Studio Titan STA-06-200 Geared Crank Stand Review
Men love to play the role of tough guy. Give some nerd with a camera the task of hoisting a heavy boom skywards on a beefy stand and we’re all there showing off our masculinity in full force. “I got this” is the refrain until you pinch a nerve in your shoulder or age starts to creep up on you.
And then there are people who have less physical stregnth, some of whom may have less interest in studio photography because of the occasional physical demands.
Somewhere between macho-land and self-defeat rolls in a new sheriff in town — our unsung hero, the wheeled geared crank stand. Well, please allow me to sing its praises.
A few months ago Studio Titan sent me their STA-06-200 Geared Crank Stand, which sells with shipping included, for $789. This is the first geared stand I have ever owned and in all honesty, I have been both the macho guy and the guy with the pinched nerve.
My Matthews Junior Boom with a softbox and flash head that I use for my hair light weighs in around 50 lbs. (41+6). While I often hoist it and forget it, leaving it in place for as long as possible, not everyone has the luxury of a set of lights dedicated solely to their studio. However, there are times when I do need to lower the boom to swap out flash heads or modifiers, or I want to position the boom for a seated rather than a standing model. And as I have discovered over the last few shoots, it is so much easier to crank the stand rather than getting a ladder to loosen the booms lever, pitching it downwards or to hold on to the riser for dear life while gently lowering the stand.
When it comes time to reposition the boom, with the lever method you’re never really sure if you have returned the light to the correct position until you’re back on the floor, and with the riser method there is the whole pressing 50 lbs. over your head problem.
I have been surprised to discover that even though I thought I left my hair light in place most of the time, I sometimes want to make small changes to it, and being able to crank it up and down is a dream come true.
The Studio Titan stand feels really solid and the crank moves with ease. I would love it if it were a little taller; a lot of people feel that way about themselves too, but by pitching the boom up 30 degrees, you can reach a very useful height of 9’ with no problem. The Titan did come with a short extension riser but given the shallowness of the main risers receiver, and the diameter of the extension, I felt like using it would compromise stability without gaining much functionality.
My boom, which is quite old, wouldn’t fit in the stand’s receiver, while it does slide into my Matthews and flashpoint combo stands with ease. However, my Avenger 5/8” to 1 1/8” stand adapter fit inside the Titan’s moving column, so I suspect the stand is in spec and the boom isn’t. By using the adapter, though, I added a about 6 inches to the height.
The stand’s low profile legs mean that it can roll under stand legs and other rollers, which I think will be advantageous in the long run. Plus, I don’t feel I need to sandbag the base, and its footprint is about a foot narrower than its similarly priced competitors (but comparable to the Kupo stand) effectively giving you more boom length before you get the legs in the shot. Plus, its payload is the best in its class.
I haven’t used the competing Kupo, Matthews or Avenger crank stands, so I cannot speak to the ease at which their crank moves or how much weight you feel like you’re supporting on the way down, but I can confirm that with the Studio Titan both directions feel safe and effortless. The Kupo stand in their demo video looks like it’s very safe on the way up, but I am not sure how much force is exerted on the crank on the way down.
Regardless of the stand you chose, having one in studio will make your left easier and your shoulders and your back may thank you.
Crank Stand Options:
|Studio Titan STA-06-200 Geared Crank Stand||110 lbs. (50kg)||6.9’ (2.1 m)||39.4″ (1m)||$789|
|Kupo Wind-Up Stand with 2-Section Low Base||77 lbs. (34.93kg)||7.2′ (2.2 m)||39.4″ (1m)||$523.97|
|Avenger Wind-Up 39 Stand with Braked Wheels (Chrome-plated, 12’)||66 lbs. (30kg)||12.1′ (3.7 m)||4.65′ (1.42 m)||$789|
|Matthews MINIVATOR II 142″ Geared Stand||80 lbs. (36.3kg)||11.8′ (3.6 m)||4.83” (1.47m)||$648.9|