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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Q&A: C-Stands

Several people asked about the C-stand (short for century stand) that I used on the Rosco OA posted on Monday.

Long story short, after spending 2 months on the road with McNally and crew last year, I have become a convert. If you have never used a C-stand, and/or are considering getting one, here's what you need to know.
__________


First off, I am still a big fan of normal light stands. I have … a few. But when you need support that is more flexible — and heavier duty — C-stands fit the bill.



Pictured above are two C-stands — a black Avenger with a 40" extension arm attached, and a chrome LumoPro without an arm. (Click the pic for a 1000-pixel version.)

If you are used to traditional folding light stands, C-stands can look big, cumbersome and a little unwieldy. That's because they are big, cumbersome and a little unwieldy. But they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to multi-purpose usefulness.


The Parts

The base consists of three legs. You want to get the kind that are detachable, as this helps greatly with transport options. C-stands are heavy, and this leg style further concentrates that weight at the base when compared to a traditional light stand. Which gives them a very low center of gravity, too.

And unlike a standard light stand, the legs flow out horizontally. This makes a C-stand ideally suited for sandbags. You can bag the crap out of a C-stand sufficient to make it stable under just about any circumstances. Normal light stands do not marry to sandbags nearly as well.

The riser is available in different lengths. I strongly suggest the 40" 3-section riser. It will get you to over ten feet high, not counting the extension arm.

As for the extension arm, go for the 40" (way more useful than a 20") with a single grip head. The grip head is what attaches the extension arm to the riser. But it can also do all kinds of cool things at the other end of the arm. If you find you need a second grip head (I have yet to do so) you can always grab it later.


Transport

They pack … poorly. I drive an itty bitty Scion XA, the natural enemy of the C-stand. But it still works. I put them in last, on top of other gear, to see if my gear pack will allow me to transport the C-stands already assembled. If I am tight for space, I strip them down to parts for a much more efficient fit.

McNally flies with them, which means he is single-handedly keeping Delta profitable with his baggage fees. I do not recommend this. C-stands are happiest riding around in car trunks.


Heavy Duty, Multi-Purpose

So, they are big and heavy. But all that weight and bulk makes them oh-so-useful. With a 40" 3-section riser and a 40" boom, you can put a strobe over 13 feet off of the ground — securely, if bagged. Or one inch off of the ground. Or anywhere in between.

The extension arm gives you lateral support like a boom. So you can float a light out over/in front of someone and shoot under it unobstructed. Ditto for a second light above/behind them for separation with an unobstructed background sweep. Or a clamshell setup in front.

Two C-stands with arms can slide right into both ends of any roll of background paper (up to and including full-width) for an instant background support. The leverage these things can handle is insane.


The Sweet Spot

I originally got a mix of Avenger and LumoPro C-stands. Three complete (with extension arms) sets, total. And in three ways, I now realize I overbought.

First, two C-stands with 40" extension arms would have sufficed for every time I have used them. (Which is a lot.) They tend to be most useful in pairs as described above. But even a single C-stand/extension arm can get you out of a lot of problems, too.

Second, I got the two-grip head extension arms. So far, just the single grip had that secures the arm to the stand would have sufficed for me.

Third, having used the Avenger and LumoPro C-stands, I should have skipped the built-in distribution costs on the Avenger and gone with the less expensive LP version. ($135 total for the combo of the tall riser/legs and the 40" single-grip arm.) They are just as solid as the Avenger (if not more so) with a 5-yr warranty as compared to 2 years for Avenger.

That said, it is highly unlikely that you could destroy a C-stand even if you tried. They are ridiculously, wonderfully overbuilt. It's a buy-once-for-life kind of thing.

They'll last forever. You'll either pass them on to your grandkids, or your spouse will sell them on eBay after you die.


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66 Comments:

Blogger asoshkin said...

Any case you can recommend for transporting the c stands?

May 10, 2012 9:39 AM  
Blogger Al Jurina said...

You have no idea how long I've been looking for a decent opinion on this EXACT question. You've done it, Mr. Hobby. Not only have you definitively answered this long-held question, but you've also figured out why I will be needing to tell my wife where about 250 dollars of our money HAVE to be spent. (And also what those giant things are with flashes on them. Well done!

May 10, 2012 9:43 AM  
Blogger anon said...

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-stands glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.

Oh wait... did you say c-stands? :)

May 10, 2012 9:55 AM  
Blogger Tim Henrion said...

