Successfully using a Manfrotto product table?

Started Jun 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Shooting tables R Us...

UKphotographers wrote:

With my arrangement of crates obstruction to light stands is reduced to zero because there are no legs at all, and therefore no braces between them, either. The top of the table oversails the crate supports significantly on all four sides so that stands can be tucked in anywhere.

So the sides of your table are not supported.

That's right, not supported, except by the weight of the table top itself, and that of the subject. But then, the edges of the area have next to NO weight on them, anyway.... Any stand-on diffusers are as light as a paper bag ...[??] (shrugs)

Neither can it be translucent.

That's also right, but I gave up on Perspex as being expensive, surface fragile and not worth the trouble.

If I must shoot on a glass top, and it does happen, then I invert an ordinary table and put a generously sized pad of Blu-Tack on top of each leg to secure the glass...

... which glass is specifically cut to size so there is NO overhang.

However, shooting on glass is not something I choose to do unless I absolutely have to.

Neither can they support glass without being seen.

see above.

Ever handled a 4'x6' piece of plate glass?

Yes, thanks very much. I have also had to leap out of the way of such a piece of glass when two other people MIS-handled it into noisy destruction. That piece was only 5x4' in size, but it was pretty scary, all the same.

I've clamped lights to the side braces of the shooting table before today, adjusted their position or just removed them. Mostly they're never touched.

Yes, almost every feature of our equipment can be turned to advantage if we spend time enough growing familiar with it.... and are not prejudiced . In this regard, have you ever got to know the Benbo/Uniloc tripod... ?? As far as I'm concerned the unusual pattern makes all other tripods seem like design failures...

... while other people can't hack it and find erecting the Benbo/Uniloc akin to wrangling a set of demented bagpipes!!

Conclusion: We tend to like most that which we are used to.

How do you secure 8'x4' background sheet material to these lightweight crates when you want a scoop at the rear?

Errr... the don't have to stay lightweight. They can be loaded to capacity.

Do you mean something semi-rigid like a piece of Formica laminate?

Well, it hasn't yet come up, but the MDF sheet is the actual top, and I have one of those that is 8x4', so, same size as standard Formica and not insubstantial. The trick then is to clip it across the front with those lever paper clips that I like, just as with ordinary background paper...

.... and then secure it down to the top forward of the bend with a pair of those superb Stanley one-handed G-clamps, of which I keep a few.. (highly recommended, breaks the ice at parties)

... and then haul the back edge up clamped on my rope-suspended background pole... (another studio item of my own devising that I'm inordinately smug about because it locks off automatically at any height and without any cleating arrangement at all.)

Now, in fairness to you, something STIFF like Formica might tend to lift the table top more than somewhat, so the set-up would probably need more than a little extra weight on the surface behind the curve..

... but I do have an old fashioned 14 lb coal weight I use for a bit extra mass when required, and I could put that on there. Alternatively, I might leave the weight on the floor and strap the G-clamps to it with a pair of those adjustable webbing tie downs that are another of my stock items.

I have far too many of these scattered around the house in various states of demolition from just storing stuff. Crates are OK if you need to cobble something together - but if you're going to use a crate try to get the beer bottle type which are solid enough to stand on.

I can stand on mine, but only when the MDF top is across 'em. Indeed, the only one I ever actually broke was when I used it for carrying stuff in. The table ones have survived in the task for ten years now, so I'm not complaining.

Crates are not a shooting table, you can get far better folding tables instead of using a pile of crates.

As we both know, we make our own choices in light of our own experiences.


I have a Foba camera stand for this with a long arm - much longer than the Cambo one I used to have, and it keeps the stand completely out of the way of the table.

Ahhh.... but can you separate it into two pieces, column and base, then carry one in each hand in order to put them in the back of a Peugeot 405 Estate? Yes. When I have a day's shooting in a fixed interior location, or a hired studio, I often take the camera stand instead of the Benbo tripod. It is SO much easier to step around it, especially when shooting in a doorway.

(BTW - its much bigger than this)

Your Foba looks a lot like my Cambo... both of them have Dalek syndrome (can't handle stairs, and very hard to manhandle UP a flight of stairs, as well !!)

Worked out how this is done yet ?

OK. Let's pretend I know nothing. Does it involve exposing seperately?
Put me out of my misery.... tell me what you do.

Cheers, Ian.

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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