'No Frills' $75.00 home studio tent/lightbox

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by SharpByCoop, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Daniel Koster

    Daniel Koster www.kosterknives.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2001
    Coop....FWIW....I know how difficult it is to come up with a good idea for lighting knives....I've been doing it for about 3 years now....Your idea is a good one and improves on what I've been doing in the past:
  2. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Thanks Coop,
    I've been using a "Cloud Dome" and it works fair on folders and small fixed blades but too small for bowies. Also it was expensive and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody. I'm going to build one of these but I still want you to shoot some of my really good knives, I'll get a couple to you before the NY show in March.

    Don Hanson lll
  3. mckgreg


    Nov 18, 2001
    With a homemade setup you can change the size to fit about any object. Want to shoot pics of a sword? Just build a bigger box. Pretty simple.
  4. J. MacDonald

    J. MacDonald

    Jun 8, 2000

    Wow! Oops! Excuse me whilst I extract my foot from my mouth. Coop, I was going to email you an apology, but I might as well just do it publicly. I'm sorry, I did not mean in any way to demean your efforts nor minimize all the time you spent researching your project nor the likely better results yours will yield. I'm sure your rig will produce better pics with a good photographer and probably even with a rank amature like me.

    I have only ever owned one camera that's not disposable, a 2mp Nikon Coolpix 775 that I bought a couple years ago. I have an obsessive personality that causes me to get in very deeply once I take in interest in something and gettting even mildly serious about photography is something that I've always conciously avoided as I can tell that if I did get into it, I'd end up spending thousands of dollars and in the end have a closet full of cool accessories that I'd never use. With photography it seems that there are endless amounts of accessorizing to be done and many levels of precision to be achieved by the skilled and knowledgable. I'm not one of those guys, but love things that I can accessorize (like my machine shop!) :).

    I posted the link about the American Recorder kit as it seems perfect for someone like me who occasionally wants to shoot a pic of something small like a knife but is bugged by the shadows and glare. The kit seemed like a good solution to me as it's something that folds up in a small self contained package for storage. I live in a tiny house and every inch I can save is important. I hadn't considered the importance of the white temperature of the lamps although now that you mention it, it makes sense to me. I don't know about lighting, but I know in TVs and video, it's important to have 6500K white temps for proper color balance. I have no idea what's appropriate for photography. I'm sure the kit is a significant compromise as compared to your rig and I apologize for comparing the two as though they were equal efforts.

    RogerP, I have not used the unit nor do I have any parge bowies, but I suspect it would be a bit cramped for a 15" knife. From my understanding American Recorder is developing a 24" unit that should retail around $200.00 but is not available as yet. In the interest of full disclosure I should note that while I have no financial interest in American Recorder, I have been friends with the owner since he only made cassette cleaners. He's a real nice guy and was quite proud of his Photo Studio in a Box.

    There, all the cards are on the table. Hopefully now I can remove my foot from my mouth, and Coop's boot from my ass (where it belonged).

  5. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    That setup really shows the difference a good picture can make. Now I'm wishing I bought that Larry Davidson. Beautiful knife.
  6. Stumpy

    Stumpy Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 27, 2001
    Great post Coop.I have tried every combination of lights in my house with less than satisfactory results.You have given me a project for the weekend.Could you explain what,why and how the different light temps effect the final picture?
  7. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001

    I fully appreciate your apology and understand how easily it is to try to help--without thinking it out to much. Damn if I don't do it all the time, myself. And, I get called on it. :rolleyes: ;) That little setup is really a good value for some. I wish your buddy well.

    We're cool. I'd buy you a beer anytime! :)

    The distinction in 'Kelvin' numbers that I am aware: 2800k or so is normal incandescent tungsten filament bulbs. What we use all the time indoors. It has the benefit of adding a nice warm glow to a room.

    The drawback in photography, is that translates into untrue colors with a familiar yellowish tint to the entire photo. (That's the 'nice warm glow')

    The GE 'Reveal' bulbs are the same variety, but have a bluish coating (filter) on the glass, which helps remove the yellow. I think they are one step above. Somebody with more knowledge than me can fill in the technical details.

    Lastly these new line of fluorescent bulbs have the ability to have a number of various warmth and cold lighting outputs. The 5000K-6500K range is supposedly what normal 'daylight' is to the eye. And in my experience, they are correct.

    I say they are 75watts, but they actually are the equivalent of a 'normal' 75w bulb. I think they are around 20w. Hence the energy savings as well.

    In response to Tom Mayo's query, I laid a piece of mirror contact papaer on the backside of my 'kicker' board. Look for yourself:


    So, I think it really makes a big difference.

    And this thread would be unfair in not rementioning the best 'Low Cost--No Frills' photo thread that PhilL started. This thread is a followup for those that MUST shoot indoors.

