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Car Turntables - 360-Degree Automotive Photography

Discover car turntables from popular manufacturers vs the PhotoRobot automation-driven solution for high-volume, 360-degree car photography and product videos.

360 Car Turntables for In-House Product Photography

Car turntables like PhotoRobot’s Carousel 5000 offer an automotive photography solution for dealerships, superstores, online retailers & private sellers. These large rotating car platforms feature in garages, warehouses, photo studios and showroom floors. 

However, there are many car turntable manufacturers on the market, each with varying designs, technology, installation & costs. In fact, some of the best selling car turntables don’t even provide half of what PhotoRobot offers. The machinery might be similar, but the real savings are in PhotoRobot’s automation technology that drives the machines.

Car turntable design features with motorized rotation for automotive photography

Product photography software can dramatically lower production costs by automating processes. Software like PhotoRobot’s provides control over all studio equipment, and can integrate into existing workflows and technology. It can automate remote image capture, automatically post-process images, as well as manage, distribute & host product content online. 

But how does PhotoRobot’s solution compare to other turntable manufacturers, from the hardware to the software? Read on to compare PhotoRobot’s car turntable versus other solutions, including their design, manufacturing, software, installation & costs.

Garage Turntables and Parking Systems vs Studio Turntables

Car turntable photography requires more than simple garage turntables or car parking systems. Manufacturers such as Pre-Motion or Hercules are fine if only for rotating a car in a small garage space. They make for a great parking aid, and are popular for both domestic and commercial use, like promoting new vehicles. Yet, many systems like these possess little to zero software and automation features.

On the other hand, turntables for studio use boast software-driven automation & control for high-output, high-volume car photography. Some popular manufacturers include Carousel USA, Car Turner Turntables, and Hensel Systems by XY Imager (NoHa-Tec). Automation serves to speed up photography, simplify post-processing, and streamline content time-to-web.

Meanwhile, the machines cater to capturing as many cars as possible in a single session and over long-term operations. Customers tend to be automotive resellers and dealerships who need to photograph sometimes 100s of vehicles in a few days. Thus, the design & durability of the machinery is vital for lower operational costs, and less need for service or replacement.

Automotive Turntable Design

If looking to buy a car turntable for in-house studio photography, often the first concern is turntable design. Dealers, retailers & private sellers need a reliable, space-efficient machine that is able to meet workload demands. The higher the volume of cars to photograph, the more durability matters for cost-efficient, long-term operations. 

After all, it isn’t only a turntable for auto motor shows or dealer showrooms. Online car retail & reselling can call for photographing an entire car lot over a short period. This requires heavy-duty machinery that is highly resistant to wear and tear, like PhotoRobot’s Carousel.

By design, the Carousel is a car turntable to rival popular manufacturers like Hensel turntables by XY Imager. The Carousel has a 4,000 kg load capacity and a 5 meter diameter plate. It weighs approximately 1,500 kg, offering more durability and reliability than competitor machines of max 1,000 kg. The rotating platform can also be installed in a warehouse garage, or recessed into a showroom floor. 

Its low profile makes placing products as easy as parking, with no access ramp or crane necessary. Additionally, the Carousel supports a parking utility to offer an even more robust design. The parking utility makes it similar to parking systems, and is suitable for use in garage installations. Now, where the Carousel really differs from other automotive turntables is in the technology behind the machine.

Technology & Software Comparison

At a glance, car turntables from PhotoRobot, Hensel Turntables by XY Imager, and rival manufacturers share several technology features.

Each system is:

  • The ideal height for positioning large products on the platform, from automobiles to camper vans, tractors, boats, furniture & more
  • Compatible with strobe or LED lighting, or a combination of both
  • For use with a light tent to eliminate unwanted reflections and minimize the need for complex post-processing
  • Controlled over WiFi (via browser) with automatic recording capability

However, the real difference between PhotoRobot and other car turntables is in PhotoRobot’s comprehensive automation & control software.

