Studio stands

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by TheFlyingCamera, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Hi all -

    I'm developing a need for a studio stand - not the kind that I have with my Century Master portrait camera, but the 7'+ tall pole with a cross-arm type. I'm willing to take my time finding one, but I'd like to get some input as to what to look for. What are peoples' experiences with them? I think currently there's about four major brands selling them - Calumet/Cambo, FOBA, Manfrotto and Delta1/Arkay. My needs in a stand are:

    * something that can support anything I have camera-wise (biggest by size is the Canham 14x17, biggest by weight is probably the Watson 12x15 - the Watson is probably 5lbs heavier than the Canham, but I've never weighed it).

    * something that will have controllable lateral movement of the horizontal cross-bar

    * I'd prefer something that has one-touch wheel locking and that is easy to slide in one direction only, but I can give that up if it's a budget-breaker

    I'll leave budget out of the consideration for now because I'd be perfectly happy to find a cheaper stand, but if I won't be happy with a new less-expensive stand, I'd rather bide my time to find a better used stand, or eventually just get frustrated and buy a new one with all the features.
     
  2. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    If you are not in a hurry, you can probably find one via Craigslist or the equivalent. I must have seen fifteen or so in the Bay Area (CA) over the last few years (and bought two of them...) and I was actively looking only for the shorter ones because I don't have much headroom. The nine-footers seem to be more common, but that is nothing that a hacksaw won't usually fix. They are usually not considered shippable due to the very considerable weight, although they all come apart into smaller pieces without much trouble.

    The Cambo/Calumet style with the gear-driven crossarm is the cat's meow. My guess is that it will handle considerably more weight than I would dare put on my Majestic gearhead, and I doubt that capacity will be an issue with anything other than the Arkay or Calumet medium-format designs (which, by the way, I don't think I have ever seen offered; I wonder where they all are?).

    One thing to consider with any of these stands is that you will need a decently smooth, hard floor for them to work easily. Even though they are extremely stable, there is also lot of mass up high so that on a soft or rough floor you need to push the base around rather than just hauling on the crossarm (when the crossarm is at mid-column, so is the counterweight...).

    Another, possibly minor, point is that there are several gearhead mounting styles, and the higher-end stands use adapters of various sorts for camera mounting. Unless you find a stand that is in current production, you will probably want to use the mounting that comes with it, so it may be important to make sure that a used one has all (or at least, enough) parts present.

    I hope this helps; with any luck, someone with more professional experience will also chime in.
     
  3. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Scott-- Someone recently offered me a stand when I was buying some other equipment. This was is the fall and I'm trying to track down the name of the person. I didn't give the stand much of a look, but it was in nice condition and I think the asking price was $150. I'll see if I can find the seller for you.
     
  4. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    I have used a FOBA and Manfrotto. The FOBA by far is the nicer stand. Extremely well engineered. You did not put a weight for your cameras, but both should be able to handle them. Both the Manfrotto and FOBA sit on their base and then rise to move. I believe the column rotates with the FOBA, but not the Manfrotto. You will definitely need the geared arm for the Manfrotto as the sliding arm binds with a 4x5 studio camera.
     
  5. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    If you can find a used Foba stand at a reasonable price, grab it. Smooth as silk, fingertip pressure to move the arm. Quite a bit more expensive than the Calumet/Cambo stands if new.

    Peter Gomena
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Amongst the different brands the top model from Cambo seems to be the only one offering the feature to swivel the traverse beam around the collumn. In case that should be of great advantage.
     
  7. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    So does the FOBA.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes.
     
  9. aluncrockford

    aluncrockford Member

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    I have used a Cambo stand for more years than I care to mention,it works well has a cross arm and is quick to use locks down tightly and takes any camera you put on it, what more do you need in a stand
     
  10. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    The Foba is perhaps my favorite piece of equipment ever. After nearly decapitating a stylist with a camera on a lightweight stand I spent the extra money on the Foba and have never regretted it. It's so stable and smooth.