Just received my LumoPro LP604 5-section lightstand (part#LUM5000) from the folks at Midwest Photo Exchange.
I needed another lightstand and I wanted one I can lug around in a “normal” bag in a fairly regular basis and my generic, China lightstand is just too long and bulky to carry around. I tried to find a good bag to fit the generic light stand and the only ones that can fit the generic lightstand are mountaineering backpacks that cost quite a bit. I found one bag that I really liked but it costs over $200 USD, which is quite a silly route to take as the bag is quite big, let alone, expensive.
The LumoPro 5000 is a house-brand item of Midwest Photo, it’s a slightly cheaper alternative to the Bogen/Manfrotto 001B (which replaced the popular Manfrotto 3373).
In general, the generic China stand is lighter because of its hollow-tube construction and aluminum stud, while the LumoPro uses thin aluminum bars as legs but much thicker center column tubes and it uses a brass stud.
The LumoPro is obviously a lot more compact when folded, but has the same 6ft height as the China generic stand. Both are about the same in terms of wind-resistance, meaning they both could topple quite quickly if a brolly is mounted and used in windy conditions. However, you can secure the LumoPro down better than the China stand due to the leg design.
The LumoPro LP604 costs US$40 while the generic China stand cost about US$19 bucks. If you’re not after portability, there’s little reason to spend more than you should for a speedlight stand.
Here’s a quick size comparison between the LumoPro LP604 (left) versus the generic China aluminum light stand (right).
Starting from the top, we can compare the studs supplied with the stand. Both studs are convertible between 1/4″ or 3/8″ threads, but the stud from the generic stand is made of hollow aluminum while the LumiPro supplied stud is made of solid brass.
While there’s considerable weight difference between the aluminum generic stud an the brass stud supplied with the LumoPro, the brass stud is very solid and mounted very securely on the light stand. The generic aluminum stud is just pressure fit onto the vertical column and does come off with relative ease.
The main joint where the legs meet the center post is constructed differently. The generic stand uses tubular legs with flat joint panels while the LumoPro uses rivets as both joint and lock on flat bar legs.
Bolts vs rivets, that’s the question. The bolts on the generic stand will get loose rather quickly, so I added some thread-locking glue on them.
The next pair of photos shows the locking mechanism of each vertical pole’s segment. The generic stand uses a quick clamp while the LumoPro uses a twist lock. The generic one works faster but the LumoPro is more secure. I had another generic stand with the clamp breaking apart with just 3 weeks of light usage. The part that maintains pressure on the tube is just a very thin and flimsy plastic sheet less than 2mm in thickness, needless to say, it’s a game of roulette when it comes to durability with these cheap stands.
The differences may seem subtle in photos but are clear with side-by-side comparisons of the actual item. The LumoPro’s parts are just a lot studier.
Take a look at one of the main differences between the two light stands. The generic light stand (left) has a narrower footprint but cannot be lay flat on the ground. You can do so with the LumoPro (right) and get a much lower height when used collapsed. The Lumopro allows me to tape the feet onto the ground if necessary or put a bag on top of it for stability during windy conditions.
Here’s the main reason why I wanted a more compact lightstand, it fits almost all my standard backpacks and my new backpack/messenger bag hybrid along with a camera, 2 flashes and accessories, 1 camera and zoom, 1 umbrella, and umbrella/flash holder.
The generic stand is great in value as its ridiculously cheap. If you don’t plan to carry it around town all the time, this will suffice, and it’s cheap enough to replace if it breaks anyway. Just hope that your flash isn’t on top of the stand when it does break. It’s lighter than the LumoPro as well.
I cannot vouch for the LumoPro’s durability as of the moment because I’ve only had this for a week, but so far, everything about it is quite solid and it’s still not an expensive stand. If portability is a must for you, do check out the LumoPro 5-section lightstand.
Do check out the Manfrotto/Bogen 001B as well as it’s a about half an inch shorter than the LumoPro LP604 and only a about $15 more expensive.