In this Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod review, I offer a hands-on look at one of the best new travel tripods on the market today.
If you’re a beginner in need of a first lightweight tripod or you’re a more serious travel photographer in need of a sturdy-but-lightweight option, it could be a great pick. Read on to find out how this innovative and well-made tripod measures up.
The Lightweight Travel Tripod: Overview
As a travel photographer who often does long and short trips at home and abroad, I am always looking for the perfect travel tripod companion. While I’ve used – and enjoyed – the Manfrotto GT2542LS with a Manfrotto 405 head for many years, it’s heavy and cumbersome to carry over long distances and for extended periods. Before testing the Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod, I was searching for a much lighter option for my travels. Could it be the solution?
The Lightweight Travel Tripod offers a slew of handy features, including five lockable leg sections, a 52.7 in (134 cm) maximum height (which jumps to 61.4 in/156 cm with the center column raised), and a 7 in (18 cm) minimum height to capture those low-to-the-ground shots. When folded, the tripod is only 16.7 in (42.5 cm), which makes it incredibly easy to transport on day or multi-day trips.
The tripod has a center column load capacity of 39.7 lb (18 kg), and you can increase stability by hanging a backpack from the middle-column hook. The included ball head boasts a weight capacity of 11 lb (5 kg).
And while I go into greater detail below, it’s clear that the Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod performs amazingly well. It’s easy to use, strong and durable, and comes with a host of great specs and features, which makes it an excellent pick for beginners, hobbyists, and even more serious shooters.
The Lightweight Travel Tripod: Detailed breakdown
In this section, I delve into the specifics, including the tripod’s build, performance, and price.
Build and handling
The Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod exudes both quality and professional design. The carbon fiber frame is built to last and ensures you have a strong support system and a great go-to partner for your travel photography needs.
Hold the tripod in your hands, and you can immediately tell that it’s plenty robust; the material is abrasion- and scratch-resistant and includes aluminum parts for extra toughness.
The tripod works great in the field and is a joy to use. The leg intersections feature quick-release clips, which can all be opened simultaneously. They’re smooth to unlock, and when fully locked, they keep the tripod highly secure.
The Lightweight Travel Tripod has some additional useful features. For instance, the legs can be angled outward to 20°, 55°, or 75°; the legs can also all be locked up and released simultaneously for quick setup and teardown.
As I mentioned above, the tripod does have a central column, which extends to give you an extra 9.4 in (24 cm) of height. It’s also reversible, so you can shoot with your camera upside down (which comes in handy when capturing low-angle shots).
Now, because the tripod is so light, there is a compromise on weight capacity. When shooting in landscape orientation, just keep your setup under 39.7 lb (18 kg), and you’ll do just fine. Therefore, you can shoot with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera and a larger lens (e.g., a 24-70mm lens or even a 70-200mm lens).
But when shooting in a vertical position, you’ll want to keep the weight down to 11 lb (5 kg); this corresponds to the ball head’s maximum payload. Also, when shooting vertically, the tripod works best when the center column is at its lowest. Note that the position of the mounting plate can be adjusted on the base of the camera or lens to give maximum stability.
I’m also a fan of the built-in ball head, which provides both stability and flexibility. When your camera is mounted on the head, you can rotate it in any direction and position it at any angle. And the built-in spirit level helps you ensure your camera is straight, which can be a huge advantage for landscape photography, architectural photography, and more.
When your camera is attached to the ball head, it sits on a fixed panoramic plate; this can be rotated 360 degrees for perfect panoramic photos. The head features degree markings (from 0 to 360) for precise shooting, and the rotating head and panoramic dial provide a horizontal calibration device for more stable and precise photos and video.
Accessories and extra features
In addition to the features mentioned above, the Lightweight Travel Tripod boasts an F38-type quick-release plate (and system) that interfaces with the ball head. Simply twist the silver dial to the unlock position, press a button, and it’ll instantly be released.
The Arca-Swiss quick-release plate holder enables quick removal of the plate and attachment of the camera. That way, you can set up in just a few seconds, which comes in handy when working in rapidly changing conditions.
The tripod comes with a smart, practical, and stylish bag, which makes it easy to store and a delight to carry around for the day or on overnight excursions.
You also get metal screw-in feet that are interchangeable with the existing rubber feet. They’re great for shooting on softer ground such as sand, mud, or grass (e.g., when you’re capturing seascapes at the beach or architecture from a lawn).
Also, the tripod can be used for different purposes; it comes with 1/4 screws that can be connected to microphones, and it can even act as a light stand if necessary.
The Lightweight Travel Tripod is currently available for $370 (and the ball head is included). This makes it an extremely cost-effective pick for photographers hoping to record their travels and adventures, especially compared to the alternatives I share below:
Travel Tripod alternatives
Not sure whether the Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod is right for you? Consider these other tripods:
Peak Design Travel Tripod (carbon fiber)
The Peak Design Travel Tripod is a solid alternative to the reviewed Ulanzi & COMAN product. It packs down to the diameter of a water bottle without compromising on height, stability, or features. It looks similar to the Ulanzi tripod, is fast to set up, and offers built-in mobile compatibility.
The biggest disadvantage is that, despite its comparable features and looks, it’ll set you back around $650 (versus just $370 for the Ulanzi & COMAN unit).
Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Traveler Tripod
As the name suggests, the Gitzo Series 1 Traveler is designed for travel photographers. It’s compact, foldable, and light, plus a short column is included for ground-level shots. The tripod boasts four leg sections and a sturdy carbon-fiber build.
Unfortunately, the price is extremely high (you’ll pay over $500 to purchase the tripod without a head), so it’s really only a viable option for more serious shooters. Also, it doesn’t have a hook to hang weights for extra stabilization, while the Ulanzi & COMAN does.
Who Should Buy the Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod?
I would highly recommend the Lightweight Travel Tripod to photography enthusiasts and beginners looking for their first lightweight tripod. It’s very reasonably priced, is easy to use, and compacts down to a small size.
It’s also a great option for more serious travel photographers in need of a sturdy-but-lightweight option to take on daily photography outings and adventures.
You can learn more about the Ulanzi & COMAN Lightweight Travel Tripod here.