Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
Sorry if some of the pnet info was inaccurate. I posted for the general discussion on available models, not for any specific product features. I'm not familiar with that rail or possible changes to it over time, so couldn't judge from personal experience. It is the internet after all, so caveat lector and check your facts in all cases, right? It would seem odd for RRS to make something that "downscale" in features.
Thanks for posting the correction. Anyone checking the info at Really Right Stuff would have seen the correct info there as well.
I believe the changing tent is something that would fit my needs. Are the kits with the tent and lighting included worth the money or will I find myself dissatisfied with the quality?
Er, by "changing tent" are you referring to "shooting tent"?
There's no way I can answer your question about being satisfied with various kits.
I personally have used a cheap and small Photek Lighthouse Shooting Tent (about 18inchesx18inchesx27inches) and was pleased with the results. But I was shooting
just for myself....
"I bought a new camera. It's so advanced you don't even need it." - Steven Wright
Yes, shooting tent (sorry I just read a thread on pnet about a changing tent and it must have stuck). I am just shooting for myself, so I do not feel the need to spend large amounts of cash to accomplish what I can with less equipment.
I'll second Lee L's choice. Features both gross and fine adjustment.
One feature I liked was that if I ever want to be able to move the camera laterally as well as forward/backward, a second one of these will nest into what otherwise would be a bulky four way slider such as Adorama sells.
"A full-time job seriously interferes with photography."
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This is another vote for the RRS focus slide.
Also helpful is a geared tripod head, and maybe a tripod with a geared column - you don't want to extend the column much, but just having the geared movement over an inch or two is very helpful.
For backdrops and lighting you can do an awful lot by improvisation, which is what I do a lot of the time. A laboratory jack (a small platform that can be adjusted in height by turning a threaded rod) is a useful thing for supporting the subject.
I use daylight, flash, or tungsten at different times for lighting. Tungsten is easiest to control and to learn with, and you can pick up cheap used tungsten lights easily: you don't need really powerful lights, say 300W, and something like a used set of Lee Mini-Pro lights would be a good place to start. (Use the safety screens with them or, better yet, get a set of glass dichroic filters.) Small pieces of card or foamcore will serve as reflectors, painted black, white or silver, or with crumpled aluminium foil glued to them.
Have a look at the Novoflex magic studio setup as well. This is like a very small infinity curve and can be quite versatile, giving you more flexibility than a tent or cube.
Modelling clay, gaffer tape, cinefoil, bulldog clips, flower arrangers' wire, wooden dowel, etc., etc. will soon all be finding new uses in your house...
The limitations of a shooting tent are size of subject and lighting tends to be flat. If you're looking for "creative" lighting it may not work out for you.
On the cheapskate front, build a frame from PVC pipe(1 1/4") & drape it with translucent material form the fabric shop & use any size frame you want, remove a side if you want a more harsh light etc. It'll cost more for the fabric than the pipe to build the frame.