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Using cheap light modifiers with the Aputure 120D Mark II COB Light
You can’t afford the expensive prices for the Aputure Dome Light II Softbox or Aputure Fresnel 2X Attachment to go with your Aputure 120D II COB Light? Still undecided whether to buy the 120D Mark II light because of the total cost needed just to get a basic lighting setup with softbox?
The Aputure 120D mark II light could have been an upper end affordable COB light solution if they had not been so cheeky when developing their Bowens mount on this light. Please watch the following video, which demonstrates what I mean.
You see, their Bowens mount pretty much locks you into their own product range, such as the Aputure Light Dome II Softbox and Aputure Fresnel 2X Attachment. Purchasing or using any other brand light modifiers, puts you at the risk of not being able to use the accessories with the Aputure 120D II light as demonstrated with the video. This puts you in an uncompromising position if you have already bought the light, and you were only made aware after the fact! Most likely, you may have purchased it overseas, making returns difficult without making a financial loss. So, you have no alternative but to buy the Aputure brand light modifiers.
The issue with the Aputure 120D Mark II Light Bowens mount is that they have made their Bowens mount deeper before your light modifier can lock into the light. This means you need to use light modifiers that have longer or deeper Bowens mounting section or designed in a way so that it creates a deeper mounting section.
As you can see in the example below, the Aputure reflector has a mounting section from the bottom locking tab to where it curves/shapes out at 14mm whilst the Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox Bowens mounting section measures approximately 15mm. Only one of the reflectors will fit the Aputure 120D Mark II Light and that is the Aputure reflector with what seems to be a smaller mounting section.
In reality, the Aputure actually has the larger mounting section, as the tubing narrows in and begins to curve out gradually, unlike the Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox which is wide tubing all the way and curves/shapes out sharply.
The deepness lacking is quiet substantial in some light modifier products and those wishing to modify a non Aputure brand light modifier needs to assess whether it is worth the risk, as the full weight of the light modifier hangs on the Bowens mount.
So, in light of this, I am only writing this article to share my own experience, and those that wish to do their own modification of their own light modifiers, do so at their own risk.
I am not a technical or structural engineer, but these mods I have attempted, have no guarantees that they are not prone to problems now or in the future. These lights can get hot, even though it uses COB led technology, so this could affect many factors to safety, quality, durability, lifespan, etc., so bare this in mind.
Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox modification, to fit the Aputure 120D Mark II COB Light
* Any modifications to any products mentioned in this article, will affect your warranty, durability, lifespan and quality of the unit! Please research and consider all factors before deciding whether to attempt it.
** Actual measurements may vary depending on your unit, so it is best to apply your own measurements with your actual unit and only use this article as a guide if you decide to perform this mod.
The problem with the Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox mounting onto the Aputure 120D II light Bowens mount is that the space from the top of the locking tab to where it starts to shape out is not enough. Luckily, this is only about 2mm off, which means that a bit of filing of the locking tabs will solve the problem and allow the softbox to mount onto the Aputure 120D II Light.
Please note that any modification of the locking tabs, will weaken the strength of the mounting system. Is it enough to render the mount useless and unsafe? Well from my tests so far, it has held up well, but anything could happen if it was knocked, used over a long period of time, age, wear and tear, etc.
I removed the 3 locking screws that holds into place the Nicefoto Bowens mount bowl which allows the softbox to revolve.
Do not confuse this with the other screws, as this screw has a washer that prevents the Bowens mount bowl from coming out.
I slid the Bowens Mount bowl out of the softbox.
Measuring approximately 2mm from the bottom of the locking tab, I marked it with a pencil, filed and sanded away up to it.
I added curves at the sides to allow the Nicefoto Bowens mount to slide in and out more easily when mounting onto the Aputure 120D Mark II light.
This has some looseness to it when mounted to the Aputure 120D Mark II light, which I prefer. The looseness is not obvious once mounted onto the Aputure 120D Mark II Light as the weight holds it into place. I originally filed away smaller than 2mm, but I found it too much of a perfect fit making it difficult to mount and dismount from the light. This is all user preference, but you could file away and test mount onto the Aputure light to see if it suits your needs.
You should always clean the Bowens mount bowl, to the best of your ability, as though it is the final product when test mounting, as you do not want any of the small filed away particles getting into your light.
I vacuumed the bowl, wiped it clean with a damped cloth, and then dried it with a towel whenever I test mounted the Nicefoto Bowens Mount bowl to the Aputure 120D II Light.
Removing 2mm from the locking tab, will leave you approximately 8mm of the original locking tab left. Now let me emphasise, this will weaken the locking system, but to how much it affects the durability, performance, lifespan, quality, capability, etc. is unknown! If you decide to do the mod, then do so at your own risk and liability!!
Once I was happy with the bowl modification, I re-assembled it back to the Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox and mounted the complete Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox onto the Aputure 120D Mark II light for testing!
Quick Comparison Table:
|Aputure Dome Light II Softbox||Nicefoto Parabolic Softbox|
Inner Gel Mount
Quick assemble/disassemble rod system
Use clips to attach your own gel to the umbrella rods.
Quick assemble/disassemble rod system
|$219 USD + $42 shipping + 10% GST||$115 USD includes FREE Shipping + 10% GST|
Must take into consideration other parts and time needed to make this Aputure 120D Mark II Light compatible.
Time and effort.