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on November 11, 2015
EDIT: 4/19/2017
I've had this and used it quite a few times and I'm generally quite pleased, and given it's lower price now, assuming it's the same, it's still a great deal. I have to agree how3ever that my 107" roll has been damaged and does not unroll when mounted on the smaller arrangement of pipes. If I add another pipe, it gets long enough but then becomes a bit less stable, a little saggy, and takes up more space. Had they added literally one INCH to the pipes' complete length at this size, it would have solved the issues.

I'm currently using it for a projector background and it's holding my white backdrop roll, and has been for months, without issues. I have noticed several dents in the upright tubes from tightening the risers though, so I'm a little sad they dented when firmly tightening the locks. I'd be cautious and avoid really cranking down the locks or the aluminum will dent. A few dents is no biggie but a BUNCH over time might weaken it too much.

EDIT 12/8/2015:
After contacting SPN performance per their request, I was contacted several times in order to address my concerns and my, I am impressed with their follow up!

Any issues I had with this set were resolved. Primarily I did receive a few bars of the horizontal section with very minor scratches that were rough to the touch. A bit of a bummer, but nothing that would really affect the performance of this kit. I thought perhaps it could catch on the muslin but realistically the ground, being dirty, is a greater threat.
I was compensated adequately for the shipping damage and I'm more than happy with the set, regardless of that compensation. They stated there are lifetime warranties on all their products, so if I did have an issue I'm sure it would have been resolved with little effort from me.

Secondly, the issue with whether the horizontal bars should literally LOCK was resolved; they told me they are not designed to tightly lock (and stop spinning) when twisting, but rather link together in a locked position, if you will. They easily rotate 360 degrees, but during 180 degrees of that rotation, there are indents in the pipe and connector that prevent them from sliding apart. Simply line up the arrows on each piece. This is by design as I figured, but it was nice to hear them say for sure, because another review had concerns about this. I'm confident it won't be an issue, especially since they would stay together without locking notches simply because of friction. You could probably assemble this kit without lining up the lock arrows and it wouldn't separate (one cylinder tightly inside another creates plenty of static friction under a small load).

As for my first test, I was pleased when I used this on the job. I used it to hold a portrait backdrop, I had no stability or quality concerns and ignored the stands for the majority of the shoot...without safety weights. I had my assistant help me move them, that was fuss. This is ideal; gear you can ignore is good gear. Gear you have to mind generally isn't.

The air cushioning was practical in actual use. Nice and prompt but it won't slam down on you or make you wait. I had my doubts but all things considered I am VERY pleased. Adjusting my review to five stars because simply put I'm blown away by the value and quality of this set. I've borrowed a cheap set before, one of those $30-$40 wonders available here or on 'the bay', but they don't instill ANY confidence. The plastic castings are crap, they spare plastic anywhere possible, the locks hurt, the stands sway, and the footprint isn't even sufficient for a stand-alone lightstand, let alone a backdrop with a bar and heavy cloth near someone's head. Also, adding weight isn't an easy solution because you fear one of the joints will break under the sandbags. The Ravelli kit is well built, doesn't beg for a counterweight, and wouldn't mind it if you used one.

Do yourself a favor, skip the crappy sets and get this. My buddy mentioned getting a new set soon, and his $40 set is the one I borrowed...

I'll be recommending this kit to him.

P.S. the keychain light they threw in with my kit has come in handy several times. I'm going to find a pack of generics online so I have


ORIGINAL REVIEW on 11/11/2015
There are some hiccups in this set; almost five stars. I'll take it to work in a few days for further test. Set up fine without help though!

I just unpacked this and sadly one horizontal bar has scratches on it that feel rough. Not sure if they will catch the muslin, probably not. Since all others are clean, this might cause more scratches in transit later though and you can see the marrs to the nicenblack finish.

The cross bars also do not lock like the user manual states they should, so perhaps I got a poorly made set. I could see difficulty arising if you decide to remove a section after assembly; it may loosen other sections as you unlock one. It may also reduce rigidity. Wasn't an issue on first setup though...natural friction would make this solid even without locks. Just a bummer there isn't a positive lock. I like the extra security especially when photographing children.

The air-cushion function seems a little lackluster compared to another stand I have, I may try covering vents on the bottom to get a slower action. Not terrible but still came down pretty quick with a 10x12' muslin mounted and all 5 crossbars installed. Not a huge deal, just take care with heavy lights if you mount any on the stands (duh). I didn't get a slam like an open stand at least.

