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I recent bought a Lasolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 22 x 22cm on flash softbox diffuser. enter image description here

I like to try and use manual flash settings where possible (especially on my Yongnuo radio flash which is only manual), and I was wondering what would be the appropriate zoom level for the flash in the softbox above?

Would it be 105mm to focus into a smaller area?

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It is not so much the size of the soft box as it is the angle from the head of the flash to the edges of the material on the front of the soft box. Think of the flash head like it was a lens. The angle created by drawing lines from the center of the flash head to opposite corners of the soft box would be the same as a lens with that angle of view. Extend those lines on out to the subject distance and you can see that it would be a very wide angle lens.

Normally you would want to set the flash to the widest zoom setting. This allows the most dispersion of the light, which is also the reason you would generally use a soft box. However, if you wan to create a little harder 'hot spot' in the middle of the pattern then you can set the zoom to the longer setting.

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I would think the opposite. The point is to spread and diffuse the light, making it as "big" and soft as possible, so for most uses you'll want the widest setting to help achieve that spread.

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THere is no particular ideal. In general, the point of a soft box is to diffuse the light, so you generally want a very wide distance, however, you may want to have it concentrate a little bit more light in the center of the softbox sometimes, so you may want to zoom it further in.

There isn't a right or wrong answer. Adjust it to get the look you want. If hot spots are too strong, widen it, if you need more light from the center of it for more range, zoom it in a bit. Either way you'll still get some diffusion since the screen itself acts as a light source.

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