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Archive 2014 · Big panels?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Big panels?

I'm about to pick up a load of 72"x72" panels and fabrics. Since the price tag is $2K for six of them, a little feedback from you guys would help.

I have the smaller Photoflex LitePanels 42"x72" with various fabrics: they are lightweight and inexpensive, but the build quality is borderline. While the tubes are aluminum, the connectors are plastic and the result is quite rickety. I have no confidence using larger sizes, especially as a butterfly.

My desired use is 360 control of ambient light for portraits and tabletop. Fabric choice, light placement and panel configuration are the creative variables. There will be enough sections to build a cube I can stand in with my subject. . This notion was inspired by a Chimera kit called the "portable studio". The panels attach to each other with clips, including one overhead. I can also arrange the panels as V-flats, and boom the overhead.

Does anyone have experience with Chimera frame quality? Are elastic bands on the fabric corners sufficient to keep the fabric taut across a large panel? (I know that Sunbounce and big butterflies lash the fabric along the frame for that reason.) Are there other vendors, or technologies? Any other comments?

May 31, 2014 at 10:32 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Big panels?

I have several 72" square westcott scrim jims, and like the system - they're pretty rigid after the fabrics are attached, and it seems like they'd work for what you are describing, though unfortunately they jump from 72" on a side to 96" on a side - and if you're buying new, the frames/fabrics are painfully expensive.

I've not tried the chimera product you're looking at but I've used other gear made by them in the past and it seems well made.


(Richard George)

May 31, 2014 at 03:41 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Big panels?

You might consider getting a Matthews Floppy Cutter. It's 4' x 4', but it has a black fabric that pulls down and effective'y gives you a 4' x 8' black panel. Simple to use, just attach it to a stand and voila.


This link shows you what it looks like open up from top to bottom. This particular brand is ridiculously overpriced:


May 31, 2014 at 04:22 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Big panels?

+1 on the Westcott Scrim Jims. Lots of variety and sturdy panels that will also allow you to make smaller panels by removing sections so a 72"x72" panel can also be configured as 42"x72" or 42"x42". All you need are the fabrics.

The Chimeras are pretty nice as well, just not as flexible with sizing.

Jun 01, 2014 at 02:43 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Big panels?

Many thanks for the suggestions. I'm aware of Scrim Jim, of course, but didn't know about those larger sizes. Investigating.

Jun 01, 2014 at 05:47 AM

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