It's pretty hard to get excited about modifiers. Even as a bona fide lighting geek, who did his apprenticeship under a photographer that the press dubbed "the lighting wizard", there's only so much enthusiasm I can summon for softboxes.
But this? Oh boy. This, right here, is the most exciting modifier I've ever seen – because I've never seen anything like it. Not only is this the best softbox I've ever laid eyes on, I'd go as far as saying that it's the future of lighting.
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It's the Rotolight SmartSoft Box, and it's the world's first electronic softbox. What does that actually mean? Well, the easiest way is just to show you – so I recommend watching the video above, where you can see the childlike wonder on my face as I get more excited than a Star Wars fan on May 4th.
It's designed for the Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro, which is probably my favorite light on the market right now. Replacing the standard frosted diffusion dome that comes with the Aeos 2 Pro, the first thing you'll notice when you mount the new SmartSoft Box is that… well, it doesn't seem very smart. Because it's see-through. Which is hardly a good recipe for diffusing light.
This transparency, however, is exactly what makes the softbox as smart as it is. You see, the panel is an incredibly clever liquid crystal design; in and of itself, it's milky and transparent. As soon as run some voltage through it, however, the particles charge up and scatter the light as soon as it hits them.
The effect is nothing short of awe-inspiring. As you glide your finger along the Aeos 2 Pro's rear touchscreen, dragging the diffusion slider, the transparent panel gradually frosts over until it becomes completely opaque. As your finger drags the slider back, so the panel becomes clear again.
This is the biggest revelation in lighting since the advent of modern LED technology itself. I'll be posting my review soon, but trust me – this is truly a glimpse at the future of lighting.
If this article was of interest, check out our full Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro review as well as our review of its little brother, the Rotolight Aeos 3 Pro. And if you're still jonesing for a good old-fashioned flash, take a look at the best flashguns.