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3Pod Orbit 4-Section Aluminum Photo/Video Monopod with Fluid Base and Tilt Head with Quick Release (Review)

April 19, 2016 Comments off

3Pod Monopod with Tilt Head BundleAdorama3Pod Monopod (3PVM4A)
3Pod T1 Tilt Head with Quick Release (3PSHT1)
3Pod Monopod with Tilt Head Bundle
Adorama
$59.95 Monopod only
$32.00 Tilt Head with Quick Release
$79.95 with Tilt Head with Quick Release Bundle ($12.00 savings)

If you’ve searched high low for a monopod that you can use in just about any situation, stop looking, this is it. The 3PVM4A Monopod by 3Pod, sold by Adorama is one fine piece of photographic machinery. And for under, a lot under, $100, it’s the best I’ve seen. At a whopping 65.5 inches high (max), it’s comfortable for taller photographers to use, without having to crouch or bend down. I should know; I’m one of those taller photographers. This one also quickly adjusts from two feet high (23.5 inches, to be exact) to any height in between. The fluid base allows you to make smooth panning movements when the feet are down. Without the feet in the down and locked position, you have a standard monopod featuring three fast open/close flip locks for quick and easy height adjustments.


Joseph Butler and I review the 3Pod Monopod with Tilt Head.

3Pod Monopod BaseThe best feature of all. Wait for it. Look at the picture and see if you can figure it out. That’s right! It can stand on its own. At the very bottom of the monopod, you can fold down three locking legs to steady the monopod while you walk away to get yourself on camera, have an interview, or just to check focus. Sure, you can use it like a standard monopod, but those three little legs make this the bringer of the best of both worlds. Frankly, since receiving this, I haven’t used a traditional tripod again. Which in part is some of my excuse for the delay in posting this review.

I suggest purchasing the bundle. You save $12.00 by buying the Tilt Head with Quick Release, so why not make a frugal choice? For $79.95, you get the Monopod, the 3PSHT1, bag, and adjusting wrench. Even if you decide to buy another monopod head, this one will serve you well.

If you’re worried about camera weight on the monopod, let me put your fears to rest. It has held a Canon 60D with 18-135 zoom lens and a shotgun microphone without any issues.

What I really love about this setup is that it’s built for the run-n-gun photo/videographer who also might need to jump in front of the camera to narrate or to introduce a guest. You can walk away with confidence that you’re not going to end up with a smashed camera in the process. For photographers and videographers on the move, the monopod has a large padded handle that’s easy on your hands, plus it’s non-slip feature keeps your equipment safe while you’re running for the shot. The three quick-release height adjustments allow you to keep moving while you adjust the height of the monopod too. And if you don’t want to run with the monopod feet in the down position, they have “step-on” releases so that you can pick up and run without hesitation.

Tilt Head w/ Quick ReleaseThe Tilt Head with Quick Release is a ‘must have’ item because you can remove your camera from the monopod without disturbing the monopod’s position with just a snap of the silver lever you see at the right of the quick release mount. You can also come back and place your camera on the monopod without twisting, turning, or fussing with a ‘pod screw mount. Just place your camera back onto the monopod and turn the lever to secure the quick release mount and start your scene. It is literally a one-two movement and you’re back in business. Plus the Tilt Head stays gravity-centered for vertical shots.

I love the 3Pod monopod. It is the perfect ‘pod for me. It’s not bulky and cumbersome like a tripod, nor is it awkward and always in hand like a traditional monopod. It’s also not a pain to setup and adjust like most tripods are. To me, it’s the best of both worlds. It is the monopod that I wish I’d invented, but for $80, who needs the headache of prototyping, crowdfunding, begging for supporters, and wasting a bunch of energy when 3Pod has created the perfect ‘pod.

Technical Specifications:

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Max Height: 65.5 inches
  • Collapsed Height: 23.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 lb
  • Max load: 18 lb
  • MountingReversible: 3/8 and 1/4-20
  • Leg Lock Type: Flip lock
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Tilt Head Tripod mount: 3/8
  • Tilt Head Camera mount: Standard ¼-20
  • Tilt Head Movement: 180° tilt on a single axis
  • Tilt Head Weight: 9.4 oz
  • Tilt Head Max Load: 11 lb

Why it’s Frugal: If it isn’t already obvious, the 3Pod monopod-tilt head with quick release is extremely frugal. First, you can buy the pair and save $12.00 (frugal). Second, you don’t have to carry a tripod and a monopod everywhere you go and fumble around with them–you have a monopod that can stand alone (frugal). And third, you don’t have to have another person with you to handle the camera while you go stand in front for an introduction, an interview, or a focus (frugal). It’s the best $80 you’ll ever spend on photography equipment.

