Godox's Parabolic Light Focusing System
Ok, let's get this straight, I’ve been waiting for anyone, any brand to propose an alternative to Broncolor’s or Briese’s paras… The reason for that is simple: these are way out of reach for a lot of photographers… and that’s a shame because they really give a unique look to your images. And then a few months ago, Godox announced the development of their own line of Paras… So of course I had to get my hands on one!
GODOX isn’t the only one… There are multiple brands out there claiming to have created an affordable Parabolic focusing system, making this incredible tool available to everyone… because that’s what this is all about.
The problem is that calling a light modifier “Parabolic” is not enough. Only a reflector that is shaped like a true parabola will produce this distinctive look. The Godox P series is a parabola not just in name, but provides that smooth light diffusion, and beautiful contrast and versatility all in one like it should.
The P128 has a highly reflective silver interior with a 128 cm outer diameter. In addition to the large reflector, this kit includes a PF-M Focusing Mount, PF-R870 Focusing Rod, PF-BM Strobe Adapter, PB-G1 Grip Kit, and a CB35 Carry Bag. Unlike other brands that tried, it has the 24 rods and panels that make the shape of the modifier close to a true round light source.
Now how did they do this, how did they cut the price? Well like they always do… By carefully changing the materials used, and simplifying the overall system. It still feels and looks solid. I was worried that by oversimplifying the whole system would end up being fragile and unusable on a daily basis. But so far I am pretty impressed with what they achieved. I have to say, I am not a fan of their quick opening system, I loved the one on the Broncolor Para 88 and 133 but… I guess this is one of the tradeoffs we have to accept.
The Focusing system is fairly simple and in it's conception and use... why make things complicated? You just have to loosen a knob and slide the rod to your likings.
So what’s all the fuss? Here are a few images made recently with this modifier.
My first tests with the P128 with Maeva Ledig:
From left to right: Defocused (Flooded) / Mid-position / Focused (Spotted)
The one I finally chose:
When fully focused (or spotted), the depth creates a contrasty, hard light, with very little fill. Focusing the P128 increases the light output by about 1.5 stops, so be sure to adjust power or camera settings accordingly.
In the middle position, the Para offers a nice blend of contrast and a bit of fill from the outer edges offering a less contrasty image. When defocused (or "flooded"), the light in the Para128 fills mostly the edges of the Para, creating a halo of light, but also offering some light fill via the middle of the para, as a result of the shape and depth of the modifier.
The images down below are from a session with model Clémence Tarade. In the first image the P128 was defocused (flooded) and in the 2nd image it was focused (spotted).
I really like the P128 when positioned in a defocused position. The quality of the light, the way it wraps around the model.
For the following I added a sidelight camera right.
Godox proposes different sizes of its parabolic light modifiers. I chose the P128 because it has the perfect size for shooting in tight spaces, and easy to bring on location. It works great for portraits and headshots and depending on the scenario, it also works for full body shots.
The following images are from a recent fitness photoshoot made with Michele Juan:
We ended up using the image without smoke for this one:
Will GODOX produce bigger ones in the future?
The Paras create dimensions no other light shapers could. The focusing system will offer different light variations with just one modifier. Clean and specular highlights while also providing a broad light source that wraps around your subject I am sold, especially at this price… at around 1650 euros, owning a true Para is now more accessible than ever.
I just love the catchlight!
You will most certainly see the P128 used in my work often, and it will be hard to miss in future Behind the scenes videos! I will keep you updated on this light modifier in a few months… Will it stand the test of time? We’ll see! How about you? Have you ever used a Para in your work?
Get yours: Godox P128