NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Pros Light, compact and quick to set up; de­cent ball head. Cons Legs aren’t the most rigid and don’t ex­tend es­pe­cially far. We say A good bal­ance of strength and porta­bil­ity. You first get an idea that this tri­pod is a bit dif­fer­ent when you see the length of its box. At just shy of 30cm when closed, the UT-53D is by far the most compact set of legs in our line-up, yet by some mir­a­cle it man­ages to reach over 155cm at full stretch.

The se­cret to its slinky-like ex­ten­sion abil­ity is its six-sec­tion legs and two-sec­tion cen­tre col­umn. You needn’t worry that so many com­po­nents will mean it takes a lot of time to set up, though, as just two ex­ten­sion clamps se­cure each leg. The trou­ble is, with so few lock­ing points, rigid­ity is com­pro­mised and there’s only a three-kilo­gram pay­load rat­ing.

Build and ma­te­rial qual­ity aren’t up to the stan­dard of the rest of the group ei­ther, but then the ask­ing price is far lower.

Quick to set up when you’re out

The Velbon closes down very small

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