The turntable is one of the most important piece of equipment when creating 360 product photos.
Product photographers are always looking for new ways to take their images to the next level and offer services that becoming more and more technical.
360 product photography is a relatively recent technique that has really taken off in the last few years as the internet has become more interactive, with many companies investing in full-blown automated 360-degree turntables that cost many thousands of dollars.
But for the rest of us, is there anything on the market for product photographers with smaller budgets?
The Foldio360 Turntable by Orange Monkie is our recommendation for 360 product photography. It has many professional features, such as auto control of the turntable and camera, and it comes with software for putting your images together.
In this post, I’ll help explain which type of turntable will work best for each situation so that you can decide which one is right for your needs!
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What Makes A Good Turntable For 360 Product Photography?
There’s not technically a “best” 360 product photography turntable considering that budgets vary. However, there are some that excel at various levels in mind including ease of use, price and portability.
Since the capabilities of turntables vary between brands, it’s important to understand what each turntable can do. Some turntables are flexible and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as photography. Others are only capable of specific functionality, such as turning, and are therefore more limited in their use.
So here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a turntable for 360 product photography:
- Functionality – Can it control your camera, and can you customize how many turns it takes for a full rotation?
- Ease of use – How much programming do you need to do?
- Price – Is the price competitive with other models on the market?
- Portability – Does this model come in multiple sizes or is it too bulky to move easily when not in use?
- Weight Capacity – Will your product be too heavy for the motor?
- Size – The turntable should be big enough so that your product isn’t hanging off the edge.
Below, we’ve broken down the top contenders for best budget turntables, best individual turntables, and best turntable sets.
Budget Turntables For 360 Product Photography Under $50
Personally, I don’t believe you should use turntables with limited functionality.
In the long run, this will cost you more time and money than just spending a little bit more up front for a more complete solution.
But technically speaking, to get 360 product photos all you need is a turntable, a camera and the software for putting it all together. So if you’re looking for a real budget option, you should check out the following:
Fotoconic Electric Motorized Rotating Turntable
The Fotoconic turntable is a cost-effective, all-purpose display and photography stand that provides basic functionality. The turntable has a modern design and is easy to use, with double direction and 360 degree rotation.
This is an affordable option for both displaying and photographing products. Some of the reasons you might want to opt for the Fotoconic turntable, in spite of its simplicity, are cost and portability.
I would not recommend this as a first-time purchase if you’re serious about 360 photography though!
It has the following features:
- Speed Range – It has a speed range of 40 seconds per revolution (sec/rev.)
- Rotations – This turntable can be set to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise.
And that’s about where the pro’s end.
Negative reviews point out the lack of features and substandard performance after several weeks, which is why this is not a good purchase if you plan on doing any serious work with 360 product photography.
Yuanj Merchandise Display Base
Much like the previous example, the Yuanj photography turntable is completely motorized and intended as a display stand for retail stores. It has a maximum continuous working time of 6 – 8 hours, and can hold products up to 50lbs.
If you plan on doing 360 videography work for your products, as well as displaying them in retail stores or museums—then this turntable may be ideal for your needs.
It has the following features:
- Speed Range – It has a set speed range of 50 sec/rev. Though this speed slower than some users prefer, its longevity bolsters this feature.
- Rotations – Photographers can set this turntable to clockwise or counterclockwise rotations.
Unfortunately the Yuanj Merchandise Display Base is also just a continuous turntable and doesn’t have the ability to remotely control your camera.
Some of the negatives regarding this product is that it can sometimes have jerky motion, which is especially noticeable in video footage.
Best Overall 360 Product Photography Turntables
However, there are some better options for product photographers who want to create 360 degree product photos.
Though these turntables may be more expensive than the ones in the budget section above, they are well worth the investment considering their more industrial counterparts can cost upwards of $80,000.
Both of these turntables can be used individually or as part of a set. They are compatible with products from their parent company and other manufacturers, which makes them suitable for all users. They have smart features and can also integrate with smartphones vs traditional DSLR cameras.
ComXim Professional 360 Degree Photography Turntable
The ComXim Professional Turntable has an intuitive design for easy use and professional results. Its remote control allows users to easily and quickly change the rotation speed, angle, and direction.
The turntable is perfect for 360 product photography, 3D scanning, and 3D modeling. And thanks to a pure copper motor, precision machinery, and sole chip, this turntable is efficient and quiet.
It has the following features:
- Speed Range – It has a speed range of 68-20 sec/rev., 68 being the minimum and the maximum being 20 seconds per circle.
- Rotations – There are two rotation modes: continuous rotation and intermittent rotation. Both are completely smooth and won’t cause the products to jerk, move, etc.
On the plus side, the ComXim turntable lets you have incremental turns so you can have time to take your photos with whatever camera you choose.
However, one of the downsides is that it has a wide range of limitations, specifically with regard to more professional photoshoots. For example, while it’s possible to shoot photos in 10 degree increments, it involves pushing the rotation button 20 times per shot/ degree increment.
