I've been wanting a tabletop photography kit for a while, to take decent pictures of my 3-D printing experiments, as well as other projects. After reading endless Amazon reviews, none of the kits seemed like the perfect choice. I finally settled on the 30" universal photography kit by EZcube. The cheaper kits sounded like they would have weaker, flimsier lights.
The EZcube itself is pretty interesting — 30" x 30," and folds up to the size of a small pizza, for storage. So it's very compact. But actually getting it folded is like making a particularly difficult origami model. After multiple attempts,I've finally got the hang of it.
As a (very) novice photographer, the lights seem decent and sturdy, though they could be brighter. The backdrop is wrinkly when unfolded, and the wrinkles show up in the photos. I followed the advice of some of the reviewers, and put a piece of white paperboard into the tent to shoot against, instead of the backdrop. This worked much better. Also, the kit could use a storage case.
I was shooting some pictures of my Speedo Clock (which I'm now calling Speedo Mandala Clock), to submit to a call for entries for an art show. They turned out alright — the main benefit of the tent seems to be to diffuse the light, making the shadows less severe.
I'm just using a point and shoot camera — a couple-year-old Casio Exilim. Annoyingly, when the center of the clock is in focus, the outsides are out of focus. I've tried a couple of different modes to try and fix this, but they haven't made a difference. At least I got good enough photos to enter this competition with. I'll have to revisit this focus issue though.