Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunpak 620-EBOX Portable Mini Studio in a Box Product Review

Product Name: Sunpak 620-EBOX Portable Mini Studio in a Box
Full Retail Price: $169.95

My rating: 1 star out of 5 = I Hate It

Summary  Statement: Very Disappointing for Numerous Reasons!

I wish I knew all of this before purchasing this product. I’ve been using it for over three months and get more disappointed and annoyed each time I use it.

Will this product satisfy your needs? Read on and see.

My complaints:

1. The lights get very hot. The directions say to use them for only 20 minutes then shut them off and let them cool down before using again. This does not fit with my projects in which I’m taking a series of photos for an hour or two in one session. I didn’t realize this time limitation at first (since I hadn’t seen the printed warning) and the lights began to emit smoke and a smell!

2. The lights are top heavy. They tip over very easily. The weight of their power cord is enough to tip them over. You have to be very careful to lay the power cords out in a certain way so they don’t fall over. For example when the power cord is going down to a wall outlet, the weight of the cord pulls and causes the light to tip over. The weight of the cords also caused the lights to slowly slide across the table all by themselves as I worked. I even had a hard time keeping them pointed in the direction I wanted due to the slippery feet sliding from the cord weight. If the legs were heavier or had a tackier bottom surface, this would not happen! Numerous times when the lights fell and I instinctively grabbed for them I was burned by accidentally touching the hot parts.

3. The two lights that came with my kit emit different light. One is a blue cast and the other is whiter. One is brighter than the other. This is not good when trying to have even light from both sides!

4. There is not enough light thrown with these two lights. No matter how I position the lights, the entire box area is not lit well.

5. There is not enough light to equally cover a box about 6x6 inches in size. Shadowing appeared to the sides of the item. Perhaps it would be fine for photographing jewelry or something less solid.

6. When using the ‘roof’ top, it blocks good light in the room from overhead lights. I didn’t have enough light to take the photos. I had to use the camera’s flash to get enough light. I was hoping that the light box’s lights would give enough diffused light to evenly light the objects so I could photograph without the flash; I could not.

7. The mini-tripod that comes with the kit cannot accommodate a DSLR camera with a short lens. I had to use a separate full size tripod (purchased separately), or shoot with camera in hand, which was not the best for taking perfectly leveled shots. Note the photo the manufacturer uses shows a lightweight point and shoot digital camera!

8. This kit, unlike other kits on the market sold at about the same price, does not allow for freestanding photography, such as lighting a dining room table to shoot food on a plate at the table setting. You have to use the box. Think about what kinds of photos you want to take and see which fits the majority of your needs. I’d prefer a more flexible product, such as portable diffusers to put in front of portable lights which could be used to light something in its original setting or against a colored background.

9. This comes with one background cloth: blue. I’d have preferred white, which at least would have reflected light better. If you want other colors you will have to purchase those separately.

10. The lights need to cool down before using the handy side pockets to store them in, so breaking this down is not as fast as setting it up.

11. The outside pockets for storage of the lights are NOT padded and thus not much protection is given. Better protection would require keeping the cardboard box and storing the folded up kit in it.

My praise:

1. This is fast and easy to set up with its Velcro closures.

2. The carrying case is convenient.


Perhaps a discounted price for this item would justify its shortcomings but buyer beware. If the product doesn’t do what you need to do and you have to buy a second product, then the money you spent (albeit discounted) will have been wasted!

Disclosure: I bought this item with my own money. I was not paid to write this review. For this blog’s full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my sidebar.

1 comment:

kajero said...

Thank goodness I read your blog before I almost bought this. I really did wonder about the lamps heat and actual usefullness.