Most helpful positive review
140 of 140 people found the following review helpful
For the price - incredible!
on July 25, 2011
**UPDATE AT THE END OF REVIEW 03/12**
**FINAL UPDATE AT THE END OF REVIEW 07/13**
Okay so before I comment on these, I wanted to give some qualifications. I am a semi-professional photographer, who shoots mainly weddings, although I do a lot of portrait work in my spare time. I have used these both indoors and out, and they come on every shoot with me.
Let's start with this, repeat after me: "I spent less than a hundred bucks on these..." Ok, we are ready to proceed. These are not professional quality stands. They don't weigh much, and a misplaced foot could bend almost any part of the construction. That said, for the price range I was pleasantly surprised! I have worked with kits in the past costing 10x what this one did, and it's only when you get into the thousands that you see quality really change. In fact I compared these with a five hundred dollar kit...there wasn't much difference in quality. The stands themselves are fine, but as with most stands, you will need to buy some sandbags. After months of continuous use, the umbrellas are doing VERY well - I only had one accident shooting outside when the wind knocked the stand over, and bent one of the spines. It bent back nicely though. The bag has held up very well.
I have had many succesfull shoots with these umbrellas, both at weddings and in the studio. The umbrellas really do their job well, and I can't believe that you get two of each (reflective/shoot-through) with this kit!!! The spread of light with the shoot-throughs is uniform and the reflectors are pretty standard in what they do.
WHY 5 STARS??
- Compared to kits three-fours times the price they still hold up
- Months of use and they have held up very nicely
- 2 umbrellas alone normally cost the price of this whole kit! VALUE!
- The carry bag MAKES this kit.
Highly recommended by a semi-pro photographer, especially for those on a budget. I purchased these as an experiment, and it totally payed off. Do not hesitate, and remember what we said earlier? "I spent less than a hundred bucks on these..."
A year on, and this kit is still holding up nicely. The only deterioration visible is on the umbrellas, which are less straight on some of the rods compared to new. That said, I use these several times a week, so this is not abnormal wear. Now shooting professionally, I am looking to purchase a more expensive kit, however I stand by my initial reactions: for the amateur or even serious photographer, these are an excellent budget option!
Well, almost two years to the day that I wrote this review, two of the umbrellas broke within a week of each other. The first one developed a tear in the material that may or may not be fixable. The second mysteriously bent a spoke while I was extending it - I had not damaged it in any way, it had been sitting on the stand folded up in the corner of my office and when I went to open it, it simply caught, then bent in one quick (unavoidable) motion.
So, still five stars? ABSOLUTELY. The stands are still great, the reflective umbrellas (the ones I use less) are still great, and even if the whole thing was going in the trash today, I paid $35 per YEAR of use. That is a screamingly good deal despite some of the downfalls of this product!
Still, highly recommended. I'll be purchasing two new umbrellas and continuing my use of this kit.