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:

Barrie Davis wrote:

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...

Therefore - amongst your crates, clamps, weights and non-cleated background support system you actually need a table as well...

So what? It isn't a ridiculously overpriced Manfrotto one that has to be assembled! I found I could choose a better collapsible table for inverting than that, so I did!

Why are you adopting this adversarial attitude, Ian? Why is it that my choices are so much of an affront to you? I think you are making a mistake. I don't think my humble piece of MDF and 6 crates represents any threat to your professional integrity!


So you need to loosen and drop out the leg extensions - and "Thats the problem" !!! From your major construction projects to do the basics - that would be the easiest part of your day.

Two things...

1) I think you have a inflated idea of my "major construction projects", Ian. For some reason you seem determined to create problems I HAVEN'T EVEN HAD. I have yet to use a weight, clamp, or tie-down in order to set up my table. And my background pole is suspended from the ceiling, on a fore-and-aft track, and is therefore not connected to the table(s) at all.

2) In regard of my own Manfrotto experience, the version of the table I used had NO built-in leg extensions -- the legs had to be swapped out for replacements if you had them -- so evidently that particular shortcoming (pun) of the model I used has been addressed? Good. It was the least that might be expected for the price that is paid.

Please tell me if it also can...

  • ... extend up to chest level, which facility I currently find convenient for shooting bottles etc. nearer eye-level ?

  • ... do 'double-decker' configuration, with a lower shelf to keep studio sundries to hand, and is super convenient when the shooting surface is up nearer eye-level?

But Perspex acrylic sheet cannot be bent without heating, forming up around a jig, and then allowing to cool....[??]

Perspex bends easily. You will note that the Manfrotto table comes with a 'Plexiglass' surface which bends or curves in two places.

I cannot understand you. I have never encountered Perspex that can bend, least of bend easily all into the relatively tight curves of a Manfrotto table. It is too brittle, even the thinnest gauges wouldn't do it. I do not know which plastic material you have that is sufficiently flexible, but it must be something different to acrylic sheet, which is notable for breaking if stressed too much.

As to your colleagues problem - sounds like he was using the wrong procedure.

The "right" procedure would be what, exactly?

My laminate is supported all the way along the curve by the plexiglass. I have yet to snap any laminate. FYI: Laminate (AND perspex AND Pexiglass) can be rolled into a tube using the short side. This makes it easier to transport without a van. Formica itself is DESIGNED to bend.

I am confused. Whatever you are using sounds more like a vinyl of some sort (sticky-back plastic?) Not Formica. Not Perspex. I have been using both in the studio and in the home for more than 40 years. I know what they are like.

Bending Perspex needs heat. The new shape is permanent until it gets hot again.

Now, sheets of Formica can be curved round into a 'drum' about 5 feet across, but I wouldn't like to push it more than that for fear of snapping it.... and it wouldn't stay like that, of course. It would need securing with tape or sting against a natural desire to spring out flat.


You seem to need to go to great lengths to obtain something relatively simple.

No Ian! I do not have any problem whatsoever creating a continuous background. I do NOT use any weights, tie-downs or clamps. I don't need those for my usual way of working, anymore than you do.

  • I place six crates in the middle of the work area in two stacks of three. This "major construction" takes about 60 seconds, a little longer if they ALL need erecting first.

  • Then I place a slab of 3/4" MDF across the top and pull the background down off the roll, securing it to the forward edge with two or three paper clips. This further construction takes perhaps another 60 seconds.

So, starting from a bundle of aluminium tubes and clamps on the floor, where are you at the two-minute stage? With the best will in the world, I don't think it will be enough of "a table" to place a subject on it yet, do you?

See my previous points above - thats your misinterpretation. Another thing.. if your method works for "rigid and inflexible background material" as you say - it would too on a shooting table without all the hassle.

Hmmm... I think in the least effort needed to create a table from a fully demounted kit of parts, I do win.

8'x4' is a standard size sheet. Thats not 'less than convenient'. Thats standard.

I KNOW 8x4' is standard. The "less than convenient" was the fact that it was stiff and inflexible, potentially requiring some creative use of extras (weights etc) on my table.

Why you don't find find "Perspex" and "Formica" to be inflexible has not yet been ascertained.

I now suspect you of being deliberately obtuse in order to create argument. Why? Surely you are not feeling threatened by my 6 crates and slab of MDF?

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

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