I bought this product on Amazon after using a similar, smaller version that a friend lent me and finding it too small for theÂ purpose I intended to use it for; namely, taking photos for selling stuff on eBay.
Here’s the link to the product:
my review of it is under the product and I’ll reproduce it here:
Comes in a nice case but no way you are ever going to get it back in as it is so tightly closed up. No instructions. Fortunately, I’ve used one before. When you first open it up it requires considerable force to get it out of its tightly closed up state and you wonder if you are going to break it. It then has an almost uncanny wish to close itself up again until you can wrestle with it to keep it open. After that, I store it in a kind of pyramid form.
In terms of operation, this is not a completely enclosed box because the inside corners are open. This actually limits the amount of space and, therefore, the size of object you can use in the box. That said, using a camera phone for close-ups of small items works fine. For larger items or using a ‘proper’ camera, it takes a bit of experimentation to avoid the corners showing.
You get a white and a black backdrop. The LED lights work OK but you would need a diffuser for items with reflective surface, otherwise, you tend to get an image of the light strip reflecting off the object. There is a whole in the top which is covered with a circular cut out stuck on with Velcro. This enables you to take overhead shots with a bit of effort. You can also use the cut out piece as a reflector! You might find some other use for this whole like suspending something through it. I guess it is possible to set up other lights to add to or replace the LED strip.
Probably a bit over-priced for what it is. It’s the usual issue of performance versus expectation versus need. If you are selling small to medium sized items on eBay then it will work. If you are expecting professional level images then it may take a bit of work. Photoshop might comes to your rescue as you could easily isolate the object from the white or black background.
So, the intention was to get really nice, professional images for eBay that would enhance the prospect of sales and even get higher bids – it’s a psychological thing; if you see a nice image of a product, it gives a better impression of that object and the person selling it. It’s like your shop window.
I tried taking images with my DSLR and my iPhone 5s and I have to say it was a lot easier with the hand-held iPhone than rigging up a camera on a tripod. Why not hand-held DSLR? Well, the reason is that to get the angles I wanted I need to get down to the level of the object and get in tight. If I did that with the camera in hand I blocked the light source – it was very awkward. Also, there’s a big lens on a DSLR and it’s difficult to sit it inside the box without always being above small objects – and the objects I was shooting were small. With the iPhone I could get up-close and personal; trust me, it was a lot simpler. And you don’t need absolute top-notch professional images for eBay because you’ll need to optimise them anyway for upload.
You want to know what I have been doing on eBay, then? Well, I have been selling my 50-60 year old collection of die-cast cars and models. When you get to a certain age you realise that you are not going to need certain things that are cluttering up the house and you don’t want one day to have to throw them away because you are downsizing and there’s no room. Why not sell them now and use the money for more gear! So this is what I have been doing. I have more than 80 items to sell and I have sold almost 50 of them.
Here are some example images, taken with an iPhone:
As you can see, you really can’t tell which is the DSLR image. You can also see the isolation you can achieve with this product. No distracting backgrounds of your grandma’s quilt or striped rug etc. The DSLR image is not sharp which was not a great idea, but I did find it tricky to get a good depth of field in low light. So you need a tripod and longer exposure whereas with the iPhone it has a built-in wide depth of field and high ISO to automaticvally do the job for you. With the DSLR it needs more ‘fiddling’ which could be educational, I guess, but I just wanted to take a lot of images very quickly.
The box is Â£29.99 and you’ll have to decide on its use versus its price. I would guess that it would be great for a wide range of subjects of small to medium size. This is not a professional product; professionals would use a real studio not this, but you can get, with some effort, professional-looking results. You can add additional lights and you could add diffusers etc to remove the very flat sort of lighting I have used which is ideal for eBay or for a website where you need to see all aspects of the product rather than taking an image for marketing purposes.
In conclusion, I enjoy using the product and I look forward to trying different set-ups and extending the range of products and types of image I can achieve with this product.