One additional option that you might want to consider:

http://www.cheetahstand.com/servlet/the-46/Century-Combination-Boom-Stand/Detail

It's a C-stand w/boom where the boom actually slides in/out of the stand itself (so you only have two pieces to transport instead of three)! Plus they're only $100. Someone here on Strobist turned me onto these and they're fantastic!

May 10, 2012 10:05 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I've been holding off on getting a background stand kit because although it has many other uses (as you pointed out here) because I would only rarely use it for backgrounds - more likely on-axis fill bedsheet holder or as part of make-shift boom.

These seem like a better option for my needs, and that you pointed out it can double to hold backgrounds - perfect!

May 10, 2012 10:29 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Asoshkin-

They are so rugged, they do not need a case unless you are checking them as baggage, which I never do. McNally uses a hard-shell case for them. It is necessarily big and cumbersome. But he travels a lot with his C-stands and feels they are invaluable enough on location to merit the trouble.

May 10, 2012 10:42 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Tim-

I am not familiar with that stand, so could not speak to it in direct comparison. But I can see that it uses a different style grip head which is not the standard, modular C-stand grip head. One of the advantages of a true C-stand is that pretty much all of the parts are cross-brand compatible. Not so here.

Also, I have used the telescoping-into-the-base design on other models. As a design it is nowhere near the strength of a traditional C-stand. Yes, you get portability, but there is a price to be paid.

May 10, 2012 10:50 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Brian-

Dunno if it is fair to compare the two in overall utility. They are both two of the most multi-purpose pieces of grip gear going.

If I had to choose (and I did) I think I might opt for a good BG kit before a C-stand. If only because when you need to use a C-stand as a background holder, you will probably also be wanting a background.

Also, I have actually (shh) been experimenting with using BG kits to build an ultra portable studio space.

Tell you more, but I'd have to kill you.

May 10, 2012 10:53 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I worked for years on film and TV productions before starting to move into photography. I have built an unbelievable love for the C-stand. There is simply no other stand that is as versatile as the C-stand.

They can be a bit daunting at first. I remember by first film production being on set trying to work a C-Stand and having a more experienced Grip come and do what I was trying to for minutes in seconds. However when you get to know them you can do anything with them.

It's always been a dream that if I build I photo studio I equip it primarily with C-stands.

May 10, 2012 11:31 AM  
Blogger Dylan said...

I have been using C-stands for 28 years and they are the first stands I ever bought and I own 8 ( used to be a studio shooter). I started reading strobist when I started shooting Architecture/Interiors for ideas on how to reduce my gear for travel. I spent the past few years getting my gear down to One Carry-on and One checked bag with lights, stands and Mods, so I find it kind of interesting that you have me looking at my dusty c stands again. Especially because I was just about to order new sandbags and a boom, which I now realize I really don't need.

May 10, 2012 11:33 AM  
Blogger RFS said...

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Only the original 5-section Manfrotto 3373 with hole drilled in one of the legs for a shoulder strap is true Strobist. What have you body snatchers done with the real David Hobby???
Although, I would have to agree that C-stands are pretty versatile. And if you can find a retiring photog or movie person doing a studio sale, they're an even better deal.

May 10, 2012 12:29 PM  
Blogger @padillabowen said...

Huge footnote: I have a friend who shoots in Hollywood, and the absolute RULE by his account is NO LIGHTS EVER on a C-stand. Of course. I love my C-stand, and would gladly trade a couple of my main light stands now for a set of C-stands. I hang lights off them all the time.

Which leads to another: HUGE FOOTNOTE. Learn to use them correctly(!!!) That arm is a guillotine waiting to happen if you hang it the wrong direction. You have to make sure the arm is hanging in the "righty tighty" orientation so that it exerts tightening pressure on the grip clamp.

ALSO: Note that there are two different types of grip heads. One type has nice grippy teeth in the clutch, and is much more secure. The other type is friction only, and scares me. I think that type of head where the 'no lights' rule comes from.

Yeah, they take practice, and they're heavy, but they're ridiculously useful and darn near bulletproof.

May 10, 2012 1:20 PM  
Blogger Clearcon said...

Great job as usual. Just ordered a second Avenger from B&H. :)

May 10, 2012 1:22 PM  
Blogger Ahmed Aloub said...

