Rock solid

Get the low-down on 8 multi-an­gle tripods

NPhoto - - Front Page -

Pho­tog­ra­phers of­ten stay well away from a tri­pod’s cen­tre col­umn, only ex­tend­ing it as a last re­sort when they want to max­imise shoot­ing height. It’s a missed op­por­tu­nity. In­creas­ingly, man­u­fac­tur­ers are de­vel­op­ing de­signs in which the cen­tre col­umn can be ro­tated through 90 de­grees to act as a hor­i­zon­tal boom. But why would you need that?

An ex­tend­ing boom is great for macro pho­tog­ra­phy, en­abling you to get the cam­era close enough to what you’re shoot­ing with­out the tri­pod legs hold­ing you back. It’s also a big help if you want to pho­to­graph ob­jects shoot­ing di­rectly down from above.

Another ad­van­tage is that you can shoot with a re­ally wide-an­gle lens with­out the tri­pod feet creep­ing into the pic­ture. And, com­bined with the multi-an­gle legs that are fea­tured on the vast ma­jor­ity of modern

tripods, a hor­i­zon­tal cen­tre col­umn can en­able ul­tra-low level shoot­ing with­out the pain of hav­ing to re­move the cen­tre col­umn from the tri­pod, in­vert it, re­fit it, and then shoot with the cam­era up­side-down.

Con­sid­er­ing the added ver­sa­til­ity, it’s sur­pris­ing that more main­stream man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t in­clude pivot tripods in their prod­uct lines. Those not at the party cur­rently in­clude 3 Legged Thing, Gitzo, In­duro, MeFoto, Sirui, Slik, and Vel­bon, to name but a few. We’ve there­fore dou­bled up on prod­ucts from some of the lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers for this Big Test.

We’ve stuck to alu­minium tripods, to keep the play­ing field as level as pos­si­ble. Di­rectly equiv­a­lent car­bon fi­bre op­tions are also avail­able for all but the Benbo and Van­guard tripods. Benbo only makes alu­minium tripods, and for the Van­guard, the clos­est match is the ALTA PRO 284CB 100 kit. When us­ing the same head sup­plied with each alu­minium edi­tion, the car­bon fi­bre ver­sions typ­i­cally give a weight sav­ing of around 15 per cent, or 400 grams. The price in­crease is usu­ally around 50 per cent, al­though it’s some­what less for the Man­frotto 055, and rather more for the Benro Clas­sic and Van­guard car­bon-fi­bre al­ter­na­tives.

Some of the tripods on test are classed as ‘travel tripods’, typ­i­cally hav­ing four rather than three sec­tions in each leg, to en­able a more com­pact size for stor­age, while still en­abling fairly lofty shoot­ing at full stretch. The Benro and Kenro travel tripods in the group take com­pact­ness to a new level. For stowage, you ex­tend the cen­tre col­umn to its full height, then swing the legs fully up­wards so that the feet sur­round the head. It’s a trend that’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in travel tripods, but very few also have piv­ot­ing cen­tre col­umns.

Apart from the two Benro tripods in the group, all are sup­plied as com­plete kits rather than being sold as sep­a­rate legs and heads. Buy­ing a kit can be a money saver, but you might pre­fer to choose your legs and head sep­a­rately to best suit your needs. You can mix and match be­tween man­u­fac­tur­ers but, for the best fit, it’s good to choose a head that has ap­prox­i­mately the same di­am­e­ter of mount­ing sur­face as the plat­form on the tri­pod legs. You can fit a head with a 3/8-inch at­tach­ment thread onto a tri­pod with a 1/4-inch stud via an adap­tor, but you can’t fit a head with a smaller 1/4-inch thread to a tri­pod with a 3/8-inch stud. Let’s take a closer look at what all the kits and sep­a­rates have to of­fer.

A hor­i­zon­tal cen­tre col­umn can en­able ul­tra-low level shoot­ing with­out the pain of hav­ing to re­move the cen­tre col­umn from the tri­pod

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.