LightView by Nick Stakenburg
The first decent lightbox I stumbled upon was Lightview by Nick Stakenburg. You need to purchase a license to use it, but it’s pretty cheap—considering how long it would take to write this myself—and it looks great. I’ve utilised it for displaying both images and youtube videos for a client that wants something slightly different to the crowd.
It’s failing grace however is that it requires prototype and scriptaculous. With JQuery dominating, many people will be put off using this due to the additional overhead. If this doesn’t bother you and you are looking for an extremely flexible lightbox then you can’t go far wrong with this! Check it out via the link below.
Did I mention it looks great? The box shadow and modern black close icon, the subtle grey default background overlay, I love it.
Long in the tooth, for a long time this was regarded as the best and only choice for a lightbox. Now it seems sluggish, looks dated and sadly still seems to be used by many sites and blogs. I’ve done it myself but come on everyone, it’s time to move on! Like Lightview, Lightbox 2 requires Prototype and Scriptaculous. A near identical JQuery version is available at http://leandrovieira.com/projects/jquery/lightbox/.
There are a few other lightboxes kicking about but from my experience these are the three most popular and widely imitated lightboxes around. For a comprehensive list and feature comparison take a peek at this chart http://planetozh.com/projects/lightbox-clones/