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01-01-2009, 01:33 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Tripod Reviews

The search begins...
For some time I have been in need of a better tripod. My old Slik U8000 works well enough with the Canon G2, but is not really up to the task of supporting the K10D. In addition, I had a continuing need to photograph subjects that were closer to the ground than the Slik could accommodate.

The short list of desired features:
  • Maximum height enough for my 6' 2" person
  • Minimum height or other provision to allow photos of ground-hugging plants
  • Rigid and sturdy
  • Relatively lightweight (less than 6 lbs)
  • Relatively compact
  • Able to support at least 10 lbs of camera/lens
  • Adjustable-angle legs
  • Provision for spiked or rubber feet
  • Able to support a medium-sized ball head E.g. B/M 488
  • Relatively inexpensive

I determined early-on that while carbon fiber would be nice, the expense would be just a little too much for my budget. I also began to lean strongly towards designs that allow placement of the center column as a lateral arm. I finally settled on the Giottos MT 9360 as a good compromise of weight, rigidity, features, and price.

The Giottos MT 9360:

Specifications:
  • Sections: 4
  • Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Tubing diameter: 28mm
  • Maximum height: 64"
  • Minimum height: 10.2" (using short column)
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Length: 22.8"
  • Capacity: 17.5 lbs

Features:
  • Center column doubles as lateral arm with 360 degree rotational and 180 degree vertical movement
  • Center column may be reversed
  • Three position leg angles
  • Dust resistant twist-type leg locks
  • Built-in bubble level
  • Short center column allows the top plate to function as a basic three-way pan head
  • Spike inside rubber feet
  • Optional snow/sand feet (not included)
  • Center hook for stabilization weights
  • Top plate has set screws to lock against the head base
  • All legs have dense foam padding on upper section
  • One year warranty by Giottos

Included accessories:
  • Zippered cloth case
  • Shoulder sling
  • Tool kit
  • Short column

Price (10 Dec 2008, B&H): $155.95 USD

Build:
This is a sturdy piece of equipment. Every piece and control has a rugged, massive feel. The exterior surfaces have a polished, dimpled, gunmetal finish with the leg sections and center column sporting a satin black anodized finish. The lock knobs are of high quality plastic and all rubber parts are made of a thick high quality material. One item of note: while the name sounds Italian, Giottos is headquartered in Taiwan with manufacturing facilities in the "special economic zone" of Shenzhen, China.

The included bag, strap, and tool kit are attractively constructed of high quality materials.

In Use:
The legs operate smoothly with little effort required to extend, collapse, and lock. Although the leg locks are of the twist type, the sections do not rotate when loosened. This allows the legs to be extended easily in any order. When fully extended my impression is that the MT 9360 is a little more stable than the Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB, though not quite as stable as the Induro AX213. While it is pretty stable at full extension, there is still a tendency to vibrate. Collapsing the final leg sections allows for a significant increase in stability with little tendency to vibrate.

While the tripod body has a built-in bubble level, the device is not properly registered on my unit with the result that the tripod is several degrees off from level when the bubble is centered. While this is not a fatal issue, advertised features that are poorly implemented do little to inspire confidence in a product.

Conversion of the center column to the lateral arm position is pretty straightforward, though not as easy to accomplish as the same action on the Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB. Once extended, the Giottos MT 9360 allows for a much greater range of camera positions than that of the 055XPROB including full inversion under the tripod legs. Care must be taken when the column is configured as a lateral arm to avoid extension to a position where the tripod is over-axis and no longer stable to the load.

Use of the short center column for low-angle work is fairly involved and requires disassembly of the top plate from the column. Giottos provides tools for this purpose though the process carries a risk for loss of small parts. A good solution might be purchase of a second top plate and mount screw for permanent assembly onto the short column.

When the short center column is installed, the MT 9360 supports one of its most novel features. The lateral arm mechanism doubles as a rudimentary 3-way tripod head with a full 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and 90+ degrees of vertical adjustment. The functionality is not as good as a real 3-way pan/tilt head, but it works in a pinch.

The top plate is ruggedly built and large enough (6cm diameter) to support even a fairly large head. The top plate includes three set screws to secure the head to the top plate.

One issue I have noted when putting the MT9360 through its paces is a tendency for unwanted rotation of the center column. When fully tightened, I can easily rotate the column by grasping it with my bare hand. I suspect this to be a defect with my copy of the tripod and will be requesting a replacement from B&H.

This tripod was purchased with the Giottos MH 1301 Ball Head. See ball head review here.

