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Getting the Most out of Your eBox Studio

written by: Carl Weaver•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/14/2011

Learn secrets about how to use the Sunpak eBox Studio to get the best product photography results from this tricky but versatile tool.

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    Sunpak eBox Studio The Sunpak eBox Studio is a good product to help you produce photos of objects to sell on eBay or even to document special items for insurance purposes. Right out of the box, the eBox Studio may not be an ideal solution for all product photography applications but with some practice it can be a great addition to your collection of photographic gear.

    Sunpak eBox Studio One of the shortcomings of the eBox Studio is the tripod that comes with it. Unless you are using a small point-and-shoot camera, I recommend putting this tripod in the closet and using a sturdier substitute. Another option, if you do not have another tripod, is to use the timer setting on your camera. This will help prevent camera shake caused by the unsteady tripod.

    The big hurdle to jump over is that of setting white balance. The problem is that the lights that come with the eBox Studio are incandescent, which have an amber glow. You need to tell your camera to interpret this amber light as white light. Read your camera’s owner’s manual to learn how to set a custom white balance. You can get your lights set up and then place a white piece of paper in the eBox to use as a target for the white balance. Do not use the automatic white balance setting because the computer inside your camera can change the balance moment to moment. It is best to set the camera to something specific, rather than automatic.

    Another problem, in addition to the color of the light, is that the eBox Studio lights are not particularly bright. Personally, I shoot almost everything in my basement, where my wife is good enough to let me keep my mountains of photography equipment. This is certainly too dark a place to use the eBox. To get the right amount of light you should use it near a window in the middle of the day or possibly in a very bright room. Don't worry about using different types of light (incandescent and fluorescent, along with daylight). Your white balance step will sort out all the different light colors.

    Light from the Sunpak eBox Studio 

    The lights that come with the setup are only 100 watts, which is about the same light intensity as a bright household light bulb. On top of that, the diffusion panels spread out the light so the intensity is even and thus will seem even less bright. Have multiple light sources around to compensate. It will make a much better photo. You might even try using the eBox Studio outside on a bright day, as long as the wind isn't too strong.

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    The steps I recommend in dealing with all this include:

    1. Set up your eBox in a very bright location.
    2. Do some sample test shots to make sure your exposure is set properly. Be sure to use your histogram to ensure a proper exposure.
    3. Once your exposure is set, set your white balance.
    4. You are now ready to start shooting with the eBox.