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410 of 416 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
I've got to say everything the other reviewers have said is true. This thing is awesome, especially for the money. I've broken this down into PRO's and CON's because there are a few nit picky negatives, but I say GET IT!

PROS

1. Pistol Ball grip - This thing is awesome. Easy to adjust and rock solid in any position. I'm doing a lot of portrait work...
Published on December 4, 2010 by Johncal

versus
103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Edited and upgraded score - It's OK, not great. Not good enough to keep using.
I was fairly impressed with this tripod on arrival. I had never heard of Ravelli, but the overall grades and comments were good, and the bang for the buck aspect was being touted by many reviewers, so I went for it, trying to avoid paying extra for one of the premium brand names. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. The tripod obviously works well for others, I only speak...
Published on August 14, 2011 by J. Blackburn


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410 of 416 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, December 4, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I've got to say everything the other reviewers have said is true. This thing is awesome, especially for the money. I've broken this down into PRO's and CON's because there are a few nit picky negatives, but I say GET IT!

PROS

1. Pistol Ball grip - This thing is awesome. Easy to adjust and rock solid in any position. I'm doing a lot of portrait work and constantly changing from landscape to portrait. Position changes are instantanious.Grip is easy to work.

2. All Aluminum construction - That pretty much says it. Everything is either cast or extruded aluminum. And not the cheap stuff either.

3. Adjustable positions - The main legs can be independantly set to any of three angles allowing for almost any configuration you could think of. The center shaft can easily be inverted for low shots.

4. Carrying bag.- Unlike what another reviewer had said, you CAN put the tripod in the bag without removing the head as long as you tilt the head to around 30 degrees. It's a tight fit but it does go. The bag is high quality with a side zippered pocket to hole the extra camera mounting plate and supplied allen wrenches.

5. Oversized camera mounting plates - These mounting plates are great. I specifically bought this tripod because I use a Canon Battery Grip and the bottom is a little flexible or "soft" feeling. With the oversized plates, the weight is distributed evenly and there's no rock to the camera at all. Also, with the extra big rubber cushion undernieth, you just have to barely snug up the attachment screw on the mounting plate and the camera is on there. No rocking or rotating. This is a VERY important feature for me since I am always mounting and dismounting the camera and this will prevent damage to the mounting threads on the bottom of the camera.

6. Solid as a rock - This thing is well, like a rock!

CONS

1. It would be nice if there were an instruction manual to give you some idea of the features and how to use them. Also it would be nice if the manufacturer told you how to adjust the tension for the snap locks on the legs, because the tension IS adjustable.... they just don't tell you about it. You will figure it out, but for all they did with a great product, to not include a 2 cent piece of paper is just plain DUMB.

2. More bubble levels would be nice. There are 3 of them to help you in flat or landscape shooting, but no levels for when you tilt the head 90 degrees. I'll have to get a stick on level for that, but geez, 3 for one orientation and nothing for the other. Who was the rocket scientist there?

3. A free mini-tripod is trown into the package but it's so small it can barely hold itself up. I'd never use it for anything. My wife did say it was cute!

4. LOOSE SCREWS - IMPORTANT, I found 3 really loose screws on the tripod. I would highly recommend you tighten everything AS SOON as you receive it. If any of those fall out, it could mean trouble. Also, since some are some very small metric screws, good luck finding more. You can, but a pain.

Overall, the PROS vastly outweight the CONS and I have to say this ranks right up there with top values for the money EVER.

I'd give it 6 stars out of 5 if I could!
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215 of 217 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whole lotta tripod for the money., April 23, 2011
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I'm 6' 3" tall, and needed a tall, stable tripod. After reading positive reviews on Amazon, I decided to take a chance on the Ravelli APGL4.

PROS:

1) very sturdy and stable
2) capable of extending tall enough for an NBA player to use
3) well-designed panhead is quick to adjust, and holds position securely
4) all metal construction
5) adjustable tension leg locks hold legs securely
6) two instant-release mounting plates
7) very versatile
8) reversible column
9) 3 bubble levels on panhead
10) includes Allen wrenches for adjustment
11) low cost

CONS:

1) not ready to use right out of the box - loose screws & other minor
assembly glitches easily fixed with a screwdriver & Allen wrenches
2) screws are made of a softer metal than they should be.
3) a few screw heads were deformed by assembly at the factory
4) funky smell from manufacturing
5) somewhat heavy
6) graphite lubricant on the ball of the panhead can come off on your hands
7) included bag is flimsy
8) included free mini-tripod too flimsy for DSLR. (but it's a freebie, so..)

