Cool Stuff on eBay

October 2, 2012 | • Gear & Gadgets

I have been getting a lot of questions on my Q&A blog about misc gear and accessories that I use a lot. This also comes at a time when I’ve been asked by eBay to curate a few of my favorite things that I have found there. I figured I could go ahead and pick ten of my favorite photography items that I use a lot but don’t talk a lot about. A lot of the things I get from ebay are grip accessories like clamps and such and odd ball items like lens converters.

#1 – C-Stand wheels – C-Stands are my favorite types of light stands. Especially when I’m working in a studio environment. They are strong, sturdy, and very versatile. You can put a lot of weight on them and sandbag them to your heart’s desire. They are a bit of a pain to move around once you get lights, modifiers, and sand bags on them though. These little casters help a lot with that.
#2 – Reflector Arm – This is my favorite style of reflector holder. They are adjustable to most common sizes of reflectors and infinitely adjustable. You can also take it off the stand and hand hold your reflector for a shot. I’ve tried several types of reflector arms and this kind is the best I’ve found.
#3 – Bogen Justin Clamp – Joe McNally turned me on to these indispensable little clamps. I’ve found no less than 25 uses for them so far. They are perfect little clamps for holding hotshoe flashes on anything from light stands, to tree branches, to parts of cars, to anything you can put that clamp on. They are lightweight and strong. Parts can be moved around and interchanged. I’ve put GoPro cameras on these, flashes, cables, client’s clothes, etc. I’ve also found a lot of use for them with my newly acquired Elinchrom Quadras.
#4 – Super clamp + grip head – I love all sorts of frankenstein grip heads like this. Putting a super clamp on any other kind of clamp is like the mix of chocolate and peanut butter. The grip head can be attached to any kind of post type of thing. Like a light stand or boom. Then you have a super clamp on the other side to clamp something on. Or you can clamp the super clamp on to some sort of object and then mount a stand or boom arm on to the grip head. You’ll find two super clamps put together like this. A super clamp and a knuckle. Etc. I love this stuff.
#5 – C-Bracket – The poor man’s steady cam. I don’t do a lot of video but when I do I like these little C Brackets as a poor man’s steady cam sort of thing. You can mount a camera to it and hang it out of a window, clamp a monitor to it, clamp another mic to it, etc.
#6 – Sand Bags - If you are doing anything with light stands you need some sand bags. Studio and location! Canvas Grip in California makes good stuff at great prices. Two of their items are on this list. Their sandbags are strong. Here’s a sand bag tip I learned from my old studio manager, Dan Depew. Carry empty bags with you to location and fill them up with rocks and stuff that you find there. Use the bags then empty them when you leave. I always have a few empty sand bags in my lighting case now.
#7 – 12×12 Silk – Canvas Grip has the best prices on large silks that I’ve found. I have 4 of these 12×12 silks, 4 of their black cutters, and 3 25×25 silks. A lot of these go into use in my studio to make HUGE light sources and/or partition the studio into different shooting areas if we have a lot going on. The 3 25×25 silks hang in my studio permanently. Silks can cost a lot of money. Thousands each. Canvas Grip has great poly silks at amazing prices. Whenever I need a frame for one of these big monsters I typically just rent them. You can also just string them up between two stands. Blow some light through them and it’s gorgeous.
#8 – Apple Box – I can’t tell you how important having some apple boxes around are. They can make small table tops for product work (put a board on 4 of them) they can be a posing stool, you can stand on them, you can have your subject’s stand on them. If you get a few full sized apple boxes you’ll soon wonder how you lived without them.
#9 – #10 – Lens adapters – Ever have a great lens that you love on one camera and wish you could use it on another? Thanks to the power of small manufacturing around the world people have been making all sorts of adapters lately. I have a few Hasselblad lenses that I love but I don’t shoot them on my 500c/m body all the time. I got a Hasselblad to Canon EOS adapter and I can now use my Hassy glass on my 5d. You have to manually stop the aperture down but it works. Folks are now making adapters to put other lenses on the Fuji X-Pro1 as well. I just ordered one to put my old Nikon lenses that I still have onto my X-Pro. I’m excited that my Nikon 105 is going to get some use again. I never sold that lens because I was so attached to it. Thanks to adapters like this it get’s new life. You can find all sorts of adapters that run from Mamiya to Nikon. This to that. Etc.
It’s a cool time to be alive in photography. :)
This post is part of eBay Finders, a new partnership that presents collections of items curated by a carefully selected group of electronics experts. Meet more of the Finders at #eBayFinders


  • Felipe said on October 2, 2012

    Oh, thanks Zack! I’m a huge fan from Chile and this stuff it’s just perfect!

  • Sheri J said on October 2, 2012

    awesome list! thank you ZA :)

  • Mark Sass said on October 2, 2012

    Fantastic stuff!

    I just search for new (used) glass on ebay. I think you bought some used glass two. How do you find good deals on used glass on ebay?



  • Frank Grygier said on October 2, 2012

    Finally the grip post!

  • Mike Padua said on October 2, 2012

    That sandbag tip is priceless!

  • Barry Kirsch said on October 2, 2012

    All good stuff. My shelves are starting to groan from the weight of similar accumulated gear.

  • Tim w said on October 2, 2012

    You got some Quadras? I love mine they are great.

  • Justin Van Leeuwen said on October 3, 2012

    As a heavily invested Quadra user, I’m curious as to what you’ve adapted your Justin Clamps to do with them (assuming a different mod to hold one?)

  • Adam McKay said on October 3, 2012

    Do you know where to find cheap frames for the silks?

  • Zack said on October 3, 2012

    @Adam – I do not. Frames are expensive. That’s why I typically just rent them. I only pull out the frames on big jobs where I’ll have multiple assistants to help wrangle them into submission.


  • Mike said on October 3, 2012

    The apple boxes are they from the Powermac or the new imac?

  • nicholas gonzalez said on October 4, 2012

    I was curious about the Hassy adapters and how the medium format focal length is different than 35mm focal lengths, or does the 80mm Hassy lens amount to an 80mm canon lens? Many thanks for your time and tips.

  • Wedding Photographer said on October 19, 2012

    I loooove eBay!

  • shuxiao said on November 6, 2012

    your photography is excellent~that’s all

  • Ernie Savarese said on April 23, 2013

    Zach… not only do you have the skills to pay the bills… you also show everyone that things can be done without the “BIG BUDGET!”

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!


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