I've been searching for a softbox for awhile now. Each time I start my search and consider getting one, I have always been hesitant because of the price. Up until now I have been using shoot through umbrellas and figured I woud just stick with that option.
Based on my research, most large softboxes (3' x 4') are $240 and up. For example, Westcott softboxes, standard or shallow style start at $240 and go up from there. Profoto 3ft x 4ft softboxes are going for $399. This doesn't cover the cost of the adaptor that will need to be purchased so the softbox would fit my Alien Bee light (I use an Alien Bee 1600 strobe).
Not sure why I did not think of this earlier but I checked out the Alien Bee website to see if they offerred anything and I was surprised. Alien Bee offers a series of softboxes made specifically for the Alien Bee lights. The price for the 30x60 giant softbox is $159.95 and this includes the adaptor ring already installed. As you can see in the first image below, the support rods are connected to a center ring that screws onto a center piece. This creates a very sturdy softbox frame and it feels solid. Photos of how to setup the softbox are located at the bottom of the product page.
The second image shows one of my favorite features of this softbox. No more having to take off the front panel of the softbox or unzip the back of the softbox to reach the power settings for the light. The softbox attaches to the front of the light just like the reflector does. All controls are easily accessible.
The last two photos show the light diffusion options. There are two panels that can be installed in the softbox which allow variations in lighting. The inner panel connects via four snaps and the outer panel connects with the standard velcro strips.
The setup of the softbox was so easy. I have assisted with other photographers using softboxes and I cannot say that the setup was easy on other softboxes. And to access the power settings and other adjustments was a huge pain. When I opened this softbox and attached it to my Alien Bee light...I was surprised.
To be clear, this softbox is for Alien Bee lights only. It also comes with a fabric bag for storing and carrying it around. If you are using Alien Bee lights, this is the softbox that you should be using.
UPDATE: Had a few questions come back about assembly. For other softboxes there is a hassle in setting them up (attaching the speedring, putting the poles on place...etc.). This softbox comes already "setup" and the poles and speedring attached. It's like plug and play. See additional photos below.