As you can see in the video, Joseph and I both love the monopod. We fight over it and it’s hard to pry it from our grubby hands once one of us has it in possession. Seriously, it’s that good. For serious photographers and videographers at any level, this monopod beats any that I’ve ever used or seen. And yes, I’ve used the one that you’ve heard of (Sounds like a character from Lord of the Rings) and this one beats it many times over. The build quality is excellent. The quick release latches are easy to use and quick to adjust. No slips, no tips, and no lost cameras.

Rating: 9.5/10

Recommendation: Buy the bundle, save a small bundle, and enjoy your new favorite and essential accessory.

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3Pod Announces Brand New Photo and Video Tripods, Monopods, Ballheads and Video Heads for the Working Shooter

December 2, 2015 Comments off

3PodNew York, NY – December 2, 2015 3Pod, the award-winning brand of photography and video tripods, has just announced brand new 3Pod tripods, monopods, ballheads and video heads for the working photo and video professional, available for preorder now at Adorama.com. Headlining the collection of new gear is the line of Orbit tripods featuring the Orbit Overhead Shot System, which enable overhead and low angle shots, courtesy of a center column that can be tilted or oriented horizontally if desired. All new 3Pod models are made of lightweight, durable materials for a balance of portability and solid function on the job. Combining the incredible value, most-wanted features, weight, functionality and quality that 3Pod gear is known for, the brand’s latest offerings are perfect for dependable, everyday use.

“The new tripods and heads from 3Pod are absolute necessities for the every day photo or video shooter – these are your bread and butter working tools,” comments Abe Eherenfeld, global sourcing manager at Adorama. “The Orbit Overhead Shot System allows for a variety of shots you just can’t get from a typical tripod. The tripod heads are super functional and meet the needs of portrait and product photographers who don’t want plain ballheads. And the video heads can be mounted to any monopod, tripod or rail. The price points on these products combined with the functionality, usability and quality they offer really can’t be beat.”

Now available exclusively at Adorama, new products from 3Pod include:

Orbit Overhead Shot System Tripods: Designed for photo and video use, the newest collection of tripods from 3Pod include the Orbit 3-Section Tripod and the Orbit 4-Section Tripod, both available in either carbon fiber or aluminum. The Orbit Overhead Shot System tripods feature a center column that can be easily titled or oriented horizontally for overhead or low angle shooting, perfect for product or food photography. These photo and video tripods feature a super lightweight and sturdy design, quick adjustment flip locks, padded grip, 3-leg spread angle settings, retractable foot spikes and a bubble level on the top plate.

MonopodFour-Section Monopod with Fluid Base: This lightweight and sturdy monopod from 3Pod is available in either aluminum or carbon fiber. Perfect for photo and video use, it features four fully adjustable sections for maximum height in a minimum package, a cushioned grip, and flip lock legs for a more stable shooting experience. Its pivoting fluid base with tripod foot allows for balanced and smooth swiveling and panning, great for adding dynamic motion to a shot.

Table Top Tripod with Ballhead: The perfect solution for positioning lightweight cameras, lights and accessories (up to 4 lbs.), the 3Pod Table Top Tripod is ideal for small point and shoot photo and video cameras, action camera users, and lighting technicians. Mount a camcorder, compact camera, GoPro, strobe or small LED light panel with exact control. Available in 14” or 16.5” models with the ability to adjust the height, this table top tripod has heavy duty load bearing legs, and can be collapsed down for convenient storage and transport.

Three-Way Head with Quick Release: The 3-Way Head for tripods offers independent camera control on three different planes, making it ideal for exacting photographers shooting product, landscape, architecture and commercial work.

