You Can’t Buy This Tripod From Us

You Can’t Buy This Tripod From Us

And you’re darned lucky at that. It’s a piece of junk.

The legs are thin-wall aluminium tubing with a profile pressed into them – so far so normal. They ride in white plastic bushes that are held in place by cutouts in the tubes – again pretty much what you might see in better tripods, albeit a bit flimsy here. But the whole edifice falls into a heap with the leg clamps – they are cheap plastic clipovers that compress a rubber block onto the next smaller tube.

I do not decry clipovers – Manfrotto have used them on some of their new tripods and they are a model of good design. Their clips are metal and they have adjustment bolts to let you take up slack as they wear in.

But these flimsy clips are just disasters waiting to happen. One’s broken – and has been replaced by the only sensible alternative – a car hose clamp. The other two at the same level of the tripod are showing the same cracks that broke the first one, so it’s off to Supercheap Auto* in the morning to get more hose clamps. Fortunately the user of the tripod will keep it at home for selfies and not have to take it out on location.

Moral of the story? Look carefully at the tripod you are going to buy and select one that has been designed with enough material – whether it is metal or plastic – at the points of highest stress so as to be able to resist the forces that will be put on it. No good finding something that is stylish or sleek if you’re just going to be finding it all over again in a year. Worse – finding that you have a bipod when you are far from any repair or replacement possibility.

Brands to buy? Manfrotto – Gitzo – Sirui – Benro…or any others you find in our place. I’ve got an older Cullmann I got from the shop that is doing sterling service and my Gitzo is totally unbustable. You can go as fancy as you like in the heads and columns, but do get good legs and good joints on those legs.

*   Went to the local Shell 24 hr service station to get more automotive hose clamps. Hahahaha. You can get chocolate bars, teddy bears, and toilet paper, but try to find something to fix your car…?

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