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Photography Question 
Linda Buchanan

Disc Reflectors

I am considering purchasing a set of 5 in 1 disc reflectors to use in outdoor portraiture. Does anyone have any recommendations? I think I would be best off buying the 72" length. How sturdy are the mounting arms and are there any preferred brands? This can get pretty expensive, although I have seen a number of them on ebay. I would appreciate any input, including how you have put these to use. Thank you so much.

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1/10/2006 8:14:10 AM

Bob Fately   Linda, I have the 42" one from PhotoFlex and it is pretty sturdily made. When it comes to softening light, though, I do believe bigger is better so the 72" one makes sense. The reversable cover does make for some nice effects, though they are subtle.

I also got the PhotFlex stand (I think it was a kit from B&H), which is also reasonably sturdy and well built. I mean, it's not the uber-solid type of stand that Hollywood productions use (I see 'em all the time out here in LA) but then again the stand didn't cost me a thousand dollars. One thing, though - get a sandbag or some weight to place on the legs of the stand - with the reflector mounted it's really a sail of sorts and it will want to tip with any kind of wind.

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1/10/2006 8:57:58 AM

Linda Buchanan   Thank you. Did your stand include the "arm"? I have seen arms that are supposed to attach to a light stand or a tripod. Any experiences with that? Good tip on the sandbag, wouldn't have thought of that!

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1/10/2006 10:14:21 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Yep, sandbags are useful shooting outdoors, especially when it gets a tad breezy. Bob is talking about "C" stands I think, which are available from B&H, Matthews Grip Equipment (which made them originally for the film industry) or Norms Studio Equipment in Burbank or somewhere around there. No, they don't cost a thousand bucks. Bogen puts them out too under their line of "Avenger (I never understood why they called it that) Grip equipment". All of those outfits sell sandbags with two pouches, one on each side, that are refillable. Cheap too. just canvas with velcro closures and a loop to hang them with. Push comes to shove, use a 1 gallon milk container filled with sand and a hook arrangement to hang it from the center post of the tripod or stand.'s always useful to have someone maneuvering the reflector, whether a disc or panel because as your subjects may shift position a bit, they may move out of the reflected light path requiring some adjusting. And, of course, an assistant usually beats a sandbag. Also, in a wind, the stand may stay put if it's sandbagged, but the reflector may try to take off with the attaching hardware.

In my view, however, if you're looking at 6' wide discs, you might just consider a 4x8' reflector panel mounted on a fold-up frame of PVC that clamps to a stand. They're a bit more versatile than a single disc because you can attach any type of fabric to the basic frame and everything fits in a single bag or slipcover case. Domke makes them, or used to, and so do others. Again, check out B&H.

Take it light.

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1/10/2006 10:37:34 AM

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