There are actually quite a number of different models and it can be quite confusion as to which one to get, so let me make it easy for you:
Don’t bother with the more expensive models that allow you to tether your camera to the turntable. Not only are the cords too short, the software is not very well designed.
Orange Monkie Foldio360 Product Photography Turntable
You might’ve started to notice a trend here, in that there aren’t a lot of good solutions for 360 product photography on the lower end of the market.
However, this is where the Foldio360 turntable stands out and is one we would actually recommend for professional work if you’re looking to save some money!
The Orange Monkie Foldio360 is a relatively new turntable that has recently emerged and become popular in the last few years.
Usually purchased and originally offered as part of a set (discussed later), this turntable offers smart technology utilizing Bluetooth and IR sensors to connect with your preferred photography method, whether that’s your smartphone or a DSLR camera.
Once you click the ‘start’ button, the turntable will automatically rotate, take photos, and combine them to create a seamless and interactive 360 degree image. You can also use the same function to create stunning, production-quality videos.
It has the following features:
- Speed Range – The turntable speed range can be controlled via your phone or DSLR using Bluetooth connection and IR sensor.
- Rotations – Photographers can utilize 360 degree clockwise or counterclockwise rotation
- Full Featured App – The free app will stitch together your photos if you’re using your smartphone and allow you to share them with others, as well as control almost every aspect of the turntable.
- 360 Hosting Site – They also provide a place to host your 360 product photos for free, with the site able to take your DSLR pictures and stitch them together as well.
Unfortunately, it has a maximum load capacity of up to 11 Ibs (5 kg). Which is enough for most small-sized products, but not any bigger ones. Another downside is that the turntable is exclusively controlled via the App.
This makes it difficult to use for people who don’t have a smartphone or tablet with the corresponding App installed.
The set-up process is also more involved than on other models with a traditional controller. For example, you need to place the turntable on the ground first, then connect it to a power outlet and lastly install the App and pair it with your device.
With that said, the Foldio360 is one of the better feature-rich turntables, but it’s not the cheapest by any means.
360 Product Photography Turntable Sets
Here’s how to turn your product photography into a success: buy the right lights and equipment!
If you want people to like what they see on your website or social media, then it is crucial that we get this part right first–the look of our products with their shiny surfaces will be utterly ruined if not well lit by quality lights or diffusion before taking pictures.
You need light boxes that surround the product, tripods for stability, and of course good lighting.
If you want to do minimal post production, you’ll also want to make sure your product is properly surrounded by a white background.
A proper turntable set will help you achieve both things at once. Here are a couple options if you have a smaller budget:
Orange Monkie Foldio360 Full Set
Remember the Foldio360 turntable mentioned earlier? You can also purchase it as a set (Amazon) that comes complete with a lightbox and LEDs.
This kit includes the Foldio360 smart turntable, 25 inch studio light box, halo bars lighting accessory, Foldio360 extension kit, triple LED lighting system, dimming controller, power adapter kit, backdrops in white and black, the Foldio camera app, 360 Image Online platform access, and a one-year limited warranty.
It can be set up in less than 10 seconds, thanks to a lightweight and portable design.
However, given the lower price point compared to more industrial/commercial turntables, the materials are noted to be of less quality.
It is also said that the product’s software for stitching photos together into an interactive format can be quirky to use, as you must use a specific number of photos for each option.
GemLightbox Turntable Set
As opposed to the other sets and turntables listed in this section, the GemLightbox set is different in that it’s not a general product photography solution.
Instead, it was made specifically for fine jewelry and gemstones. However, you can use it for any small product that fits inside the lightbox dimensions.
The lightbox is equipped with an LED lighting system with two different light options and a blend of white acrylics, reflectors, and mirrors so that photos are studio-quality and require minimal retouching.
It has two shooting perspectives, front or aerial, and includes a white backdrop.
Designed specifically for the GemLightbox, it connects to your smartphone wirelessly via Bluetooth. From the app, users have complete control over rotation, speed, and angle. You can shoot 360 degree photos or videos in seconds.
This kit includes the GemLightbox, GemLightbox turntable, photography table, necklace and earring table, universal smartphone stand, universal adaptor, GemLightbox app, and one-year warranty.
However, some of the cons that should be noted are regarding the price and design. At almost $1,300, it is quite pricey for such a small turntable set and the design can be difficult to use.
If you’re looking for a cheap and effective way to take 360 product photography, we recommend the Foldio360. It is affordable and easy to use, but it does have some limitations that might not be ideal for all businesses or projects.
For example, if your products are larger than 12 inches in diameter then this turntable will not work well with them because there is only enough space on the table top for objects up to 10 inches wide.
Overall though, considering its price tag versus other options like commercial models which can cost upwards of $80,000, I think most people would agree that the Foldio360 gives good value at a reasonable price point.
We’ve got plenty of helpful information on our blog so be sure to check out our post on more industrial options if your needs exceed those provided by this cheaper alternative.