M1 Mini Ballhead: Designed to add comfortable adjustment to any mount, the M1 Mini Ballheadis a favorite of action camera users and lighting technicians and is perfect for precise positioning of GoPro cameras, strobes or small LED light panels. Offering ballhead freedom with 360-degree rotation, the 3Pod Mini Ballhead is a great option for capturing unique shots.

Pistol Grip Ballhead: The Pistol Grip Ballhead is ideal for professional photographers seeking simple griphead adjustment when shooting portrait, landscape, still life and products. Enabling a precisely composed image, even with a heavy camera and lens combo, the 3Pod Pistol Grip Ballhead allows for easy and secure one-handed adjustments, leaving the other hand free to zoom, focus, balance the camera and make any other necessary adjustments.

T1 Tilthead with Quick Release: With 3Pod’s industry standard quick release system, the T1 Tilthead with quick release allows users to adjust the camera 180 degrees on a single axis, making it perfect when photographing with a monopod to orient for vertical shots or for video tilt to pan up and down.

Video HeadQ3 Fluid Video Head: A dynamic videography head designed for cinematography setups such as cinema camcorders, video rigs, DSLRs and ILCs, the 3Pod Fluid Video Head can support a maximum load of 15 lbs. This head features separate pan and tilt fluid friction controls, a bubble level on the base for perfect pans, a sliding quick release plate (with safety lock) for balancing a rig, an angle adjustable ambidextrous handle for stable control, and a comfortable padded grip. Separate tilt friction and lock controls allow this head to revert to the exact same tilt tension after unlocking.

Q2 Lightweight Fluid Video Head: This videography head is designed for lightweight setups such as camcorders, DSLRs and ILCs. The 3Pod Lightweight Fluid Video Head can support up to 11 pounds and is the perfect choice for cinematographers using monopods or tripods.

All 3Pod ballheads use industry standard quick release systems for interchangeability between support devices, as well as other features demanded by the everyday working photographer.

ADORAMA: More Than a Camera Store
Adorama is more than a camera store – it’s one of the world’s largest photography, video, audio and computer retailers. Serving customers for more than 35 years, Adorama has grown from its flagship NYC store to include the leading online destination for imaging and consumer electronics. Adorama’s vast product offerings encompass home entertainment, mobile computing, and professional video and audio, while its services include an in-house photo lab, AdoramaPix; resources and gear for photographers, filmmakers, production studios, broadcasting and post houses, and recording artists through Adorama Pro; pro equipment rental at Adorama Rental Company; and the award-winning Adorama Learning Center, which offers free creative education in online channels such as the popular Adorama TV.

Adorama is listed as one of the top five electronics retailers by Consumer Reports, “Best of the Web” by Forbes.com, Internet Retailers Top 100, and is the official Electronics Retailer of the NY Giants.

About 3Pod
3Pod offers a complete collection of tripods for photography and video production, including the best values in carbon fiber and aluminum construction support. With specialty tripods for cinematography and travel – including the one-of-a-kind Lay Flat tripod – along with tripod heads and accessories, the unique designs from 3Pod fit every requirement and budget.

With a coveted Award of Superiority from Microfilmmaker in 2015 for the V2AH video tripod, 3Pod tripods are quickly gaining recognition as a high quality but affordable support solution for imagemakers. Available exclusively at Adorama, visit the brand store online to find all 3Pod products: http://www.adorama.com/brands/3pod.

3Pod V3AH Video Tripod (Review)

October 2, 2014 Comments off

3Pod V3AH Video Tripod from Adorama3Pod V3AH Video Tripod
Adorama Camera, Inc.
$99.95 (Free shipping)

In photography, there’s nothing quite like stability. And if you’re using a tripod, you need stability because even the slightest movements during an exposure can have disastrous results. These days that’s not as expensive as it used to be because of our digital cameras and instant picture view, but film aficionados understand what I’m talking about. Often, you couldn’t tell that your trusty tripod had failed you until you developed your film, enlarged the negatives onto print paper, and discovered that indeed there was movement from a breeze, an overzealous shutter snap, or a slight bump as you released the tilt bar. But for the sake of stability, many a photographer lugged a 50-pound tripod around the countryside to grab that perfect image.

Videographers have the same problem. Camera shake makes people dizzy or uneasy when watching a film. You don’t want to purposely induce vertigo in your audience, so you resort to a tripod for stability. Hopefully one you can lift, move, balance, and position many, many times over the course of a long day’s shoot.

