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Heipi Travel Tripod Assessment: An Ultra-Portable Carbon Fiber Tripod

Selecting a tripod can seem to be a riddle with no appropriate reply. The lighter and smaller the tripod, the much less steady it’ll be, seemingly defeating the purpose of even bringing one. I particularly appear to run into this drawback whereas touring, when a cumbersome tripod simply isn’t possible. Travel tripods at all times make some tradeoffs, however one tripod from Heipi caught my eye. It’s referred to as the Heipi journey tripod, and I’ve spent a while testing it not too long ago. Right here’s what I give it some thought.

The Specs

The Heipi journey tripod is an attention-grabbing mixture of a essential tripod, a ball head, and a smaller sub-tripod that shops throughout the confines of the bigger tripod. When stowed, it’s all a seamless bundle. The sub-tripod can both stay in place, or be pulled out to make use of individually. At $399, it’s well-priced for a high-end carbon fiber journey tripod.

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The packed size is 17.5in/44.5cm, with a packed diameter of two.7in/6.9cm. Whole weight is 3lbs or 1.35kg, with the sub tripod accounting for .42lbs or .19kg of the entire. There are 5 leg sections (4 flip-lock clamps). Total, the tripod may be very moveable and compact, though the small dimension makes it really feel a bit dense.

Whereas the legs are carbon fiber, a lot of the tripod is steel, together with the latches, collar, and tripod head. This definitely provides a greater impression of construct high quality in comparison with plastic.

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With the legs absolutely prolonged, the principle tripod can attain 50 inches or 126cm, whereas the sub tripod could be prolonged like a middle column to spice up this to 59 inches or 150cm. It’s a quite intelligent design trick, negating the necessity for a separate heart column.

Most top of the Heipi journey tripod

Curiously, not like some ultra-portable tripods, many issues on this Heipi mannequin really feel like a “common” tripod, from the cylindrical legs, to the tripod head’s design and interface. It’s appropriate with an Arca-Swiss fashion plate and makes use of common tripod screw sizes.

For a journey tripod, the Heipi sits proper in the course of the pack relating to top, weight, and variety of leg sections. What units this tripod aside are a few of the smaller design choices.

The Important Tripod Legs

Whereas the sub-tripod is attention-grabbing, I care extra about the principle tripod legs working effectively. Happily, they do. Whereas this tripod is rated for a 55lbs or 25kg weight capability, that determine (as with all tripods) will not be tremendous related to real-world use. As a substitute, I’d contemplate this tripod to be an excellent possibility for lenses as much as 200mm, on our bodies as much as pro-level mirrorless or DSLRs. And in case you do extra “important” use, like stacking macro photographs or capturing in very windy circumstances, you’ll need to contemplate heavier tripod setups.

One potential space of concern is the selection of flip locks over twist locks. Flip locks are much less ergonomic, slower to arrange and tear down, and appear to carry much less securely than twist-style locks. Whereas I didn’t run into slippage points in my testing, I nonetheless want twist locks for long-term (multi-year) utilization of my tripods.

The tripod legs have detents permitting you to angle them wider in case you want. On my copy of the tripod, transferring into these positions is a bit stiff, and it’s a bit awkward when the sub-tripod is within the stowed place. By comparability, the leg angle locks on my Gitzo are far simpler to function.


The Tripod Head

Heipi features a very top quality tripod head with the bundle. Whereas it’s compact, it nonetheless gives a 50mm diameter ball with help for a 55lbs load. Once more, I don’t pay a lot consideration to weight-rating claims, however this one does really feel well-built and reassuring.

In reality, Heipi’s head is a lot better than a typical journey head; it gives all the things I’d count on of a devoted full-size tripod head. Beginning with the plate to your camera, Heipi helps the trade normal Arca-Swiss fashion mounting plate. They’ve examined compatibility with a spread of main manufacturers, together with Peak Design, Smallrig, Ulanzi, Sirui, and Benro. So, you need to be capable to use your present L-brackets and different Arca-Swiss gear.


Curiously, the plate locking mechanism is a twist-lock system, totally different from the standard flip-locks and screw-locks on most tripod heads. Nonetheless, it feels very safe to me. However I might make sure that to check it with any third-party plate that you just intend to make use of, simply to be protected.

