Aiptek ZAC-STD-5 Tripod
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This is the least expensive and lightest full-size tripod I've ever seen, making it the best tripod I've ever seen.
Sure, for $14.95 it's not as tough as my $500 Gitzo, but so what; my $500 Gitzo is so heavy I never carry it outside of my studio.
At $15, think also what a great lightstand this would make, buying a few for your lighting system.
When the light gets bad and if I need a tripod for a long night exposure of for shooting real photos in many sorts of lighting out in the field, this lightweight tripod in-hand is far better than my $500 Gitzo left back at the car or hotel.
If you want to be spendy, the Dolica AX620B100 is far nicer if you're going to use it more than once or twice, but weighs almost twice as much. The Dolica is all metal, for a lifetime of service, while this $15 special has metal legs, spanners, and screws but otherwise mostly plastic mechanical parts.
Yes, the pan-tilt head is all plastic and isn't what I'd use to hold a Hasselblad or Linhof, but for a point-and-shoot or small DSLR, this tripod is surprisingly sturdy.
It uses a square, plastic quick release plate that seems to go in any of four ways.
Includes case with strap!
Super light weight.
Non-rotating legs and flip locks make set-up and strike fast and easy.
Case included to keep it clean in your trunk or the back of your pickup truck.
Cross-braced and surprisingly sturdy.
Only goes to 4 feet tall so you don't set it too high and become less stable.
Cheezy build quality if you're planning on using it a lot. Even the quick-release plate and receiver are all plastic. (Legs, screws and camera screw are all metal.)
So what; for $15, you couldn't buy the case alone from another maker.
90º rotating top plate for vertical shots.
Case included! enlarge.
17" (43 cm) folded.
49.25" (1.25m) maximum height.
16" (41cm) minimum height.
0.75" (19mm) maximum tube diameter.
20.500 oz. (581.2g), actual measured.
23.010 (652.3g) measured in case.
24 oz. (630g), rated.
4.4 pounds (70 oz. or 2 kg).
Unpadded case with strap.
$14.95, April 2014.
This is a great tripod to keep in your trunk or hidden in a corner of your case so you'll always have it for when you need a tripod.
If you are a regular tripod user, it's too light and won't take much usage; splurge and get the all-metal Dolica AX620B100, whose case is padded!
This tripod only is rated to hold 2 kg (4.4 pounds). If you're the sort of goon who shoots big cameras or lenses, this light tripod won't hold it. I did try it with a Canon EOS 1V, 24-70mm L II and 540EZ flash (5.4 pounds or 2.4 kg) and it held, but I doubt it would hold it if I didn't have it well-balanced on the head.
Hey, for fifteen bucks, this is a far better tripod to keep handy in boat, dorm, or school locker for whenever you might need one. Your big tripod is less than worthless if it isn't with you. Stick one of these in your kid's stroller or backpack so you have it if you need it.
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$5.95 on sale, July 2013