Phottix P-3950 stand/boom

It’s always dangerous for a photographer to walk into Vanbar. You may go in with a plan to purchase a specific item but then all kinds of other toys catch your eye and your original plan promptly goes out the window.

I recently walked in intending to buy a lighting stand suitable for supporting a boom arm I owned. Instead I was talked into buying the Phottix P-3950 combination stand/boom for only marginally more than the Manfrotto stand I’d intended to buy.

This stand isn’t small or compact but when it comes to supporting a loaded boom arm complete with sandbag, “small and compact” isn’t really the best idea. As just a lighting stand it’s pretty solid and can extend up to 3.95m (!) in height.

Where it gets interesting is the way the central column can be quickly turned into a boom arm. Rather than trying to explain how it works, it’s probably better to show you some photos.

the top part of the stand before extension

The key trick with this stand is the way it allows the centre column to be pulled up and out:

left: the centre column pulled up; centre: the column is now free to swivel; right: the boom arm can then be re-positioned as required

The centre column has a drilled hole in the end so that the supplied (empty) sandbag can be attached.

boom with sandbag attached – the centre column of the arm hasn’t been extended here

The spigot in the top of the stand is removable so that you can adjust the mounting angle:

spigot mounted vertically and horizontally

I know Manfrotto make a similar boom stand – I assume this is essentially a cheaper clone of it.I haven’t used booms much in the past but I’ve recently embraced using one to place a hair light directly above/behind a model. You do have to be careful when using them because a single mistake can easily lead to disaster. You don’t want to skimp on sandbagging a stand like this.

The stand weighs 3kg and is specified to hold a 3kg load. I’ll only be using this to mount a speedlight (with modifier) so that should be completely sufficient for my requirements.I picked this up for $AU187. This is the Vanbar website listing for it:

If you’ve found the above rant useful, you may like to sign up to one of my regular outdoor lighting workshops that I run in the Melbourne CBD. I run those through my group Melbourne Photography Education.

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