a clear winner over the other diffusers/modifiers I have used in the past.

It really is a lighting system and much more than just a diffuser.  I tested the system against several other diffusers on the market and you can see the results at:

 

http://www.online-digital-photography-course.com/flash-diffusers.html

 

 

I thought I would touch base and let you know about another way to use your light box.

 

One day I was just playing around with it and I opened up the top and pulled out the wide angle panel on my 580 EX II.  Because the light box adaptor fit so tightly the panel did not lay down flat, it kind of sat on a 30 degree angle. So I put the front lens back on and started taking photos.  My exposure compensation was set at 0.  I thought I would get more diffusion but the opposite happened.  I had a lot of light. So I stopped it down one whole stop and started to take close photos of my daughter and WOW!!!!! I have abundant, beautiful, soft light. The skin tone were just great. 

 

The other night I shot a retirement party for the FBI, it was the sister of a friend of mine. The FBI had a pro photographer at the party. When I printed up some of the photos I shot her sister said why did we waste our money on that guy, we could have used your friend.

 

The set up I used was Canon 40D, 580 EX II flash, flip flash bracket and your light box with the wider angle panel pull out at a 30 degree angle.  I shot straight through the light box.

 

Sometime it’s fun to play around with light, I love to see the different results but sometime you need to be able to focus on taking pictures and just know that you are getting the results.
 
Frank

 

 
 

 


 
A couple of months ago Micheal was kind enough to send me an adaptor for a Quantum flash to try out.  Well I finally had the chance today.  I did a few shots as a test with the diffuser that comes with the Quantum and then using the same settings used your modifier.  Wow, what a great difference.  The images using the Quantum diffuser have the deer in the headlights look.  Your diffuser is much more natural looking. Over the course of the next week or so, I'll experiment some more and forward on a few images.  Thank you Micheal for sending the adaptor.
 
Lori  

 
I just got home from the first annual Digital Photo Expo produced by The Camera Store, here in Calgary's Telus Convention Centre.  
 
I came back with two things : A Rodenstock warming filter for my everyday Canon 28-135mm and the other product I purchased was one which I had never heard of but which I suspect I will never again be without, and that is your Ultimate Light Box system Pro Pack for my Canon 580EX II flash.
 
There was an entire table covered with them and it was just on a whim that I opened the box, and I was amazed once I started unpacking it (with people gathered around me looking on). At home, I brought out my Speedlight to play a little. The adapter collar fits my Speedlight like it says "Canon" on the side. The attachments between the various parts are well engineered, well made, and simple yet solid. As you may know, the Sto-fen for the 580EX II requires hand-warming and manipulation to fit over the flash-head even at room temperature, and you lose the use of the built-in catch-light card.
 
This package of yours is amazing. What I like about the Ultimate Light Box is that it has so many different levels of control and diffusion. The two photos in your review section of kids on Halloween are amazing: All he did was put on your box, turn on the flash, and take a picture. The skin tones and shadows are perfect. They are so far beyond the level of snapshot that they could have been taken in a studio.
 
The most surprising aspect of using the Light Box is how unobtrusive it is! It looked ungainly as I unpacked it and I anticipated that I would have to get used to maneuvering with it on the camera. The 580EX II isn't exactly a Kodak flash-cube itself, and it radically changes the balance of the camera. But the Light Box doesn't seem to weigh any more than a plastic diffuser, and attached to the mass of the Speedlight and the 40D (with vertical grip), it was almost as if it wasn't really there. That is great because once having decided what kind of lighting I wanted and from which direction or bounce angle, I spent my time composing the shot and bringing all the elements together without being conscious of this light box on top of my flash. This system is amazing!
 
The Light Box system is so simple, so light, so well made, and so versatile that I can't imagine hauling out my Speedlight without bringing out the Light Box with it, even if it's just the adapter and the Dome. There's a word for simple yet effective design, and that is "elegant". The Light Box allows me to manipulate my portable flash to give me the light quality and quantity I want, rather than my having to think about how to get my camera to do what I need with only the light my Speedlight gives me. I have no doubt that it is one of those products about which I will quickly begin to wonder how I ever managed without, an organic part of my camera-flash system. Thanks for an elegant and valuable addition to my kit.
 
