Generic Studio Equipment vs The Well-Known Brands

on September 10, 2015

We have a great deal of studio equipment here at the shop - lights, stands, backdrop materials, clamps, accessories, etc. Some are very well-known brands - Manfrotto, Profoto, Elinchrom, et al. Some are surprises - Kupo, JinBei, and Plain White Box.

With the former you can get quite detailed catalogs, both in print and on-line. There are always new things coming out and catalogues need to change to reflect this - some are on the ball, like Manfrotto, and some are tardy. If in doubt, try to trace it on the web - despite the Chase-Me-Charlie nature of some internet research, there are good companies out there.

If you are contemplating the big part of the studio - the lights - you need to think ahead. You might start with a small space and small ambitions but find that your scope widens and the space you need to light gets bigger. When you essay to go bigger, the power you need from your flashes grows exponentially. Plan ahead so that you have some reserve now - for later.

Also plan what sort of light modifiers you'll use. The big makers make accessories for everything so you can start out with basics and gear-up as you find a need. Some of he no-name makers do not have this variety, and you can run out of choices early.

Likewise you may find that your use of a set of lights gets to be heavier and heavier as you discover how to light. If the set you start out with is a just-barely-makes-it choice based upon price, you can find reliability issues when you do regular work.

The same might be said of background stands and other structural equipment, but oddly enough this is not quite so critical. You can construct an entire studio with professional-quality structures and use the stuff for decades. But you can also make some of he lighter structures yourself out of lighter grade components and find that you get a good long time out of it. It all depends on how often you decide to strike a set and rebuild it elsewhere.

Likewise there is the fact that one simple casting or machined part may be as good as another if the engineering is simple enough. Sometimes cheap enough is good enough.

And remember that there is always Mr. Bunnings who does pine timber, welding clamps, and sheets of Laminex. If you can have the strength of character to visit the local store without necessarily buying a new Makita router or a sausage in a bun,...a difficult task in many can find a whole raft of helpful bits.