Best carbon fibre tripod: 02 Giottos Silk Road YTL8354 + MH1311-652 head
Price: £315 (tripod £240, head £75)
Buy it: www.giottos-tripods.co.uk
Traditionally, tripods have been made more travel-friendly by making them fold down to ever-shorter lengths.
But the Silk Road has an ingenious space-saving design that replaces the tubular central column with a ‘Y’ shape that the tripod legs tuck neatly into, which Giottos says reduces bulk by 30%, compared to similar-sized tripods.
It has four leg sections, secured by clip locks, and extends from 54cm to 171m, with the centre column extended (and 138cm without it extended).
The lower legs have graduated markings, to ease setting up on uneven ground. The central column can be pivoted for shooting at awkward angles, or inverted if you need to shoot really low.
We matched it with the MH1311-652 ball head, which has a separate panning rotation feature, plus a friction lock to adjust the head to the weight of the camera, as well as the main locking control to loosen the head for composing shots, and no less than three spirit levels to help line up horizons precisely.
We were really impressed with the way the legs fold into the recesses of the column, making it very slim when packed up.
This doesn’t make it particularly short, but would save space squeezing into a carry-on bag.
We liked the way the centre column can flip out to form a boom – which would be great for macro shots.
The 5kg maximum load is quite low, but would be fine for my 600D and mid-range zoom.
The ball head is a nice compact design, but we found it a bit confusing when to use the friction control and main locking control.”
Pros: Innovative space-saving centre column; pivoting boom; weighs just 1.38kg; 171cm tall
Cons: Maximum load only 5kg; not particularly short when stowed at 54cm
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PAGE 2 – Best carbon fibre tripod: 02 Giottos Silk Road YTL8354
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