The Best Camera Tripod Purchase I Have Ever Made

I have purchased many camera tripods in my time and they have all broke or developed a malfunction very soon after purchasing the item. Finding a reliable make or model can be hard. Another problem can be cost because if you want one to be more robust, made from either carbon fibre of aluminium. Then money and cost are very much a major factor in purchasing a decent tripod. This is the best camera tripod purchase I have ever made.

Rather than spending more money for a monopod, I wanted a tripod which could be potential to be separated and used as a monopod if the need arose. With large lenses becoming more and more heavy, carrying around your tripod can be sometimes cumbersome. I also wanted the option of being able to detach one of the legs and use it as a monopod. There are not many on the market which have the capability to detach one its legs, was one of my deciding factors for the ZoMei Z818. Buying the Tripod from a local photography store was not an option because they were outside my budget range. I had to look around by surfing the net. I did the find one brand which was not based in the UK, EU or USA, but made in China. I do tend to be wary of such brands but this time, my gut said I could trust this brand. The Tripod is a ZoMei – Z818 model had a  lot of Youtube reviews and I found a lot of satisfied customers. I did look at the negative comments and to be quite honest, the positive to negative comments were at a ratio of 10 to 1. The negative comments were mostly people having issues with the retailer more than the actual tripod itself.

The Best Camera Tripod Purchase I Have Ever Made, Why?

The ZoMei Z818 has five colours to choose from; Orange, Black, Blue, Silver and Gold. From the top left image, the image displays the tripod and one of the legs used as a monopod. When the package arrived, I opened it up like an eager little school boy, only to find one of the connecting screws were missing. I quickly contacted the eBay seller who promptly replied, he said he would order a new connecting screw from China, but it would take a few weeks to arrive. Without this connecting screw, I would not be able to use it a tall monopod. This minor disappointment hasn’t stopped me from using the tripod. This just means I am not able to fully utilise the monopod function as I would like to, or at least not yet anyway.

Dual-use Screw 1/4 & 3/8 Adapter Male Screw For Ball Head Tripod

With your second and spare duel purpose screw, can be used to connect the detachable leg to the main tripod poll. At either end, the poll has  3/8  inch (imperial) thread. Because I am missing the 2nd duel purpose screw, I have to improvise.

When the main pole and detachable leg are combined, the whole monopod stands at 161cm’s tall. With the Ball-Head attached, the monopod will then stand at 172cm’s tall. If I were a little taller, then I guess the monopod will have it’s use standing at 172cm’s tall. On the downside, having just the base plate and ball head attached to the single tripod leg, does mean I have to still crouch to look through my camera’s viewfinder. The prudent thing would be to connect the main tripod pole to the detachable leg, by adjusting the height of the overall monopod. This is achieved by twisting one of the lower segments, thus lowering the overall height of the monopod. The image below demonstrates the leg without the connecting pole with the base plate and dual purpose screw protruding from the base plate.

IMG_0804

Camera Attached to Ballhead

This is my camera mounted on the Ballhead. I also have my shoulder harness connected to the base of the camera and mounting plate. My shoulder harness is connected for added security. I connect the harness as a means of ensuring the camera does not hit the ground and smash into 1000 pieces.

Tripod Leg Adjustments

Ball Head Mount

Another feature I really enjoy for this tripod is the ball-head mount. I love panoramic photographs, however, I can never create one seamlessly. This tripod Ballhead mount allows me to this very easily. The head rotates very slowly depending on how tight the locking pin is secured. This rotating action is very smooth, just like an automatic car changes gear and you can bearly feel it. I am very impressed  how the 360-degree adjustment pin locks the head from turning in any direction. This allows me to take smooth panoramic photographs effortlessly, so it comes to merging my photographs. The time for photoshop or Lightroom to render the images is vastly reduced too.

The Ballhead mount has small grove cut into the Ballhead, this enables the camera to be moved into the portrait position. The Tilting head pin is bulkier and good reason. It has to secure the weight of the entire camera. All the securing pins must not be over tightened, however, finger tight is sufficient to secure the entire tripod making this tripod more enjoyable to use. The Ballhead is purported to be able to support up to 15kgs in weight. This means I would be able to mount a heavy 800mm Nikkor lens and camera without the tripod from falling, collapsing or giving way. That is one test I have not been able to carry out yet, as I don’t have an 800mm lens due to being VERY expensive (£11,000/$16,000just for one lens).

Tripod Legs and Adjustable Locks

Another reason I purchased this tripod was the fact that I could make adjustments to the tripod legs. There are some tripods on the market where the legs will only move and are hindered by a support strut. With ZoMei Z818 tripod, I have more control on how I can deploy each of the legs of the tripod. If I need to lie down in the prone position, I can adjust the tripod to suit my needs. With cheaper models I would not have this option. adjusting the legs to almost Ninety degrees, I can have more stability from the tripod and my camera when I am sat on a stool or folding chair.

