The humble light tent is both loved and loathed by product photographers all over the world. On the one hand, it’s a great way to get some quick and easy, relatively clean shots of small products for eBay or your online store. But on the other, they don’t exactly offer the kind of control that a lot of product photographers strive for.
Well, the light tent has seen a technological upgrade. This is the Photon, which is essentially three customisable light panels that cover your products which you can control from your phone to emit whatever light pattern you desire. It’s just gone live on Kickstarter today, and it’s already pretty close to its goal in just a couple of hours.
The video above is a bit overly dramatic, to say the least, but the idea is pretty interesting. Acting as a light tent is only one of its functions. It’s a modular system of panels, which uses continuous LED lights and is designed specifically for product photography. For a video showing off it’s features a little more comprehensively, have a watch of this one.
I think they had Dick Van Dyke do the voiceover for that one. Anyway, having LEDs built right into the panel, controllable from your smartphone, sure is a lot simpler than having to deal with setting up lights outside of a traditional light tent. But as well as the standard tent-like cube shape, you can also expand it out for larger products, too.
Or completely disconnect them from each other for even more positional control.
As you can probably tell from some of the photos above, each panel is made up of a bunch of smaller square segments. This allows you to tailor the light to come from whichever direction you wish. Want a full panel that wraps around the front and back of your item? No problem, just turn them all on. Want to have a little more control over your key, fill and spekular highlights? Well, you can do that too.
The app also comes with a bunch of built-in lighting presets in case you’re not entirely sure what you want, and the results aren’t really terrible at all.
They say that the cube setup only uses a quarter of a square metre when sitting on the desk. While they don’t specifically state the size of the panels, this suggests that each one is 50 x 50cm and is made up of 25 10 x 10cm segments. The LEDs have a colour temperature of 5600K and offer a CRI of over 80. While this doesn’t seem quite as high as some of the CRI95+ lights we’re seeing these days, anything over 80 is usually fairly good for many situations. And you can always use a ColorChecker to help compensate if needed.
On the Kickstarter campaign, you can back the project to get just one for as low as $219 or the full set of three panels starting at $499 for early birds. The latter of those also comes with several backgrounds and mounts. You’ll have to wait a while to receive them, though, as items are not expected to be shipped until June 2020.
Personally, I’d like to see some real world reviews before putting my money down, but I do love the concept.