Car photography automation software integrates into studio workflows

PhotoRobot software gives users all of the above plus:

  • Cutting-edge photo studio software for automated image capture, editing, publishing & digital asset management
  • User-friendly, easily integrated control software that makes it easy even for amateur photographers to consistently capture web-ready photos
  • Basic to advanced photo editing tools available automatically & immediately after capture, with reusable settings to streamline post-processing
  • Studio workflow software functions & reports to keep clients, photographers and project managers on task in real-time
  • API integration of PhotoRobot machines for use with 3rd party software, or for full integration with any corporate system
  • Automated image delivery to internal or external systems
  • One of the fastest product viewers on the market for hosting image galleries, 360 spins, 3D photos, panoramas, videos & more

Car Turntable Installation & Setup

Each of these systems requires on-site construction, with customization options and upgrades available. Studios can build their automotive turntable on any existing, level surface, or construct it into a warehouse or showroom floor. The latter provides a great option when building a new car photography studio.

Now, some manufacturers offer extremely compact car photo booths. They might even be cheaper than leading hardware, and set up in a small corner space. Yet, when in use, vehicles are extremely close to the walls, making it difficult to capture good photos. 

At PhotoRobot, we can work with any available space and consult on the best installation for in-house car photography. We install the Carousel 5000 on location, and provide user-knowledge training for the equipment & software.

Carousel car turntable installation by PixMyCar at Stellantis
Setting up for 360 photography is as easy as parking a car. The drive-up ramp is 78 mm tall, enabling easy entry from any side of the ramp.

In total, it takes around 6 - 12 hours to install the machine on top of an existing surface. If building it into the floor, add time to lay another layer of concrete around the turntable. Meanwhile, the whole training process is no longer than 1 - 2 weeks. The structure of training covers everything in this period: assembly, control, lighting, camera settings, lenses, strategy, integration and more. 

This includes setup and user training that will enable studios to photograph up to 60+ cars in a single day. Compare that to other manufacturers whose solutions can at best photograph 2 or 3 cars in that time. 

Integration with Existing Technology

Another feature that makes PhotoRobot unique is its ability to integrate with existing studio technology. For one, our systems support automated, remote image capture on DSLR and mirrorless Canon camera models.

Photographers can adjust camera settings, command studio light groups, and control turntable rotation all from a workstation computer. Programmable control then enables remote image capture in sync with the rotation of the turntable and studio light settings.

The software also supports connection with 3rd party software via API, or fully integrates into any corporate system. It can connect to eCommerce websites and apps, and takes advantage of Cloud processing for automatic image delivery after capture.

Meanwhile, a global CDN delivers pixel-perfect resolution and quick-loading of product imagery on any device. If using PhotoRobot Viewer, businesses can also instantly host 360 spins as well as complete image galleries on product pages.

Further, all assets are easily organized, secured, searchable & redistributable thanks to a Digital Asset Management system. There are project sharing features for internal or external processes, and teams can access projects from anywhere in the world.

Car Studio Control Functions

Some car studios come with a controller that has a few buttons and a multi-dot display for turntable control. Usually, settings include command over studio light groups, device rotation, and remote camera capture. However, the problem with this is that somebody then has to be in the studio to press those buttons.

Integrated product photography software controls and settings

With automation software, this is not the case. For example, PhotoRobot Controls enables studios to configure settings once and use them again and again, long into the future. There is no need for somebody in the studio manually pressing buttons to run one process after another. 

Instead, the software allows users to configure and save hardware sequences, lighting, camera settings, and post-processing for easy, one-click automation. It can then repeat these settings accurately & consistently across similar types of vehicles. Studios can configure settings for light or dark vehicles, capturing multiple elevations, or for generating various outputs.

Photo Editing Automation 

Systems like Hensel’s by XY Imager call for a manual retoucher on the team, or hiring out. The result is additional costs the more content you produce. This is not the case with PhotoRobot. We have designed the machinery and our automated editing tools so that even amateur photographers can produce professional, high-quality results.