Executive Summary:
Pro:
  • Sturdy
  • Good value at its price point
  • High level of construction
  • Extremely flexible configurations
  • Relatively light and compact for the level of stability provided

Con:
  • Inaccurate built-in bubble level
  • Use of short column is cumbersome
  • Tendency of center column to rotate even when fully tightened

Similar competing products:
  • Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB
  • Induro AX214



Last edited by Damn Brit; 05-19-2009 at 11:50 PM.
01-01-2009, 01:33 AM   #2
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Tripod Reviews for Reference

This thread is purely for reference. The reviews have been used with the authors permission and have been copied from their original threads. Feel free to add reviews but try and keep the thread uncluttered by questions. Thanks


Review by Stevebrot

For some time I have been in need of a better tripod. My old Slik U8000 works well enough with the Canon G2, but is not really up to the task of supporting the K10D. In addition, I had a continuing need to photograph subjects that were closer to the ground than the Slik could accommodate.

The short list of desired features:
  • Maximum height enough for my 6' 2" person
  • Minimum height or other provision to allow photos of ground-hugging plants
  • Rigid and sturdy
  • Relatively lightweight (less than 6 lbs)
  • Relatively compact
  • Able to support at least 10 lbs of camera/lens
  • Adjustable-angle legs
  • Provision for spiked or rubber feet
  • Able to support a medium-sized ball head E.g. B/M 488
  • Relatively inexpensive

I determined early-on that while carbon fiber would be nice, the expense would be just a little too much for my budget. I also began to lean strongly towards designs that allow placement of the center column as a lateral arm. I finally settled on the Giottos MT 9360 as a good compromise of weight, rigidity, features, and price.

The Giottos MT 9360:

Specifications:
  • Sections: 4
  • Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Tubing diameter: 28mm
  • Maximum height: 64"
  • Minimum height: 10.2" (using short column)
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Length: 22.8"
  • Capacity: 17.5 lbs

Features:
  • Center column doubles as lateral arm with 360 degree rotational and 180 degree vertical movement
  • Center column may be reversed
  • Three position leg angles
  • Dust resistant twist-type leg locks
  • Built-in bubble level
  • Short center column allows the top plate to function as a basic three-way pan head
  • Spike inside rubber feet
  • Optional snow/sand feet (not included)
  • Center hook for stabilization weights
  • Top plate has set screws to lock against the head base
  • All legs have dense foam padding on upper section
  • One year warranty by Giottos

Included accessories:
  • Zippered cloth case
  • Shoulder sling
  • Tool kit
  • Short column

Price (10 Dec 2008, B&H): $155.95 USD

Build:
This is a sturdy piece of equipment. Every piece and control has a rugged, massive feel. The exterior surfaces have a polished, dimpled, gunmetal finish with the leg sections and center column sporting a satin black anodized finish. The lock knobs are of high quality plastic and all rubber parts are made of a thick high quality material. One item of note: while the name sounds Italian, Giottos is headquartered in Taiwan with manufacturing facilities in the "special economic zone" of Shenzhen, China.

The included bag, strap, and tool kit are attractively constructed of high quality materials.

In Use:
The legs operate smoothly with little effort required to extend, collapse, and lock. Although the leg locks are of the twist type, the sections do not rotate when loosened. This allows the legs to be extended easily in any order. When fully extended my impression is that the MT 9360 is a little more stable than the Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB, though not quite as stable as the Induro AX213. While it is pretty stable at full extension, there is still a tendency to vibrate. Collapsing the final leg sections allows for a significant increase in stability with little tendency to vibrate.

While the tripod body has a built-in bubble level, the device is not properly registered on my unit with the result that the tripod is several degrees off from level when the bubble is centered. While this is not a fatal issue, advertised features that are poorly implemented do little to inspire confidence in a product.

Conversion of the center column to the lateral arm position is pretty straightforward, though not as easy to accomplish as the same action on the Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB. Once extended, the Giottos MT 9360 allows for a much greater range of camera positions than that of the 055XPROB including full inversion under the tripod legs. Care must be taken when the column is configured as a lateral arm to avoid extension to a position where the tripod is over-axis and no longer stable to the load.

Use of the short center column for low-angle work is fairly involved and requires disassembly of the top plate from the column. Giottos provides tools for this purpose though the process carries a risk for loss of small parts. A good solution might be purchase of a second top plate and mount screw for permanent assembly onto the short column.

