'No Frills' $75.00 home studio tent/lightbox

SharpByCoop

Enjoying the discussions
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 8, 2001
Messages
12,194
Hello Friends,

This thread has served our community well for FIFTEEN YEARS! What a great honor that it has been seen and utilized with 300K views and 580 responses.

The basic premise of the PVC/Diffuser is, and will always be, sound.

Currently the changes in our tech are impressive: Camera phones are GREAT, and daylight LED lamps are inexpensive. Instagram is chock-filled with good (and still VERY bad) examples.

To this end I have purchased and will experiment with a store-bought light tent cube. I will probably modify it ever-so-personally for knife photography. I want to KNOW and share the secrets of clear images on the cheap. We can't beat placing an (Amazon?) order and ensuring it will work quickly.

So.... Once I do I will share the process and results in another thread. FYI.

Thanks again. Wait for it!
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
2,563
Hello Friends,

This thread has served our community well for FIFTEEN YEARS! What a great honor that it has been seen and utilized with 300K views and 580 responses.

The basic premise of the PVC/Diffuser is, and will always be, sound.

Currently the changes in our tech are impressive: Camera phones are GREAT, and daylight LED lamps are inexpensive. Instagram is chock-filled with good (and still VERY bad) examples.

To this end I have purchased and will experiment with a store-bought light tent cube. I will probably modify it ever-so-personally for knife photography. I want to KNOW and share the secrets of clear images on the cheap. We can't beat placing an (Amazon?) order and ensuring it will work quickly.

So.... Once I do I will share the process and results in another thread. FYI.

Thanks again. Wait for it!

Thanks Coop for this great long running thread.

I gave some comments about light tent cubes in this old post (link)

" My main difficulty was in mirror polished blades - as the name suggests they are like mirrors so would reflect - even the photographer.
So it's always been a challenge.

I tried things like light tent/boxes - although they did give soft even lighting -
the problem was mirror finish inevitably would reflect the seams of the box,
or the photographer - since they had a restrictive opening....
"

On getting sharp clear images (I don't think you have much problems ;) )

But I also addressed some of that in another post in this thread (link)

" **Focus - one thing I had not thought about is focusing with a dSLR.
I mean it's through the lens (TTL) so it's intrinsically accurate -

Not so fast -
what does the lens image focus on?
it's via a secondary mirror which diverts the image on to a focusing sensor -
it is NOT the actual taking image sensor.

So when it comes to critical focusing - either large/bright apertures, or close focus - and light color can cause inaccuracies.

With high resolution/pixel count images this may not matter too much
as we shrink the image for web usage - so this kind of mitigates any slight imprecision in focusing -
and this has been the case for me for years (without question)

However mirrorless cameras have their focusing sensors on the actual taking image sensor itself - so there is no error.
"

Of course almost all the premier camera manufacturers now have mirrorless cameras.

re: pics in old posts - I used to use PhotoBucket to host my pics.
for many those pics no longer display, or have overlays -
For FireFox browser there is an add-on/extension:
photobucket embed fix
that seems to overcome that.

For Chrome the extension is:
Photobucket Hotlink Fix

All the best,

--
Vincent

https://Flickr.com/UnknownVincent/albums
https://Youtube.com/user/vtVincent
https://Goo.gl/q91ZNw
http://UnknownVincent.Shutterfly.com
http://UnknownVT.Shutterfly.com
 
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SharpByCoop

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Messages
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Hi Vincent,

Great points above, worth re-noting. I have the new setup (still unboxed) in my studio. I'm too busy as I type to get on it in a day or so, but I will.

This said, I KNOW I will encounter the same corner reflections thing. It's why I have been hesitant to recommend these things....

...So I plan on creating a translucent panel I can add into the box for this reason. Something easy enough that ANYONE can duplicate it. We will see.

Thanks for all YOU do.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
2,563
Hi Vincent,

Great points above, worth re-noting. I have the new setup (still unboxed) in my studio. I'm too busy as I type to get on it in a day or so, but I will.

This said, I KNOW I will encounter the same corner reflections thing. It's why I have been hesitant to recommend these things....

...So I plan on creating a translucent panel I can add into the box for this reason. Something easy enough that ANYONE can duplicate it. We will see.

Thanks Coop for the reply.

a quick/cheap solution would be just using a white translucent panel
and have it at an angle over the knives - kind of like this set up:
49538765743_f05692c499_o.jpg

BUT instead of the white art board have a white translucent panel and the lights behind it to shine through the panel.
for a more portable set up use one of those collapsible translucent diffusers.

It may seem crude and too simple, but prop the panel with your fingers/forehead/camera -
this would give flexibility to easily vary the angle and the lighting effect.

Just my 2cents
--
Vincent
https://Flickr.com/UnknownVincent/albums
https://Youtube.com/user/vtVincent
https://Goo.gl/q91ZNw
http://UnknownVincent.Shutterfly.com
http://UnknownVT.Shutterfly.com
 

T. Erdelyi

Basic Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2001
Messages
32,195
Coop! It’s been a long strange trip my friend emulsion film to digital and all the high and lo tech along the way. You’ve always been chock full of great advice and encouragement in regards to photographing knives and any questions I’ve ever had about photography.

