I have recently begun putting together my portable studio lighting setup. I need portability and the ability to shoot in the field off the grid. I will expand more about this in a later post, but I am writing this to address the poor quality of Photoflex hardware. I ordered a Photoflex umbrella kit that included a reversible umbrella, stand and shoe mount flash clamp from Adorama. So far the umbrella and the stand have worked out, although were made in China and feel cheap as far as their fit and finish.
After the first kit arrived I made my way over to Samy's Camera on Fairfax and bought another umbrella and clamp, plus a stand, but not a Photoflex, I decided against buying another one of their stands and picked up a high quality Manfrotto Avenger Mini-Max. When I got home I set up everything and took a few shots and everything worked just fine. The next day I set it all back up and lo and behold I noticed that the screw that holds the umbrella into the clamp had stripped and would no longer hold the umbrella. The Photoflex umbrella clamp has metal threads for every screw except the one that hold the umbrella, which feeds directly into threaded plastic. It is not surprising that this stripped. I have vowed to never buy another piece of Photoflex equipment. I really shouldn't have bought any in the first place.
I took the clamp back to Samy's and although I didn't have the box or the receipt, the salesman looked me up in the system and gave me full credit for the item, after chiding me for throwing away my boxes. I normally never throw away boxes for anything that costs over $50, but I guess I should at least hold on to the boxes for the cheap stuff for a week or two. I used my credit towards a nice, high quality Manfrotto clamp, which is made out of aluminum, brass and steel. It looks and feels like a quality piece of equipment, and it is made in Italy.