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Good, economical light stands?

Vihao Pham , Feb 17, 2004; 12:51 a.m.

Can anybody recommend a good, economical brand for light stands? I have small Medal Light and larger White Lightning monolights. I have stands for all of them, but the Medal Light ones are very unstable and I don't want to use them for safety reasons. Normal use only requires an umbrella, but I may start using a softbox in the future. I shoot in my living room and I'm on a budget, but I want something dependable and long lasting. Is there anything out there that's a good balance?


Edward Ingold , Feb 17, 2004; 07:57 a.m.

I use Bogen/Manfrotto aluminum stands, model 3086 (8' medium duty) and 3364 (13', heavy duty). They're light, strong, and relatively inexpensive ($55 and $90, respectively, from B&H), and fold compactly.

I use the larger stands for Force 10 monolights, with/without umbrellas or softboxes, at any height. The smaller stands are used only for mini lights or light flash units. I have a couple of large Bogen tripod bags to transport the stands to locations.

Yance Marti , Feb 17, 2004; 12:20 p.m.

The Manfrotto's should be good but I'd advise against getting the cheapest stands. Cheap stands are not worth putting good lights on. It is better to send the money on good used ones than new, cheap stands. I have a good variety but like the Lowel Omni-stand brand and one made by Speedotron. The Omni-stand runs about $100 new but you should be able to find them used for about half that price. Whataver you choose, make sure you get a stand with tubular legs - they are more stable.

Emily L. Ferguson , Feb 17, 2004; 02:27 p.m.

I found a pair of those fabulous Bogen/Manfrotto 13 footers on ebay a few months ago with wheels for $125. They're unbelievable after the cheep cheep cheep things I'd been using. Air cushioned, to boot.

Keep you eyes peeled if you're not in a hurry.

Kelvin Phan , Feb 17, 2004; 03:42 p.m.

Bill Cornett , Feb 18, 2004; 12:28 p.m.

Vihao-- Do not use cheap stands. If you shoot often, about twice a year you will accidentally let the poles collapse too hard, and the shock when the pole hits the collar will destroy a good modeling light. Trust me, if you ever plan to get good lights, you will spend $30 on just one of those incandescents. Such shocks are not good on any light heads, either. Get pneumatic stands. They'll pay for themselves in one to two years, depending. Take it from somebody who learned the hard way. -Bill Cornett

Robert Hurd , Feb 18, 2004; 06:52 p.m.

Okay....I will take the unpopular path here.

I have some Bogens and lots of Avenger C stands...but I am also happy with the cheaper JTL Stands ...because for the price of a Bogen stand, a JTL stand ALSO provides the added benefit of air-shocks. (I also purchased an 8 millimeter metric socket wrench at the hardware store, to make sure the clamps are properly tightened...but the JTLs work well for us.)

... Timber ... , Feb 19, 2004; 04:21 p.m.


What they are talking about this pneumatic softening is nice to have. But the underlying problem here is that they are tearing down their set while the modeling light filament is still hot. Tungsten filaments are soft when hot and they break with just alittle bumping. Therefore, let the head cool a few minutes before you move it. Go to the auctions for used stands. Balcar was a good stand, perhaps discontinued now.

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