on 15 April 2013
I purchased this tripod and the first couple of times I used it I noticed that the Quick Release was loose as noted in some other reviews. It did however cause problems last week after I carried it for 3 hours on a photo walk and then it was not secure enough to allow me to use it for long exposure twilight photos.
I then scanned the reviews here and could not understand how so many users were happy with this quick release although there are a small number of reviewers with similar concerns to me.
BUT I have a solution. In my case, there is a cross-head screw at the pivot point of the lever that locks the quick release mechanism. I have tightened this screw and there is now no movement when it is locked in place.
I am now happy with the tripod, it now does what I need at a good price.
on 2 May 2011
Let me begin by saying I've never owned a top of the range tripod which costs over £100 so can't directly compare this tripod with those sort of tripods. If I made a living out of photography or was going to be using a tripod day in, day out in rough terrain then I'd probably invest in one of those high-end models.
For me, this tripod has proved to be good value for money. It's a definite step up from the cheap "budget" tripods that are out there. It's well constructed and feels very sturdy. It's quick to set up and the fluid-damped pan head allows for very smooth panning shots. It's taken the weight of my Nikon D90 & flash gun without any problems. I'd say once it's fully extended, the viewfinder on my camera and camcorder is at an approximate height of 6ft. I'm 5ft 9 so it's more than enough for me. It's mainly all constructed from aluminium but the locking clips on the tripod legs are plastic. However unlike some other reviewers, I don't see this as a problem. They're well made, not flimsy and unless you're the sort of person who applies brute force to the simple action of unlocking/locking the clips, I can't see why they should fall apart. It also comes with it's own carrying case, which has an adjustable shoulder strap. The only minor criticism I have of it, is that it seems to have picked up scuff marks mainly on the tripod legs but these are only noticeable if you look at it close up.
I class myself as an amateur who dabbles in photography. So far I've used this tripod for portraits and once for landscapes. I can see mine lasting for years to come, which isn't bad considering the price. I would say it's heavier than the expensive carbon fibre tripods, so it may not be the right one for you if you're going to be carrying it about over extended periods of time.
For anyone else, who's looking for a quality tripod on a budget, which is only going to be used occasionally, I don't think you'll go wrong with this one.
on 25 January 2011
This is one of the best buys I've ever made. I couldn't imagine I was buying a tripod with such a awesome quality considering the price. I already had a cheap tripod and I can say that was metal garbish.
I received the tripod well packaged, in a black box just like the pictures, it has a nice transport bag, but nothing fancy and an allen key.
I'm really impressed with the steadiness even with the legs and central column fully extended. The ball head is very precise, it locks with just a quarter of a turn. The panoramic rotation is very precise to, you can rotate the camera very smooth, ideal for panoramic pictures but is also fine for videos. You can also turn the camera 90 degrees for portraits.
The leg locks are the only thing in plastic, but they have a good strength feel, I assume they will last for years. Everything else is magnesium alloy.
This is an ideal tripod for a small DSLR, I use it with my Fuji S1500 and a Canon EOS 300 (18-55mm).
I recommend it to everyone looking for a first good light tripod.
on 8 February 2011
I ordered this 29th of January 2011. It arrived today, and it was everything I expected; nothing too shabby and the built is quite good. I only have minor experiences over tripods, but already so much that I can tell what I think of this one.
+ the legs are sturdy, which means that they are not going to flip easily. I had to use minor force to set them up correctly. Which is great because you need to have a stable tripod for great shots.
+ the quick release lock is quite good. I attached the quicklock onto my 550D (EOS Rebel T2i), so I can swiftly attach the DSLR on top of the tripod if there will be a need to do that.
+ ball joint feels well built enough for the time being, it is precise and locks easily.
+ size and weight, only 1200 grams
+ value for the money
- legs do bend a little. I didn't try to bend them too much as I fear I would use too much force so it really would snap.
