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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.

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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.

Recommended.

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Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. How easy is it to take apart and move around. I’ve had a few of those flat pack type office shelves and they’re always a little easier going up than coming down, since I’m sure most folks working with this aren’t willing to dedicate a table to a tiny product studio.

  2. How easy is it to take apart and move around. I’ve had a few of those flat pack type office shelves and they’re always a little easier going up than coming down, since I’m sure most folks working with this aren’t willing to dedicate a table to a tiny product studio.

  3. I had looked at many of these kits in the past. This one seems to do a great job, but I ended up just making my own for a fraction of the cost. Some corrugated plastic and a couple of work bench utility lights, and a roll of paper from the craft store for the sweep. Its not a perfect solution, but its a fraction of the cost.

  4. I had looked at many of these kits in the past. This one seems to do a great job, but I ended up just making my own for a fraction of the cost. Some corrugated plastic and a couple of work bench utility lights, and a roll of paper from the craft store for the sweep. Its not a perfect solution, but its a fraction of the cost.

  5. Scott, I’m curious about your example photo of the Purell bottle. Is that how you would recommend taking this type of photo? It just looks a little grayish and doesn’t really pop. When I sell items or photo-document some stuff I like to have a really eye-catching photo.

  6. Scott, I’m curious about your example photo of the Purell bottle. Is that how you would recommend taking this type of photo? It just looks a little grayish and doesn’t really pop. When I sell items or photo-document some stuff I like to have a really eye-catching photo.

  7. Hi Ryan I have no evidence to support your assumption that “most folks working with this aren’t willing to dedicate a table to a tiny product studio.” That said, if you want to move it – it’s easy – since there are two main pieces. But it’s not all that easy to completely take apart. That means putting it back together to use again which I assume would take you another 15-20 minutes each time.

  8. Hi Ryan I have no evidence to support your assumption that “most folks working with this aren’t willing to dedicate a table to a tiny product studio.” That said, if you want to move it – it’s easy – since there are two main pieces. But it’s not all that easy to completely take apart. That means putting it back together to use again which I assume would take you another 15-20 minutes each time.

  9. That’s a reasonable response Don. The main value here is convenience and the cyc. The thing is VERY well thought out and I don’t think anyone could come up with a home made solution that good. But I understand that you can get close if you want to put the time in. Got a pic of your rig you can share? Might be interesting to people.

  10. That’s a reasonable response Don. The main value here is convenience and the cyc. The thing is VERY well thought out and I don’t think anyone could come up with a home made solution that good. But I understand that you can get close if you want to put the time in. Got a pic of your rig you can share? Might be interesting to people.

  11. Steve I am not a product photographer and didn’t intend to make a portfolio piece. I just wanted to show by example that you can control specular highlights and create nice shadows on an image with all of about 15 seconds work – which is how much thought I put into this. :)

  12. Steve I am not a product photographer and didn’t intend to make a portfolio piece. I just wanted to show by example that you can control specular highlights and create nice shadows on an image with all of about 15 seconds work – which is how much thought I put into this. :)

  13. Thanks for the response, Scott.

    Heres a photo of my set-up. It’s not pretty, but it does a good job for what I’m looking to do:

    And here is a photo that was taken using this set-up (I used a pane of glass from a picture frame on the bottom for a reflection… was just playing around.):

    I want to get glossy paper for the sweep so you can’t see the texture in it, but that’s my only compliant and it’s a $2 fix.

  14. Thanks for the response, Scott.

    Heres a photo of my set-up. It’s not pretty, but it does a good job for what I’m looking to do:

    And here is a photo that was taken using this set-up (I used a pane of glass from a picture frame on the bottom for a reflection… was just playing around.):

    I want to get glossy paper for the sweep so you can’t see the texture in it, but that’s my only compliant and it’s a $2 fix.

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