Earlier this year I stumbled across a bargain offer of a compact travel tripod, the Rollei C50i, including ball head.
My oldest tripod is a Gitzo that I owned for at least 25 years. It is sturdy and heavy and it does not see much use anymore outside the studio, because of it’s weight and size. Sometimes within the last 10 years I purchased a Induro A214 tripod, just slightly more compact and still heavy.
About 2012 I entered into the league of carbon tripods and got a lighter Manfrotto 190CX Pro3. The weight difference was substantial compared to the earlier models and I dragged this one to Southeast Asia and to South America twice. The ball head I used on the Induro tripod got transferred to the Manfrotto and served me well there too. It’s an Acratech Ultimate QR bullhead and weights in at less than a pound wile holding 25 lbs. I am quite happy with the open-lightweight design of this model. It has served me well over the years.
The only thing wrong with the Manfrotto is it’s pack-size. It uses the full length of most suitcases and or duffle bag and for transport I always needed to detach the head to shorten the overall length.
So here I am in the store looking at this Rollei C50i, feeling it’s weight, not exactly light for it’s compact measurements (43 cm folded up), but it also includes a skinny ball head that gets folded inside within the reversed legs. But it’s so compact and it was on sale. Well I put money down and left the store with a shopping bag…
It turned out to be a good buy. One of the legs can be detached and used with the top extension as a monopod. The longer section of the top extension can be detached and now the tripod sets up legs spread wide pretty low to the ground. There are 2 Arca style plates included as well as a massive hook the can be threaded onto the recessed 3/4” stud on the base of the center extension to add a weight or ones camera bag for weight to stabilize the tripod for example in a stiff breeze. The twist looks have well defined ribs that allow all tree leg sections to be loosened at once for set up. Even the tripod head, skinny thing it is, works remarkably well, at least to support my Fuji XT-1 with prime lenses or a short zoom.
I know already that this 1.7kg package (including ball head) will serve me well on my next trip abroad. I am impressed how user friendly it is to set up and it’s relatively sturdy.
I have a Gorilla Pod as a super light weight option, but many times it takes a bit more hight, so this is perfect alternative.