MagMod MagBox review

MagBox_24_octa_review_feature

The MagMod MagBox 24” Octa Pro Softbox Kit is a high-end speedlight modifier for the busy photographer who wants to stay creative on the go!

Judging by the chatter in the forums, it is the Grant Cardone of the photo industry – people either love it or hate it! I’m here to find out why.

shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedInnovative softbox with lightning-fast set up, for a variety of lighting situations.Get Price

As a traveling portrait & headshot photographer, I’m always looking for ways to streamline my kit. Airports, hotel rooms, closets, back streets – it’s a wonderful adventure!

In this down-to-earth, non-technical MagMod Magbox review, I will cover everything I came across whilst testing this innovative product for 2 months.

Ease of Set Up

Magnets with modifiers? The MagBox 24″ is a unique creature!

Those of us who have been in the game for a while remember the old decision making process.

“Is the softbox needed here, or can we pull this shot off with an umbrella? Is it worth the extra 10 minutes to set up?!”

The reality was, with clunky speed rings & metal rods that could snap your fingers like mouse traps, assembling a softbox used to be a significant commitment.

Not anymore.

In recent times, manufacturers have given us new solutions and improvements to the traditional designs. The two most common options to choose from are the umbrella frame and the (much improved) speed ring. Both have their pros & cons.

The MagBox 24″ Softbox however, breaks the mold. Instead of umbrella brackets or speed rings, it relies on magnets to keep itself (and your precious speedlights) in one piece.

A powerful rubber band with magnets attaches to your speedlight, which in turn clicks onto the magnetic bracket.

Are you paying for the ease of setup? No.

The real value of investing in the MagMod system is how easy it is to change things once assembled, i.e. swap to a larger softbox, a gel filter or a grid. I suspect this is where they are taking this – it won’t stop with just one softbox.

All things considered, I have to say – it freaking rocks! Once set up, it’s fast, it’s smooth and it’s intuitive.

The complete absence of noisy velcro & cumbersome metal rods makes the MagMod MagBox quieter and easier than any of the softboxes from my assisting years. Big thumbs up!

Build Quality

My initial concern when I heard the word magnet was “Will it hold?”. The MagBox 24″ is surprisingly solid.

I’ve owned several umbrella-style octaboxes in my time. I still use 2 of them regularly. They’re light, inexpensive and fold down small for travel.

However, this is also their downfall (literally). They tend to blow over and break.

Here’s where the MagBox 24″ shines. It’s built like a tank. It’s heavy. It’s solid. It feels built to last.

The MagBox 24″ on location on the Gold Coast. The weight and solid construction reduced the need for a sandbag or assistant, which was a huge plus!

This is also the point that seems to make the MagBox so polarizing. Its weight and size make it less compact than other options, and the big bag is apparently a bummer for plane travel.

There is always a compromise to be made. Those of us who prioritise durability, flexibility & ease of use will gravitate to the MagMod system.

Those wanting to compromise with something smaller and lighter (that’s more likely prone to failure), will have to look elsewhere.

Light Quality

Canon 5D mkII | Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM | 1/125th | f/8 | MagBox 24” as main light above and slightly camera right. The opportunity to mount 2 speedlights helped overpower the ambient light.

My approach to lighting is simple and practical.

If it looks good, I keep shooting. If it doesn’t, I’ll make adjustments until it does.

Canon 5D mkII | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 1/125th | f/11 | MagBox 24” as main light camera right + another softbox camera left as rim light.

The MagBox holds up beautifully compared to my other softboxes. I’m delighted with the soft quality when used up close, and the sharp edge gives me full control over the falloff.

Although there is a slight hotspot in the middle, it’s manageable and unobtrusive.

If you’re just getting into off-camera flash, my recommendation is always to start with a 60” convertible umbrella. That’s where I started.

However, if you’re ready for an upgrade, or you’re the kind of person who jumps in head-first, the MagBox 24″ could be an excellent choice.

Canon 5D mkII | Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM | 1/125th | f/8 | MagBox 24” as main light above camera + 2 speedlights on the background.

I see what MagMod is going for here. They’re making lighting more accessible to beginners and enthusiasts.

As someone who started my career by obsessively consuming the Strobist forums and binge watching Zack Arias’ OneLight course, I can relate when my friend’s uncle tells me how scared he is of off-camera flash. It’s a challenge.

MagMod is closing the gap, and I applaud them for that.

Value for Money

Canon 5D mkII | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 1/125th | f/4.5 | MagBox 24” as main light camera left + another softbox camera right same power + 2 speedlights on background.

Is the MagMod MagBox 24″ softbox a cheap investment? No.

At around $500 (see latest price here) some say it’s overpriced. Others say it’s the best choice they’ve made for their lighting kit. I believe an important thing to keep in mind is this:

The MagMod MagBox 24″ softbox isn’t just a softbox. This is a lighting system – and just like buying into a camera system, there are benefits that come with that.

The long-time Mercedes enthusiast who decided to take a chance on something new and buy into the Tesla system – a choice that may have seemed ridiculous to some – now enjoys FREE supercharging, superior performance (check out this dragrace video!) and even the option for the car to drive itself!

My point is, this MagBox 24″ could be a sign of things to come. The early adopters will snap it up now and potentially be part of a whole universe of lighting accessories in the future.

What’s Missing?

The MagBox 24″ with and without the removable magnetic diffuser.

Is any product perfect? Nope.

So what could MagMod improve?

It looks like most of my suggestions are already in development;

  • Bigger softboxes. As a professional, I’d love to see more options.
  • Being able to focus the light even more would be useful! (Note: MagMod is apparently bringing out a Focus Diffuser, which will have the same effect as a grid. We will need to test this.)
  • Smaller carry bag. Airport portability would be a game-changer!

Conclusion

The Magbox carry bag is a design-feature unto itself. Everything including the accessories pack away neatly. It’s a lot of fun to use!

Personally, I’m impressed with the MagMod MagBox 24″ Softbox.

The magnetic design works wonderfully, it feels built to last and the light quality is on par if not better than my other softboxes.

Likes

  • Easy to use & adjust once assembled
  • Build quality
  • Light quality

Dislikes

  • Too big for plane travel
  • Expensive

I suspect a lot of buyers for the MagBox 24″ will be first-time softbox buyers, which I find exciting. Having lighting be more approachable could open the door to a new generation of people using modifiers who may have been too intimidated before.

For professionals, although I hope the improved portability is addressed soon, the MagBox 24″ is still a solid choice and an investment into an up-and-coming lighting system.

shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedInnovative softbox with lightning-fast set up, for a variety of lighting situations.Get Price

Canon 5D mkII | Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM | 1/125th | f/6.3 | MagBox 24” as main light above camera + 2 speedlights on the background.

This is my second contribution to ShotKit! It’s a pleasure to be part of such a friendly global community, and I look forward to bringing more quality content your way!

Let me know in the comments if this was helpful, and any suggestions on other products that are similar to this one. Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Build Quality9
Customizability10
Ease of Use9
Portability6
Quality of Light9
Value6

1 Comment

  1. Provita on November 2, 2019 at 12:26 am

    As a natural light photographer, I was intimidated by ofc until I discovered MagMod. The ease and convenience of set up is simple, quick and the gels and gobos are fun for more creativity. Snap, snap, snap and your ready to shoot!

    MagMod all the way!!!

Leave a Comment