During a recent manic episode I purchase a lot of weird photography equipment, including a new light tent!
But I'm actually quite in love with it, it is so much better than my old one and the space it takes up is so much smaller!
Anyway this is where I purchased it (I note that if you currently buy 5 or more you'll get 10% off just in case you need 6): https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Studio-Light-Portable-Photography-Box-Photo-Mini-Led-Kit-Tent-Foldable-Cube-60cm/401376687671?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
So shipping time was OK. I purchase it on the 11th of December and it arrived on the 21st. Not bad considering it wasn't coming from the UK.
It was well packed i.e. not damaged when arrived and comes in a handy travel case!
So starting with set up...
It comes in a travel case and is all folded up, there are instructions with pictures in English but they are quite basic. Although I figured it out pretty easily.
Above is the plug in a little pocket on the outside.
To set it up you have to fold it out and then stick bits together with the velcro sides. I initially had it upside down but once you realise that the lights go on top (idiot) and the bit with the hole in goes at the front it's relatively simple!!!
I set it up on the landing because that was really the only place I had space that was near a plug. On top you can see the white sheet that can be used over the LED lights to soften it and the front that you can fold up and photograph through. Inside at this point I had the black background. It would easily sit on a table top and that would probably be a sensible place to put it!!!
It comes with three vinyl backgrounds, white, peach and black.
I started with white with the lights uncovered:
This is with the lights covered by the white sheet:
For comparison this is a photo of the same model in my current light tent which uses Halogen bulbs on either side
This head shot was taken with the flash on to give additional light:
I then experimented with a few different models
Hattie looked the best out of all of them so far
I then thought I would try the two different backdrops. I wasn't a massive fan of the peachy coloured one so thought I would give that a go first.
As you can see it just generally makes the image look rather orange and definitely doesn't suit this colour model.
I had my camera set to auto and I think it was just too much yellow for it to handle!
Photographing smaller models is a bit more tricky as you have to put your camera inside the tent and then sort of lean in. That said I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to add a stand under the vinyl as I do with my current light tent to raise them up
I thought a black model may look better but I really don't think this colour makes anything look good...
OK so now onto the final background which is black. At the moment my staple colours are really black and white so I was hoping this one would look good. As with all black vinyl backgrounds there were issues with reflection
But it did look rather good!
Because I'm weird I thought I would try a black model with the flash, didn't turn out too awfully
I love the way that the light actually reflects the model in this image.
I then tried a translucent Stablemate to see how the colour would look under these lights
Again I think it would be interesting to compare to my current light tent:
I next tried a Stablemate with the flash on and off to show you the difference:
The flash makes a huge difference to the image.
Finally I tried a much larger model, it became apparent that this tent is not suitable for larger traditionals.
He just fit portrait:
But landscape was a no go:
Headshots are OK though
The final feature I wanted to try was the top photography slot that allows you to take your image looking down on the product. I used a blue whale for this (obviously). Also obviously you have to remove the white sheet from the LED lights to operate this function
He doesn't look too bad?
The final feature I tried was the dimmer, one annoying thing was that the markings on the control didn't actually match up to the switch (basically the sticker had been stuck on wrong) but once you know this no issues!
This is on Max:
About half way
Also as this shows without it on at all it does make it very dark! So it does keep external light out pretty well (reasons why you should use a table and a tripod...)
So the final thing to do was to pack it up. It folded back in on itself relatively easily. The real issue was getting the vinyl backgrounds to fold back in, they didn't want to go! They had initially been folded the wrong way and I was trying to create a bend the other way so that probably didn't help...
But as you can see once folded it can be stored in really small places. Like behind your boxes. Or in a cupboard
Overall I think I would give it a 4/5. It was quite pricey for what you get but the ease of use is really worth it. It wouldn't be hard to pack this up and take it to live shows for people to play with at all. It also stores away really easily and can be erected really easily, which is kinda essential when you are limited on space!
The pictures definitely look better with the use of a flash but I suspect some of it is to do with me not really spending much time adjusting my camera appropriately. I think using it on a slightly dimmed light creates a better effect than full lights.
So if you are after a light tent then I would definitely recommend this one!