Light box for object photography

Anyone have any good suggestions for types of lightboxes for product photography?
I do NOT have a hip slick and cool digital SLR, and even the external
strobe connections are a bastard.
Id like to build a lightbox..but it needs to be big enough/rugged enough.. to put in a dirty, oily part or piece.
Something for shooting photos for Ebay for example.
Ive seen how some Ebay companies like Reliable Tools do it..but I dont have that kind of floor space (theirs is 50'x50' with huge movable fill lights in towers on wheels.
So Im going to need something useable with at least 3 strobes and operational via slave flash.
Anyone have any links etc etc for simple designs suitable for what we do?
Gunner
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wrote:

Oh..I use Olympus Camedia C-4000s, C-3030s and C-3000 cameras.
Cheap, take good photos and are rugged as hell.
Gunner
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You _might_ be able to rig a light ring on those. The 3000 for sure, but I didn't see enough of the others to be able to tell for sure.
I had several of these on hand... <http://www.batteryspace.com/ufoportablecamping24ledshangerlight-white.aspx and converted one for my Fuji S8100.
The trick to that was to lay up a mounting tube that fit snuggly around the camera bezel (fiberglass cloth and epoxy). And to drill out the lamp case so that tube passes through it.
The lens bezel on all of those cameras is small enough that you could easily retain the internal batteries of the lamp.
That center hole is 1.5" diameter. Measure the outer part of the lens and see if it will fit through?
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Gunner, It's a BOX with LIGHTS shining on the object to be photographed! It ain't rocket science. You don't need plans.
I have taken thousands of product photos of pyrotechnic products for catalogs. I never built a 'box'. I just hung a neutral, mottled backdrop (you can buy them fairly inexpensively, or get some mottled wallpaper) in a gentle sweep under and behind the products (so you can't see a corner in the bottom of the shot), and put various work lights on stands around the product until I got the illumination and shadows I wanted at the resolution I wanted.
Rarely, after seeing a series of pictures, I'd have to go color-balance them in some software, because they came out a little too blueish or reddish, and I always cropped and framed them for the catalogs -- but that's all software. All you need for the raw photo is white light and several sources, so you can kill shadows.
A couple of pieces of Thermoply, or cardboard with aluminum foil taped to it, will help kill unwanted shadows in places the lights can't reach. Spring clamps do the holding work. Pipe stands do the job of getting it all in the air.
LLoyd
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wrote:

You don' need no steenkin' lightbox. About any aimable strobe compatible with your camera will suffice, just one will suffice nicely. The other accessory would be an aluminized umbrella, available for about $30. The backwards-aimed strobe bounces off the umbrella. Many excellent professional photos of technical objects, including photos for glossy corporate annual reports, have been done this way with a single bounce strobe. Been there, seen that done. The pro photographer was Al W at Honeywell, Inc.
I've used an Olympus FL-40 which works with my old Camedia 2500 and will also work with C 3030, C 4040 and C 5050.
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I think you are actually asking for a light *tent*: a tent made of some translucent white material like nylon or dacron sail-cloth or frosted mylar drafting film. One puts the object inside the trnt and set the lights up to illuminate the outside of the tent, then snaps away. Tents are particularly good for shiny objects.
They are easy to make, but can also be bought.
<http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Tents-Domes-Blinds/ci/1410/N/42945507 97>
<http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-make-a-inexpensive-light-t ent>
Joe Gwinn
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wrote:

You don't need strobes, Gunner. Proper lighting is essential, and setting your camera to work with the lights chosen is a must. A pair of 200w (45w actual) 5000k daylighter CFLs go for $7ea on eBay http://tinyurl.com/cd2pa7a
Or buy a kit with softboxes or umbrellas. Mine was about $40 delivered with umbrellas, light holders, 5000k CFLs, and stands. I wish I'd bought the background and stands, too. http://tinyurl.com/bpo9d2r
This is one HELL of a deal: http://tinyurl.com/d3d5suj

White muslin can come in BIG sizes for fairly cheap, too. http://tinyurl.com/c9fo6hs $32 includes bg & stands, delivered!

Yes, indeedy.
--
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On 4/21/2013 10:39 PM, Larry Jaques wrote:

Betcha a plug nickel it doesn't sell for that!
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Strobes.. 3 of them, yeah, no shit.
If everyone had just supported his dimwit proposed method, it would've (at least) been fun to read about all the failures he was having.. and cries for more help.
If Gummer ever bothered reading here instead of posting useless fanatic bullshit (any time that he's not pleading for help!), he might have noticed this topic (and a multitude of other useful topics) have been answered previously here in RCM.
He sure can find misguided, biased politcal info easily enough, to spamcast across multiple newsgroups, but when it comes to any real topics.. well, better ask in RCM.
He lives in sunny SoCal FFS and needs lighting for pictures. Pics of rusty broken/worn out junk, most likely. Al Babin wannabe. Perhaps install some skylights in the salvaged sheeting shanty out back.
It's likely he was thinking of all those lingerie model/supermodel shoots he's been on that had him thinking he's a pro photographer.
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WB
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Gunner Asch wrote:

Simple method is the foam sheet sold in home centers. Spray one side with neutral gray and use spring clamps to hold it together. Lights in the front corners with angles to help stabilize the box.
Couple of pieces of the thinner stuff with foil for use as reflectors to get light in odd places.
--
Steve W.

