SunwayFOTO TT2340CE Tripod

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When I was offered a travel tripod by SunwayFOTO, I wasn’t expecting more than another clone Chinesium tripod that would likely last long before some screw stripped itself. What I got was a feather light carbon fiber tripod that impressed me.

This tripod comes in a black velvet pouch containing the folded and collapsed tripod and a plastic pouch containing four Allen wrenches (to tighten screw joints which work their way loose over time) and a cleaning cloth. While the velvet was probably meant to make it feel high end and protect the parts, it does make for a dust magnet.

The tripod weighed in at 1.67 oz on my scale and that includes the metal ballhead! The overall length when collapsed was barely 14″. Technically I’ve used lighter tripods but these were mini-tripods or accessory tripods; not real photo tripods that you could mount a full sized DSLR and telephoto lens with any confidence or stability, and certainly not at eye level. Fully extended, the tripod stands at 52″ in height, perfectly standard.

The ball head has a slight divot cut in the ARCA QR mount to make room for the tripod foot to rest in it, making the tripod just few millimeters smaller. Levers were used instead of twist heads for added torque on locking joints. These little design details make the SunwayFOTO stand out as a cut above typical tripods. As does it’s price, which is a around $220 as of this writing, so not as expensive as some higher-end carbon fiber tripods; it’s certainly not cheap.

The leg segments lock and unlock with a 180ΒΊ twist at the feet. They utilize an internalized locking mechanism without individual locking rings at the segments, so extra care needs to be made if you attempt to retract an individual leg or segment, as twisting the outermost segment can transfer torque and unlock the previous segment. This makes adjustments on uneven surfaces tedious but this also makes deployment on normal level surfaces extremely fast.

I was able to unfold and depoly the tripod in under 19 seconds pretty much the first time without rushing it. And the leg extension and locking can be done essentially one handed. This makes this tripod ideal for guerrilla-style shooting where you have to get into position fast, get your footage an go.

The light weight, fast deployment, and compact size make this an ideal travel tripod or live event vlogging tripod. This will surely be my go-to tripod for my range videos and I’ll be sure to give those leg locks a thorough durability test in the near future.

This is available on Sunwayfoto’s website. Use this link and get 5% off using code: MOONDOG

Athlon Midas CF32 Tripod

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Athlon sent me their Midas CF32 Shooting Tripod. This is a telescoping carbon fiber leg tripod with a heavy duty ball head. The ball head features Friction Control, Fluid Pan Control, Ball Lock, and ARCA/Swiss compatibility (the popular photography mounting system).

The box includes the tripod, accessory hammock, shoulder pad, sling, padded case, and optional spiked feet. Overall weight was around 8lbs, while heavier than travel tripods, the extra weight comes from the heavy-duty vibration dampening legs and 32mm ball head which is able to withstand recoil from large caliber rifles and support over 175lbs. Fully extended the legs raise the ball-head to over 65″ tall.

At the range, I mounted my 20″ Aero Precision AR15 DMR to the tripod. The found the friction control knob allowed me to precisely adjust my rifle and cinch down the main locking knob confidently on target. There was just enough flex to make fine adjustments in aim. The tripod kept me pointing on target for quick and precise follow-up shots. This was such a pleasure to use compared to the BOG Great Divide tripod head I tested last year which could not keep my rifle level after the first shot.

Athlon makes this tripod with a 40mm, 36mm, and a 29mm ball head. The larger size ball heads can handle larger and heavier rifles. Overall, I found this tripod to be robust, rugged, and capable for back country hunting as well as competition target shooting.

Available at Optics Planet

Phopik 80″ vs. Joilcan 77″ Tripod Review

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These two tripods are highly rated and competitively priced on Amazon. The Joilcan claims it can extend slightly longer and is rated to hold 6.4 more lbs. but is about $20 more expensive than the Phopik. As it turns out both tripods are actually 77” in max height. The Joilcan comes with a 3-inch extension tube that has to screwed on to achieve the claimed 80” length. The Phopik is slightly lighter and faster to deploy and stow. Both appear to be well made and a good value in a light to medium-weight tripod for most photo and vlogging use. 

Phopik 77-inch tripod

  • $68 on Amazon
  • Max height 77”
  • Max capacity 17.6 lbs
  • Weight 3.37 lbs.

Jolican 80-inch tripod

  • $85 on Amazon
  • Max height 77.5″ (80″ with extension tube)
  • Max Capacity 24 lbs
  • Weight 3.67lbs