When the short center column is installed, the MT 9360 supports one of its most novel features. The lateral arm mechanism doubles as a rudimentary 3-way tripod head with a full 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and 90+ degrees of vertical adjustment. The functionality is not as good as a real 3-way pan/tilt head, but it works in a pinch.

The top plate is ruggedly built and large enough (6cm diameter) to support even a fairly large head. The top plate includes three set screws to secure the head to the top plate.

One issue I have noted when putting the MT9360 through its paces is a tendency for unwanted rotation of the center column. When fully tightened, I can easily rotate the column by grasping it with my bare hand. I suspect this to be a defect with my copy of the tripod and will be requesting a replacement from B&H.

This tripod was purchased with the Giottos MH 1301 Ball Head. See ball head review here.

Executive Summary:
Pro:
  • Sturdy
  • Good value at its price point
  • High level of construction
  • Extremely flexible configurations
  • Relatively light and compact for the level of stability provided

Con:
  • Inaccurate built-in bubble level
  • Use of short column is cumbersome
  • Tendency of center column to rotate even when fully tightened

Similar competing products:
  • Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB
  • Induro AX214

Last edited by Damn Brit; 01-12-2009 at 03:02 AM. Reason: Tidying up
01-01-2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the review. For me it is much appreciated that folks are willing to take the time and do reviews like this. One of the many things I like about this forum is the willingness of people to share their knowledge and expertise. Okay, enough of that.

I find this a little more interesting because I also ended up with the Slik U 8000. I purchased it because a saleman that claimed to have taught photography and had 15+ years of experience recommended it. I told him what I would be using it with and although I was listening to another salesperson talking to another individual at the same time saying they needed a heavier tripod for basically the same set up, I went ahead and purchased. It was cheap!!
I have been looking to replace it for some time but funds have been going towards lenses and such so I have been sitting on my hands for the tripods. My main focus though has been a monopod which has been driving me crazy because I want to get a good monopod but I don't want to put out a bunch of money. ( Isn't that always the case. ) Christmas sure has helped in the delay also because I should be thinking of others at this time. Actually, that needs to apply to year around also. Always a dilemma.

Anyway, to the point..... What was my point? OOPS. Giottos is definately good for a closer look.

MUCH THANKS!!! and Happy New Year!
01-01-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrenMc Quote
Thanks for the review. For me it is much appreciated that folks are willing to take the time and do reviews like this...
You are very welcome.

Regarding the monopod...You might want to take a look at the current B&H promotional deal on the MT 9360. They have bundled the tripod with a low-end monopod (Giottos MV 825). Mine came with the monopod and it is not a bad unit. The pan/tilt head is a light-weight affair, but is plenty sturdy for my K10D and a moderate tele zoom. My only complaints are that the staff is a little short for my 6' 2" frame and that the head is built-on and not removable. But then again...free is a very good price.

Steve

01-01-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Thanks again, sorry about the longwinded thing earlier.
01-01-2009, 07:11 PM   #6
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the full description and review. I suspect your center column is a defective issue. I have owned two of them at once, and the first one I exchanged due to a similar situation: one of the twist locks wasn't securing a leg section correctly. The center column locks seem to have been fine on mine. I'll have to check the bubble level on mine!

It's a great tripod for the price, no question, especially given it's max. weight. I use the Arca Swiss Z1 monoball on it with very good results.

Thanks again for this review!

Regards,
Marc
01-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #7
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A Few Pictures

Partially extended with Giottos MH 1301 Ballhead and K10D attached
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Platform detail
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Platform detail with center column converted to lateral arm
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01-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #8
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A Few Pictures

Partially extended with Giottos MH 1301 Ballhead and K10D attached
Attachment 25030

Platform detail
Attachment 25031

Platform detail with center column converted to lateral arm
Attachment 25029

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01-01-2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the full description and review. I suspect your center column is a defective issue. I have owned two of them at once, and the first one I exchanged due to a similar situation: one of the twist locks wasn't securing a leg section correctly. The center column locks seem to have been fine on mine. I'll have to check the bubble level on mine!

It's a great tripod for the price, no question, especially given it's max. weight. I use the Arca Swiss Z1 monoball on it with very good results.

Thanks again for this review!

Regards,
Marc
My pleasure to share!

I would have loved to have gotten an Arca Swiss or Acratech ballhead to go with the 9360, but I was tight up against my budget limit for this project. Instead, I went with the much less expensive Giottos MH 1301. I was able to play with the 1301 before purchase and was very impressed with the precision-machining, smooth movements, and comprehensive controls.

Steve

(Writing another review on the ballhead...)
01-02-2009, 06:28 AM   #10
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Good review Steve.

