Leofoto’s latest tripod, the Poseidon LP-284C, claims to be a light-weight carbon fiber journey tripod that’s each waterproof and sandproof. If true, this would actually set it aside and make it an indispensable companion for photograph missions in nearly any situation and any location. I put it to the check over the course of two weeks in Iceland, the place it confronted rain, wind, sand, surf, ocean, and even a volcano. Learn on to learn how it fared.
Notice: I’ve no affiliation with the corporate and bought the tripod with my very own funds
- Stiff and secure in average winds (10-20 mph)
- Impressively light-weight
- Leg twist locks are efficient at maintaining out sand and water
- Simple to rinse clear
- Adjustable legs mean you can get very near the bottom
- Appears more likely to be very immune to corrosion
- Carabiner weight hook permits manner an excessive amount of motion in wind and is liable to falling out and getting misplaced
- Leg hinges is probably not protected against sand or salt water
- Leg adjustment pull tabs didn’t work as anticipated: 2/3 tabs required person to drag and maintain to regulate
- Not very tall
- Lengthy-term sturdiness and corrosion-resistance
- Materials of the leg locks and threads
- Leofoto guarantee
Glorious from the primary leg part down: the design of the legs actually does stop sand and water infiltration into the locking threads and leg inside.
A number of points from the leg pull-tabs and hinges on up. It appears probably that if this tripod goes to fail, it will be due to one thing on this area. You possibly can decrease the possibility of points by maintaining this space free from sand and saltwater. Make sure to rigorously examine all of the components on this space to ensure all of them work as anticipated, because it looks as if there may be inconsistent high quality management.
Good worth for the worth, although you might be able to discover a tripod equally mild and straightforward to scrub with flip-locks for much less cash. Although it could be powerful to search out one thing that checks all these containers and is as stiff/secure because the Leofoto.
MeFoto to Leofoto
Having just lately returned from a go to to the desert and with a visit to Iceland developing, I used to be sick and uninterested in having to consistently disassemble, wash, dry, re-grease, and re-assemble my MeFoto Roadtrip tripod each single time I set it up round sand (and even then nonetheless having sand grains caught within the twist-lock leg threads). I used to be able to get a tripod with flip-locks as an answer, however noticed the brand new Leofoto Poseidon tripod and figured I’d give it a shot. In all equity to MeFoto (now Benro), their customer support was excellent the couple of instances I wanted assist or a alternative half, nevertheless it appeared like there have been options that provided higher stability, a relatively small and light-weight kind issue, higher resistance to the weather, and aggressive costs.
I hadn’t heard of Leofoto earlier than, however because of The Heart Column and various person studies on-line, I used to be prepared to provide it a shot.
The Leofoto Poseidon LP-284C is similar to their LS-284C mannequin, which as you may see from The Heart Column‘s desk, punches above its weight and sits alongside tripods from heavy hitters Actually Proper Stuff and Gitzo.
Listed below are a few of the key specs:
- Most peak: 50.8″ (it doesn’t have a middle column)
- Minimal peak: 6.3″ (it will get actually low, nice for getting up shut along with your foreground or for macro photographs)
- Weight: 3.4 lbs (together with ball head)
- Folded size: 21.3″
- Max capability: 22 lbs
It’s made primarily out of carbon fiber, with titanium spiked toes, tube plugs, and threaded rubber toes. The tripod sometimes comes kitted with the Leofoto LH-30 ball head, which is made out of coated anodized aluminum. Notice the ball head is rated to assist 13.2 lbs, which is lower than the tripod’s max capability, so watch out for those who plan to make use of heavy lenses or different gear on this tripod/ball head combo.
Actual World Testing
I acquired my tripod simply two days earlier than leaving for Iceland, so after I acquired there it was unused and contemporary out of the field.
Its first check was on a hill with a slight breeze, wanting on the still-erupting Geldingadalir volcano. I had a Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 mounted, and zoomed in all the best way to 300mm. The tripod was fast to arrange and the legs locked securely, although the ball head did droop barely even after tightening all the best way. It wasn’t quite a bit and was simple to appropriate by aiming the lens barely larger than I needed it, nevertheless it was nonetheless noticeable and a minor inconvenience.
