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Customer Review

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the money, this kit is hard to beat, October 1, 2010
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This review is from: ePhoto VL9026s 2000 Watt Lighting Studio Portrait Kit with Carrying Case with 2 Soft boxes, 2 Light Heads and 10 Fluorescent Bulbs (Electronics)
I purchased this ePhoto 2000 WATT Digital Photography/Video Softbox Lighting Kit from Amazon and received it about 4 or 5 days ago. I am (at best) an amateur photographer so I do not have the experience or knowledge to give this review any real depth, at least from a professional photography standpoint. I will, however, review it from an amateur photographer / novice user standpoint since that is what I am and I believe that is really who this kit is geared towards. I purchased this kit to help light some smaller objects I intend to macro photograph.

In the short amount of time I've had the kit, I've shot maybe 100 photographs with it using a point and click digital camera (the Fujifilm A170 10.2MP Digital Camera) that I already own. While this camera is definitely of the amateur variety, most of my photgraphs will only be viewed in small web shots so it should suffice for now. The difference shooting before and after receiving the ePhoto kit is, almost literally, night and day. Here are my thoughts thus far:

Pros:
- The kit was packaged well. While there was some damage to the packaging boxes, the kit itself made it to me intact and without damage. (See below for the one exception)
- While the different parts are definitely not what I would consider "high" quality (as most parts are plastic), for the money the quality seem more than adequate.
- The light produced by the bulbs is of the daylight variety and is a huge improvement over the regular incandescents I was using before (the dining room lights, truth be told).
- Each bulb has its own on/off switch so you can adjust the amount of light as the situation requires.
- I was able to assemble both lights in about 40 minutes (I was taking my time and redid the first one after figuring out a couple steps I did incorrectly on the first one). If I had to do it again, I could probably cut that time down to about 10 to 15 minutes per light.

Cons:
- As some of the other reviewers have already state, while this kit is technically "portable" I would not recommend breaking it down and putting it back together too many times. Some of the parts do not instill confidence in me that they would resist breaking under repeated disassembly/reassembly. This is just my gut feeling so I wanted to mention it but I do want to stress this is just conjecture on my part at this time.
- I accidentally left all the lights on and walked away from the unit for about an hour. Upon returning there was a distinct chemical/hot metal smell emanating from the units. I do not know what specifically was emitting the smell (possibly the lights but I'm thinking it was the material in the softboxes). The smell was strong enough to notice in the next room but there was no noticeable damage to the units themselves. I only mention it in case anyone is considering using these lights for extended periods. Perhaps whatever is causing this smell would burn off eventually and go away but once again, this is just a guess.
- One (1) of the ten (10) cfl bulbs arrived inoperable. There was no damage to this specific bulb's packaging and the bulb itself looked fine so I don't know if the bulb was just defective or if it was damaged in shipping. (See below for more on this)
- As others have mentioned, the instructions are definitely lacking however I found them much better than the typical xerox of a xerox of a xerox of a manual that some products ship with. The instructions appeared to be printed out from an inkjet printer and were in color. The pictures were nice and generally helpful but there just needed to be more of them with better descriptions. (see my scanned photo of the instructions)

Other thoughts:
- While the light produced by this kit is a huge improvement over what I was using, I may end up buying an additional softbox to put directly overhead as, in some of my shots, I am still getting more shadow than I would like. This also might just be my inexperience with knowing how to set softboxes up properly so I am not dinging the ePhoto kit for this currently.
- I contacted Amazon to see what I needed to do to get the defective/damaged bulb replaced but unfortunately the only thing they would offer me was a full refund if I returned the kit. Since I am happy with the kit thus far and only needed one bulb replaced (and didn't want to think about trying to repackage the product), I refused. I emailed ePhoto (I had to look up their site online) but after two days of no response, I called them directly. The gentleman I spoke to was very polite and helpful. After he confirmed my order and address, he informed me that they would ship me out a new bulb. He said I should expect it in 4 or 5 days. I'll update the review later to note how that goes.

Overall, for the money I am happy with my decision to purchase this kit.
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