All the old photography books tell us the single most important thing you can do to improve your photography is to buy a good tripod and USE it. Even with shake reduction I suspect that advice still holds true. I have an old Cullmanm tripod and monopod that just might be a little flimsy for the extra weight my K10D/battery grip and lenses are subjectig them to. Perhaps its time to look at some new support in this area.

Cheers,

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 01-02-2009 at 09:36 AM. Reason: typo
01-04-2009, 01:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
...I suspect your center column is a defective issue. I have owned two of them at once, and the first one I exchanged due to a similar situation...
I agree that the center column lock is probably defective. When tightened, the lock clamp feels very rough. I contacted B&H today and they are accepting the item as a defective return for exchange and even paying for the shipping both ways. Thumbs up to B&H.

Steve
01-07-2009, 10:07 PM   #12
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Tripod Review: Induro AB1

Induro AB1 Adventure Series Tripod

The Induro AB1 is a member of Induro's Adventure series of tripod kits (legs + head). The design goals were to provide a compact and light package appropriate for travel or outdoor activities. The AB1 is the mid-size version and is intended for use with 35mm or digital SLR cameras to a maximum load of 12.8 lbs.

Specifications:
  • Maximum Load 12.8 lbs (5.8 kg)
  • Weight 3.4 lbs (1.6 kg) including head
  • Maximum Height/column extended 62" (158 cm)
  • Maximum Height/column retracted 52.5" (136 cm)
  • Minimum Height/short column 18.7" (4.8 cm)
  • Folded Length 26.2" (67 cm) with head and QR plate attached
  • Folded Length 22.5" (57 cm) with head removed
  • Number of Sections 3

Features:
  • Lever-type leg locks
  • Independant leg angle (3 stops)
  • Grooved center column
  • Reinforced leg sections
  • Aluminum/Magnesium construction
  • Hook on center column for additional weight
  • Reversable center column
  • Single-lever ball head with QR camera plate (Induro specific)
  • Built-in bubble levels on both legs and QR mount
  • 2 year (+3 with online registration) warranty

Included:
  • Induro AT-113 Tripod legs
  • Induro BH-1 Ballhead w/QR plate
  • Cloth case
  • Tool kit

Optional:
  • Short column

Price Paid:
$159 USD (shipping included, Adorama 12/20/1008)

Similar Products:
Slik Pro 500DX
Benro A-268M8
Bogen / Manfrotto 190XPROB/486RC2

Photos:

Partially Extended
Attachment 25443


Platform Detail
Attachment 25444


Impressions:
The Induro AB1 was bought for my globe-trotting, 20-something daughter. Major considerations in the purchase were size and weight appropriate for travel as well as adequate stability for her K10D and zoom lens. Right out of the box, the AB1 is an impressive unit with a black satin finish on all metal parts. The general build quality is very good to excellent though attention to detail is lacking in some areas. The included case is well-made and very smart looking. The AB1 is impressively light for its size and stable for its weight. Unfortunately, Induro does not offer a 4-section version with a little shorter overall length. The AB1 is just a little long for most day packs. Normally, I am a real fan of high value for the money. The Induro AB1 provides value appropriate for its price, but not a whole lot more. On the other hand, there are very few products of this quality in this weight range at this price point or below.

Edit: See comment number 10 below for information regarding a potential issue with the head mount platform.

Legs
The legs are well-built and adequately rigid and vibration resistent even at maximum extension. While I was not able to evaluate the AB-1 at its stated capacity of 12.8 lbs, it is plenty sturdy when mated to the K10D with moderate size/weight zoom lens. The leg hardware is metal with the exception of the flip-type leg locks. Those are made of high-quality plastic. The feet are made from a rubber-like material and lack provision for metal spikes. The leg sections extend and retract smoothly without binding. The AB-1 is capable of low-level work when equipped with the short center column. Unfortunately, that column is an optional accessory for an additional $30 USD.

The legs are unique within the Induro lineup. The AT-113 legs offers additional capacity over the A113 at about the same or less weight. Extended height is similar to the A213. Some of the weight savings may be due to using the flip-type leg locks, which are simpler and lighter than the twist locks found on the Induro A-series products.