The 3Pod V3AH is such a tripod. It has almost every feature of a tripod costing hundreds of dollars. For the videographer on a budget, the guerrilla videographer, the YouTuber, or the professional who needs to travel light, the V3AH might be your perfect choice. At a nickel under $100, it’s really easy on your wallet.

Included in the box:

  • V3AH Video Tripod
  • Fluid Panhead with Sliding Quick-release plate
  • Padded Carrying Case
  • Manual

From the Adorama V3AH page:

The V3AH is the 3Pod video tripod of brute strength and stability with an impressive supported payload of 14.5lbs. The 3-tiered extendable leg system lets the V3AH reach heights of 61″, and features sturdy rubber feet, large, easy to grasp locking knobs, and a torsion resistant aluminum center brace for added strength.

The professional 2-Way fluid metal panhead attaches to the body with a half-bowladaptor mounting system. It is manipulated by a fully adjustable textured handle, and provides a 360 degree range of silent, jitter-free motion with state-of-the-art dampening, counterbalance and drag functions, a built-in bubblelevel, and individual directional locking. An included sliding quick-release plate detaches from the panhead with a safe-spring release pin.

There’s nothing that I can tell you about this tripod that you can’t read for yourself. The real proof of how great it is has to be seen.

The V3AH in action.

Why it’s Frugal: For $100, the V3AH is the best of class tripod that I’ve seen. Its list of features, plus 3Pod’s quality craftsmanship, and its three-year warranty just can’t be beat. Adorama is the photographer’s standard for amateurs to professionals and they’re products are designed with the working photographer in mind.

The V3AH comes in a sturdy, black nylon case with reinforced stitching on stress prone areas, such as the handles and zippers. The case is tough and solid without adding a lot of extra weight to the tripod. Who needs to lug around extra pounds on any shoot? I want my gear protected, but not at the cost of needing to rent a pack mule for the hike.

Rating: 9/10

Recommendation: If you can buy or only want one tripod and don’t want to spend more than $100, this should be it.

Discovering the 3Pod Flashpoint Flat-Folding P5CFH Tripod (Review)

January 27, 2014 Comments off

tripod_extended3Pod Flashpoint Flat-Folding Tripod (P5CFH)
Formal Name: 3Pod P5CFH 8X Carbon Fiber 5 Section FlatFold Tripod with K2 BallHead
Adorama
$149.95*
*This price is currently $199.95 with $50.00 instant rebate savings and free shipping.

There are a few things that you’ll never hear anyone say. One of those things is, “I have plenty of space, so adding another large, three-dimensional object to my overpacked car is fine with me.” You’ll also never hear a professional or prosumer photographer say that “Another 20 pounds of equipment that’s difficult to carry is no problem at all.” Nope, you’ll never hear those words from anyone. You know what you’ll hear from a photographer about the Flashpoint Flat-Folding Tripod? The word “Wow” will be part of what’s said. As for additional words of exclamation, superlatives, and odd sounds of joy–one can only speculate.

I’m still lugging around an old painfully heavy, bulky, noisy–yes, noisy tripod from the thrilling days of yesteryear–or the 1980s as some people call them. Obviously my old clunker is durable but it weighs a ton and only collapses so far. It’s clumsy to carry. It’s clumsy to work with. It is almost impossible to level. And it generally drives me nuts to use it.

So, you ask, why haven’t I bought something newer and better? Well, to this I can only say, it’s a mixture of laziness and of not wanting to spend $300+ for a bang up tripod that is probably not that much better than my old one is. The only part that might be better is that many higher end tripods have bubble levels on them so that leveling is easier. As for weight, forget about it. I don’t want to trade a bulldozer for a tank.

Tripod flatened for easy carrying or shipping Tripod with Ballhead extendedAdorama, of course, has the answer to my problem. Adorama has just the remedy in its lineup of affordable, lightweight, durable, sturdy, fully adjustable tripods that not only feature built-in bubble levels but they’re also flat when you fold them. Flat, as in two-dimensional. Yes, I know it sounds strange but it’s true. Flat tripods. The flatness aspect goes against everything you know about tripods, doesn’t it?