- the stableness isn't the best when the tripod is set up as high as possible (quite obvious thing), so you need either stable hands or have to use a remote controller / selftimer to get a really steady shots
- the leg clips aren't as good as I imagined. They are not as sturdy as one might want, but they lock up easily and tight.
I didn't have the time to really use the tripod in many situations YET. I will inform you guys after a months use or so, and update this review. For the time being, I couldn't be happier for my purchase. It is small in size, low in weight, cheap for what you get and great looking. I would definitely recommend this product for someone who's thinking of buying a good, cheap and light tripod. It's not the best you can get, but great value and might be the best tripod for new photographer.
New addition to review:
After 5 days of use I've made up my mind. This is the best tripod for that sum of money. I tested 6 different cheap tripods between the days, and every single one of those other tripods were flimsy, bendy, not anywhere near to be called sturdy or stable, and just plain weak. This tripod has great structure, it's legs are stable, it does not fall if some you're outside and the wind blows a bit harder (those other tripods I tested would...). The tripods I tested were cheapos, and some of them cost even more than this one (on a Finnish photographing store)! So this is definitely one of the best buys you can get. Full five stars.
Update (12th Feb 2014): 3 years has passed, and I'm thinking about reducing one star. One of the tilt mechanism switches (which allows the legs to tilt more) came apart a few years ago. So that's one thing (Amazon offered a new one but there was confusion with delivery so I thought that I could live with the broken switch). I repaired the switch a while ago, with hot glue. The glue stuck the spring mechanism so it's a bit jammed now, but it moves and locks as the other ones do. So nothing critical there. But I have to admit that this thing wobbles a bit, and you can see it if you have longer shutter times. On "fast paced" shooting, where shutter is open less than a second, this ain't nothing bad. But when shooting with longer exposures, and especially outdoors, the tiny bit of flimsiness will invade your pictures. I've tightened the legs, nuts and bolts + locks and secured the camera more, but there will be some moving even then. So, if I would require a tripod that is absolutely non-moving, then I'd look for another tripod that is REALLY sturdy. Still, this is lightweight, OK indoors and in secure conditions (no wind for example).
on 7 May 2011
I took a chance on this tripod, and I have to say I am very happy with it.
It is very fast to use and is really rigid without being springy.
The ball joint is very large and locks easily with no signs of slip (Pentax K20D with 300mm (35mm) lens).
The flick locks are nicely aligned so that they can be locked in place by running your hand around each section. Two position leg angle is good with the widest setting making a stable platform with just one section extended (perfect for macro work close the ground).
on 16 December 2013
My main tripod is an aluminium Manfrotto 190XPROB - Tripod - with Manfrotto 496RC2 Compact Ball Head, which weighs in at around 2 and a bit kilos, and isn't that compact when folded up. I needed a compact tripod that weighed less, for a trip to the Caribbean.
A quick visit to my local camera shop and I decided upon the Hahnel Triad C4. It weighs half as much as my Manfrotto, feels "secure enough" when fully extended, and had some nice features that add to its versatility. Below is a breakdown of the features, how good they are, and the downsides to the tripod, which sadly there are. It is true that you get what you pay for, with this tripod not being "cheap" but certainly not being as solidly built as more expensive 'pods.
Weighing at just over a kilo, it's noticeably lighter than my slightly more expensive Manfrotto. I'd seriously consider taking this over the Manfrotto on longer walking trips. There are lighter tripods out there, but they compromise either in size and/or stability (Or cost significantly more!).
One very neat feature of the tripod is that when closed up, you can invert the legs around the central column, making the tripod very compact in size. In comparison to the Manfotto, it is half as long when closed. When fully extended however, it is only a little shorter in height.
The legs are extended by twisting the rubber parts on each section. It doesn't take much of a twist to loosen or tighten the legs.
The legs each have a clip at the top that is meant to allow you to adjust the angle of each leg independently. In reality there are only a few positions to choose, and I have found that the more "shallow" angles don't really work...as the clips pop out of the lock position, causing the camera to slowly sink to the ground. They're also a little fiddly as they aren't spring loaded, so you have to pull each clip out, adjust the leg, and then push the clips back in to place.
