'No Frills' $75.00 home studio tent/lightbox

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

  1. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    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!
    Gary W. Graley and 12345678910 like this.
  2. ice-pic

    ice-pic Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I learned a lot here,looking forward to the tent cube performance.
  3. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    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,


    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  4. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    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.
  5. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    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:
    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
  6. T. Erdelyi

    T. Erdelyi Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    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. :)
  7. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    ...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. ;)
  8. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    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!
    RayseM likes this.
  9. dsw0557

    dsw0557 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    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.
    RayseM likes this.
  10. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    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!
  11. mamun1024

    mamun1024 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Thanks Coop!
  12. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Redmeadow Knives likes this.
  13. bubbas55


    Dec 19, 2007
    cheap or not , if it works dont fix it.... love your set up...

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