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Experience with the EZcube


#1

Has anyone had experience with the EZcube Jewelry Photography Kit?
How well does it work, and is the 12" or 20" tent more appropriate
for larger pendants? What about the lighting, specifically the
Sparkler or Dazzler lights? Any will be appreciated.

Thanks.
Ann


#2
Has anyone had experience with the EZcube Jewelry Photography Kit?
[snip] What about the lighting, specifically the Sparkler or
Dazzler lights? 

The point of tents like the EZ Cube is to diffuse light and prevent
"hot spots". The point of Sparkler lights is the opposite-- to cause
bright reflections. If you want bright reflections, you only need a
background, not a tent.

Noel


#3

Hi Ann,

I purchased a package deal from the folks at EZ Cube and got both
the 12" and the 20" tent. I had been flatbed scanning my things,
primarily for a visual record for future reference. And most of the
time a scan was perfect… no focus issues, right up close n
personal… it was all I needed as a reference to make a matching (or
another) piece if need be.

I purchased the EZ Cube when my small artisan group decided to put
up a little website and I needed a good “representational” picture
for our home page. I messed around with various set ups for a week or
more with black velvet, display devices, risers, you name it… and
still had nothing usable. My brother, an amateur photographer,
suggested I take a look at the EZ Cube website and try to incorporate
some of the suggestions outlined there. After a short bit of time
perusing the about the cube, I created a makeshift cube
with a vanity stool and a white sheet… viola! Great shot!! Took me
a few hours. Since I had long been thinking of a website of my own -
and knew that if or when I finally could afford to do it right,
“doing it right” would mean better images than those a flatbed
scanner could provide - I sucked it up and purchased the package deal
through the vendor’s EBay Store (I think the shipping was free that
way, I can’t remember).

I’m still experimenting with it - and most of the limitations are
mine, not the cube’s - but the results are so much better looking
than my scanner images, I’ve been using it more and more (slowly
building up a little website repetoire of repeatable pieces). The
sparkler light made a huge difference in more than a few images…
both the flatbed scanner pics and any I tried straight on with
daylight or my shop’s full spectrum lights would reflect back the
light source, and not being a Photoshop expert, I could never make
the reflections go away. I had a flashy “cha cha” bracelet with lots
of silver and shine which I tried repeatedly to photograph, in
multiple ways - after getting my cube, I hauled it out and tried
again, and the results were spectacular.

I can’t remember now how many of the risers were included in the kit
(two, I think) but I purchased whichever version wasn’t included and
now own the clear, white and black platforms. I use the clear most
often, only because I haven’t yet gotten around to getting some black
paper to put in the cube for the purpose of avoiding reflection from
the top of the cube. I use the 12" cube when I can lay a piece
directly on the riser; the 20" cube has been useful when I wished to
display the piece on a tall display bust.

I know many folks who have created their own, cheaper, versions of
the cube … something a little easier to haul around than my
makeshift vanity stool and white sheet… and if you can do that,
great. But I found it tremendously helpful to get everything in one
tidy package… the lights, the cubes, the correct bulbs, the risers,
etc. I love my EZCube. And the guy who sells them is extraordinarily
helpful. His site is full of tips for taking professional-looking
jewelry photographs, and he’s more than willing to help if you’ve
got an issue. I sent him the representational photo I took with the
vanity stool set-up… the one that prompted me of the value in making
the purchase… and he returned it with a little Photoshop tweaking
and a short screen-captured tutorial on how to do it myself.

Great product, great customer service. I’d highly recommend it.

Karan


#4

Ann,

I changed my set-up from a photo box system to the ezcube system and
I am very happy with the result.

I now have a lot more flexiblity for my photography. I can shoot
from different angles and can use different backgrounds and lighting
set ups with the light tent.

I don’t have the sparkler light as my work does not require it. I
have a lot of info on my sqiudoo Lens web page on my system and set
up. There are some sample photos there and a link to more on my
website and on my flickr page. See it here:

http://www.squidoo.com/photographicjewelry

Biggest tip, do not mix color temp of light sources and do increase
exposure by 1 1/3 F stop as tabletopstudio.com suggest. The 20 inch
tent is much better for larger work. The brand new tents have
grommets and accessories that make positioning much easier. Get the
graduated backgrounds that fit the tent and the platforms and you
are set to go.