Wind and rain
Regardless of it being summer season, unhealthy climate appeared to comply with me in every single place I went on the island. This meant I acquired to check the Poseidon tripod out within the wind and rain early and sometimes. This tripod dealt with the rain with out blinking. The inner o-rings/tube plugs contained in the leg locks labored properly and stored water from the leg sections that had been prolonged from coming into and made it a lot faster and simpler to dry.
The tripod carried out typically properly within the wind, with one actually huge caveat (preserve studying). As famous by The Heart Column of their assessment of the LS-284C, this tripod is kind of stiff. Even with all 4 leg sections prolonged, I had no downside getting sharp photos even in decently windy (10-20 mph) circumstances and wasn’t too anxious about tripod stability/safety both.
Right here’s the caveat: the wind did choose as much as 30+ mph on fairly a number of events, and that’s after I actually needed a very good ballast weight to assist anchor and safe the tripod. However sadly, that is the place the Poseidon fell very brief. Out of the field, it does embody a threaded carabiner that may be screwed into the underside of the ball head after awkwardly splaying its legs, however right here’s the factor: it didn’t keep in!
It took lower than a day for my carabiner/screw combo to by some means loosen itself sufficient to fall out and disappear with out my noticing. Luckily, I had one other one from a unique Leofoto tripod, so I screwed that one in and secured it with duck tape. That labored however was a crude and momentary answer that required me to be consistently switching it between tripods. I additionally rapidly found that the considerably distinctive carabiner (fairly than the extra conventional hook) is a really poor design selection. In contrast to a hook, the carabiner was related through a metallic ring, which lets the carabiner have a full vary of movement. That is the other of what you need within the wind, because it lets your weight swing round far more readily, and it turned an actual downside with my backpack (my weight) swinging repeatedly into the tripod legs, inflicting vibrations and ruining a number of photographs.
Sand and ocean
Okay, so the carabiner problem is actual and considerably important, particularly for those who’ll be taking pictures in windy circumstances. However I may MAYBE overlook that if the tripod lived as much as its daring claims of being water- and sand-proof. I made no try and child the tripod, taking it to a number of seashores, the place the legs and toes had been repeatedly submerged each in dry and moist sand and battered by the surf of the North Atlantic. I didn’t have sufficient freshwater to scrub it off with, so I attempted to easily rinse off sand within the ocean earlier than letting it partially air dry and later collapsing the legs.
It was uncovered to water (ocean and contemporary) nearly daily. I didn’t deliberately attempt to get sand caught within the locks and did ensure to tighten the leg locks earlier than sticking it in sand or ocean water, however past that, I totally uncovered it to the weather to see how it will maintain up over the course of two weeks.
After about one week, there was some salt residue clearly seen on the legs and a few black sand that was build up on the very edges of the leg locks (the place it must be blocked from coming into the threads themselves by the o-ring and sealed locking mechanism). This was roughly anticipated given the circumstances I used to be exposing it to.
Once I lastly had entry to a sink, I merely unscrewed the leg locks all the best way and gave the entire tripod a fast rinse (with out disassembling). This appeared to work, although it appeared as if there MAY have been a number of grains of sand that acquired by into the threads primarily based on the texture and faint grinding sound from making an attempt to tighten a few the leg locks.
And that was it! If I had been utilizing my MeFoto Roadtrip tripod, I’m 100% sure that the leg locks can be grinding away with loads of sand infiltration into the threads. I used to be impressed.
After one other week of use on land, mud, sand, river, and ocean, it was not a lot worse for put on save for some scratches across the prime plate and leg angle adjustment pull-tabs.
As soon as I acquired dwelling, I gave it a extra thorough rinse (nonetheless with out disassembling all the best way) and let it air dry. This appeared to take away all of the sand and salt residue, and the leg locks twisted cleanly and easily with none proof of lingering sand grains.
Nearer inspection revealed that there have been really a good variety of tiny sand grains that had discovered their manner onto the hinge washers. These hinges could be a main failure level, and in reality had failed on my MeFoto tripod, inflicting one leg to randomly detach and fall off. It’s necessary to maintain these hinges free from saltwater and sand as the weather can rapidly degrade the hinge grease.
Rinsing didn’t take away all of the sand from the washers, so I didn’t need to unscrew the hinges to test for sand infiltration as sand may have grow to be launched by me from unscrewing them.
Leofoto makes no point out of if or how the hinges are protected against sand or saltwater on their product web page, so it’s fully attainable that the hinges are unprotected. If that’s true, then I’d contemplate them the weakest and most weak factors on the tripod.