I also liked the C-Stand after I worked with McNally and his crew in GPP2012 as i never used them before.

and i was searching and comparing different brands. Your post make the discussion more easy for thanks :)

I really like the idea to use 2 c-stand as background support.

May 10, 2012 1:30 PM  
Blogger Frank Grygier said...

C-Stands are in my future. As a compromise I purchase HD light stands and use a 40" grip arm on top.
I like the grip arm a lot better than a boom arm.

May 10, 2012 1:35 PM  
Blogger junyo said...

Big fan of the Manfrotto 420. Bigger/stronger than a regular stand, one piece that's kinda portable, and a nice big bottom that can be draped with sandbags that will allow me to safely(ish) mount any of my speedlights or small monolights. Just the thought of taking c-stands on location makes my back hurt.

May 10, 2012 2:03 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

I work in television ENG video production as a videographer/editor/still photographer, and have amassed my own gear from what we use at work in the field. I have three C-Stands, small (20"), medium (40"), and large (60"). It is nice to have the base able to detach from the post for packing and transporting gear, as well as nice to mount a light at low levels. Another aspect of the C-Stand base that is cool is if you order it as a "rocky mountain base" which one leg can move the length of the post when working on uneven ground.

http://www.msegrip.com/product/stands-1/c-stands/matthews-40-in-c-stand-spring-loaded.html

May 10, 2012 2:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

C-Stands are like gaffer tape. You'll get along fine if you don't even know they exist, but as soon as you get one or two, you won't be able to function without them, They makes life (aside from load-in/load-out) so much easier.

As far as travel, you can rent 'em for peanuts at any decent photo/film rental shop, I can't even imagine trying to lug one through the airport. If someone's paying you to shoot photos, make them pay for it and pick them up.

One more budget/travel-friendly alternative is a boom microphone stand, they're totally not as sturdy, tall, or standardized, but they cost $30 or so, you can get 'em at any music store, and they fold down to the size of a normal light stand. You'll definitely need to sandbag 'em with anything heavier than a bare speedlite, though.

May 10, 2012 2:36 PM  
Blogger TimH said...

I got turned on to these babies by watching Joe McNally vids on Scott Kelby training and have been using them for about 5 years.

Simply put, they allow you to put your lights in places and at angles that are pretty dang hard to otherwise.

I use them for both my ABs and SpeedLights. I can't agree that the double grip head is over kill. When you have a grip head on the end where you are mounting the light, if gives you even more flexibility with your the tilt and angle of your strobe.

One caveat to that is you'll need one of these pins for mounting said strobes.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/33203-REG/Matthews_429599_6_Pin_with_Collar.html

May 10, 2012 3:18 PM  
Blogger Bob Karambelas said...

What I never understood was that if you don't use the second grip head, how do you attach a light to the extension arm? Isn't the extension arm just a straight bar with no attachment spigot?

May 10, 2012 3:49 PM  
Blogger H.S. said...

Regarding using microphone stands...I have gone that route when using just a bare speedlight. Worked out great for me as I have three of four of them from playing in a band. The one thing to note though is that the thread pitch for a lot of mic holders is not standard. I got these adapters from B&H that cured that problem for my stands that have a 5/8 thread with a funky 27 pitch:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=On-Stage+MA100&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

May 10, 2012 6:44 PM  
Blogger Mariusz J. said...

For those looking for good (and cheap) c-stand case:
http://www.amazon.com/Music-People-SSB6500-Speaker-Microphone/dp/B000CCXLTS/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1336690052&sr=8-6

only $30!(used to be $20).
Just make sure your c-stands have a turtle (detachable) base.
read the reviews to get an idea what this case will hold.

May 10, 2012 6:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

@Bob Karambelas: The extension arm is 5/8" in diameter, the same as the socket at the base of your lights. So you can just mount the light right to the tip of the arm

May 10, 2012 7:18 PM  
Blogger Bill Giles said...

I'll use C-Stands as long as I can stand the weight.

May 10, 2012 7:40 PM  
Blogger Onno said...

After seeing 'the language of light' from Joe McNally, I just had to have a C-stand. It is, by far, the best thing I have ever bought for my lighting kit. I have a lumo pro with a 40" extension arm and two double grip heads. I can get the light (single strobe, softbox, umbrella) exactly where I want it to be, and I mean exactly ... Joe states that the difference between good lighting and excellent lighting may be just a few inches. And with a C-stand you can control those few inches. It's not the easiest thing to transport, but it's more then 100% worth it.

