This is a dilemma that I am sure every photographer faces at some point. Traveling abroad with a tripod, but which one to get. For me personally, I wanted certain things in a travel tripod. It definitely had to be carbon fiber, lightweight, affordable, it had to fit in my backpack or on the side with the ballhead attached and it needed to be reasonbly high enough so I did not have bend or crouch to low to see the LED screen even when it swivels. Sounds simple enough right? Turn out, it was quite a difficult decision with everything on the market today. Here were my top contenders:
- Peak Design
- 3 Legged Thing
This is not an all inclusive list, but rather the ones that I considered when searching for the one that fit my needs. Lets start with the Peak Design. Very innovative product and did meet the majority of the things that I wanted, deal breaker was the cost. It is the most expensive on the list so I kept searching.
Next on the list was the Ulanzi portable travle tripod. Nice features with decent height of 63 inches with center column extended and reasonably priced. Upon digging deeper, many reviews noted that the tripod was a bit shaky with legs fully exetended and when putting the column up, Many reviews also reported good stability so I was on the fence still undecided. The search continued.
Many famous name manufacturers make travel tripods, so I turned my attention to those. Next up on the list was the Manfrotto. A very well respected name in the photographic industry. They make a travel tripod that is good quality as one would expect, but this issue again was price coming in a bit on the higher side of what I thought this tripod should cost given its similarities to other tripods with like characteristics. I put this in the contender category but kept looking.
A very innovative and creative design from HEIPI that seemed to be copied to a great extent, on the Peak Design travel tripod with a few differences really heightened my interest. Compact and lightweight, one thing I liked about this travel tripod was the 3 piece center column versus a single center column. I really was interested in this one, but the drawback is the time frame to get one. They are just coming off a successful kickstarter campaign and as a result, they are filling the backers orders first which I totally understand, but they could not provide a date when orders other than the backers would be fulfulled when I reached out to them. Still interested, but I needed a good travel tripd for an upcoming trip and with no confirmed date for shipment I kept looking.
I know a fair number of colleauges that use the 3 legged thing tripods for travel so I thought it worth a look.. This tripod is definitely a good travel companion. Seems like based on the specs that it could be the one that I was looking for. Has 5 sections so it is a bit taller and depending on how you set it up looks as if it would be relatively stable.. Price point though is still on the high end so I kept this in the mix and wanted to make sure that I did due diligence with all my options.
The last travel tripod I explored ended up being the one that I went with. There were 2 reasons for me choosing this tripod. Price point and familiarity as I have another product from Leofoto and it has performed very well. I chose the Leofoto LS-225 travel tripod. It hit all the bullet points I was looking for.. It is carbon fiber and weights only 1.6lbs. Amazingly light but not lacking on strength and durability. With a ballhead on the tripod is 45cm tall closed and compact and easily fits into the side pocket of my Think Tank Trailscape with minimal bulk. It was the right height and the center column can be adjusted to my height (6′ 1″) without fully extending it providing good stability.
So far, this had performed very well. There have been a few instances where I needed to put the carbineer hook underneath to hold my cameral bag and to help reduce camera movement on windy days, but overall this has been a great addition for my travel and I am very happy with my choice. This article is just based on my humble experiences and may not be the same for you but I wanted to provide some options so you can do your own research and what is best for your photography. I hope this helps.