Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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In choosing a light-tent for product photography, I noticed the cost difference between various sizes is only a few dollars, so I started considering a larger tent than I presently need. The question then is:

Other than the space it takes, are there any disadvantages to using a larger-then-needed light-tent?

My present goal is to photographs photo gear (cameras, lenses, camera bags, etc) with as much of a seamless and shadowless background as possible. The tent will be illuminated from several directions including underneath. For the moment, a 36" cube will do but I see that it costs almost the same to get a 48" or 60" cube. How does this impact how diffuse and seamless the background appears?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The smaller the light tent, the closer the light will be, and the larger the angles of light hitting the subject, so you may get slightly softer shadows and more "wrap" of the light. You'll have a bit more light falloff in the larger tent. All of this would be barely measureable though, it is more a case of affordability and convenience.

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In my opinion, not at all. I've done various sized DIY rigs for this and the seamlessness of the background is more due to good lighting angles, the background itself, the and technique used instead of specific sorts and sizes of tents. I've also done seamless without a tent structure and it works, you just need a little more care with the lights.

In any case, the tents are great, and so the size question is probably more relevant to use. If the 36" does it and you just don't anticipate going beyond that size need, then don't get a larger one as it's less space, neater package, and easier to handle. Go for the larger sizes if you do, in fact, anticpate needing to shoot something larger or are unsure if the case will arise. However, I think the whole difference is space... :)

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I'm a little confused since you say size has no impact but recommend not to buy a larger one. Right now, I am working without the tent structure and get more shadows than I need ;) – Itai Apr 25 '11 at 13:52
@Itai - Smaller is easier, it's about the only reason for going that route but if you don't need larger, it's a pretty good reason. – John Cavan Apr 25 '11 at 14:14

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