Upon each leg of the tripod, there is a locking mechanism which stops the leg from folding back on itself. I exerted a large amount of pressure and there was absolutely no way I could bend the legs past the adjustable lock. To close the tripod so you can safely put in back in carry case, I would have to press the lock and hold while rotating the leg back into it’s 180 degrees packaging position.

Final Remarks

Pros: My overall view for the ZoMei Z818 Tripod is of 100% satisfaction and I am looking forward to many years of enjoyment with this tripod. To say this tripod brand is based in China does not take away from the fact, that the ZoMei Z818 Tripod is a very well manufactured. All of the positive comments I have found, back up how much of a good decision purchasing this tripod was. The prices range from £89 to £139 pounds depending the website (Prices compared on 17th Feb 2016).

Cons: Can’t find any, YET! The missing dual purpose screw was my only issue.

This is one purchase I have been very happy with.

John Milnes

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18 Comments

  1. February 17, 2016 / 9:40 am

    I have never brought a tripod before so have no experience at all. You have such a detailed review of this tripod and it sounds like it is great, I bet this post will be useful for people wanting to buy a tripod of their own.

    • February 19, 2016 / 10:06 pm

      That’s what I wanted to give, a full and comprehensive review so others would know how others could benefit from this tripod.

      John

  2. February 17, 2016 / 9:48 am

    I had no idea camera lenses got so expensive! I love the look of this tripod but i’m not sure whether I would ever use it as I am a point and shoot, hope for the best type of photographer! What do you use a tripod for?

    • February 17, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Oh Yes, Lenses can get VERY expensive indeed. I use mine when I am out at the local park, watching out for wildlife. With big lenses, you need a stable one which can cope with the weight.

      John

  3. February 17, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    This is such a detailed review, really useful. The only tripod I have is a small one for my smartphone for videos (doubt it would support my DSLR) as I’m usually weighed down with slightly too many things already, although I know it would make a big difference at night especially.

    • February 17, 2016 / 7:27 pm

      When it comes to tripods, there are good ones and not so good ones. The one I purchased was one of the decent ones. I felt I could only do it just if I thought about what I would like to know for a tripod review.

      John

  4. February 17, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    What a fantastic tripod I have been looking into getting one myself for my camera too so this looks fab thanks!

    • February 17, 2016 / 7:25 pm

      It is worth looking around for a decent tripod. Spending a little more money than usual gets you a decent tripod.

      John

  5. February 17, 2016 / 8:43 pm

    Excellent detailed review. I do have a tripod but admit I only really use it for projects like stop-motion. I tend to just point and shoot with a camera. One thing I did notice when shopping for a tripod though was that it was hard to see exactly what you were buying and what features it had – so your review with such attention to detail will be really useful to people, I think.

    • February 19, 2016 / 10:03 pm

      I tried to give it a really good once over and comprehensive review. I tried to explain things as if I was the one who was reading it. I also had to think as I had not yet bought the tripod.

      Thanks for commenting.

      John

  6. February 18, 2016 / 9:36 am

    I never realised buying a tripod could be so complicated. I’ve got a gorillapod for my phone/point and shoot (although it seems to have disappeared along with my P&S camera! And a tripod – I just found one on amazon that wasn’t too cheap/expensive, but looked ok with good reviews that’s ok for my csc. It does the job although I’ve not really used it outside. I can’t be bothered to take it out with me

    • February 19, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Gorillapods are very sturdy and great for some many types of camera. I know Pro Photographers use them because they can grip onto the sides mountains and all sorts.

      I go out lots, in good weather with my camera and tripod.

      John

  7. February 18, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    I am just starting to get into photography after starting an evening class and have brought a very cheap tripod. If the passion continues then I may look at something like this although my next purchase is probably a macro lens Although I am long way off of being any good its already turning into an obsession!! I know I shouldn’t say this but I do love the colour of this tripod (very girly thing to say!)

    • February 19, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      We all have to start somewhere. I liked the colour and I felt this was the one for me. This tripod is exactly what I have been looking for, for some time.

      John

  8. February 19, 2016 / 10:52 am

    That is a very intense looking piece of equipment! Doesn’t seem like a bad price at all

    • February 19, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      Sometimes when you find a good piece of equipment, you just need to buy it. The price is very reasonable for the actual tripod. 😉

      John

  9. February 19, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    What a brilliant review – I have a DSLR but no tripod. I really will need to buy one at some point. Thank you for all the info. Kaz

    • February 20, 2016 / 1:37 am

      Thank you. I hope you find a decent tripod which suits your needs.

      John

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