May 10, 2012 9:00 PM  
Blogger Shanx said...

Perhaps another important benefit of this stand is that two stands can essentially be set up real close to each other as one leg will slide over the other. Try that with a normal stand!

May 10, 2012 9:18 PM  
Blogger michaelonly said...

I've worked film and video production for 16 yrs. as a grip and got into photography a year and a half ago and I must say, I've never seen a c-stand mis-used so much as I do by photographers or photo assistants. ;)

May 10, 2012 11:09 PM  
Blogger brandonfs said...

C-stands are the only way to go, and the most annoying piece of equipment to pack.

I would point out that the second grip head (or one in addition to the one built into the arm) is actually incredibly useful - you mount it to the c-stand and use the one on the arm to grab a flag, foam core, cloth, or a any of various types of clamps. It also allows you to change the length of the arm by sliding it through the second grip head. A must have.

Finally, I should point out that after trying Avenger, Lumopro, American (the standard in the movie industry) and Matthews c-stands, my favorite is Matthews. They're slightly lighter, are built the toughest, and setup the quickest.

May 10, 2012 11:32 PM  
Blogger Rich-O said...

They've been mentioned several times, but almost tangentially - sandbags, sandbags, sandbags.

You put three C-stands in your car, better have room for 60 pounds (3 bags) or more, depending on what you're putting on the stands.

I will double-bag all but the most benign locations.

May 10, 2012 11:40 PM  
Blogger yoric said...

Matthews, Avenger and Kupo are all brands worth considering. I have 3 Matthews and Avengers that are older than dirt, and as much as I have tortured them, keep coming back for more. Busted my toe on one once too. The versions with the floating leg are a must, IMHO. I don't know many of my fellow pro photog friends who DON'T use them ?!

May 11, 2012 3:10 AM  
Blogger fotosiamo said...

I used to be a light-stand only Strobist, but you're right, once you go C-Stand, it's hard to go back. If I can, I'd always go C-Stand first before any regular light stands. Or Junior rollers =)

That said, I trust Matthews and Kupos with Avenger behind that. The first two has the texture in the grip to ensure that the arm doesn't slip. Just makes it more stable.

And yes, even if you don't have C-stands, rent them! I have one, but whenever I can, I rent them from Samy's Camera in Los Angeles. They're only $5/day!

SAFETY NOTES:
One is mentioned, which is to make sure to have the arm extends so when the gravity pulls on the strobe down, it's pulling in the direction of tightening the grip.

Second, make sure you have the longest leg to be in the same axis as the grip arm. If you have a sandbag, use it and make sure it's on that longest leg and as close to the center column as possible. The longest leg is usually the highest leg, so the entire weight of the sandbag is on the leg.

May 11, 2012 3:56 AM  
Blogger Bradley Cummings said...

I love my c-stands. I use them with my Rangers, monoblocks, speedlights, backdrops, flags, reflectors, and ... well ... just about everything.
With the strobes, most of the time I just slide the heads onto the end of the boom arm and that gives me most of the positioning flexibility that I need.
I use them on location because they're rock solid and easy to stabilize with shot bags and if you need more weight it's easy for assistants to stand on the legs. The long leg can be raised or lowered so you can make it stand perfectly upright on uneven or sloping ground.
Yep -- they're heavy and awkward, but I, too, think the effort is worthwhile -- although I can't see myself flying with them!
I live in Australia and had a hard time getting them, but a few years ago I found a supplier who had five Matthews c-stands in stock so I bought them all because the supplier said he was not going to sell them anymore. Expensive? Yep. But I'll never need to buy more stands.

May 11, 2012 4:35 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

If only they were more affordable in the UK. There seems to be hardly any distribution for them. Drive up the demand I say!

May 11, 2012 4:37 AM  
Blogger Simon J said...

For those UK readers the best option is from Interfit. Comes with the 40' extension and two grip heads. Amazon UK have the best price. I have two and they are rock solid and very well made.
Calumet UK also sell a version but they are now where near as heavy duty.

May 11, 2012 6:15 AM  
Blogger Jason Joseph said...