SUMMARY:

I bought the Ravelli APGL4 at Amazon for around $75. ($85 with
shipping) According to the website, it has a list price of $399.95. I
seriously doubt that. But I can say that it's a downright smokin' deal
for $85.

Other reviewers recommended going over the tripod before using it and
tightening screws, and making adjustments. In my opinion, this is a
necessity. On mine, some screws were loose, and leg-lock tension was
very uneven. Luckily, this is an easy fix, as the tension of each
leg-lock is easily adjustable via an Allen screw. One of the leg-locks
operated kind of wonky... The lever wanted to twist to the side when
closing. I quickly discovered it was due to a loose screw at the
leg-lock's pivot. A quick twist of the screwdriver was all that was
needed to restore it to working properly.

There was another odd glitch in assembly. One of the balls that the
rubber feet attach to was screwed on upside down. Because of this,
the rubber foot wouldn't fully extend to the lowest position. Using a
crescent wrench, I popped off the rubber foot & unscrewed the mounting
bolt & reversed the ball. Another easy fix.

When adjusting & tightening the screws, you might be better off using
quality Allen wrenches rather than the ones supplied. The included
wrenches work, but the steel is probably softer than a quality tool
from a hardware store. Don't over-tighten the screws or strip out the
screw heads, either. They're made of a softer steel than they should
be, so it's easy to do. That said, once they're tightened up properly,
I'm sure they'll hold securely.

Once everything was tightened and tweaked, I mounted both included
quick-release mounting plates to my two camera bodies, and set up the
tripod, which is very quick to do.

First, I set it up with the legs fully extended and put some body
weight on it. It was unyielding. So I pressed down harder. Still no
give. I wound up putting A LOT of weight on the tripod to check it's
load handling capacity & the strength of the leg-locks, and there was
only a very slight amount of bowing on the lowest leg sections, and the
leg locks held their grip. I was probably putting about 50 lbs. of
downward pressure on it at that point, so a little leg-bowing at
the bottom was expected.

Mounting the camera to the head took about a second. It was a snap. I
like the mounting plates on this tripod much better than some of the
other quick-release systems. Instead of putting one edge into a
groove, lowering the other side of the camera, and locking it in with
a flip lever like most others, this one is more straightforward, in my
opinion. You slide the camera onto the head, like you would slide a
flash onto a hotshoe. It instantly locks into place. A quick turn of
the lock-knob on the side of the panhead securely mates the camera to
the socket, preventing an accidental dismount. When it comes time to
remove the camera, unlock the knob and press the lock button while
sliding the camera out. It's a piece of cake.

This is my first pistol-grip panhead, and I wasn't sure how I'd like
it. As it turns out, it's pretty awesome. It's made of a dense cast metal,
with steel lock lever, and 3 bubble levels. Construction quality of
the head seems good, and it has a good, solid feel and smooth
operation. Aiming the camera is a snap. Squeeze the lever, aim the
camera, and let go. Once you let go of the lever, the head is locked in
place very securely, exactly where you want it. There's also an adjustment
screw for the amount of tension on the ball. It's a well-thought out design,
and should suit my needs very well.

By the way, the panhead is identical to the Kruger Optical model 6530
head, which sells at Amazon, for roughly the same price at this entire
package.

The rest of the tripod (except maybe the screws) is made of
reasonably durable materials, too. The legs are very rigid,
and everything is metal, except for the rubber feet and the plastic
balls on which they pivot. I really like the adjustable-tension leg locks.
Instead of tossing the tripod when your leg locks loosen from wear,
a quick tweak of the screw is all that's needed to restore performance
to like new. The metal leg-lock levers seem pretty heavy duty, and
look like they will stand up to many years of use.

