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 really 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.
Observe: 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 retaining out sand and water
- Simple to rinse clear
- Adjustable legs can help you get very near the bottom
- Appears more likely to be very immune to corrosion
- Carabiner weight hook permits approach an excessive amount of motion in wind and is vulnerable to falling out and getting misplaced
- Leg hinges will not be protected against sand or salt water
- Leg adjustment pull tabs didn’t work as anticipated: 2/3 tabs required consumer to tug 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 forestall 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 doubtless that if this tripod goes to fail, it could be due to one thing on this area. You possibly can decrease the possibility of points by retaining this space free from sand and saltwater. You’ll want to fastidiously examine all of the components on this space to verify all of them work as anticipated, because it looks like there may be inconsistent high quality management.
Good worth for the worth, although you might be able to discover a tripod equally mild and simple to wash with flip-locks for much less cash. Although it could be robust to seek 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 bored with 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 help or a substitute half, however it appeared like there have been alternate options that supplied better stability, a relatively small and light-weight kind issue, better resistance to the weather, and aggressive costs.
I hadn’t heard of Leofoto earlier than, however due to The Heart Column and quite a few consumer studies on-line, I used to be prepared to present it a shot.
The Leofoto Poseidon LP-284C is similar to their LS-284C mannequin, which as you possibly can 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 among the key specs:
- Most top: 50.8″ (it doesn’t have a middle column)
- Minimal top: 6.3″ (it will get actually low, nice for getting up shut together with your foreground or for macro pictures)
- 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 ft, tube plugs, and threaded rubber ft. The tripod usually comes kitted with the Leofoto LH-30 ball head, which is made out of coated anodized aluminum. Observe the ball head is rated to help 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 obtained my tripod simply two days earlier than leaving for Iceland, so after I obtained 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 straightforward to right by aiming the lens barely increased than I needed it, however it was nonetheless noticeable and a minor inconvenience.
Wind and rain
Regardless of it being summer time, unhealthy climate appeared to observe me in every single place I went on the island. This meant I obtained to check the Poseidon tripod out within the wind and rain early and infrequently. 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 getting into and made it a lot faster and simpler to dry.
The tripod carried out typically properly within the wind, with one actually large caveat (preserve studying). As famous by The Heart Column of their assessment of the LS-284C, this tripod is sort of stiff. Even with all 4 leg sections prolonged, I had no drawback getting sharp photographs even in decently windy (10-20 mph) circumstances and wasn’t too nervous about tripod stability/safety both.
Right here’s the caveat: the wind did decide as much as 30+ mph on fairly a couple of events, and that’s after I actually needed a superb ballast weight to assist anchor and safe the tripod. However sadly, that is the place the Poseidon fell very quick. Out of the field, it does embrace 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 someway loosen itself sufficient to fall out and disappear with out my noticing. Happily, 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 non permanent resolution that required me to be consistently switching it between tripods. I additionally rapidly found that the considerably distinctive carabiner (reasonably than the extra conventional hook) is a really poor design alternative. In contrast to a hook, the carabiner was linked by way of a steel 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 grew to become an actual drawback with my backpack (my weight) swinging repeatedly into the tripod legs, inflicting vibrations and ruining a number of pictures.
Sand and ocean
Okay, so the carabiner situation 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 ft have 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 clean 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 every single day. I didn’t deliberately attempt to get sand caught within the locks and did make sure that to tighten the leg locks earlier than sticking it in sand or ocean water, however past that, I absolutely uncovered it to the weather to see how it could 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 increase on the very edges of the leg locks (the place it needs to be blocked from getting 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 couple of grains of sand that obtained via 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 obtained house, 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 approach onto the hinge washers. These hinges generally is a main failure level, and actually had failed on my MeFoto tripod, inflicting one leg to randomly detach and fall off. It’s essential 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 wish to unscrew the hinges to verify for sand infiltration as sand may have change into 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 completely potential that the hinges are unprotected. If that’s true, then I’d think about 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 idea, it’s an easy design – you pull the tab out and might then alter the leg angle, with the tab clicking into place at certainly one of a number of locking factors, together with practically horizontal. Nonetheless, 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 tug the tabs out and maintain them whereas additionally pushing the leg out, which was extra awkward and extra bother than it needs to 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 have been already going to get the LS-284C and suppose you’ll ever wish to shoot in sandy or moist circumstances, I feel it’s price the additional $50. The tripod is sort of stiff, impressively light-weight, and the sealed leg locks make it potential to make use of in sandy and moist environments and not using 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 will likely be a really apparent and tangible enchancment for those who’re weary from having to consistently take aside your tripod to wash it out. And cleansing was very fast and simple.
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 might doubtless take longer to seem and would critically intrude with the tripod’s correct functioning if it did seem. Using titanium is an efficient option to preserve weight down and enhance corrosion resistance, so I think the danger of corrosion (on the legs no less than) is low. Nonetheless, the one components that Leofoto particularly calls out as being titanium are the tube plugs, foot spikes, and threads for the rubber ft. 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 think about earlier than shopping for. First, the carabiner ballast is a really poor design alternative, 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 absolutely secured – it could 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 crush 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 undergo from an actual lack of high quality management, with 2/3 of them not in a position to perform as meant and requiring me to tug after which maintain every as a way to alter 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 needs to be taken to attenuate publicity to those components as they will trigger substantial put on and tear, shortening the lifespan of the tripod or requiring extra frequent deep cleans and upkeep.
One last 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 information accessible on-line about learn how to acquire guarantee service and only a few studies of consumers receiving guarantee service. Leofoto can also be primarily based in China, which signifies that for those who do want service, you’ll presumably have to ship the tripod there, which might not be low cost or fast for these of us not primarily based in China. It’s potential Leofoto would cowl the complete value of transport, however no less than from what I can inform, it’s a big gamble as as to if there may be any substance behind their 10-year guarantee declare.
For those who’re cautious to care for this tripod and are fortunate sufficient to get one which doesn’t undergo from the standard management points that mine did, this tripod might be a superb 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 drawback with them) produced from high-quality sturdy plastic or corrosion-resistant stainless-steel for below $400, that might be very a lot price contemplating, for my part.
In regards to the writer: Dan Mitler is an out of doors photographer and hiker. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. You could find extra of Mitler’s work on his web site and Instagram. This text was additionally printed right here.