Hey David!
Great post.. as usual.
Id like to add a little tip to help make transporting these beasts a little less of a chore.
First Id like to share a method Ive been using for the last 3 years. A hard-shelled golf-bag case, that is on wheels..and locks! You can find them on E-Bay for under 100$ http://goo.gl/aCFcQ That one is the most expensive... there is a round version that is cheaper.. and will do the job just as well. I own two of them,.. and have dragged them all over!
If you become addicted to C-Stands however...you may want to know about these specially made transport carts, ( you'll probably first encounter them if you rent a Grip Package from your local camera rental house) They are pricey! See for yourself: http://www.filmtools.com/cstandcart.html ( Filmtools is a great website for all sorts of shoot related gear!)
More important than getting large quantities of these beasts around... is safety though. Id like to point out that Ive had countless assistants who say they know how to open a stand...do things that make me very nervous! Opening a stand improperly on location in a clients home...can wield costly results!
So... with this in mind Id like to share with your readers two excellent YouTube clips that will point out some not so obvious tips about how to wield a C-Stand in a manner that would make even Spielberg proud:
http://youtu.be/VkAonpBajWY
And equally informative
http://youtu.be/kU6tPFrdC5E
Both worth the combined 7:66 seconds of time to view!
Now David.. you mentioned Joe McNally, Joe really came through for me just recently and rang me to share some insights. It was a Skype call I remain in his debt for... If you're reading Joe... thank you again!
Well While I had J.M. on the horn.. there were a billion things I would have loved to ask him.. and one of them you actually just reminded me of. I've often wondered how he transports his stands to remote location that hes flown to. Ive seen recently.. he has a ton of gear .. and he noted hes on a first name basis with the NYC Sky Captains at the airports... Ive often wondered why not ship them... OR...rent. I wonder if hes compared the costs?
Well, I hope the info I shared is helpful to some! Perhaps we can get some more insight into traveling with a metric tonnage of gear when Joe gets back from Australia!?

Be well.
~j.j.
www.JasonJosephStudio.com

P.S. You remember me? I'm the Crazy spinning Christmas tree photo guy from Twitter. @JasonJosephNYC

May 11, 2012 7:35 AM  
Blogger Bradley Cummings said...

And speaking of safety, I always warn assistants or anyone working with them to make sure they tighten everything down -- always, even when collapsed. It's no fun if you jam your fingers or part of your hand between the components of the stand if they slip. You only do it once to learn that lesson. It bloody hurts.

May 11, 2012 7:48 AM  
Blogger Scott Free said...

Man, you used to be all about small strobes and travelling light! You sold out man. I like you're old stuff better than your new stuff....


:P

May 11, 2012 8:06 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is one of those posts that just shows how wonderful this site is. Like Al Jurina above I've been looking at stands and trying to do decide but for the amount I'm using right now, maybe not a need. My other problem was that for all the McNally video I've watched, I never get a clear idea of the setup...and certainly not the description you've just provided. Really appreciate this post!

May 11, 2012 8:35 AM  
Blogger tbibb said...

I have been considering this purchase for a while but with hesitation. Does anyone know if these will suffice with the arm extension for use with Profoto Compacts? Also looking for a good Boom option as well to fly this light + beauty dish.

May 11, 2012 8:58 AM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks for posting this! I've tried my luck with various stands and boom arms for heavier setups and have never been exactly thrilled with anything I've used. I've been considering a C-stand for sometime but just didn't know exactly what to look for.

Thanks for sharing this, and I'm sure MPEX appreciates it too as I will be giving them a call soon... as I expect others will too, hope they have a lot of inventory. :)

May 11, 2012 9:47 AM  
Blogger Frank Grygier said...

This information about grip is useful. I use the a umbrella swivel on the end of the grip arm to mount speed lights and the other grip head as a counterweight.

May 11, 2012 10:10 AM  
Blogger Chris Nuzzaco said...

C-Stands are actually meant for holding grip gear - flags, nets, etc... I work in the film industry myself, and it can be risky putting lights on gobo arms and you also run the risk of totally destroying the gobo arm from all the weight of a heavier light. Use these stands for grip gear, that's what they are meant for. If you need to boom a light, buy a light stand with a built in boom etc... WAY more safe. If you're hanging little camera flashes, you'll be fine - studio strobes, I would NOT recommend that. Also be sure the tall leg is under an offset gobo arm for support and always make sure the weight on the arm pushes down in a manner that TIGHTENS the knuckles, not loosen them...

May 11, 2012 12:19 PM  
Blogger fotosiamo said...

