ALZO Background Paper vs. Cloth Background:
The backgrounds supplied with the ALZO 100 Cool Lite Tent Kit are made of strong paper and not cloth/nylon material as in other brand tent kits. Even though the cost of supplying paper adds cost, the convenience of use and smoother curves of the background are well worth it. The paper is much easier and quicker to install inside the tent, allowing for more productive shooting time.
The paper also has no wrinkles and does not need ironing as cloth/nylon materials do. Some cloth/nylon materials can be very difficult to iron based on temperature sensitivity. Paper also does not collect lint as does other types of materials and is easier to brush or blow dust from its surface. To a certain extent, paper is more rigid when formed into a curve and holds a much smoother and more consistent horizon curve. It also lays flatter in the bottom of the tent to provide a smoother base for your products. If the bottom tent surface is not tight and tends to either sag or become slightly wrinkled, the paper will correct this issue.
ALZO 100 with Point and Shoot Cameras:
While the intensity of the Alzo 100 lights through the tent are suitable for point and shoot cameras, a tripod is highly recommended to keep camera movement to a minimum. When shooting small items close up to fill the frame, a decent amount of depth of field is necessary to keep the entire subject in focus.
If you have manual exposure settings on your camera, most likely you will want to close the lens aperture down (smaller aperture hole) to gain more depth of field. As a rule of thumb, the higher the aperture number, the smaller the aperture hole and the more depth of field you will have. The more depth of field you have, the more in focus you will have from the front edge of your subject to the far edge.
In addition, the more you close down the lens aperture, the less light will be transmitted because the aperture hole will be smaller in size. In that case, the smaller aperture hole with less transmitted light means a longer shutter time you will need to get the same total amount of exposure. The shutter speed may not be fast enough to hand hold the camera without getting camera shakes, even by boosting the ISO setting on the camera. If you boost the ISO setting too much to get a hand-holdable shutter speed, the noise (graininess) of the image might be unacceptable. You are better off using a tripod so you can keep the ISO setting low and get a much better image with less noise.
If you are using a point and shoot camera without manual settings, perhaps you can use aperture or shutter priority settings, if available, for some semblance of adjustability. If you have these settings, go with the aperture setting, set it to a high number and let the shutter speed adjust itself. If you don’t have those, then Program mode is probably what you will end up using. Hopefully, there will be some program settings that will allow for more depth of field. There might even be a close-up mode as well. If you are using one of the auto exposure modes, the exposure may not be accurate, depending on your subject and the lighting in the tent. Make adjustments using the +/- exposure adjustment setting to lighten or darker the exposure as needed.
When using a shutter speed slower than 1/60th of a second, the best way to minimize camera shake distortion is to use a tripod and some sort of remote shutter release. If you can get a remote trigger of some sort, that is best. Otherwise, try using the self-timer with a setting of at least 5 – 10 seconds. That will allow any camera vibration to settle down for a few seconds after pressing the shutter release. If your camera has optical image stabilization this can be used for hand held shots where the shutter speed is faster than 1/30 sec. Otherwise it is best to use a sturdy tripod, turn off OIS and also use a remote shutter release or the camera self timer.