Holy cow – this is the FUTURE of lighting

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.

• The best LED light panels are fantastic for photography and video alike

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.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.