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on April 30, 2013
Well, I've changed my mind.

I'm writing this review June 3, 2013 to update my criticisms with having received the wrong product. Although I discovered that, somewhere down the road, Amazon refunded my order, I was still miffed at having received the wrong thing, and having it break. I wrote an appropriately negative review (see below) originally voicing my complaints, and others seemed to echo my sentiments.

Then, earlier today, I get a call from a California area code number that I don't recognize. Turns out it's Steve Kaeser, the seller whom I purchased from, and he's calling to right whatever wrongs Amazon may have committed in the fulfillment process. He mentioned to me that this 'sending the wrong item' is something that they're talking to Amazon about fixing, that the fault is on their fulfillment, and that he'd like to send me these all-metal stands directly so that I may receive what I'd originally ordered.

Another phone call later, we discover that my order had been refunded (as it was on my credit card, I hadn't checked the statements for a refund yet). Kaeser, still wanting to have me appropriately review the product, insists upon sending me a set of stands as a replacement for my plastic ones.

This is why it's important to pay attention to what sellers you buy from: because if (and when) anything goes awry, it's down to the customer service of the seller to solve the problem. I had all but written off these stands, the seller, and purchasing anything equivalent on Amazon. Then I got that call.

Excellent customer service from an honest business with a real genuine care for the consumer, that's Steve Kaeser Photographic. Hands down the best 'customer service' experience I've had from anything relating to Amazon.


My first review, published in April (for context, although my comments here don't precisely still stand):
These stands were purchased following the recommendation from a friend who received a great product from PBL. My experience was not so. Not only were my stands NOT all metal, as described and pictured, but they broke almost immediately upon mounting my expensive ARRIs on top of them. One doesn't telescope/open at all, and the other telescopes without locking.

An absolute waste of money and a purchase which cost me even more in lost time and money. Terrible, buyer beware.


Back to the new review:

For now, I'm leaving things at 4 stars, up from my initial '1'. I haven't (obviously) received the new stands yet, but will be happy to update my review to 5 stars following some use and test of them. At first, not so happy with the product I got, but now very happy with the transaction. Would do business with them again, easily.
22 comments| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 23, 2010
I purchased this set of 2 lightstands in Jan 2010 and received just as described and pictured. Liked the product so I ordered another set in March...same item #, same photo, same description. What I received was not the same product! The 2nd set of stands had a much smaller footprint (less stable) and have screw tighteners instead of the quarter-turn clamps that were on the first set. Plus, the 2nd set did not come with carrying bags as they were supposed to and as the first set did. When I contacted the seller I was told they no longer had the ones that I received with my first order and that they had failed to update the photo and description. They did say I could send them back for return, but shipping would be on my dime. Of some consolation, they sent me a carrying bag that holds both stands. Bottom line...I would NOT have ordered them if I had known I was not getting the same stands again...the 2nd set was much cheaper quality. Classic bait & switch!!!!

PS...they have removed "includes carrying bags" from the desciption, but the photo still shows the better stands with the quarter-turn clamps.
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on April 30, 2010
Disregard the negative reviews, one by a purchaser who did not know how to use the product, and another by a person who received the wrong product (Amazon always makes good on such situations).

These stand arrived exactly as advertised--plus the bonus carrying cases!

I use these stands for lightweight studio work, such as holding an extra light, supporting a flash unit (with or without umbrella), or holding the camera itself. They are stable, and easy to use.

The stationary head built into the top is a 5/8" wide, short chrome column with screw threads (male) that will fit camera or flash. For flexibility and maximum convenience, you will probably want to add some type of adapter: I use the Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter (which costs a lot more than the stands themselves).

These are not quite as strong or as tall as the stand that comes with the Westcott Spiderlite Td-5, but even better than the Spiderlite stand, they're equipped with quarter-turn knobs and the risers are spring loaded to protect anything attached to the head. Also, they have a decent and highly adjustable footprint (see photos).

By the way, the footprint is variable to a much smaller size than one might think. By using an Allen wrench (aka "hex wrench"), you can loosen the bottom main casting (where the leg braces attach). Now, slide that up to nestle directly beneath the top main casting to create a very small footprint (photo).

These stands collapse to a reasonable size and each comes with its own carry bag--most convenient! They are certainly steady enough (yet light enough) for regular portable use.

When these arrived the shipping box was open, but nothing was damaged or missing.
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on June 23, 2013
I worked in TV broadcast for 28 years as both a DP and as an operations manager and wish these stands would have been available when it came time to buy new gear. I found myself in need of replacing my old Lowell light stands, which are extremely heavy and expensive to replace. Last year I was working for ESPN in Tampa and saw one of the kits, so I looked the stands up and decided to give them a try.

