Millions of photos are housed on Ebay. Yes – Ebay is one of the most photo-rich sites online. Why? People post pictures of the items they have for sale there. And since lots of collectables and other small products regularly find their way onto the auction site, that market alone is probably sufficient to keep ProCyc in business.
Their MyStudio 20 is an all-in-one solution for people who want to do product and catalog photography of small items.
This table-top setup can fit almost anywhere. It includes a cyc-wall (also sometimes called a “sweep” providing a seamless background. This makes it much easier to control lighting in general and specifically – specular highlights.
In addition to the cyc wall, the package includes two fill cards, a reflector hood, a diffused linear fluorescent bulb and a metal support system.
The MyStudio 20 came in a large box and the unit requires some assembly. The unit I received had one screw hole drilled too small and I had to drill it out to make the screw fit. Once that hurdle was crossed, it took about 20 minutes to put the kit together. If you can put together one of those bookcases they sell at Office Depot you can do this. But tools are required.
Once set up, ProCyc suggests you use weights to help steady the cross-bar support. It’s metal but it’s not exactly beefy.
The company suggests you set your camera to daylight balance and use a tripod. The included 15w light won’t exactly blast the scene so some slower shutter speeds, too slow to hand hold anyway, are the likely result.
I found that using my Nikon D3′s auto-white balance, I achieved results that were just as good as using a daylight setting. I also found that adding ambient light to the room helped make the shutter speed a bit faster without drowning out the effect of the 15w bulb included with the MyStudio 20.
I also experimented with my own light sources, but decided that for simple table-top use, the folks at ProCyc had created a pretty good solution in their one-light setup. It’s close enough that I don’t see any big benefit in most situations to using my own lights.
The bottom line with a system like this is will it help you get good shots. The answer is yes. The unit is very well designed and thought out. You can see ProCyc’s experience in larger traditional studio cyc walls shine through on this product.
I’ve used tents and cheaper table top setups and I think this is the best solution I’ve seen. It’s not perfect. It’s not the sturdiest thing in the world, but it’s sturdy enough. I think it could be about $50 cheaper and be much closer to perfect, but I like it enough that I’ll continue to use it when photographing small items for TWIPPHTO.COM. And if I use a piece of gear on a regular basis, that’s pretty much the best endorsement I can give it.
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