The days of hard tungsten lights are gone, replaced by LED fixtures and soft boxes that are cool to the touch and incredibly affordable. Not only for the budding filmmaker but even for veterans who want to save some money and maintain lighting quality.

Aputure has led this charge with its budget-friendly amaran series of fixtures, the most popular being the moonlight-style lights. After updating the line with the amaran 300C and 150C, the next step was always to upgrade the accessories.

The new Aputure Light Dome III and Light Dome Mini III are just that. Let's see how these new tools can help filmmakers and video content creators.

The Aputure Light Dome III

It seems the trilogy is finally complete. The Light Dome III is the flagship softbox from Aputure that comes in at 3ft in diameter and includes a brand new quick-folding, flat-pack design.

Having cut my teeth on cheap, hard-to-set-up softboxes, having a quick-folding design at an affordable price is a lifesaver on set. Whether I'm doing a quick interview or lighting a closeup for a short film, something I can set up and move around the set quickly will always be my first pick.

The Bowens mounts came to the video world from our friends in the photography space. Nowadays, any lighting fixture with a monolight design comes with one, and Aputure was quick to capitalize on it. All of its monolight fixtures come with one, which is what makes the Light Dome III such a valuable tool. Not only can you utilize it on LED video lights, but it's also a tool you can use with strobe lights if you're also doing photography work.

photo of the Light Dome III

A 3ft softbox can give you great light diffusion.

Credit: Aputure

The Aputure Light Dome Mini III

But a large softbox isn't always the right solution. This is where the Light Dome Mini III is such an asset. Coming in at 2ft in diameter, the Mini III is a beauty-dish-style softbox that is a great tool for those tight close-ups or products.

Photo of the Light Dome Mini III with the amaran 150c light.

Light Dome Mini III w/ the amaran 150c.

Credit: Aputure

​A traditional beauty dish is usually a rigid structure, which makes transporting it a pain. But the Mini III is a compact tool that has the same quick-folding design. Having both the Light Dome III and the Mini III in your kit will increase your lighting versatility while taking up a limited amount of space.

Changes From the Previous Generation

While you may think that there isn't much upgrading you can do to a softbox, Aputure begs to differ. The main difference between Version III and the previous generation is the new quick-setup folding speedring. Set up is quick, sure, but the greatest asset is the ability to fold both units flat.

Have you ever seen a beauty dish-style accessory fold flat? I don't think I have, at least for this price. Creatives no longer need to snap in the 16 individual support rods to create the softbox shape. You just unpack, fold it out, lock it in place, and put it on your light.

Now creatives can have the same 3ft and 2ft diameter softboxes, but keep their storage footprint small. This means you can carry more gear to set or just keep your kit small for those quick projects.

Photo of the Light Dome III speed ring and folding mechanism.

The folding mechanism makes set up fast and efficient.

Credit: Aputure

Is This Accessory for You?

If you're a solo creative, having compact accessories like these can reduce your setup and make shooting more about creativity than gear management. However, if you're working with a team and larger lights (even Aputure lights), you're probably building out entire diffusion and bounce elements with rail. If that's the case, this might not be the tool you need.

But if having a compact softbox that sets up quickly and folds flat is something you really need, then the Aputure Light Dome III and Light Dome Mini III are definitely something you need to put on your shortlist.

Preorders are available now via the Aputure store.

The Aputure Light Dome III will be priced at $219, and Light Dome Mini III at $129. Both accessories will be available for shipping worldwide beginning July 25, 2023.