The Soft Silver PLM™
is perfect for everyday use with various subjects as it bounces the light from the flash unit, retaining high efficiency with a wide angle of coverage. The soft silver fabric produces a controlled, feathered falloff with very soft shadows, perfectly round catchlights and an added specular punch over white umbrellas and softboxes.
The silver surface produces a series of micro reflectors that serve to widen the circle of coverage while retaining a good degree of specularity, efficiency and spill control. When used directly as a bounce modifier, it provides 4 times the output of a softbox and features a controlled, patterned feathering- a similar effect to that produced by a softbox plus honeycomb grid, but with more specular punch, higher efficiency, and easier setup and use. When viewed from subject position, the Soft Silver PLM appears as a spokeless circle, 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.
Traditional Umbrella Style Mount:
This PLM opens quickly and easily, mounting like a conventional umbrella for easy setup. The shaft is double re-enforced 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.
As the PLM system is such an important and wildly popular light modifying system, it has often been imitated. But as the original creators of the PLM system, we have learned the important nuances of color balance that the copycats haven’t. Our fabrics are custom made for Paul C. Buff and are not available to competitors. As a result, all configurations of PLM introduce less than +/- 150K color temperature shift and under +/-2 units of Green/Magenta tint. Certain knockoff copies introduce up to a 600K color temperature shift and up to 16 units of Green/Magenta tint (see examples here
Arc Shape and Face Evenness:
The shape of the PLM arc has a profound effect on the quality and precision of the projected pattern. Dramatic improvements in arc shape were made from our original PLM (version 1) to the currently offered, second generation models. Virtually all knockoffs copied the original version 1 shape and produce inferior patterns. Not only must the design produce an even projection of light, it is of utmost importance that, when viewed from the subject position, the light radiates equally from the center to the perimeter of the fabric. If it does not radiate equally, the shadows and catchlights do not take full advantage of the large light source size and they can become distorted and uneven. With the Soft Silver PLM, the face of the PLM appears as a nearly perfect circle and results in essentially round, spokeless catchlights. Many of the knockoff copies of PLM™ fail miserably in these regards, producing distorted catchlights and shadows (see examples here
When mounting the PLM on your flash unit, position the umbrella so that the front open edge of the umbrella is parallel with the flashtube on the faceplate of the unit. For aiming, tilt the PLM very slightly upwards from the horizontal position in order to compensate for the flashtube being a bit below center (the back panel of the flash unit will be angled slightly downward). The best way to get the positioning correct is to look into the umbrella from the position of the subject and look for the entire umbrella surface to be lit evenly. Critical focusing is not needed.
Flash Unit Compatibility:
The umbrella-mount PLM models may be used with most flash units, as long as the unit accepts umbrellas with mounting shafts up to 8mm in diameter. The PLM umbrellas fit all standard BUFF flash units and fit most other studio flash unit brands except for Elinchrom branded units.
The Soft Silver PLM™ umbrellas may be used with the WFDF White Front Diffusion Fabrics
— simply choose the corresponding size fabric that matches the size of your PLM (51, 64, or 86 inch). When used with the WFDF, the PLM becomes a superior bounced-light softbox with very even light across the surface. The Soft Silver PLM™ is NOT intended for use with the Black Front Spill-Kill Fabrics or the Black Outer Cover Fabrics.
For use with BUFF flash units, the optional Umbrella Reflector 7UR
is recommended for the control of side spill light.