I just purchased a reflective umbrella (silver lining) which includes a cover for the front of the umbrella making it (optionally) like a softbox.

All things being the same with the EXCEPTION of the cover, what are the differences in the resulting light between these two setups? For example:

  • Softness / sharpness
  • Falloff
  • Brightness
  • Etc..

1 Answer 1


It is impossible to give you an exact answer because there are too many variables involved:

1) power of your flash 2) size and shape of your umbrella 3) type of cover being used 4) the working distance from the subject 5) etc.

Using the cover would mean less light would reach the subject. A rough guess would be about 1 stop of light, (f/5.6 instead of f/8) but it could be as much as 2 stops. (f/4 instead of f/8)

In addition to being less bright, the light coming through the cover will be softer, more even, and have less light fall off.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeSowsun, are you saying that the power of my flash will change the way in which a covered umbrella vs. open umbrella modify the light relative to each other? This is just one of your variables I'm citing, but it applies for the others. All that being said, your last two paragraphs address my question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 0:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am saying if you are using a very weak flash, the cover may rob more of the available light compared to using a very powerful flash. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 0:54

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