Vel­bon Ul­trek UT-43D II £110, $200

Pos­i­tively tiny when folded down for trav­el­ling, the Vel­bon is cer­tainly a take-any­where tripod

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Weigh­ing barely more than a kilo­gram, the Vel­bon is not only one of the light­est tripods in the group, but also has the out­right small­est stowage size, at 29cm. That’s 5cm shorter than the Giot­tos Vitru­vian. Mean­while, it also beats the Giot­tos for max­i­mum op­er­at­ing height, at 156cm com­pared with a rel­a­tively lowly 136cm. This is mainly be­cause the Vel­bon fea­tures no fewer than six sec­tions in each leg.

One draw­back of having so many leg sec­tions is that it’s a chore re­leas­ing and fas­ten­ing end­less clip or twist locks. To avoid this, Vel­bon has fit­ted a sys­tem whereby progressive twist­ing of the foot re­leases or locks suc­ces­sive sec­tions. The more sub­stan­tial up­per sec­tions re­lease first, and there’s even a sec­ond, sep­a­rate, twist lock for the top­most ex­tend­ing sec­tion.

Per­for­mance

The ex­tend­ing cen­tre col­umn can’t be re­moved or in­verted but the min­i­mum op­er­at­ing height is fairly low at 34cm. The three­p­o­si­tion lock­able leg an­gles are well im­ple­mented and the ball head has two spirit lev­els. In most respects, it’s a supremely travel-friendly tripod. The only weak­ness is that, with so many leg sec­tions and a di­am­e­ter of just 9mm for the bot­tom sec­tion, it feels a bit wob­bly at medium to high op­er­at­ing heights.

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