In the original equipment post I mentioned a wish list of items that I felt would be of use once I no longer have access to University facilities. At the photography show I looked at the items and here are the results.
- Boom Stand – Could envisage making something but at the end of the day mounting expensive lights on a Heath Robinson contraption is likely to prove frustrating if not expensive in case of an accident.
I spoke to John T before looking at stands for some tips on what to look for. His advice was look for something robust, he highly recommended having wheels but said to watch out for the system used to attach them as ones that were an after fit to an existing stand tended to break after a while. Thus armed I looked at what was on offer and there were half a dozen vendors offering Boom Stands in all sizes with prices ranging from £40 to £250. The cheaper ones were rapidly eliminated as were inevitably extremely flimsy-at best suitable for speed lites and definitely not appropriate for professional flash heads.
The top end ones tended to be simply too large for my current space as would require a decent studio space to operate properly in. The choice came down to models offered by Lencarta and Essential Photo. Essential offered 2 similar models – one a C-stand and one with wheels, the Lencarta one was a tripod type stand with add on wheels and the Essential one was a tube type stand with integral wheels (photo above) so although £30 more and with John’s advice ringing in my ears I selected the Essential one as it seemed it was generally more robust particularly in respect of the wheels. Total price was £155, including a 10% show discount compared to their website and was delivered within a few days.
- Floor light stand – pigeon toe as they are referred to here at Bath Spa – for mounting light at floor or low level to illuminate background. Feel I can definitely make one of these but will have a look.
I had found the issue of getting background light low enough problematic during the headshot shoot for Bath Spa careers. Whilst looking at the Lencarta range of stands I discovered they had a stand specifically for this purposes which was a low level stand with a limited extension range, this was also removable which then made it a floor level stand. I felt this was exactly what was required and although I could make a floor one cheaply this seemed more flexible and realistically there wont be an opportunity before the end of term deadlines to get enough time in the metal workshop.
- Beauty Dish – Classic portrait lighting set-up which I want to explore further, good quality beauty dishes are not cheap but come highly recommended.
There are an increasing number of portable beauty dishes available – i.e. folding versions rather than the large metal dishes of old. The next issue is size as they come in sizes from 40 to 100 cm with 60-80 cm seemingly the most popular.I had a useful discussion with a helpful representative on the Lencarta and although there was little to choose between similar models I purchased an 80 cm Lencarta model, the only significant differential being that it had 16 rods rather than 8 tending to make it more rounded – like the metal beauty dishes compared to the 8 rod models which can be slightly octagonal.
Subsequent to the show there was a hiccup with the delivery in that it turned out Lencarta were out of stock of 80cm dishes and not expecting more until mid April, however with excellent customer service they have lent me a 60 cm model and will swap it out when new supplies arrive.
- Stand mounted table for mounting laptop whilst tethering, professional versions of these can cost £100’s but I am certain I can make something reasonable very cheaply.
There were a couple of vendors offering such systems – notably tether tools – beautifully made in aluminium but costing several hundred pounds – way beyond what I could justify or consider value for money so will definitely try and make one before the end of term.
I all but funded these purchases by selling a 17-40 Canon L lens (to a dealer at the show) which has lain unused for at least 18 months as I have a 24-70 which is used most of the time and a 14 mm prime lens which is far better than the 17-24. I got £255 for the lens, and whilst I suspect I could have made slightly more on an auction site, after fees and the additional hassle of shipping and so forth took the straight cash deal for convenience.
All in all a successful shopping trip.
Update 20th April.
80cm dish arrived and 60cm dish collected as promised. Can’t praise their customer service ethic enough. The kit is good quality too, unlike some of the lesser brands.