I found the tripod to be slightly less stable that the Manfrotto. However for all but very heavy lenses, and extreme conditions, I think it's fine. If you have heavy and expensive equipment, you might have the budget for a most expensive but robust tripod.
QUICK RELEASE BALL HEAD
I found this part of the tripod the least impressive. Sure it features a quick release plate, but I found the method of attaching the plate (slide into the head and then twist a rubber knob to secure) a lot more fiddly than the plates used by Manfrotto. The ball head offers good movement, but I had some issue with the friction knob, in that the rubber grip on it moved as I was trying to tighten it. Probably solvable with some glue, but something to be aware of.
The main let-down on the tripod are the "rubber" parts. They don't seem to have been attached to the metal very well. Examples would be the rubber feet popping off of the end of the tripod when trying to extend a leg, and the twist-knob rubber sliding around the knobs when attempting to tighten them. One other bad point about the legs is that if you're a little overzealous when extending them, it's quite easy to pull the leg sections right out of the tube. It's easy to fix in the field, but not great!
It's worth noting I think these points can be permanently fixed. A decent epoxy glue or putty could be used to bond the rubber feet and knob pieces. The leg sections are held into the tube sections by small pieces of plastic that slot into a small hole in the end of each section, when you pull a tube too far, this plastic hits the inside of the screw thread and prevents it being pulled out. Sometimes this plastic becomes dislodged, and you can pull the tube all the way out. Again, some epoxy could be used to easily secure the plastic in place, making the leg sections much more difficult to pull completely out.
Despite some weak points (rubber parts being a bit loose, ability to pull the legs completely off(all fixable with glue etc)), I do actually quite like this tripod. It's very compact and light, and offers a good amount of stability. Price wise I've not come across much that is cheaper that offers the features that this tripod does, without being much poorer quality. I'd honestly expect to pay maybe 50-75% extra to get a tripod that offers the same features but without the (fixable) issues.
Also note that the tripod comes with a nice small canvas carry bag, which helps for transporting it around.
on 1 February 2011
When I initially received the tripod I was a bit bemused - its quite a lot smaller than I imagined. At first I was worried that the slim legs would be easily bendable and flimsy. The truth is quite the opposite - the metal (aluminium magnesium alloy) is very dense and strong, making the whole thing a good bit heavier than you'd think. This is only good though - its a compact, portable tripod, but is strong and very sturdy. The entire thing just screams quality. I've seen tripods worth twice as much that are flimsier and less sturdy than this little beauty.
The ball head action is smooth and precise and making small, minute adjustments is a breeze. The horizontal panning is also very smooth and equally as precise.
The "professional" in the title is accurate - any professional would be happy to have a compact tripod thats this quality. All in all, this tripod is amazing value for money. If Hahnel's entire product catalog is as high in quality as this, they'll be getting a lot more of my cash!
on 4 March 2013
Having used various small to medium sized tripods for over 30 years, I sought out a suitable one to take with me on my upcoming visit to Iceland. As it will be nearly daylight for 24-hours each day and wanting to use neutral density filters to create soft water flows etc. a rock-steady tripod, capable of supporting my Nikon D90 DSLR, with battery grip attached, was the ideal. However, I am not the strong and fit young man I was when I first started taking travel pictures around the world, so weight and storage size was important too.
Looking at other, more prestigious manufacturers products, reading reviews and looking at Youtube videos (where would we be now without the Internet) I stumbled on a review that mentioned that the best travel tripod was the Hahnel Triad 30. After more Internet research I ordered the Triad 30, but later changed to the Triad 40, as the legs were 3mm broader and thus stronger. The D90 also takes great video clips and the Triad 40 was advertised to be more suited to pan or create time-lapse images.
