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Lighting Small Objects Made Easy
A review of the Lowel Ego

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In the past, when we needed a product shot for a magazine article, or a photograph of an item we were going to auction on eBay, we had to go through the hassle of setting up light stands with flash units bounced into white umbrellas. Discovering the Lowel Ego digital imaging light changed our workflow and makes it easy to do product shots with less than a five-minute set up - and no light stands or wires to trip over.

The Ego’s compact size (17” x 16” x 6”) makes it excellent for those with a small shooting space. The light is fitted with a white Plexiglas front and two 27 watt daylight florescent bulbs. These lamps produce the equivalent of 100 watts of light each at a color temperature of 5500 degrees. A standard female tripod socket (quarter-twenty) on the bottom can be used to attach it to a tripod or light stand. Also included is a 12x32 inch folded white Coroplast reflector for bounce fill. Using just the Ego and reflector gives you a functional lighting system for objects 14 inches and under. Adding a second Ego light and a Lowel Ego-Sweep background gives a photographer a more versatile setup, useful for shadow less lighting. To photograph larger objects, the Ego can be mounted on a tripod or light stand and used just like a white umbrella.

Glass vase photo taken with the CoolPix 8400
and two Lowel Egos as seen below

The Ego-sweep is a simple, background paper holder made of corrugated plastic. Two clips hold a sheet of the included assortment of background papers, allowing for a seamless backdrop sweep behind the item you are shooting. At only $20 the Ergo-sweep is a very good deal for table top photographers.
The Ego florescent lights are daylight balanced, so digital cameras can either be set on Auto or Custom White Balance, though a consistent white balance is recommended for repeatable results. Turning off ambient room light is a good idea, as the amount of light coming from a single Ego light is not as intense as a powerful flash unit and will effect both exposure and color balance. Our exposures ranged from about an eighth of a second at f5.6 when working with a single Ego to about 1/125 at f4.7 when using two units.
The Lowel Ego (with reflector) retails for $125 and the Lowel Ego-Sweep for $25. The combination makes a good set up that will get any level photographer into the good results range with little work. Adding the recommended second Ego will bring many more options to the table when shooting small products.

More photos taken with the Lowel Ego

Lighting using a single Lowel Ego and white reflector 

Lighting using two Lowel Egos

Lighting using two Lowel Egos
A photo created to sell my camera on eBay

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