By Mark and Leslie Degner
We often use reflectors, diffusers and/or flashes when working in the field and our basement studio and have a number of accessories that we use to hold these items. A light stand is one of the more versatile accessories that we use and have several in our basement studio and a couple in our vehicle so they’re readily available to use whenever we need them.
Since light stands have been around for a very long time and the ones that we use are almost as old as we are, we really didn’t think there was much that could be done to improve on their design and functionality. However, the new Flashpoint Auto Stand, which is sold exclusively by Adorama (www.adorama.com), proved us wrong. Available in both 2.14 m (7’) and 2.74 m (9’) models, the Flashpoint Auto Stands are heavy-duty yet lightweight light stands that look almost identical to many other light stands. The major difference is the way the legs extend and retract — they are essentially automatic. This makes setting up, moving around and packing up the light stands a lot easier. Once the leg-locking screw has been loosened, simply place the stand on the ground and the legs will instantly extend outward. Tighten the leg-locking screw and you are set to use the stand. However, here’s a neat feature of the Flashpoint Auto Stand: If you need to move the stand just pick it up and the legs should collapse automatically, making it easier to move. When you reach the new location, simply place the stand down and the legs should automatically extend and you’re good to go.
Like all light stands, the Flashpoint Auto Stand’s three legs are not individually adjustable, so it can really only be used on flat surfaces, which limits its versatility in the field where the ground is often uneven and sloped. Also we found that it didn’t work as well when trying to automatically extend the legs on soft surfaces like grass. Sometimes we had to use our foot to help sweep out one of the legs while holding the center column. Although this isn’t ideal, overall the Flashpoint Auto Stand is easier to use than traditional light stands.
The 2.14 m (7’) model ($59.95 US) adjusts from 0.95 m (3.1’) to 2.14 m (7’) tall and folds down to about 76.2 cm (30”) for storage and transport. The 2.74 m (9’) version ($79.95 US) extends from 1.1 m (3.5’) to just over 2.74 m (9’) and folds down to about 1.1 m (40”). Both models come with a reversible 5/8” stud, with a ¼”-20 thread on one end and 3/8” on the other, as well as a very nice padded nylon carrying case. In addition to their new Auto Stands, Flashpoint has also produced some new accessories like the Flashpoint Telescopic Reflector Holder ($39.95 US) and two Flashpoint Flip-Flash Brackets ($19.95 and $29.95 US).