Well, these beauties fold flat and come with their own carrying cases. The whole thing looks like a soft sided Clarinet case. And it’s about the same weight as a loaded Clarinet case. All cased up, the tripod measures about 15″x7″x2.75″. The case is actually 7″ at one end and approximately 5″ at the other, so it really looks like a Clarinet case and not a tripod at all.

Inside the case, you’ll find the flat-folding tripod base, a K2 hydraulic Ballhead with standard 0.25″ screw mount, a shoulder strap for you shleppers out there, the user’s manual, tools (two hex key wrenches), and a velvet Ballhead cover to protect your bubble level. The case itself is a heavy duty nylon with reinforced double zippers–think expensive luggage style materials here. It also features internal padding and soft material on the inside to prevent damage from accidental drops and random mishaps during packing or traveling.

At its shortest, unextended height, the tripod is a mere 12 inches tall. The Ballhead adds another 14 inches to the height unextended. However, if you need to get down a little closer to the action, you can adjust the tripod legs downward so that the overall height is only 19 inches.

3podThe middle leg of the tripod has this heavy duty padded hand grip on it for easy manipulation and repositioning of the tripod. The Ballhead also has its own carrying strap so that you don’t have to carry the case on location, unless you want to carry it to and unpack at your destination.

carbonfiberlegs

Photographers and their assistants will love the quick setup of this tripod. The legs are quick release, quick tighten and have five height selectors. Fully extended Ballhead and leg angles at their maximum, the tripod stands at just over 56 inches, which means that even at my height (6’2″), a mounted camera is at a very comfortable eye level.

legsYou can position the legs at three different angles and all independent of one another. The same goes for the heights of the extensions. This can provide you with an almost infinite array of possibilities for unusual but stable camera shots. As is suggested by its name, the Ballhead can be used to place your camera at any angle from horizontal to vertical.

The whole assembly is handsome as well as sturdy. The equipment has been tested with camera and accessories at weights up to 20 pounds. That means that your camera, on board flash, umbrella, microphone, lights, or just about anything else you can think of will not be too much for this tripod.

Its strength comes from its carbon fiber construction. In case you don’t know about carbon fiber materials, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia on the topic:

“The properties of carbon fibers, such as high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion, make them very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military, and motorsports, along with other competition sports. However, they are relatively expensive when compared to similar fibers, such as glass fibers or plastic fibers.”

spikesnfeetThe leg releases are easy to use in both directions and the feet are large and padded for added stability. However, if you don’t like the padded feet for use on turf, for example, remove them to reveal spikes. Although you’ll have to use a bit of force, the feet simply pull off, push on–no screwing and unscrewing.
The tripod also features a compass, 360-degree head rotation, two levels, and a removable quick-release plate with universal mounting screw.

This tripod does everything but snap the picture for you. Knowing Adorama, they probably have an accessory for that as well.

I consider this tripod to be for outdoors and for travel. It’s weight and capacity dictate that it will work well under just about any condition or application. Location photographers and filmmakers will like this little tripod. No, it’s not suited for large equipment but you really wouldn’t expect it to be for under $150, now would you?

Carbon fiber is well-suited to more extremes than any of your other equipment so don’t worry about environmental conditions causing you any problems at all.

The only problem I found with this tripod is actually one of its features: weight. I know what I said about weight earlier but the problem is that this tripod is so light that your camera is going to be a bit top heavy, which becomes more obvious when the tripod is fully extended. This won’t be a problem unless conditions are breezy. Then it gets a little “iffy.” It might be fine but I’m just too paranoid to let go, walk away and use a wireless remote in anything but a gentle breeze.

That said, you can adjust the legs to give a wider stance and provide more stability even in fairly high winds. It’s just a word of caution mostly to let you know that this is not a 30 or 40 pound beast that will withstand windy conditions. Additionally, the compass seems not to be great. I’d either leave it off or upgrade it a bit to be really useful.

The 3Pod P5CFH flat-folding tripod is a well-constructed, well thought out, versatile tripod that’s easy to travel with and easy to carry.

Why it’s frugal: If you have a need for multiple tripods in your travels, this one could cut that need down to just one. Frugal doesn’t always mean dollars saved but can also mean space, weight, and pain on those long walks to distance locations.

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommendation: If you need a light duty, durable, versatile tripod, this one is very good. Buy it but stay out of the wind.

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