Having been to Iceland before, I know that rarely is it able to erect a normal tripod on the uneven ground that is found in that barren land. Therefore, the ability to move each leg independently of another, locking at three different angles, was another must for me. The extra bonus was the ability to shoot at very low levels, practically at on the ground. This last facility led me in a somewhat strange direction to ordering another product, from eBay this time as Amazon are not selling the particular model I liked. That being the 2.5" LCD Live View Wired Remote Control Shutter. This little beauty plugs in to the Video out and the wired remote sockets and will allow me to view in my hand on the LCD screen what I am about to take. Unless I lay flat on the ground, if the camera is at that level, or climb a ladder, if the camera is held above my head on the end of the tripod, I would not otherwise be able to see what was going on. This Gizmo is being sent from Hong Kong, but similar ones are available on Amazon for double the price I have paid.
Ok - back to the Hahnel Triad 40 pro light weight alloy tripod - it arrived today and boy was I surprized with the quality of manufacture and the overall pro feel of it. Hahnel, although now thoughtof as an Irish company, was conceived in Germany and the high level of technical attention to detail has not been lost. I know not where the tripod was made (the label says Co. Cork, Ireland) but the solid feel is that of a high end Mercedes car - built to last and made like a tank.
The ball head, though not with an arm for videocam panning, which would have been nice, is certainly up to professional standard with nice damping and a huge ball mechanism. The quick release is adiquate and solid, though not what I would call quick release. That matters not to me, all I want to know is that my camera is locked securely to the head and won't come off. There is a single circular bubble level, which is pretty useless really, especially if you deploy the legs at different angles, as the head will never be level with the tripod.I don't know about you, but is seems however I try to get the sea straight in camera, the result always needs Photoshop work to get it truly horizontal.
The legs are firm in their mounts, with no play anywhere. As they have screw adjustments, any slack in the system can be tightened up as and when. The blue locking catches do exactly that - they lock the legs wherever you want them to be. Resting heavily on the open tripod fails to create a leg slide, as with many, if not all cheaper and some dearer tripods. Weightwise I would not say it partucularly "Light" - though compared to a studio tripod, I can see what they mean. However, the word "Travel" in the title would convey to a professional a better sense of designer purpose. Unless made from Titanium or carbon fibre, there will always be a spin off with regard to weight ratio against strength. I cannot see how another manufacturer can better what Hahnel have done with this tripod. For a camera set-up as heavy as mine - i.e. 1.6Kg - this is an ideal solution, without having to travel with no clothes! At under £50 it is a snip - look nowehere else, as you will pay double or treble for something that is inferior.
After my trip to Iceland I will update this review so that people can get an idea what is like in the field. Expect that after July 2013
on 24 May 2011
Recieved my Tripod in good timley fashion as always from Amazon. Now to the tripod. I had looked around at tripods twice the price and even though they might be slightly sturdier I think that this tripod for the price is very good. (same price as the Triad 30 Lite). Easy to set up, the legs lock into place very well. No issues with build quality and I liked the fact it has a spirit level at the top of the frame. All in all good value.
on 29 June 2011
I use a tripod very rarely so after reading all the glowing reviews, I bought one of these low-cost Hahnels. A quick-release ball-head was important to me so the Hahnel Triad 30 Lite looked perfect for my infrequent use.
Ok, the tripod is good enough for my needs in most repects apart from one! The hexagonal plastic QR plate fits very loosely in the head. The locking cam simply doesn't lock hard enough onto the plate to keep it firmly in place. The camera doesn't appear to be in any danger of falling out, but it does make me nervous when moving it about. Besides, a tripod that allows the camera to move inbetween shots is useless! I'm puzzled that nobody else has mentioned this.. am I the only one experiencing this problem? :-s
I've emailed Hahnel about the problem. I'll return with the result.
EDIT: I sent Hahnel some photos and a short video showing my problem. They responded very quickly and sent me out a new head and QR plate to try, which both work perfectly! This is fantastic customer service and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. As far as the tripod goes, as a low cost, easily portable ball-head tripod with QR plate, it does its job very well. Thank you Hahnel.