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Westcott Rapid Box Duo | Thoughts On This Lightweight Game Changer

By Guest Contributor on February 17th 2015

If you’ve ever wondered how to get a beautiful quality of light at F16 using only Speed Lights, then shuffle your schedule, turn off your phone, do whatever you have to do to make time to read every word on this page, because lighting secrets are about to be revealed. The new Westcott Rapid Box Duo has arrived and it just might be a game changer for all of you Speed Light users out there. An outrageous claim? I understand your skepticism, but seeing is believeing.

Check out the video below to see the Westcott Rapid Box Duo in action.

The people have spoken and apparently Westcott was listening. They have incorporated all the ideas that Rapid Box users were asking for and they have created a whole new revolutionary design. Here are the features that make the 32” Westcott Rapid Box Duo a huge improvement over the Westcott 26’ Rapid Box Octa, in my opinion.

Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo

 

Number one is the ability to use two Speed Lights with Westcott’s custom designed tilting mounting bracket. With two Speed Lights, you are now able to shoot at F16 on a Sunny Day, or when less power is required, you can shoot at 1/4 power or 1/8th power for a faster recycle time. Previuosly the inability to shoot at F16 outdoors on bright sunny days was always a big drawback when it came to Speed Lights for me. In the past, I would lug a Studio Strobe and a battery pack on location, so I would have enough power to overcome the sun.

[REWIND:WESTCOTT ICELIGHT REVIEW AND HANDS-ON LIGHTING TUTORIAL]

With the 32” Westcott Rapid Box Duo, you can now leave all the heavy gear in the studio and travel a lot lighter. It folds up like an umbrella and comes with a convenient carrying case. The dual Speed Light bracket isn’t the only feature that sets it apart from the rest of the Rapid Box line though. The new 32” Rapid Box Duo comes standard with an interior baffle and an exterior diffusion panel which creates a much softer quality of light than the 26″ Rapid Box.

You can also add an optional reflector plate and use the Westcott Rapid Box Duo as a 32” Silver Beauty Dish. This is a great feature if you require more power and added contrast. For those of you who demand more control of your light, they also have an optional Egg Crate Grid for more directional control. In case you are wondering, you can also use just one Speed Light as well.

Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo_grid Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo_Deflector

 

For those of you who are interested in the set up I used in the video, the boom stand was an Avenger C Stand with a D 600 Boom Arm and a Baby Drop Down Pin. The first lighting set up I used was two Canon 600 EX RT flashes at 1/8 power with both the interior baffle and the exterior diffusion panel installed. I also used a Westcott Silver reflector for fill. If I could do the shot over again, I probably would have used the White side of the reflector for softer fill. The camera I used in the first shot of the video was the Canon 5D Mark III and the lens was the Canon 135mm F2 lens at F2.8.

Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo_Taylor

For the second shot in the video, I used just one Yongnuo YN 560 II Speed Light with both the interior baffle and the external diffusion panel installed. I also used a Silver reflector for fill in this shot as well. Except this time, I switched cameras and I used the Nikon D810 and the Nikon 85mm 1.4 at F2.

Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo_Malia

For the 3rd shot of the male model, I removed the exterior diffusion panel for a slightly harder light source and raised the 32″ Westcott Rapid Box Duo higher for a steeper light fall off to bring out the definition in the male model’s abs. I used the Nikon D810 and the Nikon 85mm 1.4 at F4 for this shot. By the way, the male model is also going to be my body double in future videos. (You will have to watch the video to understand the body double reference).

Westcott_Rapid_Box_Duo_Matt

If I have one complaint about the 32″ Westcott Rapid Box Duo, it would have to be that the Deflector Plate and the Egg Crate Grid are optional and that they don’t come as standard equipment. It would be nice if manufacturers included everything you needed without having to pay extra for it. That said, I think the Westcott Rapid Box Duo will open up new possibilities for Speed Light users and I already am thinking of new ways that I can use it. I am also looking forward to lugging less gear on location on my next shoot.