With the camera mounted, this thing is rock-solid. There's no flex
anywhere. Even when the column and legs are fully extended, it's quite
stable. I have no qualms about mounting my camera and a monster
telephoto lens to this thing. I don't think it's going anywhere.

Since the column is reversible, and each leg has a quick-adjust angle
lock at the top that allows you to move each leg out to crazy-low
angles at the press of a button, you should be able to aim your camera
to about any position imaginable. Plus, there's also a screw
protruding from a removable slug on the bottom of the column. This
could come in very handy for hanging a weight off of the column for
improved stability, (not that you'd need to...) hanging a light of
some sort, or whatever.

If you're planning on doing a lot of hiking with a tripod, this one
might not be for you. It's got some weight. But that only adds to it's
stability. For me, stability is the big factor in a tripod, and since
I'll usually take it to my destination in a car & carry it maybe a few
hundred feet to where I'm going to shoot, It's not an issue for me.

I've checked out some of the much pricier Manfrotto tripods in camera
shops, and they are a very well-built piece of kit. They're admittedly
assembled with more care, to tighter tolerances, and they're probably made
of better stuff. That said, tweaking and tightening things up on this
Ravelli tripod goes an awful long way to bridging the quality gap.
Sure, the Ravelli is a Manfrotto ripoff... But it's a fairly good one.
As far as doing the basic job of being a solid, stable camera platform,
I can't tell much difference between the Ravelli and the Manfrottos.
Only time will tell if the Ravelli will hold up to years of use, but from what
I've seen so far, I'm optimistic that it will.

For me, the 300 bucks or so that I saved was worth 20 minutes spent
with a screwdriver and an Allen wrench.

BOTTOM LINE: If you're willing to spend a little time tweaking it up,
and you don't mind packing a little extra weight, I'd recommend the Ravelli
APGL4 heartily. It's hard to imagine getting a more solid, flexible tripod for
anywhere close to it's price.
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146 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, November 16, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I ordered this tripod and am truly impressed. This is a sturdy, well constructed tripod that performs beyond my expectations for this price. The pistol grips by themselves can cost more than this entire setup.

Pros:
1. Solid, the weight provides great stability and it feels like it can take a lot of abuse. Nothing about this screams 'cheap'.
2. Pistol grip head is easy to use and locks solidly in place. When the trigger is released it doesn't budge the smallest amount even supporting my camera and heaviest lens. I'm not sure I could ever go back to a pan head tripod again.
3. Extends to about 6 feet high. Collapses to about 2 feet when not in use.
4. Comes with an extra quick release plate, adjustment wrenches, carrying case and a free mini tripod.

Cons:
1. This is a heavy tripod, I didn't weigh it but must be close to 10 pounds easily. Not ideal for taking on long treks hiking to photo spots.
2. Could be considered bulkier than some of the more expensive tripods.
3. It was free so it's tough to add this as a con but the mini tripod is useless except for really light cameras.
4. Smells strongly of machine oil when first taken out of the packaging but the smell fades. As you can see I'm grasping at things to fault with this.

If all you want is solid support for your photos with an easy to use head for an amazing price then look no further than this one.

Edit: 12/13/2011
After about a year of using this tripod it's having issues. I'm not sure what the parts are called - but the light gray latches that control the angle of the legs no longer lock in the first, standard position. They slip and don't lock until the second, lower position. This makes the tripod impossible to use unless I want to take photos from the lower leg angle.

Edit: 10/3/2012
The seller contacted me and voluntarily sent a replacement unit to resolve the issue with the leg angle. I verified everything is working as expected so am restoring my rating from 2 to 5 stars. Based on the number of 5 star reviews I will write this off as an isolated defect, the original tripod had been used only lightly about 12-15 times before it started malfunctioning.
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103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Edited and upgraded score - It's OK, not great. Not good enough to keep using., August 14, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I was fairly impressed with this tripod on arrival. I had never heard of Ravelli, but the overall grades and comments were good, and the bang for the buck aspect was being touted by many reviewers, so I went for it, trying to avoid paying extra for one of the premium brand names. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. The tripod obviously works well for others, I only speak for myself.

