I need help to dismantle a softbox. The model is an Elinchrom 22" Portalite octagonal softbox. From memory it was exceptionally difficult to assemble and now I'm finding it so impossible to dismantle that I think maybe there's an obvious trick to this? I've never tried to take it apart before as I haven't needed to.

Each rod is only about 10" long so I can't get enough bend in them to remove any one from their position, and I've noticed that the canvas part might rip if I put more strain on it. There's no velcro openings or removable flaps to reduce the strain, and I can't see any way to remove the rods at their base.

im1 Elinchrom BRX Portalite Octagonal Softbox img2 Elinchrom BRX Portalite Octagonal Softbox img3 Elinchrom BRX Portalite Octagonal Softbox img4 Elinchrom BRX Portalite Octagonal Softbox img5 Elinchrom BRX Portalite Octagonal Softbox

  • It looks very much like a lightweight hiking chair I own. Is there not sufficient give in it to lift one of the outer 'pockets' away from the rod? Each one should get easier after the first.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 15, 2020 at 11:31
  • No there isn't, I would have thought it would be designed with a certain amount of margin, but I've bent the rods as much as I dare without permanently damaging them... The outer edges of the fabric are (almost as) taught as a bow string - just a bit tighter and you could "twang" them! Other softboxes I have are nowhere near as tight but then this is the only octa I have and it may be tight because it's so small.
    – AutoBaker
    Oct 15, 2020 at 11:40
  • 1
    The comments in this forum post kind of confirm my suspicions that it's a crappy cheap softbox that is designed to look great and cost little but with no attempt at good perfomance. talkphotography.co.uk/threads/disassemble-softbox.672942
    – AutoBaker
    Oct 16, 2020 at 14:47

2 Answers 2


First posted as a comment
It looks very much like a lightweight hiking chair I own. Is there not sufficient give in it to lift one of the outer 'pockets' away from the rod? Each one should get easier after the first.

I found the manual - apparently it's the other way round, get the rod out of the socket in the centre first, before releasing from the pocket. Sounds like some effort may be required - as indeed applies to my chair too.

Presumably, disassembly is the reverse of assembly...

enter image description here

& from my chair…

Assembling your Helinox chair is quick and easy. The shock-corded frame will virtually self-assemble – just be sure all the poles are fully inserted into the hubs. Always fit the seat to the upper rear poles first. Then, lay the chair on its back and use your body weight to flex the lower seat poles into the last two pockets. Brand new seats can be a little tight and the durable fabric helps prevent the seat from sagging over time. But don't worry, the more you use your chairs, the easier they'll be to assemble.

You do have to get your back into it a bit to start with - it's part force, part technique ;)


I've got 3 solutions to this:

  • First option (what I should have done): Do not build the softbox in the first place. Sell it online to some poor unsuspecting bugger and put the money towards a decent softbox.
  • Second solution: if you've already made it up, and it's useful to you, don't dismantle it. It's highly likely it will get damaged and become useless.
  • Third option (what I actually did): Get two guys on the job and go for the 'brute force and ignorance' approach using the method in @Tetsujin's answer. As I half expected, I ended up with a pile of bent metal and torn fabric but it's been in my way for months now so no massive regrets.

@Tetsujin's answer is worded much better but I wanted to give viewers the benefit of my hindsight! 😜

Happy lighting everyone.

  • 1
    Oops ;)) I'm now rather happier with my two cheap as chips softboxes… with 'umbrella' mechanisms. At least we'll all know to avoid that type. Thanks for taking one for the team. My chair, btw, is made of aluminium 6000 [the stuff they make iPhones out of] & is rated for a 20 stone man… so it's possibly just a tad more robust :)
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 17, 2020 at 8:12
  • @Tetsujin good for you, I use umbrella's for all my studio work, brilliant things. This softbox hasn't been used for months hence the need to move it on!
    – AutoBaker
    Oct 20, 2020 at 5:53

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