Whereas we’re speaking in regards to the leg hinges, it’s price commenting on the pull tabs. In concept, it’s a simple design – you pull the tab out and might then modify the leg angle, with the tab clicking into place at one in all a number of locking factors, together with almost horizontal. Nevertheless, 2 of the three pull tabs on my tripod didn’t keep prolonged – I’d pull them out and they might instantly snap again in, so I’d have to drag the tabs out and maintain them whereas additionally pushing the leg out, which was extra awkward and extra bother than it must be. It additionally considerably slowed down the method of adjusting the legs.
Verdict: Value It?
As of the time of posting, the non-waterproof model of this tripod, the LS-284C, value $350, and the Poseidon LP-284C value $50 extra ($400). For those who had been already going to get the LS-284C and assume you’ll ever need to shoot in sandy or moist circumstances, I believe it’s price the additional $50. The tripod is kind of stiff, impressively light-weight, and the sealed leg locks make it attainable to make use of in sandy and moist environments with out a second thought.
In my testing, the sealed leg locks labored properly to maintain out sand and water. They weren’t 100% good, however I’d say they stored out 99+% of sand, which is large and might be a really apparent and tangible enchancment for those who’re weary from having to consistently take aside your tripod to scrub it out. And cleansing was very fast and straightforward.
One unknown is whether or not any components will corrode over time. There was no proof of any corrosion within the couple of weeks that I examined it, however that is one thing that may probably take longer to look and would severely intervene with the tripod’s correct functioning if it did seem. The usage of titanium is an effective option to preserve weight down and enhance corrosion resistance, so I think the danger of corrosion (on the legs no less than) is low. Nevertheless, the one components that Leofoto particularly calls out as being titanium are the tube plugs, foot spikes, and threads for the rubber toes. What about the remainder of the leg locking mechanism, together with the threads?
The Leofoto Poseidon LP-284C does have important drawbacks that it is best to contemplate earlier than shopping for. First, the carabiner ballast is a really poor design selection, permitting your weight to behave like a sail with a full vary of movement within the wind, and, no less than for my tripod, it couldn’t be totally secured – it will unscrew itself and fall out. That’s not good. After only a week, I gave up on it and deserted making an attempt to have any ballast to overwhelm and safe the tripod. When the wind actually picked up, I retracted the legs and lowered the tripod near the bottom. This works in some conditions, however clearly not all.
Second, the hinges and leg adjustment pull-tabs are a priority. Not solely is it unclear whether or not the hinges have any safety in any respect from sand and saltwater, however the pull tabs themselves appear to endure from an actual lack of high quality management, with 2/3 of them not capable of operate as meant and requiring me to drag after which maintain every in an effort to modify the legs.
The way in which I consider this tripod is that it’s waterproof and sand-proof beginning with the primary leg part on down. Above that (the pull-tabs, hinges, prime plate, and ball head) there isn’t a indication of being water- or sand-proof, and care must be taken to reduce publicity to those parts as they will trigger substantial put on and tear, shortening the lifespan of the tripod or requiring extra frequent deep cleans and upkeep.
One closing consideration is the Leofoto guarantee. Although it’s marketed as coming with a 10-year guarantee, I’d take that with a grain of salt. There’s little data obtainable on-line about methods to get hold of guarantee service and only a few studies of shoppers receiving guarantee service. Leofoto can be primarily based in China, which implies that for those who do want service, you’d presumably must ship the tripod there, which might not be low cost or fast for these of us not primarily based in China. It’s attainable Leofoto would cowl the total value of delivery, however no less than from what I can inform, it’s a bet as as to whether there may be any substance behind their 10-year guarantee declare.
For those who’re cautious to maintain this tripod and are fortunate sufficient to get one which doesn’t endure from the standard management points that mine did, this tripod may very well be a very good worth for the cash. However, if you’ll find a stiff, secure, light-weight tripod with flip-locks (some individuals simply don’t like flip-locks, however I don’t have any actual downside with them) comprised of high-quality sturdy plastic or corrosion-resistant stainless-steel for underneath $400, that may be very a lot price contemplating, for my part.
In regards to the creator: Dan Mitler is an outside photographer and hiker. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. You could find extra of Mitler’s work on his web site and Instagram. This text was additionally revealed right here.