We’d all like to have a permanent studio setup, but not everyone has that luxury. It may be related to working on-premises at customers, or maybe a part-time photographer that creates their studio on demand at home.
In my case, writing and photography are my part-time career, a creative release that allows me to pick and choose what I shoot when I shoot, and how I shoot.
Backdrops are a big part of studio photography. The conventional approach of backdrop stands and photo backdrops were great, but they came with some baggage, excuse the pun.
- Double Sided, Crease-Resistant Fabric
- Pops Open Quickly and Easily
- Distinctive Patterns with Urban Feel
- Collapses to 1/3 Size for Storage
Table of Contents
The backdrops come in a large circular bag similar to those provided with reflectors. The exception, in this case, is that obviously, the bag is a lot bigger to cater for the size of the backdrop.
Lastolite has always had a good reputation for quality goods. I’ve had one bag on a tri-grip fail, and that was the zip on the bag that failed after a long time.
There aren’t many components when it comes to construction and quality of materials, so this section isn’t going to be extensive. The backdrop consists of a metal frame, and the backdrop material attached to the frame.
There isn’t a lot of ground to cover there. There is also an optional magnetic stand attachment I’ll cover as a section in this review. I would highly recommend getting the magnetic stand.
The Lastolite Popup Backdrops have excellent construction across the whole package. The material quality is high, and the metal frame is sturdy enough to ensure that there are no creases in the material while in use.
The magnetic backdrop support is also well constructed. It’s lightweight with good quality magnets.
Size & Handling
The backdrop is 5’x7′ in size according to the specs. It folds down to a more respectable size that is a third of that making it easy to store when not in use.
As the name suggests, the material is double-sided offering you two variations to use for the shoot. Changing the backdrop is as simple as flipping around the backdrop.
In conjunction with this, the backdrop can also be used in a portrait or landscape orientation depending on your preference.
It is too large to fit into a backpack or bag but not still small enough to carry by hand or fit in the trunk of a car. I can’t help feeling that it’s missing some for of carrying handle or shoulder strap to make it easier to carry if there is more than one.
Lastolite does have different sizes depending on the colour. The Urban range which has more texture rather than a single colour, however, comes in slightly smaller sizes.
The ease of use on the Lastolite Popup Backdrop is easy as it gets. If you’re breathing without thinking, you could do this. You open the bag, take out the backdrop and pops open.
Folding it down, on the other hand, requires an act of god, the alignment of the stars and a miracle that occurs once a century. At least that’s what it feels like the first time.
The folding up process is actually relatively simple if you follow the instructions or look online for a video instructional. Once I did that, I could do it easily, such is the disadvantage of being a man. Working without instructions is ingrained in our psyche.
The magnetic support is an optional item you can purchase for the Lastolite Popup Backdrops. It’s an innovative design that uses magnets to suspend the backdrop off the ground.
Popup backdrops have an awkward flexible structure, even when balanced against a wall. This makes it easy to attach and change backdrops. Switching from one backdrop to another requires a firm jerk downwards to disconnect it.
The magnets are strong and provide a good balance for keeping the Lastolite Popup Backdrop in place while being easy to disconnect. I’d highly recommend considering one if you buy a popup backdrop.
You will need a light-stand for this magnetic support.
Value for Money
The Lastolite Popup reflector retails for around $200 depending on the size and version that you buy. There are more expensive versions that incorporate a train, although this is primarily the solid colours.
The patterned versions like the one shown here retail for $220. If you decide to go for the magnetic holder which I would recommend, add another $60 to the number.
By comparison, there are very few competitors. There are some replicas on the cheaper from lesser-known brands but nothing on the premium end or to the quality of the Lastolite. The competitors also do not offer textures backdrops like the one shown in this review.
The pricing of the Lastolite Urban Collapsible Background is pretty competitive, given the unique offerings and the accessories offered like the magnetic support.
Lastolite Urban Collapsible Photography Background & Magnetic Support Review | Conclusion
If you’re looking at backdrops, the Lastolite Collapsible Background range should be high on your list of options. The flexibility offered by the range extends not only to the initial setup but also switching backdrops.
This means it’s possible to change backdrops in a matter of seconds, minimising downtime between changes. The added advantage of the portability and limited requirement for just a single stand ensures that you will be travelling lighter as well.