The MK Gem eBox; A Self-Contained Box For Small Product Lighting Page 2

The jury is out in deciding which approach worked best with the watch: halogen or fluorescent. Fluorescent lighting (left) produced a cleaner-looking image. However, tungsten (above) gave the watch more sparkle and depth. It also added double shadows from the hands.

Glass And Porcelain
Next, we come to the porcelain vase. Here I cut a sheet of vellum paper and planted it so that it swept up in back, behind the subject, matte side up. This shot was of course taken through the open front panel, from a raised viewpoint.

The porcelain vase, being opaque, was simple to tackle. It was important to avoid glaring hot spots and to fill in detail at the front. The wraparound fluorescent lighting was the obvious answer.

The most time-consuming subject was the designer bracelet. Made of a combination of genuine crystal and sterling silver beads, it was the first subject photographed at length in the Gem eBox, and possibly the most demanding. With the crystal beads, too much exposure would have rendered these objects practically invisible.

I photographed the bracelet by halogen and fluorescent lighting in turn, and from different angles. The designer preferred the tungsten renditions in all cases shown here, especially from a frontal angle, where limited depth of field played a role. When I moved the camera to an overhead position, I found that angling the camera slightly did a better job of retaining the brilliance in the translucent beads. Shooting straight down produced the least satisfactory results with either lighting system. Tungsten lighting does have its downside: a hot area visible to the left and right, although I can live with it.

Tips For Using The Camera Bracket
· Align the camera so that the lens is not blocked by the rim of the hole on top of the Gem eBox. There is some margin for error, depending on the size of the lens. This aperture may be too small for fast optics with a large lens barrel diameter.
· The manufacturer recommends use of a point-and-shoot camera, not an SLR, with the bracket. This is primarily a weight consideration.
· Turn the camera on before attaching to the bracket. This will prevent the roof of the unit from interfering with the movement of the zoom lens as it extends, in case the camera is not properly aligned before it's switched on. Preferably, lens movement should be internal. This way there is less chance of interference.
· When using an SLR, use the front panel access on the Gem eBox, or remove the bracket and use a tripod with a cantilevered centerpost for overhead shots.

Pricing And Information
The MSRP on MK Digital Direct's Gem eBox is $495. For more information on the Gem eBox (and other self-contained lighting systems), check out the following website: You may also contact MK Digital Direct at 8580 Avenida de la Fuente, Ste. F, San Diego, CA 92154; (800) 258-6230, (619) 661-0628.