It does come across as being sturdy, and uses solid, metal parts. The initial "fragrance" mentioned in many reviews strikes me as being that of machine oil, and the smell is there and it seems appropriate to this item. The tripod has an industrial character to it, with a sort of clunky competence, at first. I unpacked the unit and set it up outside for a few days, along with the bag, and the smell diminished. It's now pretty much gone after a few weeks. That was not a significant issue to me.

I've used it now for around 500 shots. I was thinking that it might be a long term thing, but yesterday AM, I was doing some sunrise and early morning shots and I realized that in portrait set up with the pistol grip on it's side, my Pentax K-5 with a Pentax 55-300mm zoom, was too much weight, (!?), for the ball joint and the weight of the lens was twisting it down. The ball joint was not holding it stable and in position, which is what a tripod does, usually. I guess I could see it losing it's grip over time, (a long time, hopefully), but it's brand new and as "grippy" as it will ever be. I tried to tighten the various Allen screws on the grip, (they weren't loose), and decided I couldn't really depend on it to hold position.

When I was packing the stuff back into the car, I undid the plate from the camera body, and the screw fell out of the plate. I looked at the spare plate, and there's a washer that holds the screw in place so it doesn't fall out of the plate, but the washer had bailed out on the one plate which I had used, and thus, the screw was loose. None of this stuff was used harshly.

I get the feeling that Ravelli wants to provide good value here, and they're close, but from a practical perspective, I can't say that I'm pleased with the product. They should save the money on the mini tripod, (not that they will save a lot), and put it into R&D on a better pistol grip. If I wanted a mini tripod, I'd buy one. It's a nice gesture of goodwill, but irrelevant to the utility of the primary tripod, which was my only priority. Now I've got to see about a refund, and start shopping again.

UPDATED - ONGOING EXPERIENCE: Per the suggestion of Sergei, another user of this tripod, (see comments), I found the Allen screw that he mentioned, and adjusted it, and it made a difference in the grip of the ball joint. And it wasn't a matter of just tightening the screw until it wouldn't turn anymore. When I did that, it locked the ball, even when the tension trigger was pulled, so test as you tighten to find the optimal spot. I could move it, twisting with both hands initially, and now I can't. Maybe if I put it in a vise and tried to move it, that would be possible, but it feels strong. Since that was my main gripe, I have increased the grade to 3 stars. The tripod, and head, functions as it should. I still think that "clunky competence" is a valid description. It does what it's supposed to do after some fiddling. The price is OK for the sturdiness of the item. The plate still came apart, and I don't know if the second plate will stay together as I haven't used it yet, and I may not have a chance, as I went a different route with the ball head.

I did buy the Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head as a replacement, and, for me, I think that will be a good combination. That head costs as much as the Ravelli tripod in total, but it's a more sophisticated piece of equipment, with more finesse and position adjustments, and it fit on the Ravelli legs using the 3/8" screw hole on the pistol grip. There is also a 1/4" screw hole option on the pistol grip. If I was starting over, I'd look for a $100 set of tripod legs and get the Vanguard pistol grip. But if $100 is the limit, the Ravelli works, but with some rough edges.

Don't lose the included Allen wrenches, and keep the packing list in case you need to contact the vendor/manufacturer about any anomalies.
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing for the price!!!, July 11, 2010
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
First I ordered this tripod on Amazon.com and it arrived right on time. It qualified for free shipping which was great, the box weighed 20 lbs.

I felt like I was taking a bit of a gamble when I ordered this tripod. There is not much info out there on Ravelli and the APGL4 tripod is a new product. I am really happy with what I recieved. There is no plastic on this thing anywhere. The pistol grip head alone would usually cost more than this whole setup. It comes with two plates which is nice and has all of the features you would expect in a tripod costing much more. The center colum is reversable, spikes on the feet, two levels on the tripod and one on the head. I am using it with a good sized spotting scope which weighs about 7 lbs and it is rock solid. Not much to complain about, the movement on the head could be a little smoother. Also the bag that came with the tripod is about 1/2 inch to short to zip with the head on the tripod.

