Most helpful positive review
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
AWESOME! Huge punch in tiny package!
on September 8, 2011
The ONLY relative negative to this tripod is that it's rather expensive for a tiny tripod. Roughly double to triple the trivial price tripods in the tiny genre demand. This, however, isn't much of a concern if you're more than just a casual hobbyist. In all honesty, I use this tripod more than I do my other tripods, and that includes my $500 carbon Manfrotto. It is easily my least expensive tripod and I use it the most by far.
This, in my opinion, is a professional's secret weapon for backpacking/camping/travel/difficult-to-get-to locations without a crew. If you must pack light, really light, this tripod is a lifesaver for light to medium-weight gear as you otherwise wouldn't be packing ANY tripod.
My main initial concern with this pod was how well the tiny ballhead would do with a medium SLR on it. Um, REALLY WELL, that's how! :O I even put my D700 with 28-300 on it and it holds like a champ at all angles and is SMOOTH. Now, this has got to clearly be right at the limit of what this little pod is rated or limited at, but who is really going to load such a tiny pod up with such heavy gear? My D7000 with 18-200 (yes, different rig from D700 with 28-300 but still of heft) is held just fine on it. When using full-size SLRs though, a more stable tripod would be preferred. For point and shoots, this head is way overkill.
The leg quick-release levers are strong and smooth and work great. All other controls hold very well though the neck's screw never really seems tight and this could lead to overtightening. Moderate screw tightness combined with the neck's barrel tightener provide solid neck locking.
You have to understand that such a light tripod will by physical nature not be real steady and fall victim to breezes. This will be true of every tiny/lightweight tripod, not just this one. If you're shooting with the legs extended, you will want to use your self-timer so that you don't cause vibration by pressing the shutter button with your finger. If your camera can take a cable release or has a remote control release, USE IT. Hanging a little weight on the tripod (camera and hanging weight combined should TOTAL about 5 pounds) or gently pressing down on the base would help also.
Now, it does not get very tall. I assume you know this since you're looking at tiny tripods and that this is okay with you. You'll be shooting from around waist-level without extension or chest level with full extension. As long as this does not limit you, you'll love this tripod. If you need a full-height tripod, none of this tripod's virtues will matter.
My criteria for this (my casual hiking/travel) tripod was that with head it be under 2 pounds and not more than 18 inches when compacted. This tripod met that criteria coming in 1/4 pound lighter and 4 full inches more compact than my very exclusive criteria. It is the ONLY tripod of any quality to meet that criteria and though I was ready make a lot of sacrifices to meet such stringent criteria, I really got GREAT quality and respectable stability! This tiny ballhead holds tilt positions stronger than my $150 Manfrotto 327RC2 grip head. I'm not exaggerating at all. The 327RC2, relying on spring pressure to grip the ball, actually will slip with heavier gear that the Slik Mini II clamp ballhead will hold. My D700 with 28-300 is the perfect example. That rig is really too much for the 327RC2 at tilt angles but this little clamp ballhead will hold the position.
I permanently leave mine in my light hiking/travel backpack with my waterproof point and shoot (Lumix TS2)... because you never know when that once-in-a-lifetime rainbow or flower shot or great background for a self-portrait will present itself. 80 bucks for lots of photos you otherwise wouldn't get. Money well-spent. :)
Seriously, if you need a tiny tripod, you're not going to do better than this one. You're not. I truly have to repeat this: you will NOT find a better tiny tripod than this one. Period. Even if you spend more. More expensive alternatives come in bigger and heavier. This is the tiniest and lightest with such impressive capabilities. It is an ideal travel tripod that you can actually take around with you because of its size and weight. Anything bigger/heavier becomes burdensome. Anything smaller is a TOTAL joke and doesn't even do a good job holding tiny point and shoots and keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't break after first use. Even other tripods around this size are total garbage that don't function well and break in no time. This is a SMART, very well-designed purposeful tripod designed to be used and used and used by photographers! Its tiny size, its greatest attribute, means that you actually WILL be packing a tripod when you otherwise wouldn't be. Like I said, mine's in my backpack taking up next to no space and I don't even know it's there... until I need it. ;)