First, they are so much lighter than my Lowell stands that I actually took the Lowells out of my regular kit. These are solid and have a nice wide base for stability. They can easily handle an Omni with a softbank (I still always shotbag my stands) as well as my Arris.

There have been some complaints about the lock-downs loosening up. A Craftsman 5/16 nut driver fits perfectly in to the recesses where the nuts are for easy tightening. You have to be careful about these spring-loaded sections because if you lose your grip and you're standing over them, you'll get a black eye or worse. The good part is if, by some chance, a section decides to come down, your light will have some protection against a jarring stop.

The other thing that I find is a bonus is the individual nylon carrying bags. They aren't padded, but they do provide some protection against scratches. If you're anal about your gear like I am, that's a bonus.

My best advice if you are skeptical is to go ahead and take a chance on these. I paid less than 50 bucks for the pair and they arrived in well-padded's a very inexpensive price to pay for gear that normally is quite expensive and I think they will hold up to reasonable use, or for studio functions where they are not subject to harsh environments and a lot of packing and moving.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 23, 2010
After months of searching for light-stands worthy for my collection of photography-gear, I stumbled on this sweet set. After reading the reviews, I decided to give it a try.

Sure enough, the items I got are of very high-quality and appear to be made of sturdy materials.

I tried raising these things and they just kept going up... except my 8-foot ceiling stopped them, so I suppose they can go as high as 9 feet, but proper usage allows them to go even to 8 feet. This is very handy, however, I presume taking them outdoors would restrict their height due to wind when holding reflectors.

They may not be very compact, but if you're just starting out, get these, because they are certainly worth the $50 I paid with shipping for the pair. Granted, they're not a Manfrotto or SLIK or another top brand, but they are most definitely upper-mid-grade.

The only thing I didn't like about them are the knobs to tighten the shaft at the base, it is very tough to turn, but with care they did tighten eventually, and with use I presume they'll get looser. Still, given that, I see no need to remove a star from my rating.

BEST DEAL in regards to light-stands on Amazon... while supplies last or while prices remain under $50. Get some before they're gone!
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on August 7, 2011
I was thrilled with these light stands when I first purchased them, but problems arose very quickly. After only a few days of use, the top clamp on one of the light stands started to fail. When I twisted the tab to secure the top extension tube, it wouldn't grip the tube tightly enough to hold it in place. The tube would fall and spin, even though the tab was in the locked position. I tried to remedy this by adding a strip of electrical tape, but this was a hokey fix. I figured that I had gotten a defective unit, but then, two weeks later, the same thing happened to the other light stand.

Now they're relatively useless. I don't have a tool that can tighten the nut around the top clamp since there's no screw head and the nut is recessed in. I'm very dissapointed with this purcahse.
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on July 28, 2009
At the price of these stands (and there were two) I didn't expect very much. But I was surprised as they were very good quality and they each came with a carrying bag. I believe they live up to the "Heavy Duty" as in the description. I've only used them twice so far and will probably only use them very little (about twice a month) and I expect these to last a long time with that kind of infrequent use. I would purchase again and recommend for a non-professional.
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on June 14, 2011
I read review saying the product doesn't match the photos. Well it matches in my case, just so you know. It must be a while ago when they bad the mix up problem.

Anyway, this is no cowboy-studio crap! Weight somewhat light but totally sturdy. The clamps are solid and secured. The extension poles bounce off to reduce impact if the clamp is accidentally release and drop. This thing is TALL! and the 3 legs are long provide great stability! The only thing is one of the zipper on the bag is broken but then I don't think I will ever bag the stands. Therefore, for $40 with free shipping, I give them a 5 stars!
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on June 6, 2011
I am very happy with these stands! They are durable stands for what I need them for, and maybe even for a professional who uses them all of the time, but I can't rate on that because I'm not someone who will use them every day over and over. If you're an advanced amateur, these will work just fine and the price is great! I would definitely recommend these!!
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on April 13, 2011
I previously owned 4 lightstands from Westcott - Westcott 750 Photo Basics 7.0-Foot Light Stand - that turned out to be just garbage. They extension pieces broke within 10 or so times that I used them and they felt like plastic and very dinky. So obviously I was very skeptical when I heard about this lightstand from a friend of mine. Forty bucks for a pair? Something must be wrong! Well rest assured, these are AMAZING. In fact I can't believe that they are giving a pair of these away at this price. They are really sturdy, feel rugged and inspire confidence. They come in a nice little carrying case (although I wish the case were a little longer to accommodate a swivel head). I used them this past weekend and was really happy with them. The quarter turn knobs felt great. I had one umbrella on the Westcott and when the first gust of light wind came, away it went, toppling over. But these babies stayed in their position. Get this stand - you really can't go wrong with these!

BTW disregard the reviewers that said that the stands did not come with the case. They do and I think those reviewers must have ordered a wrong product.
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