What should I use this version for?

The Extreme Silver PLM™: The extremely shiny fabric, combined with the highly evolved PLM™ arc shape and 16 rib design, provides an extremely focused "shaft" of light with approximately 16 times the light transfer efficiency of softboxes, yet provides the shadow softening effect of a very large light source. It also provides a very sharp, grid-like falloff of light outside the primary pattern.

In uses such as overpowering the sun, its focal efficiency provides light levels from a modest 320 Ws flash that would typically require about 5000 Ws from a softbox system. While a softbox and a modest flash may be sometimes successfully used for overpowering the sun, this normally requires inordinately close distances from light to subject that can be detrimental to achieving the desired results. It should be pointed out that in most outdoor model shots, it is advantageous to have a large powerful light source located as far as possible from the model in order to achieve a natural blending of ambient and flash. Extreme Silver PLM™ easily accomplishes this even with very modest Ws flash units.

In the studio, especially for fashion work, the Extreme Silver PLM™ produces dramatic results simply unobtainable from other modifiers. The combination of a very specular lighting effect, large size and highly controlled cutoff of the field of illumination has instantly become a new favorite for cutting edge fashion photographers.

The Soft Silver PLM™: This new fabric was specially developed for, and is available only to, Paul C. Buff, Inc.™. If you are contemplating only one PLM™ fabric, this is the logical choice. The silver surface is modified to produce a series of micro reflectors that serve to widen the circle of coverage over the Extreme Silver, while retaining a good degree of specularity, efficiency and spill control.

A Soft Silver PLM™, when used directly as a bounce modifier, provides 4 times the output of a softbox and features a controlled, patterned feathering, thus providing approximately the lighting effect of a softbox plus honeycomb grid, but with more specular punch and higher efficiency and easier setup and use. Of particular importance is that the Soft Silver PLM™, when viewed from subject position, appears essentially as a perfect, spokeless circle, thus producing perfect catch lights and large smooth shadow patterns. Its black outer surface prevents rear spill light and lens flare.

When very soft, low-specularity lighting is desired, the addition of the White Front Diffusion Fabric results in an extremely even, low profile front-fed softbox that rivals or exceeds the very best on the market. The area of coverage is widened to approximately 150° of absolutely even light, with a corresponding drop in output to similar levels as conventional softboxes.

The White PLM™: Our white fabrics are chosen to be free of color-shifting fluorescence often found in white fabrics. The White PLM™ is a combination bounce or shoot-through modifier with an intrinsic 150° area of extremely even coverage. Thus it is a very soft, non-specular light source. However, by nature, there is a great deal of uncontrolled spill light, which can be manipulated and controlled by the optional Black Outer Cover or Black Front Spill Kill Fabric (for spill controlled shoot-through use). Adding the Black Outer Cover and the White Front Diffusion Fabric results in the finest front-fed softbox possible. However, there is such little difference in this configuration and the results obtained with the Soft Silver PLM™ plus White Front Diffusion Fabric, we recommend the latter for easier conversion and use.

How do I decide between the speedring models and umbrella shaft models?

Speedring Mounting: We offer on-axis, speedring mounting for Paul C. Buff™ and Elinchrom flash units. The speedring allows perfect alignment of the PLM™ and the light axis with no shaft protrusion on the back side of the light. These models include both the speedring with built-in spill kill and the adaptable 7mm umbrella shaft. This shaft is attached to the PLM™ in place of the speedring for traditional, umbrella-style mounting. The 7mm shaft has no protrusion on the backside of the flash unit and may be used with most brands of flash units.

PLM Speedring
on-axis, speedring mount
Paul C. Buff™ speedring assembly
Elinchrom speedring assembly

8mm Umbrella Style Mounting: The 8mm Umbrella Shaft models open quickly and easily, mounting like a conventional umbrella for easy setup. The shaft is double reinforced for strength and fits any flash unit with a standard 8mm umbrella mount. The shaft is shorter than conventional umbrellas for minimal protrusion on the back side of the unit. The off-center umbrella mount results in slightly off-axis light and PLM™ alignment, but this is not difficult to compensate for. The 7UR Umbrella Reflector can be used on Paul C. Buff™ lights to eliminate side spill.

8mm Umbrella Shaft 8mm traditional umbrella-style mount
8mm Umbrella Shaft minimal shaft protrusion