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Phottix Spartan is a compact beauty dish and softbox on the cheap

Phottix’s latest product is a versatile, on-location light modifier that also happens to be surprisingly affordable. Lighting equipment may not be something most casual photographers think about, but enthusiasts and aspiring professionals quickly learn how it can become a huge money pit. Over the past several years, Phottix has introduced products that counter this image.

Dubbed the Spartan, this latest modifier is an octagonal softbox that converts to a beauty dish thanks to a removable internal metal reflector. It also promises easier setup compared to traditional octaboxes thanks to “flexible rods,” although it’s not immediately clear how those work. Like standard softboxes, it features an optional internal baffle for extra soft light output as well as an outer grid to provide directional light.

All of those items, even the grid, are included in the box, further setting the Spartan apart from its competition. All you need is the appropriate speed ring to connect it to the brand of light you use.

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Available in either 20-inch or 28-inch sizes, the Spartan is advertised as working well for single subject or couples portraits. The compact size, collapsible design, and easy set-up make it great for location photography. Its size should also make it appropriate for small product photography, whether on location or in a studio, and video shooters should find it to be a good interview light. Sample images can be seen in this NSFW version of the intro video for the product.

The Phottix Spartan is available now, with the 20-inch version priced at $120 and the 28-inch version at just $145, according to DPReview. To put that in perspective, Broncolor’s 30-inch octabox sells for about $220 and doesn’t include a grid or the ability to convert into a beauty dish. Phottix may not have the brand power of Broncolor and other high-end lighting companies, but the Spartan is a very attractive product, especially for photographers working on putting together their first real lighting kit.