Cheers, Gareth.


#5

Sorry, Noel, I beg to differ. I own the Cube and the sparkler and it
is a wonderful set up. I like it much better than anything else I
tried, including the dome as the cube allows for larger pieces. The
sparkler light when properly used creates just that, sparkles, as it
has a built in diffuser and allows for easy changing of lighting.
You can see the results on my site. Also, I am not a photographer,
never had formal training on the subject, so please discount that. I
am not affiliated with the people at EZCube but I recommend it all
the time. It really made a difference for me.

Hope this helps!

Vera

Vera Battemarco
Couture Artisan Jewelry ™


#6
The sparkler light when properly used creates just that,
sparkles, as it has a built in diffuser and allows for easy changing
of lighting. You can see the results on my site. 

I took a look at your site, and though your shots look nice, I do
feel that both the shadows and the highlights are, in most cases, a
bit too strong and therefore a bit distracting. I’m not saying these
photos don’t serve their purpose, and Lord knows it would be
prohibitively expensive to have a real professional shoot
everything. But I think when people ask about photo set ups here,
they are trying to get as close to a professional look as they can.
If you take a close, hard look at photos in magazines, you will not
see clear shadows, in most cases, just soft diffused ones. And
though highlights are necessary to show dimension, they, too, are
generally minimal and not over-bright.

The purpose of the various tent arrangements is to give control over
these aspects of the photograph. Having the piece on the inside and
the lights on the outside softens the shadows and highlights, and
eliminates such things as the silhouette of the photographer looking
back from a shiny surface.

So I really appreciate it when people provide links to sample shots,
instead of just recommending a set-up-- that way, everyone can come
to their own conclusions about what will work for them.

Noel


#7

I too am a rank novice when it comes to taking digital pictures for
the web, but I swear by the EZ Cube - I used the EZ Cube setup,
including the dazzler, for all the pictures AND videos on my jewelry
site:

http://www.dragonflybridge.com/cgi-bin/Jewelry/Jewelry.pl?g=3

Jon


#8

Hey Jon,

Enjoyed your site - quick loading. FYI, your video of the citrine
sweep pendant includes some interesting sounds. Hope your cough is
better. :wink:

Judy in Kansas, who is still moooving carefully. I hear this
rib-healing thing will take at least a month!


#9

I got it and three lights - one “dazzler”. It looked like it would
be different but it is just a smaller reflector and smaller coiled
bulb. Did you all get something different?

Justine


#10

I actually just bought the big 30 inch tent used, with the two main
lights and the sparkler. The important thing seems to be to set your
white balance on your camera. I actually added one additional
light…an ‘energy saving’ daylight bulb…brightest one walmart had,
in a regular reflector lamp. This seemed to balance the color a
little better for me, and added just that much more light.

In the tutorials for the ez cube, they show some special transparent
riggings…wires for hanging earrings etc. I did the same thing, by
stringing a fishing line across the top and buying transparent nylon
thread which I then hung down in V loops from the fishing wire for
earrings. I also took single strands with a small clip on one end
which I could put through pendant bails so I could hang these up as
well. I then hung a piece of white poster board a few inches behind
the jewelry. This lets me remove the ‘white/gray’ background and
replace it with a gradient in photoshop. You can see some of the
resulting images in my blog at
http://www.jeannius.com/blog.html …just scroll down past the
turquoise.

Jeanne
http://www.jeannius.com


#11

I ordered the 20" cube (12" thrown in for free), two shorty lights
and one sparkler. I was under the impression that the sparkler and
the Diamond Dazzler were the same product. When I got the sparkler
(a smaller coiled bulb and smaller reflector) I guessed I had been
mistaken and that what I thought I saw on the web didn’t really
exist (the picture of the Dazzler was small).

Since a number of you have been talking about the Dazzler I went
back to the web site and there is a big clear picture of the Dazzler
bulb.

I wrote the man and he explained that the Sparkler and the Dazzler
are separate items and If bought with the package the Dazzler is
discounted.

Even though I bought my package some time ago; he extended me the
kindness of letting me have the bulb at the package price.

A very nice guy. Nice prducts too.
Justine