If you ever shoot a lot of still life or product photos then chances are you have looked at buying some sort of light tent or shed before. They offer a quick solution for softening you strobes or continuous lights and they tend to pack down small enough that storage is no issue. I was sent the Impact XL Digital Light Shed to take a look at and I’ve used similar products in the past to shoot images for product reviews or small products for catalogs.
This particular Light Shed has a lot of options and accessories to get you started all in one flat package. The XL is 24x24x36″ but it’s also available in three smaller sizes. Personally , given that they collapse anyway , I would recommend just going for the larger one right from the beginning. The price difference in them is also pretty negligible.
What we are looking at here below is actually the removable base of the tent. This is a nice feature as it allows you to put the tent over a nice textured piece of material or surface so you’re not bound by limitations of things you can fit inside the tent when choosing your base. Unfortunately you can’t really use this wide opening to shoot through though as you have a zipper directly behind it.
The front opening of the tent can be rolled back and uses hook and loop pads to keep it contained. There is also a zippered slot in the middle of the door which you would use when shooting a very reflective object , to cut down on the reflection of you and the camera.
Inside the tent we have further options, it comes with both a black and a white removable backdrop that attaches into the rear top corners. Make sure that you have a steam iron to hand though as this will need some serious ironing time to get it wrinkle free. If you don’t want to use the material backdrops then you are also provided with a white plastic base that gives you a nice reflective surface for a bit of a different look. According to the specification on the B&H page it should also come with a black plastic base as well. Mine did not…. so check your package carefully once you have popped it open.
A I mentioned, I have used these sorts of products before. What I loved about the Impact Shed was the sturdiness of the cube once it was erected. Too many of them are simply too soft and floppy and don’t hold their shape. This is not the case with this product though, even with the front flap open all sides stayed taught and flat and the cube kept its shape. The full length zipper on the top of the shed is also an important feature that gets omitted from some similar products. A lot of time when shooting products for catalogs you might not actually want the product to interact with a surface. In this case you suspend it using fishing wire by hanging it from a book placed over the tent. The zippered top makes it easy to hang things down from the top..
Considering this is just a touch over $60 it represents excellent value considering the size and accessories it comes with. It’s certainly a step up from the flimsy Photek one that I last used.