Velbon Ultra REXi L, a travel tripod on a budget.

When I first came back to take photography seriously some years ago, most people I met recommended the Manfrotto tripod with a pan head. Based on the recommendations I bought a 190Pro and a 141RC pan head. It served me well, but overtime I find that although it was a sturdy tripod it was also a strain on my back muscles. So I only use this tripod whenever, I can carry it in the car and use it within walking distance from the car boot.

1. Side by side

I had this chance a couple of weeks ago to trek on the famed Annapurna (Poon Hill) trek with my son, the need for a sturdy travel tripod arise. The best choice, also the choice among PMPE Participants is the Gitzo 1541T a carbon fibre tripod. It is light weight and very sturdy.

However, I believe there should be alternative travel tripods for the budget conscious photographers. After all, travel photography is enjoyed by the masses not necessary serious and well to do amateur photographers.

A friend came up with a solution and lends me the Velbon Ultra Rexi L tripod. A Velbon?. What is that? Soon I was reading up about this manufacturer and discovered that the brand is a Japanese Brand and had been in the business of making tripods for many years. Their early “Sherpa” series were much received. They have decided to design a travel tripod for digital camera users. So this is Ultra REXi is their new series.

2. Height comparison – fully extended

3. Fully retracted

How does it compared with the best travel tripod?

  1. Weight (legs only) ..gitzo – 1.0 kg ; velbon – 1.34kg
  2. Maximum height (fully extended) : gitzo – 138cm ; velbon – 153 cm
  3. Folded height : gitzo – 39 cm ; velbon – 36 cm (without the ballhead)
  4. No of leg sections :- gitzo – 4 sections ; velbon – 5 sections
  5. Weight supporting capacity – gitzo – 4.5 kg ; velbon – 4 kg.
  6. Made ; gitzo – carbon fibre ; velbon – aluminum

Locking mechanism

Gitzo uses a turn locking system. One turn to release all the sections of each leg and turning at each joint to secure it. In practice it is quite fast.

Velbon uses a Patented Velbon “Twist Lock” leg system – a simple quick twist and pull allows you to extend each leg in on movement. Another twist locks the leg. In practice I find that this system is easier to use than the Gitzo system.

Tripod heads

Both leg systems can be used with different tripod heads. So you can use your favourite tripod head with either of this system.

User comments on the Velbon Ultra REXi L

  1. The central column of the Velbon tripod does not have a hook to hook up a camera bag/ weight to sturdy the tripod in heavy wind conditions. I believe this is a design oversight on the part of Velbon
  2. Both tripods are easy to carry in travel and trekking situations. A difference of 170 grams can be easily offset by a heavier ball head.
  3. The Velbon tripod has a higher maximum height and makes it more comfortable for taller photographers.
  4. The folded heights of both tripods with the ballheads are similar.
  5. In use I find both the tripods are very sturdy and Gitzo tripods has the advantage of carrying a higher capacity of 8kg.
  6. Now everyone wants to know what the price for this alternative travel tripod is. All I can say that it is a fraction of the cost of the Gitzo. It is very ideal for travel photographers on a budget. Do check it out for yourself.

4. Pohkara lake

5. Pohkara Lakeside

6. Lodging House on the Annapurna Trek

7.  Breath taking views

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