Limostudio vs. Westcott
In this post I’m going to share my experience with two inexpensive umbrellas, stands, and flash holders, in other words the complete umbrella kit. I don’t often use umbrellas, as I generally prefer natural light photography and photograph primarily documentary style at weddings and events. However, there are some instances where I will use several Canon Speedlight’s with umbrellas.
Needed for a Gig
One particular instance I required a setup like this, was doing a celebrity fundraiser event where attendees would have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the celebrity. For this setup, I decided to go with the Westcott Umbrella setup.
I knew the Westcott stuff was inexpensive compared to some other makes and models, but for my purposes it was a single indoor shoot, low-volume, and if I never used the kit again I was OK with the investment. It was about $150 for two stands and umbrellas, with the flash adapters.
The gig went well, the pictures were printed on the spot, the clients were happy, the attendees were happy and life moves on. About a year later I was called for another gig. This time, it was a fundraiser event where each attendee would get their picture taken in front of the foundations backdrop on the way in to the event.
A Two Umbrella Kit Need
While going through my setup for the non-profit event, I couldn’t find my umbrella! I had the Westcott stands, but was missing the umbrella. Low and behold I lost an umbrella. I searched my house high and low and to no avail, decided I’d simply buy a new umbrella. With the umbrella being about $20, I was surprised when I saw the Limostudio umbrella kit for $50! The Limostudio setup, which included two stands, four umbrellas, and two flash adapters was a fraction of the price of the Westcott setup. Being this would again likely be a single-use product, I decided I’d ‘splurge’ and went for another kit. The umbrellas alone would be worth the investment, as switching out the coverings on the Westcott can be time-consuming.
I received the Limostudio Umbrella and Stand kit, it looked nice and even included a carry case which was a nice bonus. The fun ended right about there. The light stands themselves were not too bad. They were quite a bit smaller and cheaper feeling than the Westcott (which felt light and cheap), however I’d never mount anything other than a Canon Speedlight to the stand, so I wasn’t too concerned.
Next I attempted to mount my Canon 600EX-RT flash to the flash holder. Low and behold it didn’t fit! Are you kidding me? If this doesn’t’ fit a standard hot-shoe Canon flash what does it fit? The problem was to open the receiver wide-enough to accommodate the Canon, the screw would fall out and the springs shoot across the room.
I stared at the mount baffled, and attempted to try it again, assuming I must be doing something wrong. Sure enough, it simply didn’t fit. I then grabbed the other flash adapter to see if it was any different. On the second one, I just managed to fit the flash in (very snugly) while still holding together. Seeing as how short the screw was, I was still nervous my $500 Canon 600EX-RT flash would go crashing to the ground at any given moment.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]What should be the most basic, fundamental mechanism was overly complicated[/pullquote]
Next up was inserting the umbrella into the holder. Yes, it is necessary for me to write about putting the umbrella in the holder. What should be the most basic, fundamental mechanism was overly complicated, as Limostudio inserted a spring mechanism of some sort, seemingly to create a ‘tight’ fit for the umbrella. The result, was a virtually impossible fit. After leveraging all my body weight into the umbrella, I was able to get the umbrella into the receiver, shockingly without breaking anything. Immediately I wondered if I would be able to the umbrella out! Of course trying to remove it caused the end of the umbrella rod to break off inside the receiver. And to keep a long story short, the 2nd set went together and came apart exactly the same.
Sometimes saving money is worth it, for example as mentioned earlier I often don’t use flash if I can avoid it. I decided to purchase a Yongsuo YN-E3-RT radio transmitter. It will never be mission critical for my projects, and it seems to work just fine at a fraction of the price of the Canon, but I’ll save that review for another day. This umbrella kit was simply not worth the aggravation.
I did later find by swithicng the screw that is used for the umbrella, and the screw used for the flash holder provided an extra few mm’s to safely affix my flash to the holder. The screw in the umbrella holder is a moot point since it’s so damn tight you need an army to move it.
If you’re on a barebones budget, and want to ‘play’ with some photography you might be able to get away with this kit. Be prepared to be frustrated, but it will get you through a student project if you’re a young starving artist. However, if you can scrounge it up, by the ‘cheap’ Westcott instead. It’s inexpensive, but it’s very usable and feels top-of-the-line when put up next to the Limostudio. I don’t want to discount the difference in price between a $50 kit, and a $150 kit. There is a pretty steep price difference between the two kits, but $100 is not worth any savings if a $300 or $600 flash goes crashing to the ground.
Below are a few pictures that compare the Westcott stand to the Limostudio stand. The first picture clearly demonstrates how much beefier the tubular legs are of the stand. I apologize the pictures are not great, I shot them quickly with my cell phone before I packed back up the Limostudio kit to return back to Amazon.
Limostudio vs. Westcott
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