In the photo above I have the stud mounted in the storage position, which is a tapped hole at the end of the topmost foot. You will also note that the feet are all different lengths. This is of course so they can fit together when collapsed. It does make for a non symmetrical footprint, but the longest foot is a foot (12 inches), so I'll call it an approximately 24 inch footprint. The extension is made from heavy tubing and has two sections. The stand is nicely stable because it has a decent footprint and some heft. It is also very well priced at only $25 for both the foot section and extension.
Do the Limbo - how low can you go?
What I like about this style stand compared to some others, is that it can get the flash nearly flat to the ground. but when some height is needed, the extension can go as high as one might typically need. As show here, the base of the stud is about 3-1/2 inches off the floor.
Extend Your Reach
Adding the extension pole gets things up off the floor. Here it is with the pole fully closed. I measure about 20 inches from the the floor. It is very solid and stable at this height.
With the extension fully extended it reaches up to 33 inches while maintaining decent stability. There is virtually no give in the extension, so if you sandbag the feet, it can securely hold significant loads even at this height.
Why a Background Stand?
So, why pack a backlight stand you might ask? Well, there are some obvious reasons and some perhaps not so obvious reasons. The most obvious reason is for a backlight when shooting portraiture with a backdrop. The low footprint also allows putting a flash on the ground for a kicker or accent light when needed. The feet can be moved to make it fit in odd shaped places. The extension gets it to the right height for backlighting a subject and for peeking over obstacles when used for accent or kicker lighting. The not so obvious is that in a pinch, it can be rigged for use as a main light stand by placing it on a chair, bookcase, or table, strapping or clamping the extension to nearby objects, or whatever else can be dreamed up to get the job done. I assume that any piece of equipment can break just when it is needed, so having redundancy is not optional. The redundant item doesn't need to be an exact replacement for the broken item, but it must somehow be able to do the job if and when called upon. If my trusty LumoPro lightstand breaks while on location, then the little Calument backlight stand will have to find a way do the job.
Where to Get One
If you need a backlight stand, this one will offer you the most bang for the buck. Professional quality equipment at an incredibly low price. I thought that the price must be a mistake, but it isn't. The Calumet branded stand I believe is a rebranded Manfrotto. The stand comes with stud and extension for around $25 (U.S. dollars at today's pricing) and is a real bargain. Click Here to purchase the Calumet Backlight Stand through Amazon.
We're more than half way through the “What's in the Bag” series, so hang on and hang out to see what's next.
"Calumet 6020 Backlight Stand"