If you enjoyed this video, I have over 60 free photography related videos on my YouTube Channel. Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/user/CraigBeckta/videos.

You can also find out more information about me at my website: www.craigbeckta.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Craigbecktaphotography.

About The Guest Contributor

Craig Beckta is a Professional Portrait Photographer based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. After 20 years in the Military serving both on land and at sea. Craig Beckta began sharing his love of photography via his YouTube Channel. His YouTube Photography Tutorials have been viewed over a million times in 193 countries around the world.

If you’re interested in becoming a guest contributor, contact us!

22 Comments

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  1. Tino Solomon

    Any recommendations for speedlight stands that are good outdoors, can be held higher by an assistant when necessary and also fit in with the studio setup? The C stand you use in the video seems a bit heavy and large for taking outdoors

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    • Gurmit Saini

      Hi Tino, the best option for outdoor lightstand held by assistant will be Monopod light stick setup which is simple and can go reasonably high.

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  2. Craig Beckta

    Hi Tino,

    Manufactures are not allowed to recommend certain stands
    due to liability issues.

    I believe you can find a cheaper Manfrotto stand but the
    thing about buying cheaper stands, is that you eventually
    end up buying a better more expensive stand later.

    I have cheap light weight, speed lights stands that just collect
    dust because they are useless on a windy day.

    You do not need a boom stand but I like to use them
    for Butterfly lighting set ups.

    Yes, the Westcott Rapid Box Duo comes with a tilting
    bracket that allows you to mount up to two speed
    lights at a time.

    It is a completely different design than the Westcott
    Apollo.

    If you watch the video again it should be a little more clear.

    They have incorporated all the features people have
    been asking for and it produces quite a nice quality
    of light.

    Craig Beckta

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  3. Tino Solomon

    Stan, are you only referring to the Apollo series or the rapidbox series too? Do these tilt?

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  4. Tino Solomon

    Looks great, but again the problem with these is the consumer is then to figure out how to mount these. What would the best stand be for a studio, and for an outdoor/location shoot. The manufacturers never seem to recommend a match, leaving us to fish in the sea of cheap products ultimately leading to poor experiences even if the main product is superb.

    Any ideas other than what the photographer in this video used? It would cost almost as much as the softbox to buy his stand and boom, which sort of defeats the point.

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  5. Craig Beckta

    Hi Ryan,

    No, I did not use the optional deflector plate.

    I used the inner diffuser and outer diffuser on
    the first two shots.

    For the shot of the Male Model, I only used the
    inner diffuser for a more specular light.

    Craig Beckta

    http://www.craigbeckta.com

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  6. Ryan Beuke

    Craig,

    Did you use the optional deflector plate in these images?

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  7. Craig Beckta

    Hey Darren,

    That was the first time I ever used a Yongnuo
    Speed Light.

    Beginners luck I guess…

    It is a surprisingly good flash for the
    Money.

    In regards to my comment in the
    video.

    I still haven’t got a reply back from
    Canon, about the refund. lol

    Craig Beckta

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  8. Darren Russinger

    Thanks for the info Craig!! I’m a big fan of the Yongnuo flashes also. Hard to beat that price!

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  9. Craig Beckta

    Hey Everyone.

    Craig Beckta here…

    I used the Westcott Rapid Box Strip bank as a Hair light
    only with the first image shown.

    With the other two Models, I used only the Westcott Rapid
    Box Duo…

    This is my favourite Speed Light Modifier, it is superior to
    the Westcott 26 Rapid Box Octa and the Apollo.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Craig Beckta

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  10. Darren Russinger

    Was there not another softbox camera left in this video???

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      The y used a second one for a hair light.

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    • Darren Russinger

      If you look at the video at the 1:55 mark, there is a strip box on the photographer’s left which isn’t the hair light…which I assume is the small Wescott box behind to the left of the models.

