Tech Talk – Tripod Review

I have been saying for awhile about doing a tripod review, finally got around to writing it, while I am currently housebound. I have 3 tripods, one of which just proved to be unsuitable for my current DSLR; as it is way too heavy. It is a Velbon, I have had it for years with my old digital camera, it is a good sturdy serviceable tripod; just not designed for something as heavy as I now have. So when I went looking for another tripod; my mind and wallet tended towards another one.

2015-09-20 12.55.59
Velbon Sherpa 200R Tripod in action down at Blairgowrie

Velbon Sherpa 200R – Aluminum Combo Tripod

Comes with HEAD/Q-Shoe, PH-157Q / QB-157, Max Height: 167.5cm, Max Leg Height: 137.5cm, Leg Max Spread: 59cm, Folded Size: 62cm, Tripod Weight: 1.95kg, Maximum Loading Weight: 5kg, Recommended Loading Weight: 4kg, Leg Width: 26mm, Leg Sections: 3, Non-detachable center column

As you can see from the specs it is more than enough to carry a Nikon D7100 and my biggest 18-200mm Lens. The non detachable center column, is not a major hassle for my type of general shoot, however it maybe for some.


Good, light weight sturdy construction, quick release head, great overall height for me, suitable load weight. Controls for moving, clipping, tightening and swivel are all easily accessible and readily movable. This tripod has taken a beating and has never skipped a beat, beach, water (fresh and salt), no real wear or tear. A few scratches, but that gives it character. Nice wide base without being too wide. Considering other tripods on the market it is not overly expensive.


I must have bought the only Velbon tripod that does not come with a carry bag! Also it does not have hooks for hanging backpack and other gear. So I arranged some hooks and straps of my own with velcro. Even though it is fairly light weight, carrying long distances it can get heavy, also is quite large compared to a travel tripod. When it comes to gusty winds, it is not nearly heavy enough (having my bag attached helps a great deal), but perfect for the studio. Difficult to gt into positions varying from the regular………pointing straight up or down.

Moth with the Monfrotto 190 Tripod
Moth with the Monfrotto 190 Tripod in action at Marysville Cascades

Manfrotto 190 – Aluminum Tripod

Now I purchased the Manfrotto 190 as a kit (it came with a head and locking attachment), it is very solid and quite fast to set up, it is extremely versatile as the central column moves and swings out, allowing some very cool positions for locking the camera in………fantastic for shooting astro! Please visit Monfrotto website for an idea on the various different positions you can get this tripod into.


Definitely the clever design, quick release, the pivoting center column, easily expands to take other studio accessories as well. Solid, tall and can handle approx 7kg load weight. It has hooks for backpacks and good sturdy feet. I was really impressed at the bizarre angles we could safely get this tripod and camera into with risking the camera.


Mainly the Price, as with all Monfrotto items, there is a big price tag attached. The Carbon fiber was even more expensive, (but should at least cut down the weight) as are the swivel heads (we did not get one of those yet). It is also very heavy! I found that the base is very wide when fully extended, great in gale force winds, but such a pain to carry around. Also does not come with carry bag or straps. Also still quite large when folded up.

To some up……Quite frankly I don’t use the Monfrotto on hikes, I leave it for Moth to carry and stick to my much lighter Velbon tripod. In the studio I still tend to use the Velbon…………..why? Honestly I have no idea and no excuse, habit? Perhaps I will get it out and use the Monfrotto in my next studio session.

Both are excellent tripods, however if you are looking around for one, test the weight it can carry, against the actual weight of the tripod. What are you using it for? I do a lot of beach shoots, which can be very windy and a heavy tripod is a necessity. If you travel a lot, of hike a lot and shoot in bush land where the wind is limited, consider a much lighter travel tripod. See if it has a carry bag, or strap, does it have hooks for all your gear? Is the head a quick release? Is the head stable? Is it a ball mount for easy movement, or do you want it lockable? How quickly can you release and lock the leg clamps.

There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a tripod, for me the three main ones are weight, stability and price. You may have other priorities in mind. So what tripod do you use? Do you love it or hate it?