A couple of month ago, I pledged some money to the Foldio Kickstarter, intending to give it to my brother (the serious miniature painter of the family) as a late birthday gift. Foldio is a portmanteau of "folding" and "studio" and is a folding, so far so good, lightbox intended to allow quality pictures of relatively small objects. Like miniatures, for example (totally random example of course). While at it I also ordered one for myself...
A couple of weeks ago, both Foldios showed in the mail and I finally managed to buy the two 9 Volt batteries needed to power it just a couple of days ago (a nearly impossible task!) I first used it to take pictures of my (not so) freshly painted and previously posted Brigade Model Power Armour.
But let's take a look at the Foldio itself...
The variant I went for comes as the Foldio structure made of sturdy flexible white plastic (it was supposed to be laminated paper but it got upgraded during the Kickstarter), two LEDs strips with 9 V battery connector, four background sheets (black, grey, white and green for the photoshopping crowd, about 1mm thick and made of some synthetic dense foamed material, neoprene maybe?) and a envelope/bag made to contain the folded Foldio but unfortunately not the four background sheets.
As an early bidder I got them for $27 each, plus $10 postage. Not sure what the retail price will be. The other option came with three more background sheets (blue, yellow and pink?) but only has a single LEDs strip.
Initial assembly is reduced to sticking the adhesive backed LEDs strips (two possible configurations: both front or one front and one aft, the later apparently making for more shadow, I went for the former) inside the foldio and re-creasing some folds. Deploying the structure is very simple and six rare-earth magnets embedded in the structure keep everything in position. The background sheed is held in place by the front "lip" of the box and by two "clips" cut out of the back of the structure. Connect two 9 V batteries (to be bought separately) and you're on!
|Picture taken using the Foldio and a Nikon Coolpix S9700 used on the default setting and without flash.|
In case you wonder, the miniatures are 2 cm high and the base 4 cm wide.
So what do I think... Honestly, it's nothing I couldn't have build with a suitable cardbox, a couple of ikea LEDs strips, connectors and things. But even then I would probably have been quite close of 32 bucks (what I paid for one including half the postage) worth of parts, not factoring the time spent buying them and building the thing. The overall finish as a nice professional feel to it I wouldn't have achieved by building one myself (or at least not without spending much more time at it). Finally, and although I'll probably keep it deployed at all time (yes, I'm that lazy), it's folding which can be a selling point if you're the nomad type.
All in all, I'm very happy with what I got, certainly given what I paid for it!