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JFOPie
04-06-2009, 01:07 PM
Hi -

Last weekend I had a few hours time and finally completed a small project I've been trying to get finished: a useful lightbox that I could quickly put together and use.

While there's something to be said for ad-hoc solutions, I decided a while ago that I really needed something that would give me a wonderful, diffused light from above. as if I were shooting under a large skylight on a slightly overcast day, but without being dependent on the weather.

I tried converting a frosted plastic waste can from Ikea, which was brittle and broke when I tried cutting holes in it; I tried a white plastic box from Ikea (we live near one, and they're cheap...) with a hole cut in the side for a flourescent lamp, and while that was okay, it was hard to put anything in the box (it was simply too small) and the light wasn't strong enough to do any hand-helds. It was also too specular (hot spot) to be really useful, hence back to the drawing board...

So I found myself a A4-sized CCFD light, using the same kind of light as the background lights on a LCD screen. The A4 size also meant that there wouldn't be any hotspots, just clean nonspecular light. Further, it stays cool, very useful when doing long photo sessions...

As always, a plastic bin from Ikea served as the holder. A little bit of velcro tape to ensure that the light would stay put when mounted on top, a piece of hand-made deep black art paper for a background, and I think I've got a very good start on making the perfect portable macrostand that doesn't require a huge amount of space and gives me good results...

Here's what it basically looks like:

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536698x6.jpg

That just sort of shows the basics, so let's take a step backwards:

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536748x6.jpg

and let's back out further...

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536738x6.jpg

and

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536708x6.jpg

and let's zoom back out further so that you can see how little room I actually have...

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536768x6.jpg

Whew. That's all the space I have: my small study at home isn't much larger than what you see right there...

So what kind of results do I get?

Well, there's these shots. Bear with me: these are straight resizes to 800x600 with no work on them, really a proof of principle after setting things up.

A fairly recent acquisition, a vintage Gruen...

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536348x6.jpg

and the movement:

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536428x6.jpg


Wait a moment: that's not a Gruen movement: it's a Durowe 410! One of the last pre-war movements that Durowe built, dates from the late 1930s/early 1940s. Of course that's not in Gruen, but rather...

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536618x6.jpg

...a Stowa.

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40536648x6.jpg


Fifteen jewel movement, it's hard to capture just how nice it is.

But that's not all:

a lume shot of a new sterile titanium beater I bought a while ago...

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w233/JohnF1956/P40537468x6.jpg


Anyway, that's my new homemade light box. Total cost: around 80 for the A4-sized panel, another 2 for the plastic box, and 3 for three sheets of that background hand-made art paper (gives me a total of 6 backgrounds before I have to get new ones...). It's highly portable and all I need is access to normal electricity. I can store the light panel (which I got on UK eBay, just search for light boxes...) in the box, as well as the paper sheets. Self-contained and easily transportable!

Pictures with Olympus E510, 35mm f3.5 macro, movement shot with 100mm f4 Leica Macro-Elmar on bellows via Leica R-->4/3rd mount...

JohnF

jekostas
04-08-2009, 09:37 PM
While I do appreciate that it gave you some nice pictures, for the price you paid, why didn't you get a foldable light tent off of eBay?

That plus a couple of either colour-corrected CCFL or LED bulbs in an office lamp would've gotten you much the same results for a fraction of the price, in a much more portable solution.

JFOPie
04-09-2009, 11:49 AM
Hi -

Compactness. Where could I set up a foldable light tent on that full desk? This is self-storing and designed for macro photography of watches with the 100 f4 Macro Elmar and the 35mm Olympus lens.

I literally don't have room for any larger set up. If I did, I would have taken a rather different approach along the lines you both mention.

John

jekostas
04-09-2009, 02:47 PM
Hi -

Compactness. Where could I set up a foldable light tent on that full desk? This is self-storing and designed for macro photography of watches with the 100 f4 Macro Elmar and the 35mm Olympus lens.

I literally don't have room for any larger set up. If I did, I would have taken a rather different approach along the lines you both mention.

John

If size is an issue you can get 30cm cube light tents that are pretty well perfect for watches, and would've been smaller than the setup you've got.

I'm not trying to criticize here, but generally when you do home made projects you do it to save money or customize a setup, neither of which really seem to be the case.

jekostas
04-09-2009, 03:40 PM
Taken with a "light tent" made of printer paper and a couple of desk lamps...
my Konica Hexanon 52MM F1.8

JFOPie
04-15-2009, 09:42 AM
Hi -

This one is self-contained and self-storing: the 30cm light tents have to be lit from outside. Been there, done that, my space constraints were paramount.

John

Dark Cobra
04-15-2009, 10:44 AM
What a great idea. I love the simplicity yet effectiveness of the concept. Thanks for sharing.

Csae
04-15-2009, 08:22 PM
All, of your images look slightly underexposed to me :o

Or am i just in a bright mood? Because i realized that when im happy i slightly overexpose and when im sad i underexpose...

Dark Cobra
04-15-2009, 08:36 PM
I think you're correct but in the case of the last image where the luminous dots where shown, the lighting had to be very subdued in order to showcase those luminous dots. So that particular image "had" to be darkened and a little underexposure is understandable to enhance that look. The other images are actually kind of OK but I think you're right . . . they are just a tad underexposed. Perhaps, that is the mood the photographer was trying to achieve.

heyheyhey
04-23-2009, 02:29 AM
under or over exposure is a moot point. For a homemade light tent its doing what its supposed to do, diffusing a hard light source

Dark Cobra
04-23-2009, 09:02 AM
Absolutely, as I said I love the simplicity of the idea and it works quite nicely!

jekostas
04-23-2009, 09:39 PM
under or over exposure is a moot point. For a homemade light tent its doing what its supposed to do, diffusing a hard light source

Err, the exposure is fine. There are still a lot of "hot spots" from the lighting, though.