This is the first follow-up to Studio on the Cheap, which is my first home studio equipment purchase.
OK, folks. Between my ‘day job’ and family time, I didn’t have an opportunity to set everything up and take this studio for a test run. I did, however, manage to open the carton and set things up to see what I got.
First, let me say that the delivery for this item took less than a week via Canada Post from Richmond, BC to Ottawa, ON. The package arrived in reasonably good condition, with only a couple of small ‘dents’ evident on the box.
When I opened the box, I noticed that everything was packed individually inside with their own boxes and bags. Another plus!
There aren’t any instructions included with this kit. I read from online reviews that there weren’t any instructions included and was prepared for this.
Unpacking and assembling:
I grabbed the first items that caught my eye: the two longest boxes in the carton. These contained the light stands, which I proceeded to set up immediately. They are very light and easy to set up. Simply loosen the main tightening bolt and slide the stand upward while gently guiding the legs outward. Tighten the bolt once the legs are positioned.
The two smallest boxes contain the light sockets. These again are very easy to attached to the top of the light stand by loosening the tightening bolt, positioning on the stand and re-tightening the bolts. These sockets also have another tightening bolt for setting the desired angle for the light.
The two remaining boxes are the light bulbs. Big CF bulbs rated at 45W which, according to the kit description, equate to 200W output each. These are nicely packed in Styrofoam which I plan on keeping so that the bulbs don’t get damaged during storage.
After this, the four umbrellas, wrapped in plastic sheaths were my next target. I took one each of the translucent and black/silver umbrellas, slipped them out of their respective sheath and slipped them through the convenient little mounting hole in the light socket assembly. A little thumbscrew-type bolt is there to secure the umbrella.
I turned on both lights, and, voila! They both worked!
The backdrop stand came in its own little case. The legs for the stand are set up identically to the light stands. No problem here. The crossbar is in four pieces which lip into and lock with one another. This I can find very useful for times when I don’t want the full 10′ width. I initially set this up with only the two end pieces connected together. The setup is simple: Identify the end pieces by finding the larger holes at one end and slip them over the top pin on the legs. These are secured using the supplied washer and butterfly nut. Easy as pie!
The three muslin were basic cotton. I didn’t take them out of the plastic bags because I didn’t want to take the chance of getting them dirty. I did open one and felt the fabric though and they seem to be able to do the trick.
I received, in the pack, not one – but two carrying cases! One for the backdrop stand and another for everything else.
I also received two clamps for holding the muslin onto the stand. I didn’t expect these.
The stands are not made of heavy duty steel but then again, who wants to lug around the extra weight. I found the quality of everything as per my expectations and was pleased that the kit came with everything listed.
One downside is that I would have probably preferred to have little re-closable bags for the muslin but perhaps it would be better to get a few cardboard sleeves over which I can roll them and keep the wrinkles out.
For a cheap and basic continuous lighting setup, I think this is a good deal thus far.
The real test will be in how my portraits will turn out.