I’ve always wanted to buy build a softbox for my macros and portraits.
Here is what I ended up with.
Here is what I started with.
1. Some kind of Umbrella from the dollar store
2. Car sunshade again from dollar store.
3. Old polaroid camera
4. Broken camera flash.
5. Strobe tube.
Horseshoe Xenon Strobe Tube from http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G1034
and of course a lot of hot-glue and tape.
I was planning to use the old camera flash and use its guts to power the soft-box. Things didn’t go well with the part where I tried to hook up the hot-shoe to the flash PCB. Somehow I managed to fry the circuit by short-circuiting the capacitor. What I’d left with was the old Polaroid camera which I knew had a pretty powerful flash. Disassembling the camera was not easy. I had to break it with a hammer at one point. Amazingly, most of the camera was low tech except for the strobe circuit. Actually that was the only part of the camera with a PCB.
The painful part was figuring out the pinout of the flash circuit. It took me a few days to get it right. In the process, I had to disable the auto exposure feature, making it a fixed power strobe. I would like to figure out hacking the auto mode one day.
The Polaroid 600 camera is powered by a battery built into the film cartridge. I used a 6v NiCad battery to power the circuit.
In an attempt to power the light output, I replaced the stock xenon tube with a much bigger U shaped tube I had bought earlier for a similar project.
All worked fine and it was time to mod the umbrella. The sunshade was cut into pieces to fit the umbrella and hot glued into place. Then it was a matter of putting everything together. You can see I used a piece of wooden stick to hold the tube in place. wood is reasonably non-conductive
I used paper towels as diffuser.
The strobe is hooked up to the camera using the hot shoe piece from the broken camera flash. I need to get a better wire for it or make it wireless(I’ve a bunch of 433mhz transmitters and receivers somewhere). Good thing the trigger circuit is low voltage.
Some of the pictures were taken using the softbox. I’ll add more if I actually use this.