Head
The BH-1 head is advertised as being matched to the AB1 legs. It is extremely light due to high-quality resin construction of both the body and the ball. The head and camera platform are beefy enough to provide adequate stability for the K10D though I have my doubts that the plastic materials are sufficiently rigid to support a heavier unit. Edit: The head body and ball are actually VERY light metal (Mg++ ?). They just felt like plastic when handled in a warm room. As such, my comment regarding rigidity may be off-base...) End Edit The feel of the head in use is similar to the lower-priced ball heads offered by many manufacturers...not bad, but not particularly good. Ball movement is smooth enough and locks securely in all positions. The single-action ball lock is easy to use, though it is not easy to do a "partial" release of the lock to allow horizontal pan. The main failing of the head is the lock mechanism for the QR clamp. The two-lever lock is clumsy to use, though once fully engaged, it holds the camera securely. The ballhead is easily replaceable should the owner wish a future upgrade.

Executive Summary:
The Induro AB1 is a light, relatively compact, well-made, and relatively sturdy tripod suitable for travel and outdoor activities where size and weight are a major consideration. It is stable with loads up to a dSLR with zoom lens, though probably not much above. The head, though serviceable and adequate to the task, is similar to low-end single-action heads from other manufacturers.

Pro
  • Light weight
  • Rigidity
  • Professional features
  • Above average build
  • Long warranty period

Con
  • No foot spikes
  • Ballhead QR levers
  • Folded length is a little long for easy packing
  • Short column not included

Recommended:
Yes, highly recommended for travel and outdoor activities
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01-08-2009, 09:02 PM   #13
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Tripod Review: Slik Sprint Pro

This is the last of my tripod reviews (I promise!). For Christmas, I wanted to get my world-traveling daughter a quality, compact tripod. I saw the Slik Sprint Pro (black) and felt that it would foot the bill quite nicely. The combination of light weight (1.9 lbs) and compact size (18.9" folded) at only $85 USD with included ball head sounded perfect. Here is the stock photo from the THK Web site:



When I took delivery, I was pretty impressed. The materials and workmanship of the legs were first rate. Surprisingly, the same was true about the included head. Unfortunately, the Sprint Pro is not a good match for a camera as bulky as the K10D. The ball head platform and base are better-suited to a super-zoom P&S, a compact 35mm SLR, or a 4/3 dSLR.

I was truly sad. The Sprint Pro is a finely crafted jewel of a product at a fairly reasonable price. I sent it back in exchange for an Induro AB1 that is a more suitable solution for my daughter and her K10D with zoom.

While it did not work out for my daughter, I may yet buy one for myself to use with my film cameras. Yes, it is that nice...

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-20-2009 at 11:17 AM.
01-08-2009, 10:10 PM   #14
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Tripod Reviews

For quite some time I had been using a very cheap metal monopod. Although it was a four section support the last section was really too small to hold anything with any weight. The ball head had a single lever and no sort of quick release. It was only sturdy enough to hold a P&S not a K20D with grip and lens.

The short list of desired features:
  • Maximum height enough for a 6' person
  • Sturdy
  • Relatively lightweight (less than or near 1 lbs)
  • Relatively compact (4 section desirable)
  • Able to support 10 lbs of camera/lens
  • Able to support a small or medium-sized ball head
  • Relatively inexpensive
Some of the above requirements forced the selection to carbon fiber. It was the only way to have a relatively sturdy leg and yet keep the weight down. With that in mind I settled on the Benro MC-66n6.

The Benro MC-66n6:



Specifications:
  • Sections: 5
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Maximum height: 57.35" w/o head
  • Minimum length: 16.5"
  • Weight: 0.88 lbs
  • Capacity: 11 lbs
Features:
  • 8 layer carbon fiber tubes
  • Sand and dust sealed rubber lock grips
  • Water resistant bushings
  • Reversible 1/4" or 3/8" thread
  • built in hand strap
  • Closed cell foam padding on upper section

Price:

Purchased December 12, 2008 from eBay: $76.89 USD Shipped

Build:

When the monopod arrived the first thing that is extremely noticeable is just how light it is. The leg locks are very smooth feeling. The leg locks are covered with a rubber grip for ease of turning. The outside finish is matte black with no carbon showing (either unidirectional or weave). The little rubber cap on the bottom leg is not removable and cannot be replaced by a spike.

In Use:

The legs operate relatively smoothly with little effort required to extend, collapse, and lock. Although extending the legs is easier than collapsing them, which could be a result of the weather sealing. Locks are of the twist type, the sections do not rotate when loosened. This allows the legs to be extended easily in any order. The one drawback to 5 sections is that you cannot loosen all the leg locks with one motion. When fully extended it is pretty stable, there is no feeling that the leg sections will collapse on their own no matter how much weight you put on the top. The top plate at just over 2" in diameter is large enough to support a medium sized ball head. There are no set screws to secure the head to the top plate.