I’ve always admired your talent and gift for composition and lighting. Your pictures are always stunning and always leave me wanting more.

I picked up a folding light box off of Amazon for a couple of bucks. It is amazing the difference it makes in pictures of knife sized objects.

Thanks for all you contribute to the community and I look forward to another 20 years of your pics and sound advice.

See ya around the Internet my friend. :)
 

RayseM

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
6,405
...and not to steal anything from the treasure of info provided by Mr. Coop in this thread but in regards to a $75.00 light box this other BF thread has some current info as to what is available in the market place. A lot has happened in the world of technology since this thread was started in 2005. ;)
 

SharpByCoop

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Thank you Vincent, Ted, and Ray. You are good ambassadors!\

Just to give you a heads-up link below is the premade cube I purchased. 24x24"

Amzdeal Foldable Photo Studio 24x24 Inch Light Box

I started experimenting and found it EXACTLY what I thought for knives: GOOD overall lighting :thumbsup: and HORRIBLE blade reflections. :eek:

Also I am specific to use a cell phone camera (Samsung in my case) and choose the proper settings (if not on automatic).

This said I crafted (quickly) a diffuser insert which was a simple addition into the cube to turn it into the 'tent' I initially showed and Vincent shows up above. This method is necessary, and made a BIG difference in reflections. I am sizing one to maximize the area above for LARGER fixed blades. Folders are easy....

It warranted me to pause, ensuring I have the best 'before and after' takes. AND, to minimize and instruct EXACTLY what it took to go from mediocre to very good.

It's been 15 years. Please wait a bit more..... HA!
 

dsw0557

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
94
This is exactly what I have been looking for. Tried making a couple of my own, and got balled up with the LED's/lighting/controls. This is 1/3rd the price, portable, more adaptable, takes up no room for storage, and controllable compared to the over-engineered, costly, and wayyy too complicated project I have now just given up on! Thanks a million for this and I, too, am grateful for the advice.
 

SharpByCoop

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Messages
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I have finally made the time taking MANY shots of various setups provided, and a modification I also did.

I now need to edit and organize the images to show the lighting changes and create an entire new thread. It's coming....!

BTW: Cell phone - GREAT!
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
15
Folks,

I have always shared my setup and methods with as many folks as have asked. Somehow, in doing so, my own business has never lost a beat. A consistently 'mysterious' question that is posed is "What is the best setup for cheap....?" I wanted to find out myself.

For many, the constraints of weather and daylight necessitate having a consistent indoor studio. Also one that can be set-up, taken down in a heartbeat, and stored away in a minimum of space. I think I came up with just such a project.

I kept the componentry costs to a bare minimum, while still maintaining the requirements of knife-specific photography. Let's look:

orig.jpg


3-pack white posterboard $8.00
(3) clamp-on lights $21.00
(3) 26w (75watt equivalent) daylight fluorescent (5000k) bulbs $18.00
(1) Power strip $6.00
Assorted PVC elbows, and (1) 8" section of 1-1/2" pipe $15.00
(1) Box of white transluscent garbage bags for diffuser $2.00
(8) variety pak of artist's paper or a sample of wallpaper $5.00
Total: $75.00

In keeping with the no-frills scenario, I used the very lowest resolution on my camera and edited them in my ACDSee image editor (not Photoshop). Also, I set the white balance to 'auto' and hand-held the camera at a large aperature (f-3.5) and slow shutter speed. (1/60 sec. -- I would advise a tripod) Basically what I wanted to point out was that you can accomplish this with a bare minimum of equipment and readily-available image software. (There is even freeware to do so.)

Here are the samples of the images I took with this:

(Click to enlarge image)








I chose the high-polished dagger because it is probably the hardest blade to get consistent lighting with. Even with some crafty positioning I was able to accomplish it fairly well. There are hot spots, but overall it's pretty good. Toss in a little autumn leaves for some color and you have a good portfolio shot.

I'll draw up the dimensions of the posterboard frame sometime soon.

So here it is. It's hardly a mystery now!

Coop
cheap or not , if it works dont fix it.... love your set up...
 

Hengelo_77

Basic Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
5,322
Old thread or not, there's still good info here. I've read all 30 pages, unfortunately some older pics are gone, but still good pointers.
I improvised with what I had laying around. The results are still a far cry from what I want but also way better then before.

What I've learned here:
1) Difuse the light
2) have the light come from the back
3) light the front/sides with reflectors

My setup

IMG-20210116-182748.jpg


IMG-20210116-182913.jpg



It's still hit and miss but some half decent photo's

IMG-20210116-161841.jpg


IMG-20210116-164551.jpg


IMG-20210116-165345.jpg


IMG-20210116-173214.jpg


IMG-20210116-174644.jpg
 
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