Savage Review: Pneumatic Posing Table

I try not to spend much space here on product reviews. And generally when I do review something, it is because I really like it.

Usually, my logic is, "Why waste both my time and yours if I am just going to dog something?"


What a Posing Table is Supposed to Do

The idea is simple. The combination of a stool and posing table allows for a comfortable support for arms, elbows, etc., so you can have lots of flexibility with body position when shooting relatively tight portraits.

And to be fair, I will give Savage props for hitting a very attractive price point -- $120. That's not only for the table, but a stool and two fill reflectors (silver and gold) to fit the table.

That would be a killer deal. If it worked.

That Sinking Feeling

The problem is that it simply will not support even modest pressure on the table. It purports to be adjustable, but as soon as you pose on it, it slooooowly heads south.

Clearly they were cutting some corners to hit the price. But jeez, this thing is about as stable as North Korea.

I took a chance on it even though one of the two reviews on Amazon mentioned the exact same problem. I figured maybe the guy got one that was a little out of whack and I'd be luckier.

With mine doing exactly the same thing, I have to think there might be a design problem at play. Sad, as I only planned to give it light duty and thought I could get away with going the bargain route.

As a stop gap, I have taken to wrapping a collar of gaffer's tape around the center column where I want the handy quicksand action to stop. (You can better see the tape collar if you click through on the pic above.) But I really should not have to do that.

If you are in the market for a posing table, I'd recommend skipping this one. And if you have one to recommend, please hit us with a comment and link below.


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Blogger djthuro said...

I can see why you wouldn't want to waste our time, but as someone who is starting out (well I've been looking at the site for about a year) posts like this really help since I was actually looking into buying this set up. Thanks for saving me the $120.00. As they say, you get what you pay for I guess. At least the SB 24s I'm buying are only around $50.00 bucks.

August 28, 2009 1:00 AM  
OpenID circlew said...

David, would a super clamp or large a clamp work better as a stop it would be reusable and although neither option is
perfect it would allow quicker and frequent adjustments. I looked at some of those cheap kits on eBay some time back and figured I have a hospital table and several stools and it would work in the mean time. Not as transportable maybe since that Hospital table is very sturdy and adjust for my needs. One of the tables I have the top is rotatable.

We got these back in 2002 when I had my back and neck worked on the last time. IIRC they were around $60 give or take I expect them to go more now.

August 28, 2009 1:19 AM  
Blogger Vics said...

"as stable as North Korea." cracks me up :D

thanks for the review, now we know to avoid this one.

August 28, 2009 1:30 AM  
Blogger focusfinder said...

We'll not be seeing a photo-documentary about morbidly obese people then?

August 28, 2009 3:29 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Vise grip.

August 28, 2009 7:37 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Nowadays, the only reviews you see are positive ones which feel more like advertorials than a review. And with many bloggers getting free schwag to review, their independence is in question.

We know there is crap out there that sucks... so tell us about it!

August 28, 2009 8:04 AM  
Blogger Arthur said...


This is an extremely unusual review because you didn't like it. I am tired of people trying things and only reviewing the ones they like.

Thank you.

August 28, 2009 10:08 AM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

I already knew you didn't like that one. I was hoping you might have found one you did like.

Dang, I hope someone posts a link to a good one.

August 28, 2009 10:10 AM  
Blogger Fundy Photographics said...

I use a computer stand. Adjustable height and table tilt, costs about $50.

August 28, 2009 10:17 AM  
Blogger CottagePhotography said...

I have this kit and it works well for me. It didn't come with the reflective covers but otherwise it is the same thing. I have been using the stool/table combo on location shoots for about 3 years and have never had the problem you describe. One thing I do have a problem with is the flimsy table top. Always worried it is going to break (hasn't yet) but sure seems like it is going to (easily replaced if it does). Despite these shortcomings, for the price, you can't get a better stool/stand combo... IMHO!

August 28, 2009 10:26 AM  
Blogger Ranger 9 said...

Okay, so the pneumatic column is junk.

But how is the rest of it? As someone else suggested: If it's decent, you could add a couple of clamps from the hardware store and have a usable $140 rig instead of a useless $120 junker.

August 28, 2009 10:49 AM  
Blogger Mathew said...

I'm as DIY / budget-centric as the next guy, but I'm left with a very different solution than tape, clamps, or vise grips.
Return it and get your money back.
It sends a helpful message to the company just as your review is helpful to potential consumers. The point is not so much that this product sucks, but that if they made it a little better, it would be nice.

August 28, 2009 11:14 AM  
Blogger David said...


I am sorry you are tired, but this blog is not primarily focused on gear reviews. Those blogs are a dime a dozen and there is no need for that purpose to be duplicated here.

In general I do tend to write about what I use, and I prefer not to use stuff that I really don't like. Maybe there's a niche for you --

(I am liking it already ...)


Frankly, I am not instilled with confidence by any facet of this posting stand. Yes, I can make it stop sinking with a pair of vise grips. But I do not want to -- and I shouldn't have to.


Thanks for you comment. It is good to know that the sinking column thing, while not unique to me, is not universal! (And yeah, I always feel like the table is gonna snap off, too.)

August 28, 2009 11:17 AM  
Blogger Thom said...

Check products from Denny Manufacturing. Their posing table has been a fixture in portrait studios for years. Their stools are great!

August 28, 2009 11:17 AM  
Blogger GeoWulf said...

I think both Ikea and Walmart have laptop stands that may work better. I wonder if has a good DIY for this kind of thing.

Thanks for the heads up. Savage is local to me, but I was always irritated that they won't sell direct from the warehouse.

