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  1. #1

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    slightly dirty light tent

    I have an opportunity to pick up a slightly dirty light tent for $20. It's fairly large, I would imagine around 20" x 20" foot print with a large opening, side panels and a curving rear curtain. It's held up with criss-crossing metal rails and kept open with a supporting rail on the bottom.

    My concern is that it is visibly dirty. The material is no longer perfectly white but somewhat gray, dusty with some spots.

    So, will that cause uneven lighting or strange shadows/spots in my negatives?

    Thanks... Otherwise, $20 seems like cheap enough for a largish tent.

  2. #2
    bsdunek's Avatar
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    As far as uneven light, I'd have to see it to even guess. What about washing it? If it's just dirt and dust, and not too stained, I would think you could either launder the fabric, or use a brush and soapy water, followed with a good rinse. Some Clorox or an Oxygen bleach should reduce staining. For $20 it's sure worth a try, IMHO!
    Bruce

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    BruceCSdunekPhotography.zenfolio.com

  3. #3
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Being a diffuse source, the dirtiness won't cause anything noticeable except a reduction in output. (And possibly raise your equity. It's well known that photographers with nothing but all shiny new gear don't know what the hell they're doing).

  4. #4
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    I would say it will work fine, but would not spend $20 on it.

    If you want diffuse light, sheets and frames (AKA PVC plumbing pipe or cheap/free lumber) are much more versatile (and at $20 for the tent, more cheap).

    My work was about to spend God knows how much money on some expensive pre-made lighting-tent-type stuff "for products" before I was hired (after already spending thousands based on what another photographer had advised them to buy...for a fee, no less). I told them to hold their money, give me a $20 bill, and pay me an hour's wage for running down to a thrift shop. I made a LARGE $8 lighting tent out of two white sheets that made for better quality pix than anything you could buy at the store. (They already had clamps and stands.) It became a permanent fixture, and I shot through those $8 of sheets (two Dynalite heads and a 1000Ws pack - more overkill. 500Ws would have been fine.) for several years. I don't know how many times our pix got comments from E-Bay buyers (including "professional" photographers wanting to how we lit our photos. "Do you use one of those lighting tents?" "Why yes. Yes, we do. We use a five foot by five foot by five foot one that was very expensive at the store.") After I left, the guy after me has continued to do the same. Best part about it, aside from the cost? Totally customizable, shot to shot if needed. NOT cookie cutter lighting.

    I am not trying to brag...not at all. Just saying that I think pre-made lighting modifier stuff is quite "gimmicky" and "cookie-cutter-esque", and there are other options that are better in every way if you have just a little bit of creativity and understand light.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 02-03-2010 at 07:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  5. #5
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    I would say it will work fine, but would not spend $20 on it.

    If you want diffuse light, sheets and frames (AKA PVC plumbing pipe or cheap/free lumber) are much more versatile (and at $20 for the tent, more cheap).

    My work was about to spend God knows how much money on some expensive pre-made lighting-tent-type stuff "for products" before I was hired (after already spending thousands based on what another photographer had advised them to buy...for a fee, no less). I told them to hold their money, give me a $20 bill, and pay me an hour's wage for running down to a thrift shop. I made a LARGE $8 lighting tent out of two white sheets that made for better quality pix than anything you could buy at the store. (They already had clamps and stands.) It became a permanent fixture, and I shot through those $8 of sheets (two Dynalite heads and a 1000Ws pack - more overkill. 500Ws would have been fine.) for several years. I don't know how many times our pix got comments from E-Bay buyers (including "professional" photographers wanting to how we lit our photos. "Do you use one of those lighting tents?" "Why yes. Yes, we do. We use a five foot by five foot by five foot one that was very expensive at the store.") After I left, the guy after me has continued to do the same. Best part about it, aside from the cost? Totally customizable, shot to shot if needed. NOT cookie cutter lighting.

    I am not trying to brag...not at all. Just saying that I think pre-made lighting modifier stuff is quite "gimmicky" and "cookie-cutter-esque", and there are other options that are better in every way if you have just a little bit of creativity and understand light.
    I tend to eschew pre-made big sources in the studio as well. Generally I stretch a silk on a frame or use diffusion material on boxes I construct with b/w foam-core. We call them "chicken coops". IDK if that is a local colloquialism, a bastardized adaptation of something, or an industry wide term. They dont suffer from durability issues in the studio, and I can construct them in any diffusion, size, or aspect ratio my little heart desires, By making them long and narrow, for instance, I can vary the "softness" (basically the size of source relative to the subject) of the light simply by rotating them between vertical or horizontal or anywhere in between.

  6. #6

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    For frames, plastic pipe works well. "Ts" and angles are easily found in home improvement stores. For 3-way and 4 way angles, there are places like this:
    http://http://www.usplastic.com/cata...ickid=redirect

  7. #7
    mhcfires's Avatar
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    My best lighting tent was made from a cardboard box with the sides cut out and white tracing paper taped over the openings. I may have had fifty cents in the thing, only because I had to use two new sheets of paper. Much better than the nice text I paid $40 for and the cat decided she needed it for a place to plan and nap.
    Michael Cienfuegos


    If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.

  8. #8

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    It was a silly thread, admittedly. Cats must think napping in changing bags/tents is just awesome.

  9. #9
    mhcfires's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colden View Post
    It was a silly thread, admittedly. Cats must think napping in changing bags/tents is just awesome.
    Mine seems to like them for a nice place to hide and sleep. I tried to get a few shots of her in the tent and she wouldn't go back in. As soon as I put the camera down, she was right back into the tent. I give up. Her claws have pretty much ruined it for much more than a plaything for the cat. I get better results from my makeshift cardboard box tent.
    Michael Cienfuegos


    If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.

  10. #10
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    If it is macro done outdoors, I just take a old white/yellowing shoot though unbrella along, and position it to block the sun.

    It also can be good for blocking the breeze, if it is more of a concern.

    More flexible to carry and set up.take down, but not as all purpose as a light tent.
    my real name, imagine that.



 

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