Review REVIEW: Hobo Lighting small still life shooting table

cowasaki

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Cotswold photography:
Hobo Lighting Small Still Life Shooting Table​

Well having had a play with various options in relation to product photograph I felt the the best option for me would be a product photography table. I looked on Ebay and various reviews before deciding that I did not need a particularly expensive one and found this one for sale on Ebay although you can contact Cotswold Photography directly. (0)1386 841698 (normally on answerphone!)
or email @ ebay@cotswoldphoto.co.uk.

The option I bought here is £56.99 including postage and Cotswold Photography are VAT registered.

Delivery etc

I placed the order early in the morning and the item arrived next day so no problems there

What do you get in the box


Well the table comes in lots of parts and is assembled in much the same way as a tent. You get a carry case, the poles, 8 clips to hold the perspex, 2 lighting clamps and an instruction sheet written in either Chinese or Japenese but with a diagram.


Assembly

The assembly was not difficult but a number of the poles look the same so you need to make sure that you use the right ones which for some of the parts becomes trial and error. Also it needs to be assembled so that all the clips etc point inside the table or downwards avoiding being in the way of the perspex.


Here we have the light table assembled but in my haste the adjustable hinges were the wrong way round so had to be swapped over.


Now we get to the fun part of fitting the perspex. The perspex it quite stiff which is what you need once the table is together or the weight of items on it would pull down on the perspex are cause a dent. Fitting the perspex to the top and rolling it down I found was made easier if you use several of the clips or better still fit the two lighting clamps at the top. Once attached at the top roll the perspex down and clip it in place along the sides using four of the clips supplied until you get something looking like this:


Now the bottom part. If you try and bend the perspex round the tight bend to attach it at the front it wants to fold in two but after messing about with it for a few minutes I realised that the best way to sort it out was to stick a metal pole under the perspex near the bottom and bend the perspex over that then clip it in place with the four remaining clips (It should be two but we used the clamps in place of the top clips)


And here we have the item fully assembled.

First impressions

Well my first impressions are good. This review contains instructions which are considerably better than the ones supplied which are in all reality atrocious but once it is together most people will keep it that way or at least learn how to put it together so that is now a deal breaker.

The item is clearly a budget priced item but everything was as described and was fit for the purpose. The price is very low for such an accessory with Manfrotto's equivalent costing around 8-10 times the amount. If you are not going to be doing vast amounts of product photography or you are on a tight budget then this is a perfectly viable alternative to the lighting tents that you see everywhere. As an alternative to a lighting tent it has its advantages and disadvantages and I for one will probably end up buying both with certain things lending themselves to one technique over the over.

Pros

  • Quick Delivery.
  • Low price.
  • Adequate for the job.
  • Portable
  • Light weight.

Cons

  • Absolutely awful instructions.
  • Not as strong as some of the competition (although many times cheaper).

IF you buy anything after seeing one of my reviews then please post on here as I can then use this to get leverage towards maybe later having things lent to me to do reviews on!
 
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cowasaki

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The Hobo Lighting Small Still Life Shooting Table

In use

We can see the table sat here in my studio between two 300w Lencarta Elitepro lights on standard stands. The stands themselves are not really designed for product photography and do not get as low as I would want for the particular use but they place the lights either side of the subject.

I will point out now that I am not an expert when it comes to product photography so I am sure that my shots will improve (I have a product photography course booked with Lencarta - they still have a few places left). Anyway with the lights in this configuration and using the figure straight out of the light meter we get the following shot.


Nikon D700, AFS 24-70 f2.8G, f16, 1/200s, ISO400, 2 x 300w lights

There ISO was left at 400 by mistake for we'll ignore that bit :)

The picture above is literally straight out of the camera with nothing at all done to it on purpose so that you can all see what you get.


IF you buy anything after seeing one of my reviews then please post on here as I can then use this to get leverage towards maybe later having things lent to me to do reviews on!
 
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#3
Good review .............. thanks for that.
Would need to store it erected somewhere though as I guess it would be a pain in the butt to keep dismantling?
 
