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Gear & Apps

California Sunbounce Review | Is It Worth It?

By Pye Jirsa on September 18th 2015

Is It Worth The Price?

In this video, I’ll be reviewing the California Sunbounce. It is priced around $400, and I’ll be discussing how the California Sunbounce can be utilized in your shoots. More importantly however, I’ll discuss whether or not it’s worth it to purchase such an expensive accessory. Hope you guys enjoy!

California Sunbounce Review

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Is It Worth It?

In the video above, I’m holding the 2×3 California Sunbounce, but I most often use the 4×6 (which is inside the bag). The 4×6 weighs about 4 lbs and as I mentioned, is priced at about $400. Both sizes have a holding rod behind the tension fabric that reflects the sunlight.

So is it worth it? Absolutely yes. Allow me to explain why.


First off, the California Sunbounce is extremely portable and easy to set up. Additionally, it’s a better investment and alternative to generic products because the quality of the tension fabric allows more light to be reflected towards the subject.


As you can see, the amount of additional light is about two to three stops of light. That’s an incredible amount! So yes, the California Sunbounce is well-worth the price in comparison to other generic brands. It’s an amazing product to have within your arsenal of gear, and does a great job in lighting the subject while retaining all the details in the background.


Hope you guys enjoyed this gear review! Please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more reviews and tutorials. Thanks for watching! Enjoy a few more images from the shoot!








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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Eric Stoner

    I have four Sunbounce products (4×6, 3×4 and 2×3), all which have their place in my lighting tool kit and you’d have to pry them from my cold dead hands before I’d give them up! Expensive? Meh, I’d say if it helps you do your job more effectively, they pay for themselves in short order! They are an investment in my opinion, not an expense as many photographers refer to them.

    A couple that items to note, the fabric on all of my Sunbounce reflectors is about as tight as a drum (unlike just about all other reflectors) and of course sound like it when you tap them with your finger. This is what allows the fabric to be so efficient in transporting light long distances if needed. For me, the zebra gold silver fabric is my hands down favorite as it adds just enough warmth to my portraits.

    To counter Mokhtar C’s comment about the fabric deteriorating after a short time, the fabric, for me as it ages gets better. It becomes a bit softer yet still very effective.

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  2. warren papas

    I have one, and it’s my favourite reflector, but there’s times when I leave it in the car…as I’m a wedding photographer, and a 5in1 is easier to carry, and store. But I also have the speedlight bracket, and this adds to the versatility of the Sunbounce. Suddenly I have a huge, soft light source.

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  3. Paul Blacklock

    awesome tips!

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  4. Uncle Bob

    Thanks for the review Pye, although it would have been nice to see some of the example shots without the Sunbounce so we could compare and judge the quality and power of the reflected light.

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  5. Mokhtar C

    Honestly i enjoyed the photos here more than i enjoyed my California Sunbounce.

    I tried to resist getting one but the hype made me click on the pay now button.

    Once i got it, i automatically realized that the foldable reflectors are way more portrable and take less time to put them in action.

    Yes the reflective material does gather a bit more light, but not “THAT” much more other quality brands.

    after a few uses “less than 10”, i started to see that the fabric stared to lose its reflective dye/print material due to it being strached/overstretched during use, i put other reflectors through the same stuff and i still use them till today with less imperfections.

    The only pro i found with the CS Reflectors is the frame they come with. Its useful for mounting options when you dont have an assitant. But i am not sure its $400 useful.

    I also found that a similar foldable reflctor is easier to put in checked in Luggage, while the Frames of the CS need to be checked in as an extra bag since they dont fit in a standard bag.

    Do i regret getting it? Yes and No, Yes because i feel it didn’t add a lot of extra value for me, No because i got the thought “should i get the best reflector that all the celeb photographers use or not” out of my head.

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    • Pye

      Yeah, I still agree with you that a standard 5-in-1 is much more portable and simple to use. Yet, for head to toe reflecting, for a larger “bump” in light, and even bouncing full power strobes head-to-toe, the California Sunbounce is still superior to anything else I have used. Just the fact that the material stays taught, versus the inexpensive brands that have a loose kind of fit. It has its purpose, and that purpose wont fit or make sense for everyone. Thanks for your comment!

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