Saturday, January 29, 2011

SP200 Photo Studio Review

So my wife bought me the SP200 Photo Studio for my birthday last week. I had a little bit of time to mess around with it and my first impressions are very good.

I have a Canon PowerShot SD780 and while it's not the greatest camera, I like it a lot and it does take really nice photos. I don't think the pictures on my blog are bad, but I definitely don't have the best lighting or a good backdrop and I want an easy way to take nice photos of my finished miniatures.

All of the miniature company's out there retouch their photos in Photoshop and that's definitely something I can do to make up for bad photography. Problem is, it's too time consuming and I'd rather spend time working on my various projects or just being lazy. While I don't have a ton of time with it, these are the pros and cons from my experiences so far.

  • Comes with everything you need including 2 lights, a tripod, the photo booth itself, and 4 different colored backdrops (red, blue, white, and black)
  • Folds up for easy storage and doubles as a carrying case
  • Good price at $50
  • Easy to set up

  • The lights seem to be cheaply made
  • Requires an entire table to setup correctly
  • Lights need to be plugged in (only an issue if you want to take it to a tournament and grab pics of someone's army)
  • Backdrops wrinkle easily and need to be ironed (I don't do ironing)

Overall, I'm definitely happy with it. I was having a bit of difficulty taking clear shots with single miniatures, but that is something I need to work on and has to do with my camera settings. Here are some sample pics with only minor tweaking in Photoshop.

My Death Company Rhino back from the 3rd Edition days. This model made final cut for Golden Demon, but didn't place because I glued it to a scenic base. I believe I might have been one of the first people to put a vehicle on a scenic base because no one else had them that year. The judges were arguing and one of them wanted to put it in, but the other bloke won out. Sissy. Reason I didn't win was because "I couldn't use it in a game". The only reason I glued it was so it wouldn't fall and get broken.

This is the Baal Predator that I entered in the following year at Golden Demon. That year I didn't make any cut because I didn't bring a scenic base! Seems I started a trend the year prior and everyone was sporting cool bases. I was so upset about the irony that I never entered Golden Demon again...

The old and the new. That's the first Blood Angels figure I painted along with my latest converted Razorback.

Once you have a nice picture like this, you can take it into Photoshop and trim out the background. This is currently what Games Workshop does with all of their new miniature photography.

Once the background is trimmed, you can make your pics all retro style with the gradient tool like in the old 'Eavy Metal Painting Guides!

So in conclusion, I think the SP200 Photo Studio is pretty awesome and I'll definitely get my uses out of it. I have seen higher end photo tents like this and while this isn't ready for publication in White Dwarf, it suits me fine for my hobby.

Tomorrow is our monthly gathering of the DED 'ARD Gaming Club and we have a couple new faces this week with Necrons and Imperial Guard. I'll take some pics of our games and post them in the next few days.

Till then,
–The Harrower

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