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cowasaki

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Good review .............. thanks for that.
Would need to store it erected somewhere though as I guess it would be a pain in the butt to keep dismantling?
I had a few problems because I am not quite fit again but you could probably put it together in 10 minutes after some practice. It is one of those things where if you had a contract to take 100 pictures at a factory it would be easier to assemble it there and take your lights etc but if you were taking 10 pictures it might be easier to bring them to your studio!
 
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Hello Darren,

Great review and good timing for me as I am currently looking for a shooting table.

Can you tell me how thick the perspex is please?
and is it semi-glossy on one side / matt on the other or matt on both sides?

(I would think it would be easier to assemble if you clamped the perspex on at the bottom front first as the sheet would be then easier to bend at the rear top section.)

The table top area looks to be about 24 inches tall? - I would look to extend the legs (slip a slightly larger tube over the legs?) by about a foot this would help me, with having a bad back so that I would not have to bend down so much.........:)

Thanks once again for taking the time to review.

Regards

Roy
 
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cowasaki

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#9
Hello Darren,

Great review and good timing for me as I am currently looking for a shooting table.

Can you tell me how thick the perspex is please?
and is it semi-glossy on one side / matt on the other or matt on both sides?

(I would think it would be easier to assemble if you clamped the perspex on at the bottom front first as the sheet would be then easier to bend at the rear top section.)

The table top area looks to be about 24 inches tall? - I would look to extend the legs (slip a slightly larger tube over the legs?) by about a foot this would help me, with having a bad back so that I would not have to bend down so much.........:)

Thanks once again for taking the time to review.

Regards

Roy
Roy,

I tried both directions for the perspex and I found it easier from the top as the initial bend is harder. The perspex is matt/gloss and about 1-2mm thick. Can't remember how tall the table is now.

Having had a small play it really does look like a great bit of kit. If you do buy one then let them know it is after seeing this review as I am trying to get them to send me one of their new umbrellas to review.
 
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#10
Thanks Darren,

You could always use a hairdryer to warm up the perspex to be a bit more flexible when fitting? but it does not sound a big issue as it seems flexible being rolled up fairly tightly when delivered.

And if its only 1-2mm thick you could always insert a piece of clear acrylic underneath to strengthen the table top, although I am not intending placing anything heavier than say a large focal length lens which would be about 2kg in weight.

I am looking at a couple of others and Lencarta are supposed to be releasing one soon, but so far this one looks to be my favourite.

Regards
 
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#11
I am looking at a couple of others and Lencarta are supposed to be releasing one soon, but so far this one looks to be my favourite.
The Lencarta ones will be better but more expensive, so it's just horses for courses really. They're in stock now, but I haven't had time to photography them yet so they're not on the website - hopefully early next week.

I will point out now that I am not an expert when it comes to product photography so I am sure that my shots will improve (I have a product photography course booked with Lencarta - they still have a few places left). Anyway with the lights in this configuration and using the figure straight out of the light meter we get the following shot.
That's looking quite good - but you'll do much better after your course. Putting a light each side doesn't work any better for products than it does for people:)
 
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#12
The Lencarta ones will be better but more expensive, so it's just horses for courses really. They're in stock now, but I haven't had time to photography them yet so they're not on the website - hopefully early next week.
Bugger. Wish I'd read this yesterday. Cos on the strength of this review (yes, you can quote me on that) I bought a Hobo table to take some quick product snaps :LOL:

30 mins to put together (approx even split between assembling the 437 pieces and bending the perspex...) and then 5 mins for a test shoot.

I'll tweak DOF a little more and put a proper snoot on the sparkle light but for a quick test with some bling I'm happy enough. This is 2 X SB800s - it will be better when I can be bothered to get some bigger heads out.

 
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#15
That's what I was on about in the review. I bet it is much nicer than this one but 10+ times the price!!!
I know who makes this and how much it costs, frankly it's difficult to justify that price
 
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#18
I know who makes this and how much it costs, frankly it's difficult to justify that price
I suspect the answer is "because they can". Historically companies making fairly niche products like this could charge whatever they wanted. E.g. super clamps are pretty useful and if there is only one firm making them then they can get pricey.

Now we have micro companies able to source stuff made in China and run web only businesses prices of stuff like this are plummeting. E.g. How much for a 40 inch brolly? The Profoto ones seem nice - but 90 quid?? Srsly?
 
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