Musou black KIWAMI fabric: back in black
Of all the photography-related paraphernalia I bought in recent times, Musou black KIWAMI fabric proved to be the most useful one. Musou what? Well, ever since I learned about vantablack, I've been mildly obsessed with the idea of absolute black. The only problem with vantablack is that you can't have it. But there is a commercially available product similar to vantablack called Musou Black developed and sold in Japan. I tracked down an EU distributor and splurged for an A4 sheet.
What can I say? It's great. So great, in fact, that I immediately ordered a larger size. Basically, if you need a perfectly black backdrop for the subject you want to photograph, Musou fabric is just the ticket. Neither the amount of light you shine on it nor the direction of light really matters: your background will always stay perfectly black. And because it's fabric, it gives you all the flexibility you need when setting up a scene. The best part is that it can instantly improve the final photo with no effort at all. Here's an example of two photos taken with the same camera and settings. The only difference is the background.
There are a few things worth keeping in mind when using Musou black KIWAMI. The fabric is rather delicate, and it's susceptible to wear marks. So extra care must be taken when placing heavy or pointy objects directly on the fabric.
Pretty much all fabrics pick up dust particles, and Musou is no exception. But precisely because it's so black, even the tiniest particles stand out. And due to its delicate and velvety-like surface, cleaning the fabric can be a bit tricky. A sticky lint roller is your best friend, and giving the fabric a quick roll before using it usually solves the problem. I couldn't find any instructions on how to properly wash the fabric, but I suspect that soaking it in soapy water might not be a good idea.
And then of course the price. The fabric is not cheap by any stretch of imagination. But if instantly improving your product or macro photography with zero work sounds appealing, Musou fabric is pretty much the only option you have.