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Westcott Rapid Box Octa – Review



Price at time of review: £149.00
Website for product:
Product Type:
Design / Features



Total Score

User Rating
50 total ratings


Plus Points

Compact : Fast to set up : Built to last

Minus Points

No inner baffle : Can't mount flash sideways

Posted April 1, 2015 by

Full Article

If you take your speedlights on location you already know how nice it is to work with lightweight gear that can be set up and packed down really fast. So when it comes to choosing a softbox to partner my speedlight, I’m looking for the same qualities of speed and portability. The Westcott Rapid Box promises both and recently I got to put it through some very thorough testing.

The 26” Westcott Rapid Box Octa is part of the Rapid Box family which includes both larger, smaller and stripbox designs. All are quick to set up thanks to their umbrella like design and will work with pretty much any speedlite.

Westcott-Octa-1What’s in the box?
The Rapid Box comes in a surprisingly small soft bag and when I first picked it up I was convinced something was missing. Fortunately I was wrong and inside was a metal tilting bracket, the softbox itself and a one stop diffusing panel for the front.

The Rapid Box opens just like an umbrella and just needs a slight twist to lock it open. The front diffusing panel is fast to fit and is held in place without the need for any fasteners. Attaching the bracket to the softbox is the only part which feels a little clunky but after a couple of goes I had mastered it.

With 7.5cm of vertical travel and 5cm of horizontal adjustment, I had no problems getting any of my speedlites to slot inside. However there was a problem with my Streaklights which are taller and wider then a standard speedlight and have an exposed “bare bulb” on the front. They fitted on to the bracket just fine but the protective glass cover for the bulb hit a large lump of metal about 5cm inside meaning some of the flash tube was outside the softbox. To be fair the Streaklight is a pretty unique flash and most potential buyers of the Rapid Box Octa will be using Speedlites which will work just fine.


At just 26” this is a fairly small sized softbox and you need to keep that in mind. There was noticeable fall off of light when shooting full length portraits which is to be expected and to be honest, desired. I mostly used the Rapid Box just for head shots and it worked perfectly.

With no inner baffle I was concerned about hot spotting on the front panel. I found no such problems as long as I pulled out the 14mm wide angle panel on my flash.

Travelling with the Westcott Rapid Box Octa was a total joy. It weighed next to nothing and thanks to natty design touches such as the folding arm, it fitted in to a tiny bag that slid inside my light stand bag.


Well, there’s always going to be a few drawbacks. The small diameter might be an issue for some photographers as might be the lack of an inner baffle. For me the main areas of concern were round the back where the flash attached to the bracket.


I found I could mount the flash forward or spin the head 180 degrees and mount it backwards but the cold shoe doesn’t swivel, so there’s no way to mount it sideways. If you’re shooting with radio triggers that’s not an issue but optical triggers that need line of sight might come unstuck here.

Finally it would’ve been nice to see a black cover for the flash to stop light bouncing out the back of the box.

It’s worth noting that Westcott have addressed most of these issues with the Rapid Box Duo but that does come in at almost double the price here in the UK.

I dragged the Westcott Rapid Box all over the place, from studio shoots to live lighting demos at a four day trade show and not once did the Rapid Box let me down. Yes there are some niggles which potential owners should be aware of but if you’re in the market for a medium sized, ultra-portable speedlight softbox, this should be high on the short list.


Gavin Hoey




    Can I buy a streak light from you?

    Mark Connell

    I have the Rapid Box Octagon and the Rapid Strip Light. I love them both. But after reviewing many of your tutorials, I am liking the open bulb flash with a beauty dish. How would you compare the two for soft light and quality of light.

      Gavin Hoey

      The beauty dish for the bare bulb flash is TINY so it needs to be super close for soft light. It’s not really comparable to the much bigger Rapid box.


    I have the new StreakLight 360 TTL and the 26′ Rapid box… Any re on exactions to get the best performance with this duo?


    So did it work well w the streak light?
    I have the flashpoint 360 w ..

    Joseph Peightel

    So I am contemplating the Westcott Duo (wish the grid came with it but OK, great gear isn’t cheap) and also the Rapid Box Octa 26, and finally the Glow ParaPop 28″ R Softbox (which I’ve seen in several of your videos. Can you give me some insight on how they compare? I know that you can mount 2 flashes on the Duo, yielding more power. You mention portability as a positive point of the Octa 26, which does not have the inner baffle or something to keep the light spilling out of the back. Would I be better off not worrying about those things and save some cash to buy the grid for the Octa 26 ? I see the Parapop 28 as an less expensive alternative as well ? Help me sort this out Gavin 🙂

      Gavin Hoey

      Hi Joseph. The RapidBox Duo wins the Westcott battle every time for me. However I reach for the ParaPop softboxes more often then not due to their lighter weight.

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