The PhotoRobot solution generates consistent, web-ready outputs on capture, with minimal or no need for manual retouching. Users can automatically apply a wide range of editing operations, and save parameters as Presets for future reuse. We like to say our software allows users to “Set once and forget.”

In fact, by using ready-made Presets, Kiosk Mode can take all the complexity out of photoshoots. This mode can launch pre-defined photoshoot and editing operations with a single click of the mouse. A user-friendly photoshoot wizard with a cluster-free interface then visually guides photographers to capture each shot in order. The wizard can be set up to shoot individual items, or to function across entire projects.

For complete control, photographers can manually choose which Presets to run, and configure control or editing processes. A simple click of “Apply All” automatically edits hundreds of images per second, with basic to advanced editing settings. Automate everything from image cropping & object centering to advanced tools for background removal, image overlay, and more. Whatever your product photography calls for, the software does the heavy-lifting for dramatic savings in time & costs.

Turntable Service & Replacement

Using the most durable materials for the Carousel, the machine boasts capacity for hassle-free, long-term operations. The robust design consists of CNC machining and the latest laser burning technologies. It places great emphasis on resistance to dirt, wear, and mechanical damage.

The Carousel is thus easy to maintain and keep in pristine condition. It has replaceable flooring material, as well as grooves along the plate’s perimeter for air-driven dirt and dust removal. Quality design materials in turn ensure long-term, maintenance-free operation.

A massive central bearing unit only requires tension adjustment and lubrication once every 12 months at high-volume workloads. Also, the drive & control units as well as the flooring material are accessible for easy service or replacement. This need will eventually arise over time and with higher volume workloads.

When it does, both the drive and control units are outside of the machine for easy replacement as well. The flooring material is also just as easy to replace if it suffers wear and tear. Simply remove it, replace, and get back to the photography.

Easily replaceable platform flooring material

PhotoRobot’s Automated Car Studio

In addition to the turntable, a complete car studio for 360 product photography calls for:

  • A camera tripod and compatible cameras for remote image capture
  • Professional, wireless Canon camera for detailed shots
  • A panoramic camera for capturing the interior
  • Studio lighting, a light tent, or backdrop
  • A workstation computer to operate the hardware
  • Software to sync and control turntable rotation & speed with other devices
  • Photo editing software for post-processing images
  • Content distribution, syndication & image hosting solutions

This equipment & software together with a car turntable dramatically simplify the production of 360 spins & multi-row 3D photos. They allow photographers to automate complex processes, and to produce consistent, high-quality imagery.

It also enables studios to capture complete image galleries alongside 360 spins and product videos in a single process. Moreover, effective post-processing software means outputs can be retouched immediately on capture and web-ready within moments.

Bird's-eye-view 360-degree car photography

Car Studio Workflow

A typical car studio workflow with PhotoRobot using only one Carousel 5000 can photograph 60+ cars in a single day. And this always begins at the product-in stage. Here, studios receive, verify & sort inventory in the software. It is also at this stage that users configure hardware & software settings, or load saved configurations. 

Settings include remote camera capture, lighting controls, robotic processes, post-processing & content distribution. With these instructions, the next stage is simply parking the vehicle and prepping the scene. Studios have to ensure both the car and the turntable are in pristine condition for photos. Photographers might also preview the scene through a camera Live View before starting the photoshoot.

When ready, all it takes is a click of the mouse or scanning a barcode to start the photoshoot automatically. Cloud-processing enables automatic photo editing near-simultaneous with image capture. Imagery then goes through quality assurance, or for additional retouching before publishing online via PhotoRobot Viewer.

Studios can publish imagery immediately after capture, with RSS feeds directly to e-shop pages or eCommerce apps. This means less delays in product content time-to-web, and likewise more time for getting products in and products out.

Car photography studio workflow

Capturing the Best Angles

Car photography usually entails a straight-on photo at eye-level, side views, and 45-degree shots at each corner of the vehicle. In fact, they say every car looks best at a three-quarters angle, but what about capturing the fine details? 