Bottom line for me is this tripod is a freakishly good value. Its heavy duty and has all the features. Not the nicest I've seen but I have seen and owned tripods costing 2-3 times as much that were not nearly as nice as this one.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Head is failing after 7 months, February 8, 2012
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I bought this tripod in July of 11. Initially I was thrilled with it. A little heavy but very easy to use. Had to tighten a few screws and the mounting plates never did lock into the head very well. But for the price I was pleased. Unfortunately the head is now failing. It will only hold the camera in an upright position. The portion of the head that swivels when you have the camera tilted no longer locks tight. So when you have a camera in anything but an upright position it slowly swivels downward. There is no way (that I can find) to compensate for that. Would have liked to have gotten more than 7 months out it. BTW, I used it 80% studio and 20% outside. Never been dropped, frozen a couple times when I left in my car overnight, but never abused.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ravelli APGL4 Tripod - Outstanding !!, March 10, 2012
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I have to admit before I bought this tripod, a few of the reviews almost scared me away but because of the price and the photos of the tripod that I examined, I decided to give it a try. I have been nothing but TOTALLY impressed!!

First - I had none of the loose screws or loose parts issues that others have mentioned. I just re-examined the screws after months of hard use and all are still snug.

Second - I have hauled this tripod around in the mountains, hung on a pack horse and driven around with it strapped to the front rack on a 4-wheeler using it with a Nikon D90 and a variety of lenses in both landscape and portrait mode and have had NO ISSUES, whatsoever, with it not working flawlessly.

Third - it has gone with me across the country, traveling in the back of my pickup and been tossed around and rained and snowed on and covered in dust (inside of the bag) - no issues have arisen - and the bag (which I have hosed-off several times)has held up just fine.

Fourth - I have owned several tripods since the 1970's; this is the first pistol grip head I have tried and I am totally impressed with how much I like it and how functional it is.

Fifth - I do agree that the free mini-tripod that comes with it is junk - they shouldn't have wasted the time sending it. And I also agree with another reviewer: a manual outlining features of the tripod would have been nice.

This tripod is far from light-weight but all in all, for the money, I think this is a tremendous value and a work-horse that's superior to some of the big-name tripods I have looked at.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super sweet tripod, August 6, 2010
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
Before purchasing this, I had never before seen a ball mounted tripod before. I have been doing scenic photography for 25 years as an amateur enthusiast, and finally decided to look into a really sturdy tripod that wouldn't sag when being used for unusual angles and with a heavier lens. This thing is amazing. I would expect it to cost much more. Almost the entire thing is made of metal, but isn't heavy. It is a bit larger than my previous tripod, but that's to be expected for the sturdiness and functionality. The ball mount locks my camera in place like a rock. It is very easy and quick to change the orientation of the camera. I am very pleased with it. Get it at this price while you can.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PHENOMENAL TRIPOD!!!!!!, February 14, 2011
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
Ok so I found this tripod on youtube while I was searching tripods and this came up as one of the top 5. For the price this is absolutely phenomenal compared to the other 4. I have noticed that the common complaint is that the bag itself is too small for this.
Well I am no rocket scientist but the tripod was disassembled with the head in a separate styrofoam package. It is safe to assume that the pistol grip is NOT supposed to be attached to the tripod while it is in the bag. The side pocket where the extra plate and the
miniature tripod was stored is where the pistol grip should be. It fits perfectly in this pocket.

I don't know about anybody else but if you try and leave the head on while putting it in the bag, you have no choice but to grab the head itself. The same goes for removing the tripod. This might be somewhat of a nuisance but for the amount of time it takes
to put the head on or fumble trying to make it fit in the bag. It is much easier taking the head off!!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very nice tripod. Regardless of the price., January 6, 2011
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This review is from: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag (Camera)
I too took a chance when I bought this tripod when there was only 1 review for this product. I have not been disappointed since. I am an avid photographer and this has held up well in almost every situation (outdoor/indoor).

I had some concerns about the ball grip not being able to hold the weight of my dslr (Nikon D90 w/battery pack & my heaviest lens being Nikkor 85mm 1.8D). I had no problems whatsoever at any angle.

The bag it comes with is a tad small though I still managed to fit everything in it. I also love the fact that it came with 2 quick release plates (one for the camera, another for something like a flash).

I found it to be a bit heavy, but i don't mind since it gives me a little more comfort it won't tip over.
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