The top that comes with the Heipi journey tripod has an built-in, retractable smartphone bracket. As a nice shock, this bracket is even sufficiently big to comfortably accommodate an iPhone 14 Professional Max in a case. This combo is usually past the vary of many smartphone equipment,  so it’s good to see it match right here, and goes to indicate Heipi’s consideration to element.

On the pinnacle itself, there are a pair of plate retention screws, that are detachable to increase compatibility with different kinds of plates. Additionally current is a small bubble stage, which might help when leveling the tripod for capturing panoramas.

Talking of panoramas, the Heipi head helps 360 diploma panning, with audible and tactile clicks at each 10 levels (these clicks could be muted for video use). A part of the tripod makes it a bit laborious to see the panorama markings on the base of the tripod head, however nonetheless, it’s a stable possibility for capturing tripods.

Lastly, the pinnacle helps dropping your camera into portrait mode by way of a notch on the aspect. That notch is useful when utilizing the built-in telephone mount, or a camera with out an L-bracket.

Portrait Mode copy

One potential downside is that the Heipi tripod isn’t actually meant to make use of different tripod heads. You can mount a distinct tripod head, but when your head has a bigger base diameter, you would want to bodily take away a part of the tripod to make it match. If you have already got a small journey head, this concern wouldn’t apply.

The Sub-Tripod

The sub-tripod pulls double obligation, as each the raised heart column of the principle tripod and as a indifferent tabletop tripod. As a middle column, it boosts the entire top from shorter than chest stage to one thing nearer to higher chest. Elevating the middle column is at all times a transfer of final resort when organising your tripod, because it’s inherently much less steady, and this strategy isn’t any exception. It carried out in addition to a typical heart column, however I’d nonetheless solely use it if needed.

With the sub-tripod eliminated, it’s a really purposeful tabletop or macro tripod. I may see getting away with utilizing this small tripod in lots of areas the place you wouldn’t carry a full-size tripod, like in crowded areas. Given the very light-weight design and shut integration with the principle tripod, I’d be blissful to have this with me on a visit and simply throw it in my bag for the day.


Discipline Testing the Heipi Travel Tripod

In real-world use, the most important factor that stood out to me was how efficient the tripod was at slicing weight, whereas nonetheless working like a non-travel tripod. Some issues aren’t good, like using flip-locks as an alternative of twist-locks, however I didn’t run into main points. My previous experiences with ultra-light journey tripods left me shaking my head at design compromises or only a normal lack of stability.

This tripod isn’t as rock stable as my full-size Gitzo legs, however I’d haven’t any drawback bringing it alongside on a visit. And contemplating that it’s a journey tripod by design, I can’t fault it for that. Relative to different journey tripods I’ve used, it’s clearly within the higher finish of stability.

All through my testing, I used Nikon 14-30mm, 24-70mm, and 70-300mm lenses on my Z6 and Z7. Whereas these aren’t significantly demanding lenses by way of focal size, they’re an excellent match for this tripod’s use case. Lenses like this are precisely what I’d carry if I have been touring gentle. For all three lenses, I had no points with head sagging, shaky photographs, or every other manifestation of tripod instability, even at lengthy exposures.


As for utilizing the tripod head in apply, I used to be a fan of its design and stability as effectively. One factor that did stand out to me was the comparatively excessive drag stress of the tripod head. Some photographers would possibly want this for much less sag underneath heavy hundreds, however I felt it was set too excessive, significantly as there is no such thing as a simple approach to regulate it.


Total, I’m fairly proud of my expertise utilizing Heipi’s journey tripod. Whereas it’s simpler than ever to decide on lighter camera our bodies and lenses that don’t compromise on high quality, tripods have at all times felt restricted by easy physics. Heipi hasn’t damaged the legal guidelines of physics, however I feel they’ve made an excellent set of sensible design choices. The Heipi journey tripod feels well-suited for right now’s journey photographer utilizing a compact DSLR or mirrorless rig.

The Heipi journey tripod is on the market for pre-order from the Heipi website for $399 and is scheduled to ship in June.

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