August 28, 2009 11:40 AM  
Blogger David said...


My thoughts exactly. But I thought that maybe I could affect more change by calling them on it then simply by returning one table.

August 28, 2009 12:17 PM  
Blogger Andrew Y said...

@David re:@Arthur

Am I mis-reading you mis-reading him? Seems like he was appreciative of a negative review, even though you don't do reviews regularly.

Good tip though. Equally as useful to hear about bad equipment as good.

August 28, 2009 2:09 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

If one had some machining skills, one could bore a series of small holes through the center of the chrome plated portion of the shaft and use an appropriately sized pin or bolt/nut combination to secure it.

One other thought, having an inkling as to how these things work, I would be inclined to think that the manufacturer went with a very cheap o-ring or seal in the cylinder to save money. There may be a better seal out there that one could replace the leaky seals with, too.

August 28, 2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

2 things:
1) stable as N Korea....hmmm I thought N Korea was as stable as ye olde curtain made of iron.,at least for the foreseeable future...but that aside...
2)I use the Lifetime 'personal' table. I got mine at Costco some years ago but Target sells them as do other online places according to Google. Not AS adjustable as a slider but good enough for adults of various sizes and, because of the way it folds, perhaps easier to transport than the customary slider table? Neutral beige top but of course any paper/cloth could be placed on its surface.

August 28, 2009 2:38 PM  
Blogger supergimp said...

I haven't tried it yet, but Ikea has a $15 dollar adjustable laptop table that looks like it would fill the bill.

For fifteen bucks its worth a shot.

August 28, 2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger Ron Nabity said...

I use a small adjustable table from Home Depot (~$20) - it has three locking adjustments and is reasonable sturdy for posing. It folds flat and is pretty light for transporting.

- Ron

August 28, 2009 4:46 PM  
Blogger mgblogger said...

This one from Calumet isn't much more expensive at $140; wonder if it's any better?

August 28, 2009 7:54 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

Hose clamp. :)

August 28, 2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Steven Erat said...

What's that sound? Oh, wait, that's Monte Zucker rolling in his grave.

August 28, 2009 9:09 PM  
Blogger Digitalprophet said...

Hey David,

Thanks for the information on the table. Not to mention I work for an online retailer who sells this item, while I cannot stop them from selling it, we can provide the company some feedback.

August 28, 2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger Mariusz said...

Denny Manufacturing has these on sale right now:

August 28, 2009 11:57 PM  
Blogger Mail Order Mystic said...

I saw an earlier comment saying the Denny Manufacturing products were high quality. I have never used them, but I looked it up and they have a 30%off sale going on. Table and stool for $139.97.

I also don't expect David to review every piece of crap product on the market. But when he does come accross something bad, I really appreciate him letting us know about it.

August 29, 2009 7:21 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

I read your articles all of the time. I just wanted to say how informative, and well laid out your site is... It allows me to always keep learning... And you have top notch advertising also. Good idea not taking anonymous comments.


Tom Sheehan

August 29, 2009 8:57 AM  
Blogger Dan Korkelia said...

I was going to say, you can get a more sturdy thing from ikea and for less. A sheet of white paper would do the trick as reflector.

Nice idea like you say David but I hope they are working on MarkII

August 29, 2009 8:06 PM  
Blogger nilepoc said...

You know what would work really well for that is a used hospital bedside table. Now to find one.

August 30, 2009 12:47 AM  
Blogger Tina M. Harris said...

Thank you, David. I thought about getting this set at one point, but I talked myself out of buying it and now I am really glad that I did!

August 30, 2009 7:06 PM  
Blogger Don said...

I bought a LOW BACK BLACK CHAIR at Goodwill for 8 bucks and it does the same thing. Might want to think about what you have and not shop for "photo props" You use the chair backwards and the subject feels at home. The results are better and less "steril"

August 30, 2009 10:13 PM  
Blogger Reuven said...

My Posing Stool is the Ikea Tractor Chair. Works OK

August 31, 2009 3:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Reminder: linking to them actually causes their google search index rating to increase...

September 04, 2009 9:56 PM  
Blogger Schorschi said...

IKEA has a pretty good pneumatic stool called URBAN with a comparable height range as the Savage stool. I don't own it, but have sat on it in the store - it didn't sag. Unfortunately, it seems to only be available for store pickup, so no mail order.

September 08, 2009 7:43 PM  
Blogger loupy said...

I got this set at calumet. A little more expensive @ $219 but comes with a backdrop kit too.

September 08, 2009 8:57 PM  
Blogger MR said...

Check out the stools at your local Guitar Center or music store (they call them "thrones")

They break down.

They're very comfortable.

They're compact.

They're durable.

They can be bought for less than $30.

They're far better all-around than the junk sold at photo stores.

April 29, 2010 3:32 PM  
Blogger Gregory said...

Photogenic makes the best posing tables and stools. They are a little pricey but you get what you pay for. the Table runs about 219.00 and the stool runs about 100.00 Savage stools use a thin plywood base under there stool that will break it someone over 200 lbs sits on it and leans to one side. I know from personal experience.

October 27, 2010 10:09 PM  
Blogger stillroman said...

Thank you for the review. I was about to order one this weekend from Adorama. Is there a set that you would recommend? I saw a set by Impact on B&H. Have you heard anything about it or used it? Please let me know. Thank you

October 13, 2011 7:34 PM  
Blogger Mark English said...

Got one of these sets through background express and the reflector didn't show up. They say they are on back order. It's been three months.

July 02, 2013 12:25 PM  

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