The bag is double layered with good thick material, lined with parachute pant material. There is a thin foam inside the fabric that make the inner pockets to discourage things banging together, too. The ends of the bag have the foam inside too, and the zippers work well. Bag has good handle with support straps and clips. If you're lazy you could skip the long zipper, even.

The package included two nice large clamps made of plastic with rubber clamping surfaces, held my muslin well. They threw in a keychain light (actually works ok and its tiny) and a soft cleaning cloth, too. Nice touch.

There is a slight sag in the bar at full length but if you need a perfectly straight bar, get steel, carbon, or rethink your photo style. It's a 15' aluminum tube, lol.

The stands have a good footprint and good section locks, I would trust them not to break. There is a two step system to remove the top stud which suggests safety was a concern; that's a good sign.

All things considered it's a nice set, much better than a cheaper set I've used with crappy, narrow footprint stands with cheap plastic parts, and stupid button-lock connections on the cross bar. I hate those because they hurt my fingers.

I would recommend the set, for a little over $100 it should last twice as long as $50 sets, while looking and working better, and being safer. It is a solid value.

Ill report back about the horizontal sections of they become a problem because of loose locking.
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on September 9, 2015
Since my original review I have been contacted by SPN, the new distributor for Ravelli products and though I purchased this item from someone else almost a year ago, they felt obligated to follow up with support. This is pretty much unheard of this day and age. They made it clear from the get-go that they were willing to do whatever it took to solve my problem. And I didn't even buy from them!

Contrast this with another company I bought a background from. The background was useless being shinier than those jumpsuits from the Buck Rogers TV show and they wouldn't even give me a full refund even though I returned the item in perfect condition.

After they solved my problem SPN politely asked me to revisit this review even though it was not a condition of them helping me. Basically they just asked me to tell the truth and I'm telling the truth: I don't think service is going to be a problem with Ravelli products anymore.

There's still a few issues with this item. The crossbars need to be about an inch longer so I can support standard paper rolls and they really need to go back to the old bag design. But as of now it's a four star item that gets five stars support and you don't get much better than that.

For the record I've included my original review and I think as my original problem was support that's been completely solved. Thank you SPN.


The stand is pretty sturdy but huge. And the bag they give you to carry this thing is crap. And I have been trying for months to get ahold of the manufacturer. It Is not invalid to consider the service you get in as part of the purchase of an item and in this case you get none.

I've got a big problems with the carry bag and if you can't carry this thing to where you're going you can't use it, and if you can't use it it doesn't do you any good hence the one star. If you buy this thing and you have a problem and have to deal with customer service then you're in big trouble.
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on February 18, 2017
Talk about heavy-duty! I wasn't prepared for the size of this thing. It's definitely going to provide quality service for years to come.

One of the stands had a section that was stuck. However, I twisted and pulled and it did finally come loose. Once loose, it operated normally.

I haven't had the chance to use this much yet, but I already love it.

It's clear to see how others have had the crossbars come apart. There is no stop within the sections. You can rotate them 360 degrees. However, a quick fix is to stick a bit of gaffer tape on the sections where they interlock. Then, even unrolling seamless paper can't twist it apart.
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on February 1, 2011
I ordered this product after being dissapointed with a backdrop support from another company. I hoped this would be better. It came in and I could not believe the increase in quality over my previous purchase. Night and day.

What I found... This product is solid, stable, and the backdrop bar holds straight the full distance with a 10 x 20 muslin hanging on it.

