Of all the light stands I have, I think I like my Manfrotto 5001B Nanos the most. They’re not the biggest, strongest, or tallest light stands on the market; in fact, they’re very much the antithesis of that. The 5001B Nano is compact lightweight and still tall enough to be useful.
The 5001B weighs in at a measly 2.2 pounds, stands a comparatively short 74.8 inches when the 5-sections are extended, and can fly only a mere 3.3 pounds of equipment (at least according to the specs) nor is it air cushioned. As light stands go, none of those are particularly impressive stats. In fact, the only place the Nano impresses is with collapsed length, which is just shy of 19-inches.
So given the Nano isn’t all that and a bag of chips in terms of light stands, and not even the most substantial light stand I own, why do I like mine so much?
For starters, I don’t fly an awful lot of weight usually. The heaviest thing I tend to have on a light stand is a speed light and a Lastolite EzBox, or a Smith Victor A80 continuous light. In my experience both are light enough to be handled by the 5001B, thought admittedly the EzBox is at the upper limit of what I’m comfortable with.
Secondly is the footprint and design of the legs. The leg design, being hinged at the bottom and without a big brace, means that when full extended, they are low to the ground, and can easily slide under things that would otherwise block a conventional light stand.
As for the footprint, it can be reduced, from the maximum of 39.4-inches to something considerably smaller. Though doing this reduces the stability of the stand, if all you have is a Speedlite on top and the stand isn’t fully extended (like say if you’re shooting something on a table top) the reduction in stability isn’t nearly as significant as the ability to get many stands in close without having a tangle of legs in your way.
So long as I’m not flying a lot of weight, the Manfrotto 5001B Nano is my go to light stand. Compared to the alternatives, it’s light, compact, and easy to work with in tight spaces and do so without being unduly compromised in stability.