Velbon Sherpa 5370D kit (with PH-157Q three-way head) £120, $180
It’s reasonably compact and lightweight for an aluminium kit, albeit with a modest load rating
The two lightest carbon fibre tripods in the group weigh 2kg with heads attached, and this aluminium Velbon kit is only a whisker heavier at 2.1kg. It’s quite a narrow design and not overly long when collapsed, at 63cm. The flip side is that the maximum operating height is just 170cm and, in keeping with its light weight for an aluminium tripod, the load capacity is only 4kg.
The three-section leg design enables the bottom section to have a diameter of 20mm. That equals the diameter of the bottom section of the Gitzo legs, although the Velbon’s aluminium feels a lot less rigid than the Gitzo’s carbon fibre.
The design of the PH-157Q three-way head is more like a cross between a ball head and three-way head. A single locking arm enables movement of both pan and tilt, while a separate locking screw is used to switch between landscape and portrait orientation shooting.
Rigidity isn’t very impressive, as you’d expect from a lightweight aluminium tripod. It’s not helped by the surface of the head’s quick-release plate, which feels spongy and fails to give a really solid support for the camera. Ultimately, it’s the least expensive tripod in the group, but also the least sturdy.