Without a studio, photography accessories are only useful if you have enough hands to bring them along with you and that is why Manfrotto launched two studio-style accessories that collapse down into a size ideal for on-site photography. On Wednesday, Lastolite, a division of Manfrotto, announced the Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus and Urban Collapsible background.
The Ezybox is a softbox-style diffuser designed for hot-shoe flashes, making it ideal for portable gear kits. Softboxes cut back the usual intensity associated with a flash by spreading the light out over a larger area — in this case, an 8.5-inch square. Using two removable diffusing layers, the softbox can also be adjusted to let out more or less light.
The softbox attaches to the flash with a twist-lock silicon attachment that Manfrotto says keeps the softbox secure. That attachment system folds down, making the softbox both portable and easier to set up. Honeycombs and gels, sold separately, can also be added to the system to further modify the light.
Designed with the support of Joe McNally, a well-known photographer that has spanned multiple genres from photojournalism to commercial work, the softbox uses a white interior, which McNally says creates a creamier light. The recessed design also allows more control over the light by preventing light spill, Manfrotto says.
The Urban Collapsible background measures 5 feet by 7 feet, yet twists to fold (much like a reflector) down to a 33.5-inch width into an included carrying bag. When photographers are ready to shoot, the spring-style band pops up the background quickly. The smoke side is a darker gray with a vignetting affect while the lighter concrete-colored side doesn’t use the darker edges.
Both accessories are now available, with the Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus retailing for $79 and the Urban Collapsable Background listing for $218.