@Chris N: While a baby boom or a junior light boom is really the way to go instead of a 40" arm grip if you want to boom a strobe on a C-Stand, I find that the arm grips from Matthew, Kupo, American, and Avengers have been super solid, especially w/ the relatively light Profoto Pro heads and even my Einsteins. Obviously, you don't want to mount a 33.5" Mola Euro off of it.

If you're mounting something heavy, you can always get Kupo and its Grip arm support: http://www.kupogrip.com/blog/?p=2409

- Joe Gunawan | fotosiamo.com

May 11, 2012 2:03 PM  
Blogger toddg said...

So... can I use a c-stand and a 40" arm grip to safely hold a ab-800 and the 64" plm? any weight limits? just curious as I've been looking at booms for the ab-800/plm combo for a while.

May 11, 2012 3:08 PM  
OpenID kaeframes said...

The problem with McNally: It cost more money to ship his gear as to ship the photographer. :-)

May 11, 2012 4:00 PM  
Blogger RexGRP said...

Great feature on C-stands, especially when used with a boom. Can anyone add some information about the use of a "baby pin" attachment ?

May 11, 2012 4:28 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

@Simon J: Can you confirm that the interfit stand is steel, rather than aluminium?

@RexGRP: The baby-pin goes into the second grip-head at the end of the extension arm. That way you have 5/8" mounting spigot that can be rotated into any direction. Gives you a little more flexibility.

May 12, 2012 2:19 AM  
Blogger dtpancio said...

This LPs or the Manfrotto Boom 420NSB? What's better?

May 12, 2012 7:20 AM  
Blogger Frank Grygier said...

I use the 40" grip arm as a boom with my speedlight, swivel & an Apollo Orb. I have all this mounted on a heavy duty light stand. Kupo has some interesting clamps and arms that look like they can solve the mounting issues one runs into.

May 12, 2012 9:19 AM  
OpenID damnuglyphotography said...

"they pack...poorly"

Huh?!! I can put 6 c-stands with grip heads into a 12" fiberbilt tube case...easily!!! Sure, it weighs a ton, but it doesn't take up that much space and let's face it, I don't lift my own shit anyway!

May 12, 2012 9:30 AM  
Blogger Heipel said...

3 Kupo c stands here, two with boom and grip heads. My original question about a carrying case option wasn't about protecting the stands or even my car, but about carrying the stands conveniently and collectively as I often shoot in locations where the walk from the car is considerable. I've got the c stand type that does not have removable legs so I guess I'm going to have to have a custom made padded canvas bag made. Hmmm, or maybe a dolly/rack combo...
Thanks for this blog, as usual, David. Good stuff.

May 12, 2012 11:02 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

No offense, Your Damn Ugliness, but I was speaking mostly in relative terms to the compact 5-section light stands many of us around here are used to...

:)

May 12, 2012 1:25 PM  
Blogger Mark Davidson said...

Thanks for the info. I have been studying C-stands for some time and have been overwhelmed by the vast array of gear that is made for them.

This helps illuminate te issue and the very helpful comments have magnified the value of this post.

May 12, 2012 3:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I use light stands for Lights, and C-stands for Grip Equipment. Light stands have a larger footprint than C-stands, and therefore are more stable. You can also get light stands with _Rocky Mountain Legs_ for use on un-level ground. BTW you can put a grip head and arm on a Baby light stand, if you need a short boom. Use a Lolli-Pop and a Senior stand to hold a really looong boom.

People complain about the difficulty of putting SAND Bags on Light stands. Why are you using SAND Bags? _SHOT Bags_ are much smaller, and weigh the same. Better yet is the Matthews Boa Bag, a shot bag that can wrap around anything.

Knowledge is power, get some by browsing AmericanGrip, MSEGrip, FilmTools, etc.

c.d.embrey

May 12, 2012 6:33 PM  
Blogger RealGigReel said...

Like many people here (David included) I was 'sold' on C-stands following Joe McNally's example.

I'm in UK and the choice here isn't anything like the Stateside, and I've gone with Calumet 40-inch turtlebase, an extension arm with two gripheads and their 3-piece boom.

I can't say a bad thing abut the combo, especially for the price.

The boom flexes a bit under load (as one'd expect) but it has been a solid performer.

I think two gripheads are an absolute must when mounting anything of substantial mass to it, though.

There might be different extension arms out there, but the Calumet one is essentially a bare, smooth rod with no retention on either end.

Although one can mount a standard Monoblock head right onto the end of it, I found it's neither safe nor reliable, particularly with big-ish modifiers that shift the centre-of-gravity of the whole assembly making it prone to sagging on rotational axis.

