Several weeks ago Madame Padre and I went to the big city of Calgary for a night of culture and then on to Banff and the Rockies. While in Calgary we visited her favourite camera store, where she found a macro lens for her signature flower photographs. I suspect her camera is smarter than I am and that I will never be allowed to touch her macro lens (my iPhone works well enough, I find) but I did grab something I had been wanting since my last visit just before Christmas.<
I have often read and heard that 90% of the problems encountered when trying to photograph miniatures have to do with insufficient lighting. I have tried all sorts of jerry rigged solutions, usually involving me holding a lamp with one hand while trying to manipulate my camera phone with another, with sometimes sketchy results. I had mixed feelings about dropping $95 to solve this problem, but this piece of kit, a light tent by Optex, seemed promising.
Here's the kit unfolded from its box and set up. It's a clever design of folding vinyl screens, with lighting on either side and diffuser panels, and a choice of four colours for background in two double sided fabric panels.
For a test run, I couldn't resist cramming in all twelve 28mm figures from my current project, an SYW Russian hussar unit that has been featured here several times in past, and which is now 98% finished. As you can see, the inside area is small enough that twelve large based figures spill over the background fabric and so the aesthetic effect is somewhat marred. Still, I think the lighting looks pretty good - very clean, doing justic to the colours, and no annoying shadows! How does it look to you?
With half the number of figures, and by cropping the image slghtly, only the bckground fabric is visible, giving a pleasing (to me, anyway) impression. I didn't notice the bits of stray flocking on the blue background until I'd put everything away.
First thoughts: Pros, this kit produces good light that illuminates all sides of the model fairly equally, and gives an attractive result. It would be good for photographing individual models or small groups for purposes such as entries in contests, showing off special projects and additions to collections. The folding box takes only a few minutes to set up and take down. Cons: the area of the light box may not large enough to photograph large units all together, or to include backgrops or diorama elements. All that being said, my intial opinions of this kit has me thinking it was money well spent.