I've been eyeing the Neewer 80cm photo tent for a while now, ever since I saw a post on Tumblr talking about how helpful and affordable both the tent itself and their products in general were. Considering that I use a Neewer remote shutter for my camera and am starting to wonder how I did without it, I figured that I might as well take a punt.
It was £23.99 from Amazon.co.uk from a Prime seller, so it arrived the day after I ordered it, and I enlisted a little help with opening it...
It's quite big if you're only 70cm though, so Tay had to enlist a little help himself, in the form of his almost-brother-in-law Milos and between them they managed to pull the handy 40cm bag from its wrapping and then pull both the backdrops, handily wrapped in one bag, and the tent itself wrapped in another, from its case.
And then this happened.
No dolls were harmed in the making of this photo. Not so sure about the Air Ram though.
Because this photo tent?
When you take it out the plastic, it explodes.
This was its third airing and my folding has improved, so I had to ask it nicely. I've learned to keep my distance.
I have no idea how they convinced it into such a small space, but it clearly did not like it because on exposure to air it promptly unfolded itself to its full 80cm height.
I mean, it stayed flat so I can thank the gods for small mercies, but bloody hell. Which is exactly what I accidentally shouted as it leapt from my hand with a surprisingly loud *whumpf*. Loud enough that it was only after I'd finished these photos that I realised it'd knocked the Air Ram over and the dogs, who'd been trying to look at what I was doing before this, suddenly decided that the office wasn't that exciting after all...
It comes with four backdrops: white, black, blue and red, and as they're all folded they all arrive with very neat rectangles creased into them. I try to iron them, but first I'm going to try either draping them over something or rolling them into a tube and hoping that they just sort of... fall out. I'm not big on this ironing stuff.
The tent itself remains flat even after it's disrupted your household and you pull open first one side and then the other. These are surprisingly sturdy and open into a good-sized shape.
As you can see, it fits Milos (a Dollshe Saint) with room to spare -- his fingers were only just grazing the roof. It's not entirely as square as the promo images would have it but that's no big deal. It doesn't give the impression that it's going to roll away even with slightly more rounded lines.
It's a little fiddly getting the backdrop into the tent, partially because you do have to crawl into it to push it against the velcro, and partially because there's velcro on both sides of the backdrop but the tent comes with no instructions, so it takes a moment to figure out which side goes back to the tent. I still don't actually know what the velcro on the other side is for -- it's not for sticking it together for storage, far as i can tell -- but maybe it'll become clear in the future. Or maybe it won't.
It also comes with a velcro cover to block out additional light, which has a handy slit in the front for your camera lens. This does ideally require quite a low tripod. I can't imagine this playing so nicely with my larger one, if I'm honest; the lowest possible height would have the lens pressing against the fabric at the top, so it's something to be aware of if you only have larger tripods.
I bought this to use in the conservatory, which is full of natural light in the day and where I often try to take pictures (and no one needs to see the stuff -- and the cats -- usually floating around in there) and I don't have standalone lights for a proper setup, but I have to say I am now considering buying some to enable me to use this in other rooms in the house.
Word of warning though, 80cm is inexplicably huge. You'd think I'd be expecting it, given that five out of eight dolls are 65-70cm boys, and you know what adds insult to injury?
That the bloody thing does not want to go back into the bag. I should've been expecting this, it's referenced in reviews quite frequently, but I think I was thinking these people just aren't trying hard enough. Nope. It's not that at all. It's that it simply does not want to co-operate, and this is again why I wish it came with written instructions. And when your bag is 1/4 of your tent?
HOWEVER! Skimming through the Amazon.com reviews and discounting the smug ones who state they can flatten it in 30 seconds without stating how, a Danny Perfect wrote a very useful review with this instruction:
Which works, albeit with a lot of internal swearing. Thank gods.
A noodler with a doll obsession.