A second griphead at the end of the rod coupled with either a standard brass stud or a more purpose-built piece like the Matthews 6” Pin&Collar (http://www.uklight.co.uk/6-pin-with-collar.html)
makes for a bullet-proof and flexible 3D mount point for anything that will accept a stud.

@Simon J :

You suggest that Interfit is more heavy-duty than Calumet.
Can you elaborate, pls ?
I cannot fault my Calumet stand on build quality but, as I'm looking to get another one, I might consider Interfit.

May 12, 2012 7:43 PM  
Blogger RexGRP said...

I'm stuck having to drive the car and carry my own equipment, and would love to know how c stands fit into a 12" case.
I'm ready to purchase both.

May 13, 2012 1:12 AM  
Blogger LANE STUDIOS Photography said...

I have been using Mathews sliding leg C-stands for years, they are the LIGHTEST, strongest and best designed C-stands out there. I have used Avenger and several off brand names, the biggest problem is they weigh at least 7 lbs MORE than Mathews and don't have the welded (metal pipe to metal pipe) not cast aluminum which is bulky like Avenger and many "house" brands. The sliding leg lets you position C-stands ANYWHERE. I shoot mostly on location, so I end up positioning them on stairs. PLUS you can nest many of them together, nearly IMPOSSIBLE with standard lightstands.

May 15, 2012 5:01 AM  
Blogger Apolinar Fonseca said...

Here's something for skateboard photogs or anynone not wanting to haul around stands...Shoestrings!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq7uoF6AAbg"

May 15, 2012 4:25 PM  
Blogger iamawinner said...

The only case that has worked for me (So far) for C-Stands and Rolling Avenger stands (My personal favorite by FAR)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002F5FXA?ie=UTF8&tag=dkphotograp05-20&linkCode=shr&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=B0002F5FXA&ref_=sr_1_2&qid=1337247848&sr=8-2 via @amazon

This case is big enough, Strong enough and it Rolls when you don't feel like carrying several heavy stands!

May 17, 2012 5:47 AM  
Blogger Christy Harper said...

Thanks for the awesome info, please keep sharing :)

May 24, 2012 5:09 AM  
Blogger Robert Davidson said...

I just got a C Stand today that I ordered from Midwest Photo. WOW...WOW, what a solid sturdy beast! I think it is great. No matter how you describe them, or what photos you show of them, you don't get a good understanding of how strong and sturdy these things are until you pick one up and set it up. It is simply awesome...thanks for this post. Without it I would not have got the idea to get one, and I'm glad I got it. I'll probably have to get a second one after a little while.

May 29, 2012 8:32 PM  
Blogger bronney said...

Come on man, all of us here know too well that your post is another justification to buy more toys. And there's no one worst than going for Joe for shopping advice if you're not broke already from talking to all your addicted friends ;) I hope Mrs. Hobby don't read this hehehe.

Your 5 section stand with holes is more than a stand, it's a fashion statement!!!

May 31, 2012 8:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

C-stands are nice but I like avenger/mathews wheeled stands like A420. I am a hadicapped fellow so carrying lightstands with strobes and other stuff is hard for me. So I love these A420s. I mostly shoot on location and with them I just roll as I am move from one location to another. I have shot with them in local parks, sidewalks, downtown area and love the flexibility they provide. Having traditional legs with much wider foot print (compared to c-stand) also means I need less sand bags. When using Einstein with medium softbox or BD, I don't need any sand bags unless I am using the 40" grip arm. And 420 is lot more easier to carry in a car than a C-stand. Just my thoughts.

June 01, 2012 6:18 PM  
Blogger Rich Gibson said...

I've carried a c stand around Vienna in the snow, and around Burning Man, in order to raise up the gigapan unit to good heights.

I only once had a (minor) accident involving a subway and a small child.

They are so heavy, so awkward, that carrying them makes you feel like you are accomplishing something by just surviving.

June 02, 2012 4:10 AM  
Blogger Brad Evans Clarke said...

I know I'm late to the party on this blog post, however this is a pretty handy case for transporting c-stands. http://us.petrolbags.com/Lighting-Bags-and-Cases?q=node/1196

June 20, 2012 10:23 PM  
Blogger hht420 said...

Can you describe/show how you attach your light/modifier to the 40" extension arm?

January 21, 2013 7:30 AM  

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