Most helpful positive review
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly nice, for the price
on March 8, 2010
I have to say, this stand is quite a value for the price. It's BIG, the components are chunky and seem to be of decent quality, and I'm not afraid to put relatively heavy lighting gear on it. I'm not using monoblocs or heavy AC powered studio light or anything, just multiple flash strobes and modifiers - softboxes, brollies, etc, but I have no fears about putting a good bit of weight on this stand.
The main tube is faux-air-cushioned (meaning, it appears to have a simple spring in the main vertical tube to dampen the shock of the weighted boom arm dropping after you loosen the tilt head). The spring scrapes a bit on the inside of the tube, making a slight noise but otherwise working quite effectively. Personally, I'm not complaining - they could've left that out entirely at this price point, but it's a welcome addition.
There is an aluminum screw-in O-ring at the short end of the boom for an (included) weight bag, and there is a cheap little carabiner included in the package. This is great, because you can stick a camera bag, reflector kit, etc on that ring to act as a counterweight, or use the included bag, or whatever else you feel like. Pretty convenient.
The boom arm has one telescoping extension that goes out pretty darn far. The end of the telescoping extension has a metal stud locked in place with a clip-tensioner that feels quite secure. Once you have the end weighted down there is a small amount of flex in the arm, but that's to be expected. The diameter and weight of all the tubing is actually quite impressive, especially at this price point.
The tripod legs extend quite far out and are surprisingly stable, though if you have any significant weight on the (extended) boom you are at risk of tipping. Just make sure to keep one leg pointed toward the end of the boom arm, and utilize a counterweight. If you do that, this stand isn't going anywhere.
My favorite feature has to be the extra stud included at the top of the central vertical tube. This allows you to attach another accessory (flash, umbrella stand, lightbox, etc) at the central post of the lightstand while having a second modifer/light setup at the end of the boom arm. This is perfect for clamshell lighting setups, etc.
I've also found that a heavy duty spring clamp (or two) works great on the boom arm to hold a large reflector.
The knobs and clip tensioners seem to be sturdy and of good quality. The tilt head is probably the weakest point. It's plastic and has chunky grooved teeth that interlock to hold the boom at the desired angle. You have to loosen the adjustment lever pretty far out to be able to slip the teeth apart and adjust the tilt. Swiveling action is somewhat stiff as well. That said, it feels secure and I'm not too concerned.
It's a pretty versatile setup, all things considered. If you're on a budget (starving student, hobbyist with pro ambitions, etc), this is the *perfect* multi-purpose lightstand. Use this one at home or in a relatively static environment (it's bulky to carry around, though it folds up quite well and doesn't weigh too much), and get a mini lightstand for portability (LumoPro LP604 is ideal). If you're a pro photog whose livelihood depends on the best equipment, well, you should have known better than to look at this product in the first place. But it's a fine, well-made lightstand that I have no problem recommending for medium-duty use.