Using a panoramic camera to showcase a car’s interior is one approach, but sometimes the resolution is low. Panoramic images also aren’t really a marketing image, so it’s important to capture detailed shots and close-ups as well. 

Detailed shots are useful for vehicle assessment, like zooming into dings, nicks, or scratches on the body of a car. They also might show a steering wheel in high resolution, or present other interior features like the gearshift or the seating.

In this regard, some businesses will follow an automotive photography manual, which details specific angles and photos to capture. However, photographers can also take advantage of PhotoRobot Touch, an iPhone workflow app that delivers visual photoshoot guidelines.

The photoshoot wizard visually guides photographers to capture the correct detail at the right time. It supports one or multiple cameras to make exterior shooting easier and quicker. Pre-defined screens, all with remote operation, show which angles to shoot, including close-ups alongside standard marketing images, and interior panoramas.

Integrated vs 3rd Party Software

Some car studio systems rely on 3rd party software for image processing, RAW file development, or content delivery. Special tools such as those from the Adobe family or Capture One can do this. Their licenses are also surprisingly inexpensive, but finding someone to operate the software is far from cheap. 

An alternative is outsourcing image post-processing to external retouchers. And sure, it’s possible to find relatively low-cost services. They won’t be as cheap as cloud automation automation, but they can be affordable. Yet, you still need someone responsible for sending and receiving files, handling claims, and managing the entire process.

The cost increases every month of your rig’s lifetime, with higher expenses the more your studio produces. You might also have to account for content distribution and syndication costs. Thus, the more studio processes like these are integrated into a system and automated, the better.

Automotive photography image post-processing

This is why PhotoRobot’s studio software supports every stage of production, from receiving to capture, post-processing, and image hosting. The mission is to drastically reduce or fully eliminate the need for outsourcing complex and often expensive processes.

Image Hosting & Content Distribution

Finally, car studios need an effective image viewer that is either self-hosted or via 3rd party software. With PhotoRobot, studios take advantage of our integrated image hosting & SpinViewer. The viewer can host multiple outputs on a single page, including complete image galleries, 360 spins, hot spots, interior panoramas & more.

The software can also integrate with publicly accessible VIN databases such as Autodata software. A VIN decoder allows studios to identify specific information encoded in a vehicle’s number. This info can then be automatically attached as metadata across entire batches of image files.

PhotoRobot Viewer comes standard with our machines, and is easily embeddable on any webpage. Businesses only pay for the data they use, and get unlimited view count and data transfer. Meanwhile, a global CDN ensures quick, pixel-perfect loading on any device or browser. All animations are highly customizable, with image compression and automatic publishing options. There is real-time scaling, and full support for deep zoom, and JSON or XML formats.

The Cost - PhotoRobot vs Other Car Turntables

Ultimately, there are many factors to take into account when estimating the cost of one car turntable vs PhotoRobot. Most are capable of only photographing 1 - 2 cars per day, while PhotoRobot can manage 60+ over 24/7 operations. 

Many manufacturers also focus exclusively on the hardware, so clients have to consider all the additional costs beyond the machinery. These can range from content delivery services, to external retouching, image hosting, licensing fees and much more. 

PhotoRobot systems account for all workflow stages, with software-driven automation to reduce long-term production costs. The software eliminates manual processes, and minimizes the need for complex photo editing. Meanwhile, cloud-based processing enables image hosting as soon as studios capture photos. And that’s only part of the ROI that comes with the initial cost of the turntable and software.

Turntable installations include custom setups to meet any studio demand, and to integrate with existing technology and available space. This is why we consult with clients long before quoting any exact price. Studios might benefit from additional equipment, robotic camera arms and multi-camera rigs, so we consider the entire studio operation. We also take into account user training, and any additional software technology our clients might require.

Finding product photography solutions to meet business demands

Request a Demo of a Car Turntable for Your Business

Curious to discover the PhotoRobot solution for yourself? Don’t hesitate to book a demo and start building your car turntable module today. We’ll demonstrate the advantage of automation-driven photoshoots, while consulting on the best possible configuration for your car photography.