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  11. Bill Bentley

    Here is a dual speedlight bracket that will work with any speedlight capable softbox.

    http://www.phottixstore.com/store/flash-accessories/phottix-multi-boom-16-flash-bracket.html

    The disadvantage to this style of setup vs. the Westcott one is that the flash units are not easily accessed once you put the front diffusion panel on. If you have a wireless flash system then it’s no big deal.

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  12. Gurmit Saini

    Looks great, last month I bought Rapid Box 60 cm, which is great, easy to set up, fast and quick, gives you good soft light and can be used as beauty dish with deflector plate.

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  13. Nick Viton

    How does this Rapid Box compare to the Westcott Apollo Orb (which is larger and cheaper)?

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    • Brandon Dewey

      I would like to know this also because I’m think about picking up an Apollo Orb

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      Good question! This is timely for me because I was looking at doubling my speed lights in a softbox and can’t with my current gear. Easy to do with the Orb. Looks like this is just a special bracket to hold the lights and a larger opening in the back to accommodate them.

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    • Stan Rogers

      The Orb (and all of the Apollo series ) is a wonderful modifier, but it also has several problems. The most obvious, and one that arises largely from the very same thing that makes it a good softbox for speedlights, is that the flash is buried inside the box, so manual control is a bit of a pain, and anything that relies on optical triggering/adjustment becomes far less reliable (especially outdoors, where optical line-of-sight is already battling much brighter ambient light that you’ll find in the average studio). You can work around that if you have radio remote control/triggering, but you do lose quite a bit of range if you’re seeing the back side of the Orb. (And you can work around THAT if your remote receivers can be separated from the flash with a cable and placed outside the box, so with the right combination of equipment, you can still work without an assistant and a walkie-talkie.) In contrast, the body of the flash is external to the RapidBox, so optical is possible with a bit of care, and you don’t need to tear things apart to get at the flash controls.

      The second problem is tilt. Basically, you don’t get any; fifteen degrees or so. To go any further, you need at least a tilt arm, something that several of the knock-off makers have thoughtfully included in their versions of the Apollo design. A relatively cheap way of fixing that problem is to use a 20-inch (or 40-inch, but that’s less portable and requires a heavier stand) grip arm, or a grip head with a suitable length of 5/8″ tubing (or a rod or dowel) so that you can put the tilt below the box. There is a common “tip” that tells you that you can run the light stand in front of the front edge of the box and leave the bottom of the diffuser unattached, but that only sort of works, and it only gets you *slightly* more tilt before you get light leaks. The RapidBox will tilt further without the stand getting in the way, and a small offset arm will give you a huge range of tilt without upsetting the balance of the system (not quite so many sandbags needed).

      It’s also difficult to run “hot” (without the front diffuser) unless you get a different design of flash/umbrella bracket than the one Westcott includes in the kit. Having the flash far off-centre doesn’t have much of an effect when you are using the Orb as a softbox, but it gives a miserable pattern of light if you’re trying to run it as something more like a beauty dish or a silver umbrella. Again, a couple of knock-off makers will give you a bracket that puts the flash as close to on-axis with the umbrella shaft as possible, but they generally won’t give you a 40″ box. And there’s usually an option to mount more than a single flash as well. It’s less easy to find the bracket/tilt arm sold without the knock-off box, but it can be done.

      Without putting too fine a point on it, Westcott has had a very long time to fix the problems that have been with the Apollo design from the beginning (it’s been around for at least the past 25 years), and nobody knows why they haven’t bothered. If you know about them ahead of time and have work-arounds (or the time to rip off and re-install the front diffuser several times during setup), it is, as I said, a wonderful modifier.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      Stan,

      Great points. You brought up some things I hadn’t considered.

      Thanks for the detailed answer.

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    • David Hall

      Stan… great points. I own an Apollo and agree with everything you stated.

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    • Brandon Dewey

      Thanks Stan for all of the pros and cons

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