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Amazon Basics Light Stand Review | Is A $12 Light Stand Good Enough For Pro Photographers?

By David J. Crewe on August 12th 2019

We’ve all been there, at the start of our photography career, wanting the best of the best in the gear world, but having ZERO money or knowledge in what to get. So we head to the nearest shop or online post and snap up the cheapest accessories for our camera we can find. Enter the AmazonBasics Aluminum Light Photography Light Stand combo, which comes with 2 lightstands for a crazy $23 (or $11.50 each).  For reference, popular name brand lightstands like the Manfroto Nano Stands are $57 each.

The Details of The Light Stand

  • Set of 2 7-foot light stands with adjustable height (2.8 to 6.7 feet); ideal for photo studios or on-location photo shoots
  • 1/4-inch screw tip; can hold standard lights, strobe flash lights, and backgrounds
  • Made of strong yet lightweight aluminum with a sleek black finish
  • 7-pound maximum load capacity (each); folds down to 2.2-foot size for easy portability and compact storage
  • 2 carrying cases included; backed by an AmazonBasics limited 1-year warranty


Review of the Amazon Basics Light Stand

Okay so here it goes. I spent a little time messing with these guys in the office, and i’ll just say this. I’ve definitely bought, and used worse light stands than these. While they’re not the best, they are actually good, especially for the price. They are small, lightweight, and incredibly cheap.

When I compare them to some of my old and incredibly NOT useful light stands they actually are much higher quality. The build is solid, the components are pretty well constructed and secure. My one real issue or complain is the legs/base aren’t very large, meaning when setup, they are still kind of wobbly when compared to a larger, heavier, “big brand” light stand. See our list of the best light stands here.

For something so cheap, and again i’m repeating myself here, so light weight, I was impressed with how smooth the pieces extended and locked into place, and just how tall they got when extended fully. I don’t think i’d ever actually use them full extended without the use of some sand bags or someone holding them steady to make sure they didn’t tumble. When fully extended, they are pretty wobbly. The manufactures state they can support 7 pounds but unless you were using that on the shorter side, I don’t think i’d push and test that limit. For my quick usage I simply mounted a speedlight on them with a few MagMod accessories and that was pretty solid.

What I Liked about the Amazon Basics Light Stand

  • Incredible price (23$)
  • Initial build quality is decent
  • Stability is impressive when on the lower heights
  • There’s a guide line for the “optimal” base position.
  • Reaches an impressive height (I would use these for a base on a backdrop kit or some other modifier stand base for sure!)
  • Easy to maintain (common screws & nuts), if anything ever gets loose or broken.
  • Each stand comes with a travel bag
  • 1 year warranty for full replacement

What I Didn’t Like about the Amazon Basics Light Stand

  • Wobbly when fully extended
  • Short legs/base (see above)
  • The base locking knob was a little close to the center column and hard to adjust when tight
  • It also feels like you could overscrew the base here possibly breaking the plastic leg/base mounts
  • The plastic clips on the center column feel a little on the cheaper/flimsy side despite everything else being impressively solid. Not sure how I trust them in the long run.

Conclusion

Honestly? I think these may be a Must Buy even with my list of “didn’t likes” just because of how cheap they are and how good they’d be for little things like backdrops, flags, microphones, and miscellaneous prop mounting. I’d definitely use and recommend these for situations like that or for mounting small and lightweight lights like an LED or Speedlight with a small modifier. While they could likely support a light with a small softbox, i’m not sure i’d trust it with anything other than a small umbrella or equivalent. So if you decide to go down that front, just beware and have a backup plan ready. But for a photographer on the road, on a budget, or just looking for some extra stands for increased flexibility with your shoots and creativity, I’d definitely give these Amazon light stands a shot!

Get Yours from Amazon Here

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David J. Crewe is a full-time commercial photographer and Senior Editor with SLR Lounge. Based out of both Southern California & Las Vegas, Nevada.

View his work and blog: DavidJCrewe.com

Follow his Instagram: @DavidJCrewe

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Christopher Lin

    many in our studio have been using these for 6 months at weddings and have had no issues.  At 1/3rd the price, as long as they last a bit more than 1/3rd the lifetime, it’s worth it right? :)

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  2. Steve Hall

    I bought two of these because I needed a short stand for a fill light and Amazon could delivery them the next day. They were better quality than I expected—very sturdy, easy to open and close, good finish, even a little mark indicating optimal leg opening height. Each piece of extension tube has a groove impressed down opposite sides to add rigidity and help them nest more smoothly. This also keeps them from rotating.

    I’d still recommend the 10′ air-cushioned Ravelli (Impact) for anything heavier than a speedlight or taller than head height, but these are solid for the price. The plastic hardware is a little telling, but marker out the name label if you’d prefer clients not know they cost three times less than they look.

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