Disclaimer: I’m in no way associated with OrangeMonkie or Foldio 3 nor is this a paid or sponsored post. It’s just that I really like the product so I’m writing this 😀
So I’ve finally started using my Foldio 3 and so far I’m loving the upgrade from my Foldio 2 which is what I’ve been using for all of my mech models since 2016.
I was pretty impressed with the Foldio 2 as it allowed me to take good photos of my builds with just the built-in LED lights then be able to fold the whole photo box and store inside one of my cabinets until I needed it again. I eventually bought two extra LED light strips from OrangeMonkie as well as the Foldio360 turntable which bolstered my Foldio setup.
The problem was there came a point when I started building bulkier models and when I’d take pictures of them inside the 15″ Foldio 2, some part of the mech would be outside the backdrop in the photos, especially for builds that had long weapons or when they’d be in action poses. This would be more evident once I started using the Foldio360 to take full rotation videos of my builds to better showcase the whole build as a fully designed 3d model. For the photos, it just meant I had to spend an extra half day cleaning up all the photos to be used for posting in Photoshop which was mostly cropping out the background as the color correction part would always take just a few minutes. This made building new models less frequent as I’d have to spend more time doing post-processing.
Note: A reFrame V3 build averages at 21cm (20-22cm) in height. The Foldio 2 is a 15″ box or roughly 38cm per side which meant I only had around 16cm allowance which is pretty small when you want a seamless background.
Around May 2017, I got informed that OrangeMonkie, the makers of the Foldio series, would be coming out with a Foldio 3 version that would be 25″ bigger than it’s predecessor. I immediately searched for the KickStarter page and placed my backing along with the extra Halo Lights. I received my Foldio 3 sometime in late February from my US forwarder but only started using it late April since I’ve been tied up.
THIS THING IS HUGE. I mean, I knew that from when I placed my backing for the KickStarter project and that this would be 10″ bigger than it’s previous version but it never dawned on me how much bigger this was. While being folded, it wasn’t that much bigger than the Foldio 2 thanks to how they designed the folding panels/walls but when fully opened, it could easily fit any of my models with tons of extra space. This would also mean that I won’t have to do a lot of post-editing for the photos and can speed up my posting time (and hopefully build more!).
The built in lights are dimmable just like the old version but are in a fixed location. The Foldio 2 allowed you to put the 2 LED strips wherever you prefer via double adhesive so that allowed for some flexibility but the 3 LED setup for the Foldio 3 is pretty good too and the orientation means you get more even top lighting.
I also found the extra Halo Lights to be really helpful in getting the right balance of lighting for the subject. They’re definitely more flexible than the built-in lights as you can mount them on the Foldio 3’s magnet spots in a few different orientations, depending on your subject. They plug into the same dimmable switch as the built-in lights so that makes the cable management a little easier.
Both the built-in LED strips and the Halo Lights have a diffused cover so that helps avoid some really strong glare, especially since my LEGO models are all coated in the shiny plastic coating of LEGO pieces.
As mentioned earlier, the Foldio3 folds quite compact given it’s a 25″ photo box. It folds to a mere 25” x 15” x 2.6” (62.5 x 39 x 6.5 cm) meaning it’s only 10″ wider than the Foldio2 folded and is double the thickness folded. The way the panels/walls fold is pretty much the same as the Foldio 2 with these side panels on magnets locking with the other wall side panels magnets.
The same white color plastic sheet is used for the Foldio3 which makes it sturdy and lightweight. The only issue I had was when I had left my Foldio3 opened up for around a few days, the side walls curved a bit due to the weight of the whole structure. It’s a very small issue considering it still retains the “box” shape you need when taking photos.
I will mention here that the way the backdrop connects is different from the Foldio2. In the 2, the backdrop is just a big sheet of colored paper which you clip on the magnets via a strip with magnets. The way the backdrop attaches for the 3 is the backdrops have these circular velcro stickers on the backside that you stick unto the interior of the light box. It will depend if its the white or black version how the attachment goes (the black backdrop connects from the top/rear wall while the white connects from the base panel). Not sure why they did this but it makes using a custom panel more tricky as you’d have to get some velcro strickers to put on the backside of your custom colored backdrop.
I’d have to say I’m really happy with my Foldio3 especially since I got it at the KS backing price of $129. I still would buy this at its current packaged price of $159 (Foldio3 + Halo Light Bars) as I really think it’s a good deal for such a good product. Size is just perfect for most of my builds and gives me the chance to build bulkier things without having to worry about the backdrop being too small 😛 And it tucks nicely into a corner when I’m not using it. My only issue is probably where I’m going to store the backdrops as they’re now much bigger than the old version (I’ve temporarily stored them in one of those blueprint storage cylinders :P)
For more info about the Foldio3, you can check out the product page over at OrangeMonkie’s website 🙂