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 180ยบ 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

VeGue VM30 USB Mic

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VeGue sent me their VM30 USB Condensor Microphone to test and evaluate. It is powered by a USB 3.0 cable which connects via USB-A or USB-C to your device or PC. Connecting via USB eliminates the need for a microphone mixer/pre-amp. While audio engineers and audiophiles will insist that a budget mic with a built-in, analog-to-digital audio converter will probably be sub-standard for master recordings, I doubt the average user or consumer will notice any difference or deficiency; I can not.

The shortcomings of this budget mic are a low sensitivity and dynamic range. One really needs to get very, very close to the microphone to achieve a warm resonance in tone. But the mic often clips when you get too loud but sounds very muted if you get more than a few inches away from it.

It has some nice features such as a 3.5mm headphone monitoring jack, a built-in gain dial, and a mute button (for Zoom meetings this is handy). Its shortcomings are its cheap plastic build, unforgiving dynamic range, and low audio sensitivity. This budget mic retails for about $30 and is a good starter microphone to give a boost in quality to any Zoom meeting or for recording Voice-Overs for Powerpoint Presentations or for beginning vloggers and podcasters.

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