Rory
October 7, 2008 

The kit is great thanks. I have only tried it at 2 weddings this weekend and the softboxand small diffuser worked great. The softbox managed to light up an entire room quite evenly.

I have always used bounced flash but always had some dark areas under the chin etc, the attached pic was taken using the diffuser whilst bouncing....a much better result! It is closer to the studio look than I have got before. Thanks again for all your help, I am more than happy with the results.

- Nick in Spain


Click Image to Enlarge

Click on the link for more recent comments and tests from Nick.

http://www.all-things-photography.com/speedlight-or-flash-diffusers-and-softboxes.html


The flash adapter works beautifully. It fits nice and tight and there is no way that it will come off.  Thank you for all of your help to find one that would fit my flash. Your service went above and beyond what I would have expected from any company. - Joanne P.

Griffin Design and Photography

Photography Learning Resource for Hungry Photographers!

The Best Flash On Camera Flash Tool Your Money Can Buy!

I have said many things and shown many-many tools that I think are great that would improve anyones photography, but now theres a change in the air. The first week of January I received a treat. I got my Ultimate Lightbox Flash Diffuser system. I was actually quite amazed at how large the unit was! Then I thought about the old rule of thumb... the larger the light source the softer the light! Then I though about how well I managed with other flash diffusers. A smile washed over my face!...
Click here to read David's full review with photos.



I ordered a complete set of  Ultimate Light Box modifiers for each of my 580EX's. These were to exist as an additional set of alternatives alongside my Sto-Fen and PJ diffusers. At $99 per, (for the complete set, and individual components can be had for less, though by the time you add shipping in, getting the whole rig makes the most sense), I've found them to be tremendously well-thought-out and very well done. They also look very "professional', and I would have absolutely NO qualms about their appearance during event shoots, which is the primary usage for which I bought them.

I've found a tremendously versatile kit. With the harbordigitaldesigns.com kit, my 580's have become tremendously more versatile, and it's easy to see that I'm going to be able to get much more use from them in many different situations than I'd previously considered.

I'd absolutely encourage you to go out and get one for each flash you own. The complete kit mates to individual models by means of a $12 collar, so for an extra $12, you can make each kit fit each additional type of flash unit you have.

Anything else I can say would be that there are few people out there who are more particular when it comes to the fit and finish and overall implementation of the gear they buy than I am. This is one of the very few "add-on" items which does not look or feel like it, all while being amazingly useful. It is a 5-star implementation for which I've been absolutely thrilled to make the  investment.

- Elan in New Jersey

Elan again in reply to a forum question on the best diffusers: 

Though I shoot with a bracketed 580EX, I've investigated and owned a huge variety of speedlight modifiers. I continue to own several different makes/styles/types because each has its own distinct strength and weaknesses; but there is clearly one that is head-and-shoulders above the others in virtually every regard and is, without a doubt, the item I would keep if I had to choose only one among them.

The one solution that has wowed me in every regard, from the quality of its output, versatility in its ability to control the light output, manufacturing quality, and fit and finish is the Pro Pack from Harbor Digital Design. This is a modular system consisting of several components, and you can buy one or all of the various components to create literally dozens of unique, high-quality outcomes (though I recommend just biting the bullet and spending the $99 for the whole she-bang). In its full glory, it's no less obvious than the Lumiquest, but there is absolutely nothing bush league about it. It is, and looks like, a serious piece of photo gear that would likely encourage more respect than just curiosity. It's also fantastic for the fact that you can buy the whole get-up, and then just buy individual adapter collars which are custom molded to each flash type, and for $12 each, you can use the same Uber-modifier on just about any popular flash unit out there.

