Rotolight Announce the ‘SmartSoft Box’ Electronic Diffuser the future of light modifiers

British manufacturer, Rotolight recently announced a unique electronic softbox that can be controlled electronically from its AEOS 2 LED lights. The new ‘SmartSoft Box’ as it is called can provide up to 1.5 stops of diffusion and can give the user very fine control over the quality of the light.

History of Electronic diffusion

This is not the first time that we hear about electronic control of diffusion in the photo and video industry. Back in 2017, we covered Chimera Active Diffusion Technology with a very similar idea in mind.

As far as we know since 2017 no actual electronic diffusion products were announced, however back in 2020 Rotolight introduced its Titan X2 high-end professional panel with SmartSoft™ diffusion technology providing 2 stops of electronic diffusion.

With the ‘SmartSoft Box’ Rotolight expands its electronic diffusion line into more affordable sections of the market.

The new SmartSoft Box from Rotolight 

Rotolight electronic softbox

The Rotolight ‘SmartSoft Box’ Electronic Diffuser

According to Rod Gammons, Rotolight founder the new SmartSoft uses Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals (PDLC) between 2 conductive layers made out of transparent electrodes.

PDLC technology is nothing new. You can find it in many smart glass windows (like this one for example) that have been around in offices and luxury apartments for years.

What is new with what Rotolight did with its patented technology is coming up with a way to change the level of diffusion. While smart glass and traditional PDLC technologies typically have on/off modes only (semi-transparent and opaque in most cases), the Rotolight technology is much more flexible allowing for a lot more light to pass and control how much diffusion you are going to get.

Gammons stated that it took the company’s R&D team  2.5 years to develop this new method of controlling the diffusion and make the SmartSoft system viable.

From our perspective, the biggest issue with the new technology is its limited compatibility. At the moment we are looking at two LED panel products out of the Rotolight range. It will be much more attractive to see universal implementations of this technology for Bowens and other popular mounts that will allow COBs to enjoy the same useful capabilities.

Pricing and availability

The AEOS 2 LED explorer kit sells for $1800 and the new ‘SmartSoft Box’ will start selling on August 31, 2022 for $500.

If you don’t want to miss any new photography-related products be sure to check out our product photography section on our photo gear channel.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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