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Gear Reviews

Westcott 50″ Recessed Mega JS Apollo First Impressions

By Anthony Thurston on December 11th 2013

Quite a while back I talked about my purchase of a knockoff “ebay brand” Chinese umbrella softbox. This was (and is still) a great addition to my kit which saved me a ton of money over the true Westcott Apollo version. A few weeks back though I found a great deal on the Westcott 50″ Mega Apollo and I had to get one to check it out.

This post is just my first impressions after having been able to use it for the last few weeks on a few jobs and various personal projects. I will have a full review done as well as a full comparison to my knockoff umbrella softbox coming later on. (This is not a new item, but there is not much info about it out on the web so I decided to write about it)

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Westcott 50″ Mega JS Apollo First Impressions

Well, in my head I know that 50″ is big… but I was not prepared for just how big this softbox is. The Westcott 50″ Mega Apollo barely fits in my small little apartment. It usually sells for around $299 and I was able to get it for $150ish so I was happy to grab it to check it out.

One of the biggest concerns that I have heard about the Westcott branded umbrella softboxes is that the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. I can say that I am very happy with the build quality of this unit so far, though there is quite a bit of plastic so ill have to reserve full judgement until after I have put it through its paces a bit more.

I have mostly been using this for Food Photography and I love it for that. It produces a beautiful soft light and is a huge light source. I was concerned about is a single speedlight could fill it on its own, but my Yonguo YN560 by itself worked just fine.

What I like So Far

  • Got it for Cheap
  • Build Quality Seems Good
  • Really Soft & Beautiful Light
  • Good for Food and Portraiture

What I don’t Like So Far

  • Size, It is a bit cumbersome in confined places.
  • No bag, makes it very hard to store and travel with this unit.
  • Lots of plastic: I can’t say this is a bad thing, but I am always wary of plastic.

A Few Test Shots

Here are a few shots that I have taken with the Westcott 50″ Mega JS Apollo, nothing special but just to give you an idea of the light it produces. Again, a full review and comparison will be coming at a later time.

The first two shots are from today’s lunch, gotta love Buffalo Wings! The last shot is part of a bunch of “mugshots” I did for the local paper of the local high school basketball team.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Chuck Eggen

    I’m surprised a speed light will fill this thing. Seems like it would take several.

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    • Jason Bodden

      I’m not confident one speedlight will fill the entire box for portraiture. Maybe for food you can get away with it, but I use 3 speedlights in mine to do shoots. I can’t see how one speedlight would work for shooting people in general.

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