    If you have a setup worth showing, add it in here. The more we visually see the setups the easier it is to grasp.

  8. Nordic Viking

    Nordic Viking

    Sep 18, 2000

    Excellent post and inspiration for someone like myself - who wants to take better pics in winter but doesn't want to spend so much money.
  9. Piney


    May 17, 2004
    This is all well and good, but when I take picture of one of the knives I made I want less detail. I don’t want everyone seeing what a lousy job I did. I think I'm going to buy a smoke machine.
    Bastid likes this.
  10. Wulf


    May 10, 2000
    Coop - is this what you mean by "warm glow?"



    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Like many others here, I've been struggling to do justice to the knives in my collection, and had all but given up. I intend to make good use of your tips and I really appreciate your taking the time to put this post together.
  11. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    He he he! A knife that pretty can look good with ANY glow. But that's what I'm talkin' 'bout... :cool:

    That's a good shot anywho.

  12. Osprey Guy

    Osprey Guy

    Apr 9, 2002
    Hey Coop-

    I just finished building a near-replica of your light box. I found the lights at Home Depot...Made by Commercial Electric, they are 19w - 75w, fluorescent, and in BIG letters say "DAYLIGHT"...on the back of the package they identify as 6500k.

    Up until now the only really "decent", clear pix I've gotten were with the daylight coming through my kitchen sliding glass doors (and my Walmart, "upside down", translucent storage box as a diffuser). So since building the light box last night I've had a real learning curve...(and I'm trying to learn to use my new 8 Meg Nikon 8700 as well. After 6 years of my 2 meg, Olympus 2020 it's quite a change). Hopefully after a couple of weeks of practice I'll be able to produce at least some half-way decent photos.

    I was under the weather for some time and have been keeping kind of quiet. But I've been following your highly educational posts here...Thanks for all your help.

    Dennis Greenbaum

    Yeah Baby! :cool:

    BTW- I was having the same problem as Tom with that front shadow...I was thinking of a way of filling in the from the front...Thanks for the mirror idea! :)
  13. Jon Graham knives

    Jon Graham knives

    Mar 29, 2004
    Thanks Coop, Cant wait to build one.
  14. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    We were continuing this discussion on the KN forum and the question about color correction on even the daylight balanced bulbs was hashed. I have a 'Lights of America' 'Fluorex' work lamp rated at 65w(500w?) @6500k.

    Here is a shot I took with it at 1/60 sec, f-2.8/ and white balance set on 'auto'. It's about as close to the original as I would hope for. Look at how clean and white the blade is. No post editing of the color whatsoever.


    The screw-in lights are the same deal, only you need more of them. There is STILL not enough light for me to work consistently with, but for the non-pro this doesn't get any better. Why pay more? :)

    Unless you shoot it outside on a cloudy day.... ;)

  15. KnifeAddictAK


    Nov 17, 2003
    Just stumbled onto this thread... and WOW!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    This is just too cool. Thanks again for talking the time to share this with me/us. Keep up the good work and I'll have to buy a camera so I'll have an excuse to build this :D
  16. Murray White

    Murray White

    Feb 17, 1999
    thanks for the info about the LOA Flourex Worklight. Does it have a screw mount for fastening to a light stand? I have written LOA to find out if they are selling the device in Canada. I'll try to also contact Home Depot near me.

    This is just what I'm after to use with a new little device I bought in Oct. As you know, I have long been a proponent of using the daylight flourescent bulbs when doing knife images and things work out well.

    Your setup for the light box is great too and who knows maybe I'll redo mine but then again mine works. :)
  17. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Hi Murray, thanks. This setup will NOT replace yours--heck this is a copy of what you have been prompting for years. I just made it up with even easier components just to jumpstart the project.

    Look on eBay for 'Fluorex' lamp you will find a ton of them. They sell them to folks who grow dope among other things. Really. They are listed in the agriculture section because they are good *cool* indoor growing lights. Look under 'Dope'... ;)

    The screw-ins do the same job. You just need more of them and they are readily available.

    Again, I am really pleased folks are getting something out of this as well. Thanks.

  18. Murray White

    Murray White

    Feb 17, 1999
    I forgot to mention that I like the idea of the white garbage bags. Much cheaper than my spandex. for a permanent setup, I like what you have done. Mine packs for storage or moving to another location but I'm working on something else and the light you mentioned looks perfect as long as I can mount it on a light stand.

    If all goes well, I'll post the setup at another time.

    I'm going out to pick up my copy of Knives 2005 today and will stop at Home Depot also and see if they have the light here in Canada. I did look on EBay but did not find that one but will try again.
  19. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
  20. Murray White

    Murray White

    Feb 17, 1999
    those appear to be all yardlights and not the worklights. I'm wondering if the bulb (replacement) will only work with their lighting or will it work from any receptical?

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