My only wish is that I had started with this product!
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on April 17, 2012
I have used several backdrop stands as a professional photographer over the past 25 years. Though the Ravelli ABSL cost more than the ABS stands, I believe the ABSL kit is worth the price. They are less expensive and more durable than more expensive stands I have used in the past. It's easy to set up by yourself but I did have an assistant helping me. Takes only a few minutes to set up and tear down. I use handpainted 12 x 20 muslin backdrops. I use only three cross beams together. It holds them quite well. I'm confidant that I could put all 5 cross pieces together and it would hold it's load well. The base legs spread out wide enough to make it stable. Even with groups of 10-15 people moving on my backdrop, the stands were stable. My only complaint is that some of the plastic foot inserts aren't snug but that doesn't affect their performance. The carrying case is very well and cleverly designed using ballistic nylon and constructed with strong seams and stitching. One end "cap" of the case unzips open and another zipper runs the full length of the carrying case. The case also has two straps with quick release buckle fastners to keep the case closed. If the zipper ever failed, I feel comfortable that the two straps will keep it closed securely. There is a handle strap on each side of the long zipper. The handles come together and on one handle, there is a ballistic nylon fabric with velcro sewn on it to secure the handles together. It opens up with a stand on each side and the 5 cross beams fitting in the middle with two sets of elastic loops to secure the cross beams in place. 3 beams in one set and the other holds two. I put both end beams and one cross beam together just to make assembly time a little faster. The cross beams interlock easily and bolt on the stands. Though I didn't order it, there were two black backdrop clamps that came with my order. A nice surprise and I augment them with two additional clamps. I tried to put a couple of smaller stands in the carrying case to see how well they fit but it made the case very snug. The case was definitely designed to carry what came with the kit and nothing much more than a few extra clamps. Packaging was excellent. My order came in a 42 inch long carboard box. Inside that box was another box with the backdrop stand inside the carrying case. Although all the pieces were in it's place in the case, each piece including the two clamps were each individually wrapped in plastic to protect the finish. I'm not sure how well the finish will hold up with poles touching each other so I do take the time to put each piece back in its' own plastic sleeve after each photo shoot. I do on-location portrait work for formals so I want it to last and look as good as possible. The backdrop stands are very solid, they are light enough to carry easily. Overall I have been very impressed with this. I have novatron studio lights and I'm thinking about purchasing the Ravelli Light stands to replace the flimsy aluminum ones that comes with the novatron kits. If I have to do multiple location shots, I will order another set without hesitation. A note about shipping. I ended up ordering the stands on Saturday afternoon Mountain Standard Time. I needed it for a shoot that following Friday. Next day shipping was about $28.00 more than the two day shipping option. Since I ordered it on Saturday, both options showed it would arrive that following Tuesday. It arrived on Tuesday as indicated.
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on November 4, 2016
I own other Ravelli light stands, and I love the build quality and stability. The ABSL backdrop stand has the same high quality as other Ravelli products, and it's been a great addition to my arsenal.

The kit comes with two 13' backdrop stands, that can also be used as light stands. All metal, with oversized knobs. The kit also comes with 5 interlocking crossbars, which extend out to about 15', which is far more than I would ever need. Luckily, you can use just enough bars to fit your space, anywhere from 6' - 15'. The carrying case is large, and fits all of the kit components, and even has room for other accessories (rolled up muslin, alligator clips, maybe even another light stand). I'd love to be able to buy another one of these bags for the rest of my equipment.

Once assembled, the backdrop stand is rock solid, I never saw any bowing in the crossbars, or anything that would indicate it was unstable. The price point puts in line with other cheaper, poorer quality backdrop kits, but the quality of this kit is well beyond its price, it is really top notch. If you need a high quality backdrop kit that will probably outlive you, look no further than this one.
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on July 13, 2016
First wow on the material they use are thick and well build but the air cushion is not working at all. One of them only the top air cushion works and the second light stand only the second extension somewhat works. All in all great product wished that the air cushion would of worked better since that is a key part for safety since its height goes up to 10ft and the white seamless are heavy.

-Update when I came home I had a package for the seller and sent me new backdrop stands.
Great service and experience.
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on February 15, 2017
I like it. The stands are bigger than standard, I mean not only taller, but poles are thicker and base wider. The cross bars do lock with each other nicely. Cross bars do sag a little but at 15' span, but it is expected. I think if I ever have a heavy muslin, I would just add another stand in the middle for extra support. Right now it holds 2 10'x20' Neewer muslins with no problem (I use 2 to avoid transparency). Treat it good and it should last a long time.
UPDATE 5-1-2017: a knob broke and they immediately sent a replacement. I will keep an eye on this company for sure.
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on July 1, 2017
The light stands are heavy duty and rock solid. For the price, this is probably among the best bang for your buck. I have to take one star off, as one of the light stands arrived with a dented leg. Not a big deal, but where was the Q.C. before the product was released from the factory? The inner poles are indeed air cushioned. In fact, the air cushion action is so strong for the inner most pole, you have to pull very hard to move it back down. However, for the outer pole, there is no air cushion at all, and it's a free fall once the knob is loosen. This will become a problem if one needs to raise the outer pole to reach the full height. So another star is taken off. If the manufacturer could take care of this problem, then it's a five star product.

Update: returning the defective item to the seller (SPN Performance) was completely hassle-free, and they even reshipped 2 light stands free of charge as apology. I'm really impressed by the top notch service, and ended up buying the regular version of Ravelli backdrop support system (which also includes 3 backdrops) from the same seller. Overall, this is a four-star product backed by five-star seller.
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on March 11, 2017
I'm really happy with this product. I had Kaezi backdrop stand before and it was very flimsy. This Ravelli ABSL backdrop stand is very sturdy and built great construction all around. With this bargain price $99, I have no complaint and believe it will last for a long time before I buy another set.
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