The bottom line:
  • Pro:
    • Sturdy
    • Good value at its price point
    • High level of construction
    • Light and compact for the level of stability provided
  • Con:
    • 4 leg locks impossible to grip with one hand unless you are Sasquatch.
    • Cannot replace bottom cap with metal spike
Similar competing products:
  • Induro MC25
  • Manfrotto 695CX
  • Feisol CM-1401
  • Amvona Dynatran AM-106CF
01-12-2009, 11:41 PM   #15
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cheap tripod-Impact 1018

Another Update
I edited the original post regarding the head. It is removable and I highly recommend doing so. With a good ball head installed this tripod is now serving me well when I need a lightweight, convenient 'pod handy just in case. I'm using a Manfrotto 486RC2 and I've shot with both the 16-50 and 35-105 on my K20 without issue. It's sturdy enough for long exposures and light and cheap enough to drag through the bush and woods.

Update after a couple months of occasional usage:
First, I misspoke regarding the construction of the QR plate. It's not all plastic, the core is aluminum. But the rest is all true at least with mine. The QR is poorly designed and the plate tends to not seat properly when attached or come loose during use.
I still recommend it though as it's proven to be very convenient and quick and easy to set up otherwise. Also, I figured out that the legs can be adjusted to @80 degrees which allows for a very low camera angle. With the bottom half of the center column removed this places the camera @12" (30 cm) from ground level.
End Update


I needed a cheap, light tripod to have handy, in the back seat, etc. I was carrying an old Slik with a great, but heavy, even older ballhead. That one disappeared at a kids soccer game recently though. I swear some 4th grader or soccer mom nicked my 'pod in broad daylight!
So I just needed something small and cheap to have handy for unplanned photo op's.
After looking around and shying from most of the cheapo offerings, I settled on the Impact 1018. I got it from B&H where the reviews said it was actually well made and relatively sturdy.

Impact 1018 3-Section Tripod with Ballhead - Supports 6.6 lbs (3 kg):

Specifications:

* Sections: 3
* Material: Aluminum
* Maximum height: 52.9" (134.5 cm), including column and head: 60" (152.5cm)
* Minimum height: 19.7" (50.0 cm)
* Folded length: 20.7" (52.5 cm)
* Weight: 2 lb (920 g)
* Capacity: 6.6 lb (3 kg)

Features:

* Closed cell foam padding on all upper leg sections (unlike in the stock photo)
* Unpadded case included
* Removable Ballhead with QR included
* Reversible column


Price:

Purchased January 9, 2009 from B&H Photo: $45.80 USD Shipped

Build:

Not having owned this type of tripod before, I have to say it does seem very well built for the price. Fit and finish overall is very nice. The knobs, locks and feet are all plastic, the head is metal and the upper legs have thin foam grips. The included ball head is removable, but seems to be well matched to the purpose and capacity of the unit.

In Use:

So far everything works smoothly and locks/tightens well. With the DA*16-50 mounted there is a little bit of sag from the head, but it's easily compensated for. It felt sturdy enough with the big lens to let go of the camera, but I wouldn't trust it. With a smaller zoom and small prime lenses it should be fine as long as the wind isn't blowing or someone doesn't bump it. The head adjusts easily and has good drag for fine tuning. With only the 2 top leg sections fully extended the platform is 40 1/2" (103cm) which puts the camera just above waist height for me (6' tall) and of course is much more sturdy than when fully extended. The column locks down very well and only wobbles a little when extended past half of it's 12" (30.5cm) length. Reversing the column isn't convenient, but it's functional. The column is threaded, 2-piece and has an extra 1/4 stud on the bottom. The ballhead platform is 1 1/2" (3.75cm) and the QR is plastic secured by the thumbscrew on the platform. The thumbscrew is small, too close to the camera base and difficult for me to use. The QR overall looks like the weakest part and I suspect will wear out.

The bottom line:

Pro:
* Relatively sturdy and convenient to use
* Excellent value at its price point
* Removable head
* Very good build quality
* Light and compact
* Includes case with strap

Con:
* Not sturdy enough for big lenses
* QR is weak, poorly designed, difficult to use and shouldn't be trusted or expected to last long

I would definitely recommend this tripod for anyone not using big, heavy equipment and who needs a small, light, cheap unit.

hth
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Last edited by StevenVH; 12-18-2009 at 05:28 AM. Reason: typos and an update
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