A lightstand is a necessary accessory for any photographer interested in off camera flash and any film maker looking to add light to scene. Manfrotto's Nanopole lightstand promises portability and lightweight to those of us who practice our craft on the road and on the hill.
And at just over a kilo and with a maximum load of 1.5kg, the Nanopole seems off to a good start on paper. Minimum height of 49cm and a maximum of 195cm are possible due to the well designed leg articulation, which means reach and packability are possible in the same stand.
The overall impression, at full height, is that the stand doesn't appear hugely more stable than cheaper versions, especially with a flash gun or LED panel mounted. To some extent that's just the nature of these things; stability isn't important in the way it is in a tripod, and making it more sturdy would simply increase its weight. It does make the £84 price tag seem high though.
But where Manfrotto add value is in the clever design features. Firstly there's an inconspicuous little extender on one of the three legs which is incredibly useful in balancing the stand outdoors (or on any uneven surface). And second is the fact the central column can be removed and used independently of the legs - meaning that as well as a light stand, you can use the Nanopole handheld as a boom.
These clever little design features are often what sets Manfrotto apart and add value in real world scenarios, even if the initial outlay seems higher than some of the competition.