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.
- Bendy - 3 pivot points controlled by one lever
- Includes quick release & plate
- Build it decent
- 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.
- 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
- only 2 articulating points
- availability - only found this at one retailer in the area
- no camera plate - everything sold separately