The LumoPro LP605M convertible compact light stand and monopod

A light stand is nothing to get excited about, but the LP605M Convertible 7.5in Compact Light Stand and Monopod is a two-in-one stand, designed to lighten the load for location photographers. It was developed with industrial designer and photographer Eric Au and builds on the popular LP605 Compact Light Stand.

LumoPro makes light stands, flashes and a whole bunch of camera and studio accessories. The LP605M drew my attention because it’s not only compact but functions as a monopod as well. And its monopod isn’t just a static one like my Manfrotto, it’s one that you can move so you won’t need a ball head to change your camera’s position. Two-in-one equipment, however, is usually either badly designed or flimsy. I was interested to see if that’s also the case with the LP605M.

Knowing LumoPro from their LP180 flash, I must admit I was a little biased. I love the LP180, although it’s not a TTL flash and has none of the fancy features the other flashes I’m currently reviewing, have. But it’s built like a tank and will flash with a 100% even light output while the output at power level 1/2 will only vary by some 0.1%.

My expectations were high. What was in the box earned some high marks. The stand itself is made of aluminium with the three light stand legs easily lowered to a position you choose. You can sacrifice some 20cm of height for super-stability or go all the way and have a light stand that is stable enough, provided you don’t load an umbrella on top of it.

The top end of the stand had a camera mounting platform already installed. To get rid of that, you just remove the thing using a thumb screw. Easy as pie. The camera platform has an LP605-3 3/8″ to 1/4″-20 adapter mounted to it. Upon removal of the platform, you’ll find a standard 5/8″ top with 3/8″ thread revealed.

The legs have rubber feet and built-in ground spikes to secure the stand on semi-soft surfaces. The stand is made up of metal locking collars, five sections and four risers. All these are locked and unlocked using thumb screws that are big enough to be handled with gloves on.

As far as the light stand functionality, I had no complaints. The stand is very stable when you fold open the legs — you can open them by pulling one of them down — up to about a 45-degree angle. In that position of the legs, the stand extends to about 210cm. Extended to their maximum, which is about a 15-degree angle, you gain another 20cm, but you lose on stability. In that leg position, you should be careful not to bump into the stand.

With the LP605M, it’s the combination of light stand and monopod that’s really interesting, so I paid particular attention to that part of the experience. First off: it’s very easy and quick switching from light stand to monopod. There’s only one thing you should be careful with: the stand isn’t air-cushioned so dropping the risers will hit your flash hard.

The monopod isn’t a monopod in the strictest sense. “Real” monopods don’t have three feet as the LP605M does — they have none at all. The LP605M’s feet are easy to put in place: you just unfold them and they’ll lock into a position flat on the floor. There’s no risk they will accidentally fold up again, as they’re held flat by a spring-loaded lock. The lock is actually a small metal pin that you can move to fold the feet up again. It sounds harder than it is. Only when you’d be wearing really thick gloves would you have to fiddle a bit to manipulate the pin.

Out of the box, the monopod, which has a “fluid chamber” — essentially a socket that is home to a ball head turned upside down— is locked so you can’t move it around. However, turning the locking screw reveals the monopod’s small ball head enabling the monopod to move freely, which allows for smooth movement of your camera.

The maximum load for the LP605M is 2.27kg and all of this robust flexibility does not come at a premium price, as the LP605M costs only €69.