It comes complete with gels, different aperture shapes and spreads, and a whole variety of other capabilities, including one that provides directional control to protect the lens and harsh light from unflattering perspectives, and is absolutely the solution I'd recommend to anyone who wants near-studio like control of their light output from their speedlights. It costs, but it is MORE than worth it in several important ways. You will never regret having bought it and, at least for now, you're not likely to come up with something another product can do that it can't.
- Elan in New Jersey


For decades I've been hoping to find, but not really expecting to find, a small, light-weight, battery-powered light source I could attach to an ordinary hand-held camera that would simulate pleasantly natural light. The problem is that natural light sources are, by definition, large: expanses of sky seen under shade, for example; or a large window close to an indoor subject. And the governing rule, for still photographers and movie photographers, has always been that the smallness of the light source is directly related to the sharpness and unpleasantness of shadows it casts. The pop-up light source on an ordinary point-and-shoot camera may be no larger than a thumbnail, but the light source for a

Hollywood movie may be a ten-foot by ten-foot square that is evenly lit across its entire expanse. From the point of view of the camera lens, such a tiny light is effectively a pinpoint, whereas such a big light is an infinite number of overlapping sources, and therefore of overlapping shadows. That one could simulate any kind of a large square or umbrella with a flash attachment containing a few AA cells has seemed an impossible contradiction in terms. But I have finally found just such a device, built to very high standards, and at a reasonable price. And although it is not the first such diffuser of on-camera strobe light, it is the best. That is to say, it is the best simulator of large, natural sources of light, and it produces the most pleasant shadows.

This unit is so new for me that I've been able to use it only in very limited circumstances: indoor-flash photographs of human subjects taken at night. Here I have supplied two such photographs: one of them achieved by pointing the flash unit directly at the ceiling, and one achieved by pointing it directly at the subject. In both situations, the strobe light, after it left my Nikon unit, passes through two layers of translucent plastic provided by the manufacturer. As I understand it, in units from other companies the light passes through only one such layer. And the resulting differences in effect are large indeed.

    
Click on Image to Enlarge

The photograph of the mother and her two daughters was taken about ten feet from the subjects with the unit pointed directly at them, for I needed to shine the light under the shade of the feathered hat. I have never before been able to produce such pleasant effects by pointing a small battery-operated strobe directly at a human subject.

The photograph of the girl with the pumpkin was taken about 7 feet from the subject with the unit pointed straight up at a slightly off-white, eight-foot ceiling. The inside of the back of the diffuser box contained a removable opaque white reflector to reflect light forward that otherwise would have been lost behind the photographer. And one can see, in the unintended window reflection, how I had the unit positioned on my camera.

The components of this system are well thought out, beautifully designed, and perfectly molded, and all of the design and manufacture obviously depends upon computer technology. Although, as I've been told, the Nikon flash unit I own is the most difficult to fit because of its tapering head, the fit of the diffuser unit to the Nikon is a good fit.

The entire camera, flash, and diffuser is small enough and portable enough so that it does not seem threatening to subjects, as a soft box or umbrella can be. It's easily carried from room to room; and the diffuser itself seems to weigh no more than an empty Kleenex box. I have not yet produced a trace of redeye with this system, and I don't expect to.

The response to the photographs I've taken with this system has been enormously positive. And although it cannot produce the same three-dimensionally modeled effects of a key light, fill light, hair light, and background light combined, it does produce a pleasant and convincing simulation of a studio environment.

- Ross in Washington


 

Just to say thanks for rushing it out.  The diffuser arrived today and it's great.  Only took 2 days to get to FL, amazing.  A pleasure doing business with you. 

- Bob in Florida


 

Compared to other products used to diffuse hot shoe flash the Ultimate Light Box is a definite winner!
-Anthony in Georgia

OK Guys....Love your products.

I have a hard time deciding which to use on the sb800.  

1) your diffuser which does a great job.

2) your soft box, I use the black box with the white front, without the diffuser in the box.

Both give VERY good to EXCELLENT pictures.

They seem to have the ability to highlight the subject(s) and make the subject(s) really stand out, without blowing out.  Bear in mind, I am wandering throughout the crowd/tables and just shooting. Occasionally I will do shots of someone on stage speaking and other semi posed shots on the floor. My quandary is BOTH attachments produce GREAT results and look VERY professional. They are no trouble to swap in a hurry.

Big FAN!
- Matt in Florida