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Among the most essential parts of a photographer’s lighting kit, is a sturdy light stand. While there are a wide variety of options that definitely fall into the sturdy category, many of these light stands are also heavy, bulky, and difficult to travel with. One light stand that is pretty much the complete opposite of every other option out there, is the Manfrotto 5001B Nano. Compact, lightweight, and surprisingly tall for its size, this light stand is my go-to favorite that accompanies me on every one of my photo shoots, however it won’t necessarily meet the needs and expectations of every photographer. Here are some reasons why you might love this light stand, and why you might opt for another option.
Weighing in at a mere 2.2 pounds (1kg), this aluminum light stand stands at just around 19-inches (0.48m) when it is collapsed, and can extends up to 74.8 inches (1.9m) tall when all of its 5-sections are fully extended. According to the product manual, it has a maximum payload of 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) . Compared to other light stands, most of these stats aren’t particularly impressive, and it should now be apparent why the Manfrotto 5001B Nano won’t be suitable for every photographer. But, here are some situations when this light stand absolutely shines.
The main benefit of this light stand is its compact size, which makes it easy to carry when shooting on location, or in situations when you need a stand or two without carrying an excessive amount of gear. When pairing this light stand with a speedlight, and simple lighting modifiers like an umbrella or any of the Westcott Rapid Box series, you get a simple yet effective lighting setup that won’t take up a ton of room when assembled for use, and when transporting it.
Unlike most other light stands, the Manfrotto Nano’s legs have little rubber tips to prevent sliding, and the legs themselves are very thin and not rounded, allowing the stand to fold down to 19 inches. The method of folding the stand can take some getting used to, but another unique aspect of the stand is its ability to get extremely low to the ground, thanks to the unusual folding of the legs. This increases the light stand’s overall footprint, offering increased stability, as well as the option of lighting areas close to the ground, without taking up a ton of floor space.
As mentioned earlier, not every photographer will be in love with the Manfrotto 5001B Nano, as it often trades stability for its compact size. Flexible legs are great for packing up small, but also a recipe for disaster if the gear it holds is not balanced or is too heavy. Being very lightweight, without the option of suspending sandbags, this stand is also susceptible to being knocked over by even a slight bump or gust of wind, so outdoor photographers will want to have an assistant to hold it in place. It’s definitely not as sturdy or as beefy as other light stands, meaning you won’t want to rely on it if you use heavy strobes, or big lighting modifiers.
If you’re a location shooter, who doesn’t carry a ton of camera gear and has compact lighting equipment, the Manfrotto 5001B Nano will be your new best friend. Having one or two as travel light stand alternatives, will give you the flexibility to do a quick and easy lighting setup in tight spaces, without carrying extra weight. However, steer clear of these light stands if you prefer uncompromised stability and/or have heavy, valuable lighting gear.