Recommendations for unbrella and stand for field use please

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by tkamiya, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I am looking for a small (to fold) and light umbrella kit and would appreciate recommendations.

    What I need is a portable umbrella about 30" in diameter, a light (in weight) stand, and hold my hot-shoe type flash. Primary use will be to setup as a supplemental light in field portrait situations. It will be remotely triggered.

    I see all sorts of units like this from cheap to expensive, large to small, oh, I don't know... store brand to premium kits. I don't want junk but I don't need a top tier kit either - as i do not do this professionally.

    If someone can recommend a brand and a model that would be suitable, that will be nice.
     
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    There's going to be a lot of variables. A short, aluminum stand can be Manfrotto, PIC, Chinese, Venusian or Martian.
    You should be able to find a double load of them.
    You can check Manfrottos site for some of their models. I've got a couple of steel ones that are ridiculously heavy. Don't get those.
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have acquired the set up you describe over time. The first stand was cheap and heavy, and was replaced by an aluminum stand that b&h sells for about $60.

    The umbrellas I have are store brand that I have had for over 20 years; the white ones have yellowed a tiny bit in that time.

    The flash head umbrella holders I have now I recently bought off a hong kong ebay site for $14 each with free shipping.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Thank you. I didn't think about the weight of stands. I will definitely look for aluminum ones.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I'd go for a heavy stand so you have to take less efforts to weight it down outdoors if there is any wind. If you have someone with you; doesn't have to a photography; perhaps the subject's friend, they can hold the stand. I'd suggest a reflective umbrella for bright light / long distances, and a white one for more diffused use.

    In reality you might not even need an umbrella and strobe. If you get one of the 5 in 1 reflector kits that fold up into a little bag, you might be all set. You really need a person to hold those though. Basically reflects ambient light.

    I've done it both ways. If it's really bright outside (like wedding reception group pix on a sunny summer day), you might not want to shooting at f22 or whatever aperture you need to get the right exposure for your shutter sync speed. Then your flash might not be powerful enough to go the distance at that aperture. That's when the reflector comes in; you can use any shutter and aperture that works and don't need any special metering. If light is dimmer, then it's nice to have the strobe and umbrella as it's a little more set and forget than a flimsy reflector being held by someone who almost knows what they are doing.
     
  7. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    For outdoors an Apollo Micro or Mini Softbox might be more practical. It is much smaller so much less sail area than an umbrella. It folds up neatly and fits the same stand head as umbrellas. It fits a Speedlite nicely.
     
  8. eddym

    eddym Member

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    An umbrella on a lightweight stand is an invitation to a great show, as the slightest unexpected gust of wind or even a soft breeze picks up the umbrella, stand, and flash and carries it drifting away into the sunset.
    I use fairly sturdy Bogen light stands, and I once had a brief gust catch an umbrella on a Calumet 750 Travellite (itself no lightweight) and carry it about 10 feet before crashing to the concrete pavement around a swimming pool. Had it gone into the water with the power cord attached, we could have had some free fireworks! :sad:
     
  9. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I picked up a pair of stands after watching other photographers stands blow over on windy days, breaking umbrellas. Still wanting something portable, with the Matthews Reverse stands. They seemed a bit more stable than the Manfrotto Nano and not substantially larger or heavier.

    A strong wind will still knock it over, but I prefer it over all.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I just ordered a kit containing two umbrellas and stands. I thought about the wind factor and it's true - I wouldn't want the setup to be TOO light. I'm sure my lighting kit will grow with time. I'll start with these and see what I can do with them. Thank you all for providing valuable input!
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Any stand outdoors has a risk of blowing over, no matter how heavy or light. If you walk by an outdoor film set, every light stand is sandbagged, and they tend to be pretty massive stands. As I see it, it's easier to carry compact lightweight stands to the location and weight them than to transport heavier stands and weight them, but then I'm usually traveling around New York by public transportation or by taxi. If you're moving everything in your own vehicle, you've got more options.