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Recommended Light Stand: LumoPro LP605 Series

Abstract: A walk-through of compact light stands in general, and the LP605s in particular.

Light stands support your flash and allow you to choose where your light is coming from in relation to your subject.

For photographers working with small flashes and beginning with off-camera lighting, the "compact" stand is the best solution. This design strikes the ideal balance between usefulness and portability.

The LP605 Series

Compact light stands (like the LumoPro LP605 seen at left) generally have five sections. So even though they extend to 7 1/2 feet, they also fold up very small—21 inches or so. Even better, they can also function as a stand at that collapsed height, so they work great as a support for a low-angle fill light. (You'll learn more about that soon.)

Compact stands are ideally suited for photographers using lightweight, speedlight-based lighting gear. They are not expensive, and you can expect many years of service. I still have and use compact stands I purchased back in the 1980s.

The LumoPro LP605 series is several cuts above its competition.

First, being from LumoPro, it comes with a five-year warranty. Not that you expect a stand to just break, as that rarely ever happens. What is more likely to happen is that you'll lose a part, such as one of the locking knobs that keep the stand extended and in place. In that case, just call LumoPro and they will drop a replacement knob in the mail for you.

That might not sound like a big thing. But if your no-name Chinese stand loses a part, try calling China for a knob. More likely, you'll just end up rebuying the whole stand.

The LP605 series is also beefier than the typical compact stand. This is important because the 5-section graduated design gets pretty thin by the time you get to the top, and the extra strength comes in very handy.

The LP605 uniquely comes with folding spikes for extra stability when you are outside in the wind. Umbrellas are never going to happy in the wind, and you'll learn to "sandbag" or otherwise secure your light stands when shooting outside. But the spikes give you a good amount of extra security, and mean you can easily use a bare flash outside in a reasonable breeze. (Other brands do not have this feature.)

Designed for Portability

Finally, the LP605S version of this stand (shown above) ships drilled and fitted with a carrying strap. Which means if you are shooting with one light, you can easily assemble (and then collapse) a full umbrella light kit and just hang it over your shoulder like another camera.

I used to DIY drill and strap my stands back in the day, and LumoPro picked this up as an official feature. You can easily walk a mile or two, toting both your camera and your lighting gear. This gives new meaning to the term portable studio.

For this and the above reasons, the strapped LP605S version is the stand chosen for the recommended jumpstarter kit. (You can also get it separately, here, for $44.99.)

If you move on to bigger lights, or want more strength and flexibility, you'll probably add a bigger stand later. But this is the one you will use most often, just because of how portable you can make it. It can easily ride in a small roller case when traveling — and pairs very will with the recommended double-fold umbrella.

A light stand is not complicated. Essentially, it holds your light at a place in three-dimensional space. Pretty simple stuff. But there are still good and not-so-good choices that you can make. The LP605S is strapped, heavier-duty than the other brands, and the ground spikes are icing on the cake.


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