K&F Travel Tripod Review
Sometimes I think a tripod is like a good pair of shoes. While anyone that fits will do for walking around, you really need to find the right one for you in order to be comfortable with it. I have three different tripods, all of which work perfectly fine, but none are exactly comfortable. With that in mind, I’ve been looking for something that fits my needs a little better, so when the folks at K&F sent me a tripod to review I thought that this was a combination of good timing and good fortune, as I wanted to try out this exact type.
Ethics note: This is not a paid review. I do have an affiliate link to the company, but they are not direct advertisers, and this review is completely independent.
The problems that I have with my existing tripods are as follows: My main one, which is an old heavy Manfrotto, is a good tripod, but it uses the older screw type locks on the legs, and these are getting worn. You have to really turn them hard to lock them now, and frequently they don’t lock fully and one of the legs will start to collapse when you put weight on it. On top of that, it’s really heavy and big. It does have a good ball head, but that just adds to the weight. My second photo tripod is another Manfrotto, this time the discontinued “Modo” model. This is an all in one, small lightweight tripod. The only problem with it is that it’s too lightweight. It can only really handle a small compact or mirrorless camera, and even then, with the legs fully extended, its a bit wobbly, which kind of defeats the purpose.
The model K&F sent me to try out, the "TM2524 Lightweight Travel Tripod" is a lightweight aluminium model, but it’s not as small as the modo, and has a higher load capacity. You can put a (smaller) DSLR on it for example and it’s perfect for a larger mirrorless camera, such as my X-Pro2. It has 4 leg segments, and it folds back over the centre column making it quite compact. For an aluminium tripod too, it’s surprisingly lightweight. When fully extended it’s up to my shoulders, so it’s the right height for eye-level shooting. It also comes with a case and a strap.
The tripod comes with a built-in ball head, which is quite good. It’s not going to give you the kind of frictionless manoeuvring, something like a high-end Gitzo would give you, but it works perfectly fine. It also has a quick release plate and integrated spirit levels. On top of that it has a degree counter for panning, and supposedly this is to make panorama shooting easier, although, I didn’t really try that feature.
The legs use a lever type switch which is much better than the old thumbscrew type and it makes extending and lowering the legs a much faster operation. One of the legs also has foam on it which is a big help in cold weather. The centre column has a circular ring which you loosen and tighten to hold it in place. The centre column also has a hook on it from which you can hang a bag or something for extra stability.
The only thing I don’t like about it is the plastic tabs at the top of the legs. The hold the legs at the correct angle. You pull them out to fold the legs back or lower them to a wider angle. These seem a little flimsy compared to the rest of the tripod.
It also has one other cool feature that I really like, and that is the ability to transform into a monopod! Basically, you disconnect the centre column, and unscrew one of the legs, which then connect to form a monopod! It only takes a couple of seconds to do, and it's handy if you need a monopod.
I’ve tried a couple of different cameras on it. With my heavier DSLR, a D700 and a heavy lens, there is a little instability, mainly because of the balance. The camera is heavier than the tripod, and because the centre column extends upwards. When you press the camera buttons, it feels a little wobbly, but it stabilises quickly enough. If you don’t need to use it at full height its fine. Even at that, it’s usable. It should be noted though that the tripod is rated for a maximum load capacity of 3kg, and with the combination of D700 and heavy f/2.8 lens, it’s pushing 5kg, so it's outside the spec anyway. With a smaller camera, even a lighter DSLR it’s perfectly fine. Even with my D700 and a smaller prime, such as a 50mm, it is stable.
I’ve also used it with the Fuji X-Pro2 and its perfect for that. The lightweight nature of the X-Pro 2 is pretty well balanced on it.
I’ve tried it out in the field a few times, and it’s a really nice little tripod. As I take public transport and don’t drive, it’s nice to have something so small and light that is relatively inconspicuous. It’s much quicker to set up than my old Manfrotto too. I know most modern tripods no longer use the thumbscrew type locking mechanisms, but coming from that to this is a joy. The only real issues that I have with it is that you can’t get close to the ground with it. While the centre column does come out, there’s no small peg for doing low-level shooting. The lowest you can get is about a foot and a half off the ground.
Having said that I have to say, I really like it. It’s small and light, which is what I want. The thing about a heavier tripod is that you’re less likely to want to bring it with you. This is a perfect size for me and what I want. It’s also relatively inexpensive. At $99 it’s cheaper than what I paid for the Manfrotto Modo, and it’s much more stable and capable than that. It’s not perfect, but I have very little to complain about with it. I would like a better mechanism for controlling the way the legs lock at the top of the tripod, but other than that, for the price, I have to say it’s a bargain.
The tripod is available now direct from K&F
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