I remember several photographic purchases that changed my photography dramatically for the better.
- Nikon S2, in 1957
- Nikon FTn, in 1966
- Hasselblad 501c
- Linhof Master Technika
- Nikon D3
- Arca Swiss C1 cube
- Sony a9
- 8×10 Polaroid processor
But there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest for impact on my photography, the Foba Portrait Pro camera stand. It’s one of the cheaper Foba stands, but it’s not inexpensive. I imagine that I’d be happy with any good quality camera stand. But I had no idea when I bought it what a difference it would make.
It was a happenstance purchase. I had a credit at my photo dealer, and the money was burring a hole in my pocket. I’d been eyeing camera stands in stores for 50 years, but I’d never owned one. This one was light enough that two people could assemble and set it up. So I ordered it, not having much in the way of expectations.
I was then, and still am, doing most of my photography in the studio, which is the natural place to use a camera stand. You’d have to be a masochist to try to use one in the field. Camera stands are big. Camera stands are heavy; in fact their great weight allows them to do what they do better than if they were made out of carbon fiber.
What’s their big advantage? It’s actually threefold: they allow precise and rapid positioning of the camera, and they do it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice stability. And they do it in a way that allows positions and angles that are either impossible, or awkward using tripods.
- Want to shoot straight down? No problem.
- Want the camera positioned really close to, or even over, a table? Piece of cake.
- Want to move the camera one centimeter to the right? Easy.
- Want a more stable platform than you could possibly get with a tripod? At your service.
- Want to raise the camera by 1 cm without using a shake-inducing center column. Falling off a log.
- Want the camera up near the ceiling, or down near the floor? Can do.
- Want a computer/monitor/accessory table that is always near the camera? Snap it right in.
- Want a piece of gear that feels precise under your hands? Got you covered.
Your mileage may vary, but if you’ve been tempted, give it a whirl.