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wrote:

A light box is handy but it only serves to light the entire object and eliminate shadows. You can use reflectors and diffusers to do essentially the same thing with, probably, more bother.
Try some diffusers made from thin white plastic in front of your flash and (probably) three or four flash heads and see if you can't get the effects that you want.
An electronic camera is nice as you don't need to waste all the trial shots that you do with film.
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John B.
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On Mon, 22 Apr 2013 08:09:09 +0700, J.B.Slocomb

Thats what I figured. Its been years since I did it with film...a stroke got in the way..and I dont remember much about what/ how I did it.
I know this question doesnt show it..but I used to be a fairly competent semi-pro photographer. Shrug.
The ability to break it down and set it up quickly would be nice as well. Im running out of floor/shop space.
Anyone have any good links to "inexpensive" slave strobes? Or anyone have any older slave strobes that they have outgrown?
Gunner
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wrote:

Quit thinking strobes! It's 2013, Floods will do! If it looks good to your eye, it will look good to the camera.
And if you really want to make it pop, get a camera that does HDR Mode - Multiple shots, automatically bracketed exposures, and the computer matches and blends the bright areas with the dark areas. Automatic Dodge & Burn.
The equivalent ISO of a Digital camera is miles ahead of film - the days where you had to use ISO-25 Kodachrome to get fine grain and good detail are long over - Besides, so is Kodachrome.
Get a batch of 300W or 500W Quartz stand lights, I'm sure you can come up with *that*... And for reflective surfaces you rig up some cloud diffusers in front, or bounce them off aluminized screen fabric. Think Windshield Spring Shades, the aluminized side.
Try to get the lamps all close to the same color temperature - the camera can correct the color temperature, but not if one side is lit at 5000K and the other side at 2700K - it'll freak.
For a background, new clean off-white canvas Painters Tarps. Already sewn together, cheap, big enough to drape on the wall and then bring out on the floor or table. And easy to dump in a commercial washer with a box or two of Rit Dye if you want colors.
And when you're done taking pictures, use the tarps for painting. The paint splotches will add extra pizzazz to the photos, and nobody will steal your funny colored dropcloths - they'd stand out in even a satellite photo. "Hey, Gunner made a batch of Tie-Dye Buckskin Tan dropcloths like this a few years ago, and then they disappeared from the back of his truck..."
--<< Bruce >>--
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On 2013-04-26, Bruce L. Bergman (munged human readable)

    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    Agreed -- at least if you let the camera learn the proper color balance for the lights you have. There are a lot of presets for various light sources, and at least some have the ability to measure the color balance off a neutral gray card for a given setup -- and use that.
    [ ... ]

    Yep. I'm shooting up to ISO 3200. (And back in the days of the Kodachrome you mentioned, it was ASA-25, not ISO-25. :-) IIRC, the other common system in use then was DIN -- a very different scale, and if you were lucky, your exposure meter was marked with both scales. :-)

    Unless you want to use the color difference for modeling shapes. Let the camera learn the proper white balance for one set of lights alone, and use the other to make interesting color shading.

    Well ... perhaps not for close-ups on really small things. The coarse weave will stand out in the images.

    :-)
    How about camouflage pattern?
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On Mon, 22 Apr 2013 08:09:09 +0700, J.B.Slocomb

Or one flash head, moved around and popped three or four times.
There are machine tool brochures still out there with big, overall shots of the machines shot by yours truly with one Vivitar 202 pocket flash and a piece of drafting paper for diffusion. I've added up as many as ten separate flashes that way.
This is after I got tired of lugging two Bowens Monolights and huge diffusers and stands through airports...

'Second that. I even use one for doing test shots, to balance the lights, when I'm doing the final on 4 x 5 film and using a Minolta Flashmeter IV for exposure.
--
Ed Huntress

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    This works fine with film -- but keeping the shutter open on digital keeps the sensor active, and thermal noise builds up with long exposures. Some have a noise reduction system which matches the exposure time with shutter open with an equivalent exposure time with shutter closed, and subtracts the latter from the former. This cancels some of the thermal effects of long exposures, but also slows down the shot rate. I turn that feature off when doing things like capturing town fireworks on the 4th, so I can go to the next shot more quickly.
    [ ... ]

    So you have not depended on the results from the digital, except as a rough guide -- so you may not have seen the effects of the long open shutter time, since you probably did not bother blowing up the image on your computer monitor.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On 4/22/2013 8:52 PM, DoN. Nichols wrote:

Ran into that one head on when I was trying to take pictures of the lunar eclipse with my Fuji. I got a couple - ok decent. Nowhere near as nice as those from a 200" telescope (wonder why) but I burned a lot of ones and zeros getting anything usable.
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A common technique for digital astrophotography is to average many frames instead of or in addition to using long exposures. There are several software packages that automatically register the images and combine them.
The same technique can be used for multiple positions of the flash. Take several images and overlay them in photoshop. I believe the Nikon D-SLRs allow you to take multiple exposures and combine them in the camera.
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On 4/22/2013 11:49 PM, anorton wrote:

WAY beyond my pay grade. I wouldn't have a clue how to flash the moon. :) (Well....)
My worst problem that night was vibration.
It's really touchy at 36X - even on a tripod.
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