Gear Isn't Everything - Boom Stands

My second instalment for "Gear Isn't Everything" is around boom stands. I'll keep it pretty brief and to the point but a boom stand is simple a light stand with a boom arm to help get the light, camera or mic (or whatever you want to hook onto it) in a spot you'd otherwise have a stand in the way.

Mantis Telescoping Boom Stand with Rotating Head, Cine Stand with Locking Wheels 
- Cost $590 when not on sale

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  • 27 kg (59 lbs) Load Capacity
  • 152-320 cm (60-126") Height Range
  • 5 kg (11 lbs) Weight
  • Aluminum Material Construction
  • Includes Rotating Head & Cine Stand on Locking Wheels
  • Durable, Affordable & Extremely Reliable

This stand does a great job at putting the light where you want it. It has an adjustable head via a crank and is a telescoping arm. This is great as the Manfrotto version is a fixed length and that causes problems when you drive a Golf GTI.

With the wheels and using a Profoto B2 you can wheel it around care free (if you have the battery hanging from it as well). This is a heavy and large stand, and if you don't have space, it is best to pass on this.

Avenger Mini Boom & Kupo Turtle Base C-Stand
- Combined cost approx $500

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Avenger D600 Mini Boom

  • Steel Construction
  • 83" Maximum Extension
  • Rubber Handle
  • Counterweight Hook
  • 5/8" Stud and Receiver

Kupo CT-40M 40" Master C Stand with Turtle Base

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  • 10 kg (22 lbs) Max. Load Capacity
  • 134-295 cm (52.8-116.1") Height Range
  • 7.5 kg (16.5 lbs) Weight
  • Steel Material Construction
  • 100 cm (39.4") Footprint Diameter
  • Knob Leg Lock Type

This is a very stable and secure combination but you should have some counterweight for the back hook. I've had numerous lights and modifiers on this set up and as long as you have it weighted on the boom and the base, you're golden. It is heavy and stable and well worth the cost. Why put an expensive light, on a cheap stand? If you're just starting, hold off on these options and go for option 3.

Manfrotto 420B Combi Boom Stand with Sandbag
Cost - $329.99

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  • 9 kg (19.84 lbs) Max. Load Capacity
  • 104.5-243.8 cm (41.1-96") Height Range
  • 19-191 cm (7.5-75.2") Boom Extension Range
  • 3 kg (6.6 lbs) Weight
  • Aluminum Material Construction
  • 16 mm (5/8") Socket, 1/4" Screw & 3/8" ScrewConnection
  • Includes Sandbag

I think they may be exaggerating on this stand a bit for the load capacity, or that could be in its vertical position. It is a great stand, but with any weight you'll see the boom bowing. I've used this stand with a variety of lights and it has been quite stable, but obviously the weakest of the three boom arms. However, it is also the lightest and easiest to maneuver, so it is still a go-to for quick trips using smaller lights and modifiers. In truth, I use it mostly as an audio boom for interviews but have no problem putting a B2 with barn doors and using a bit of hard light for portraits. If you're looking for a more stable stand, with a bit of versatility this could be the stand for you.

GEAR isn't everything, until you don't have access to it

Online shopping is often the way to go, and sometimes it is the only option. The downfall of the online shopping for specialized equipment is not being able to see the quality, test it to see whether it meets your needs and whether it is really worth the cost. Often times, the cheaper solutions seem to be the right option, but if you end up replacing it several times compared to the more expensive piece built to last a lifetime... online... you just don't know.

So, do you roll the dice?

Living in NB between 2015 & 2017 and expanding my network of hobby & professional photographers it quickly became apparent - THERE IS NO PLACE TO SEE THE EQUIPMENT BEFORE BUYING. Sure, there are a handful of shops serving 3 provinces (I have access to that many on one corner now I'm back in Toronto). In order to get specialty equipment in the shops, you need to buy it and bring it in, no different than online shopping.

So, I'm going to help my friends on the east coast out a bit - provide some first hand feedback and opinions of gear I have or they ask me to check out on their behalf.

First up - Articulating Arms & Clamps

The arms and clamps are great for putting cameras, light, microphones or anything else that needs a mount in odd spots or use instead of a stand. They're small(ish) and versatile pieces of gear that let you travel a bit easier (especially as a one light image maker).

Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Magicarm & Super Clamp ($234.99 arm & $56.99 clamp - Henry's Camera)
Specs can be found anywhere, but what I want to say about the arm is that is a great arm and awesome clamp for lighter equipment. I use it mostly for my Profoto B2 & have even put on a 90cm speedbox and it held up fine. The weight ratings on the arm is only 3kg, so not the best options for bigger gear. The clamp itself is rated to 15kg an clamps tightly on lots of surfaces.

 

 

Pros:

  • Bendy - 3 pivot points controlled by one lever
  • Includes quick release & plate
  • Build it decent
 

Cons:

  • Knob makes it bulky
  • one knob makes it a bit of a pain to get set in the right spot
  • weight capacity - best for smaller applications

9.Solutions Double El-Bo Arm & Barracuda Clamp ($199.99 arm & $54.99 clamp - Vistek)
Specs can be found anywhere, but what I want to say about the arm is WOW. It is perfect for a bit heavier applications with weight rating on the arm at 6kg and the clamp at 20kg. I still use it mostly for my Profoto B2 & have even put on a 90cm speedbox and it held up fine. I like it is all metal with each lever controlling the articulation of the arm. The downside of the arm is the articulation is only in 2 spots.

Pros:

  • Sleek and tucks in the speedbox bag easily
  • weight capacity is double that of the Manfrotto on the arm
  • levers control each section allowing a bit easier control of where the light is
  • Built like a small narrow tube tank
  • Cost is a bit better than Manfrotto
 

Cons:

  • only 2 articulating points
  • availability - only found this at one retailer in the area
  • no camera plate - everything sold separately

Going beyond social broadcasting to social awareness

In the next year, I hope to make myself even busier than before - on work, projects, living life, growing my life with my wife and more. Part of that growth is starting to work in projects that give back to the communities in hopefully a bigger way. This year is a collaboration year to work with cool people wanting to do cool things. 

 

Recently I was approached through one of the social platforms I've been working on in a broadcast way, and it threw me off a bit because I don't have a huge following. I hope I have an engaged following before the numbers... It was cool, flattering, and just great meeting someone who liked my work and who also had great ideas and plans for the coming year – plans and ideas which align very well with mine.

So, today is the kick off day of planning some of that activity, and I can't wait to see where it goes. Start small, push ourselves to do something pretty cool and work within the communities to build something extra snazzy.

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