Grids for Elinchrom and other Softboxes
For a long time, Elinchrom provided grids only for the small rectangular softboxes up to 90×110 cm. This has improved to some degree with the availability of grids for larger Rotalux softboxes. But for the indirect lightbanks (“Litemotiv”) grids are still not available. These are Elinchroms showpieces for professional photography, and they provide indeed a very uniform beautiful light. The unavailability of grids for these boxes may be related to the usual velcro attachment of the grids which is not appropriate at least for the rectangular lightbanks with their soft sides. Many manufacturers still use velcro, which, along with too narrox strips, result in grids which do not deserve the name.
For a good light shaping the grids must be streched. This requires a frame, which is available for some softboxes from Lighttools, along with matching grids. Thes seem excellent, but probably aimed at photographers who make a living from their photography.
An ukrainan manufacturer produces quality grids at lower cost. Softboxgrid makes grids which contain an internal frame, similar to the Lighttools ezPop grids. It is made from profiled spring steel which can be easily folded for transport but which provides a stable frame when unfolded. This principle makes sense not only for the indirect lightbanks but also for regular softboxes.
Andrej made grids for my 33×175 and 145×145 indirect lightbanks. I have some pictures which illustrate the difference in quality between a striplite with a regular grid and the grid made by Andrej.
A side view on the boxes illustrates that the simple grid does not deserve this designation – despite that it is from a reknowned manufacturer. A black veil in front of the softbox would do about the same. This has obvious consequences for the light distribution which is not much different from the box without grid. In contrast, the made to measure grid restricts the light distribution as expected. If preferred, grids with different angles can also be made.
Those who consider a purchase will first get a cost estimate. The cost will be somewhat higher for octagon boxes or for grids with narrow angles, due to increased workload and amount of materials, but they are still worth the money. Andrej works very accurate, and every grid is made to the exact size. This makes sense, since many boxes differ from their nominal size. My lightbank is nominally 33 cm wide, but the actual width is only 29 cm. This discrapancy causes a poor fit of the Elinchrom diffusor supplied with the box. It is truly made for a 33 cm wide box. The grid made by Andrej fits the box exactly.
In order to measure the size of the box it is best to place it face down on the ground. For my striplite, it is necessary to remove the diffusor, or it will distort the shape that the box really has. When the box is placed on the diffusor it is easily seen that the sizes do not match. I suppose this is a manufacturing slip, but it does not hurt to measure the box size as described.
The grids can be purchased from a well knon auction site, but I ordered mine directly from Softboxgrid. A direct contact to Andrej will be required anyway for the communication of manufacturing details.
Andrejs grids are not cheap as the simple ubiquitious grids usually are. But they are not cheap products either but grids which deserve the name. It will be difficult to find elsewhere cheaper grids with this quality.
In order to show that these grids provide excellent results also in practice, I show a picture made with the large square indirect lightbank. More pictures can be found on my studio shoot with Ivana.
I provide this information because I like to phototograph and to share my experience. I have no commercial connections to any of the manufactureres of vendors of any product mentioned in this article. The Elinchrom softboxes and corresponding grids are my personal property.