I firmly believe that, aside from cameras and lenses, the tripod is a crucial accessory for both photography and videography. The first thing that I recommend to anyone that is getting into photography or videography is to always invest in a good tripod. Or two! Due to their nature, there is not a single type of tripod that can satisfy all requirements. On some occasions, you need the sturdiest and tallest tripod you can get, on some other you just need to have the lightest and easiest to operate ones. And we didn’t even get into the tripod heads yet…
One type of tripod that is recently very popular for all the good reasons are the ‘travel tripods’ The most important feature of the travel tripod is that it is supposed to be lightweight and compact in size. Sturdiness and height are not priorities although it would be good to have without a doubt.
Today we have a travel tripod, the Neewer TP30 that satisfies the biggest priority of being lightweight, and then some more. TP30 is a 63” / 160cm long tripod, which is on the higher side of the spectrum for the travel tripod class, but despite this, it only weighs 2.5 lb / 1.13 kg. Thanks to the use of carbon fiber material and clever design, Neewer managed to keep this tripod’s weight very low.
Disclosure: Neewer (https://neewer.com/) contacted me and asked if we are interested in reviewing this tripod and giving my honest opinion, and I gladly accepted. They sent me a review sample, no money exchanged and they didn’t see my review before it was published.
The first impressions
When I first got to hold the TP30 box in my hand, I was pleasantly surprised by its weight. The tripod was well packaged with a very nice carrying bag, more stylish than the ones that comes with average tripod.
The package includes:
- Carrying case
- Short Center column
- Phone Holder
- Panoramic Quick release plate
- 2 L Shaped HEx Keys
Let’s talk about the extra accessories that come with the TP30 first,
Many people these days use their phones for content creation so the inclusion of the Phone holder means that these creators can start shooting immediately with the TP30 without the need of an extra accessory. The phone holder can handle phones with widths between 2-3.5”/ 6.2-9cm. The phone holder also doubles as a handle when attached to one of the ¼” threads on the sides of the tripod, or even triples as a cold shoe that you can connect your microphones or any accessory with a cold shoe mount, a well thought accessory overall!
Panoramic Quick Release Plate
Beside the standard arca-swiss type quick release plate, the TP30 comes with an Panoramic quick release plate that can be attached to the ball head, or to any other head that accepts arca-swiss plates.
Short Center Column
The TP30 already comes with a long center column but if you want to use your tripod at minimum height, or don’t need the extra height, you can swap it with the included short center column.
One extra feature that is built-in to the included short center column is that it can turn into a cute but still useful mini tripod! Using a tripod head, you can turn this into a desktop tripod easily, like I did here:
Ok, let’s move to the main event, the tripod itself. Here are some key features before we get into further details:
- Key Features
- Load Capacity: 13.2 lb
- Working Height Range: 7.9 to 63"
- Folded Length: 19.3"
- 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head
- 5-Section Carbon Fiber Legs, Flip Locks
- Weighs 4.5 lb
Build, Overall design and operation
The tripod is well built and quite sturdy considering its weight. In its closed position, it is pretty slim thanks to the way the legs are designed which makes it easier to store or attach to your camera bag. It is also easier to carry with one hand as opposed to tripods with round shaped legs.
This is a 5 section tripod so extending all the legs takes longer than a tripod with 3 or 4 sections. But this is a compromise that the designer has to make in order to keep the overall size smaller. The folded length of the tripod is 19.3”.
The clamps that open/close the leg sections are made of plastic to keep the weight low. They look strong enough and lock confidently. My only concern is the longevity of these clamps. I had an old tripod which had one of its clamps broken after years of use which made it unusable. I have to say that this old tripod was much lower quality than the TP30 though. So this is always a risk with tripods, even for the ones with the metal parts so I stopped worrying pretty quick!
There is some friction between the sections while extending and they don’t go down with the gravity, you have to pull/push them. This gives better control on the extension but sacrifices some speed of operation on the other hand.
The TP30 comes with a ball head with a panoramic base that lets you shoot horizontally, vertically or anywhere between. The ball head motion is smooth, even when a heavy camera and lens combination is attached. Thanks to the panoramic base, you can lock the tilting motion and only use panning to create panorama shots or tracking videos.
The head takes arca type quick release plates and there is a quick release button on the side. You first have to rotate the ring around the head, then push the button to release. There are also two safety pins on the base that prevent the plate to slip and your precious camera to fall down!
Being the careless person that I am, I removed the pins using the included hex key because I felt like they slowed me down a little when attaching the plate but I don’t recommend you to do that! Those pins are there to save lives of your cameras and lenses!
It is also necessary to remove if you are going to use other arca plates that are longer than this one. This brings me to probably the only problem that I have with this tripod: Some of my arca swiss plates didn’t attach to this head due to the way the push release button is designed. On the other hand the included QR plate fits all of my other arca type heads. Neewer says that the head is also compatible with Peak Design plates though, which is another very popular quick release plate type.
Ball heads are more suitable for still shooting so If video is your main thing, you will need to invest in a fluid video head. The total load capacity of the TP30 is rated at 13.2lbs so it won’t have any problem supporting heavier fluid heads and relatively heavy camera & lens combinations such as the setup I have there with the Sony Alpha A7R V and Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens. But still, keep in mind that this tripod is designed for travel camera and lenses as its name suggests so it is not the ideal solution for this kind of setup
The long center column doesn’t let the tripod to be set up very low so your options to shoot very low is to either reverse the long column and shoot the camera upside down, or to swap the long column with the short column.
The legs have three fixed opening angles so in order to lower the head, you need to open to their widest angle.
This is a setup that macro shooters use a lot. I am not a big fan of the first method that I mentioned to be honest as operating the camera this way is very cumbersome so I prefer to switch to the short center column.
There are three ¼” threads just below the head of the tripod which comes handy to attach various accessories. Here I attached my camera monitor. The included phone holder is another way to utilize these threads. Others that come to my mind are LED lights and friction arms.
There is a hook at the bottom of the long center column which can be used to hang heavy objects to add to the stability of the tripod.
You can also remove the center column from the tripod and use it as a selfie stick where needed. Alternatively, taking advantage of the lightweight of the tripod and the low profile legs, you can use the whole tripod as a selfie stick as I did while recording this self video.
The feet come with non-slip rubber but can be changed to spikes depending on the terrain it is being used.
Two 1/4" threads with locating holes on the tripod spider, three 1/4" threads on the legs, and an extra 1/4" thread on top of the ball head allow easy mounting of LED lights,?? (nerede bunlar bak)
The TP30 retails for $299 () in the US but currently there are discounts that brings down this to $180 at their official store , and $240 with a coupon at Amazon. It is not a cheap tripod but quality almost never comes cheap in the world of tripods, especially the carbon fiber ones!
In a short time, the TP30 turned into my favorite tripod for everyday use. It is very portable due to its weight and size, at the same time it is sturdy enough to even support a large camera and lens for bird photography in a pinch. Pair it with a fluid head and you will also have a very capable and lightweight video tripod if that’s what you need.
Things I liked
- Very lightweight for its class considering its max length and load capacity
- Slim lens design enables single-handed holding and takes less storage space
- Included phone holder
- Included short column that converts into a mini tripod
- ¼” threads for attaching accessories
- Included panoramic QR base plate
- Nice case
Things to improve
- No bubble level
- QR head is picky with other arca plates
Official Product page: https://neewer.com/products/neewer-tp30-63-160cm-carbon-fiber-travel-tripod-66603588
Official Company Page: https://neewer.com/
Check Prices at: AMAZON / B&H PHOTO