On one of those typical gray, Dutch September rainy days we did a little tour of an old-fashioned photo store called Camera Land, located at one of those typical gray, suburban shopping centers; this one in the city of Alkmaar, at about 35 km. from Amsterdam.
Although it is nothing compared to those giant photo stores in the US, it is a pleasure to spend some time there, because the owner is around – which always helps – they are well stocked and the staff is not pushy, very knowledgeable and ready to think along with the customer.
Since I am tall, I have had quite a bit of trouble to find a good mono-pod to fit me, but the store carries the RedGed brand, which takes this aspect into consideration.
So, they had no trouble coming up with three 170 cm. models – two of which carbon fiber and out of budget. I left with the most economical of the three: a RMA-432 4-section one-touch aluminum mono-pod, which has a tube diameter of 32 mm., folds down to 54 cm., supports up to 15 Kg. and weighs only 650 grams (69 Euros).
I also bought another umbrella adapter for off-camera flash, but my best buy by far was also the cheapest:
The Superclamp: a photographer’s factotum
Superclamps, also called multiclamps, are the maximum expression of everything un-German. They support up to 15 Kg. and are Russian in design: solid, simple, heavy and ugly – thus cheap: 27 Euros.
That said, they can be extremely useful in almost any situation where you cannot deploy a tripod or light stand, just as long as you have something to clamp onto.
They come with a standard 1,5" male spigot (5/8" and 1/4" threaded) but also accommodate (optional) light studs, straight or flexible extension arms and different types of hooks, while the 3 threaded perforations on top allow you to screw-on everything imaginable.
Thus, you can mount anything with a 5/8 or 1/4" tripod socket, starting with a camera or – better – a quick release system and then a camera, or a flash mount plate, ball-head, tripod head, umbrella adapter, pan-tilt bracket holder and anything else that mounts on or with standard threaded male or female spigots.
Since the upper claw comes with a straight/curved adapter and opens to up to 55 mm. (2 1/4") or 70 mm. (2 3/4") with the adapter removed, you can clamp the darn thing onto almost anything: doors, railings, park benches, tables, chairs, small trees, fences, land posts, and any other curved or straight surface at hand.
With two superclamps, your options widen even more. Between them, fitted with a set of hooks and a tube, they support rolls of background paper or back-drops, reflectors, bounces, flags or tracing.
Or, how about mating two together with a standard light stud (or combined male/female spigots), to allow you to cross mount tubing or support most of the fore mentioned items in any desired angle from one single fixation point.
Better still, with the addition of an auto-pole (from ± $ 100) you can even forget about scouting for a fixation point, as long as you have a more or less flat surface overhead.
If you get two (auto-poles, that is), you'll be simultaneously setting yourself up with a cheap and flexible backdrop support you can deploy almost anywhere.
En fin, you get the picture: get a superclamp. Heck, go crazy and get two. I’m sure you will come up with some applications that I have not even thought of yet.
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