Once known primarily for its smartphone and small camera accessories, Ulanzi has been getting into tripods lately. And the new Ulanzi TT09 VideoGo Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod (buy here) looks to offer some great features for photographers and filmmakers.
As you might have already figured out, its legs are made from carbon fibre, with quick-release flip locks. Its centre column features a levelling base at the top, and its handle comes off completely to reveal some useful tools.
Ulanzi VideoGo Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
There’s no shortage of travel tripods on the market today. And it kind of feels like a lot of “new” releases are just recycling old tripod designs and concepts. And while there isn’t really all that much you can do with a tripod, Ulanzi seems to have combined some of the best features together to make a very nice-looking travel tripod.
The basic description is that it’s got 5-segment carbon fibre legs with flip lever locks and rubber feet. It also has a carbon fibre centre column. It has rubber feet on the bottom of each leg and a pan-tilt head on top.
The legs have a load capacity of 20kg (44.09lb), a ball head load capacity of 5kg (11.02lb) and an overall weight of 1.5kg (3.31lb). It packs down to 45cm (17.72″) in length and expands all the way up to 142cm (55.91″) at maximum extension with the centre column up.
It boasts some higher-end features
With those specs, it already seems like a fairly normal, standard, respectable travel tripod, especially given its price tag – which we’ll get to later. But it also includes some of the features we’ve come to expect from higher-end travel tripods, too.
The rubber feet on the bottom can be unscrewed and replaced with metal spikes for when you’re shooting on terrain where rubber feet aren’t ideal. Rubber feet are great on smooth flat ground, but out in the wild, spikes are often your best bet.
Its centre column is also completely removable and the legs have three locking positions. This means you can get your camera extremely low to the ground while having the stability and large footprint of three widely spread tripod legs.
Built-in ball levelling head
The top of the tripod where the head is mounted sports a reverse ball head design. This means that the ball sits below the pan action of the head. This ensures that when you pan while shooting a video, your horizon stays level throughout the shot.
This is something I’ve mentioned here on DIYP before in the review for the Manfrotto 190X Video tripod (buy here). It’s the main reason why I prefer video tripods for shooting things like landscape photography, particularly when shooting panoramic landscapes. Here’s a demonstration I shot back then.
The tripod head is available with three different mounting options on top. There’s the traditional Arca Swiss, the Ulanzi CLAW quick-release mounting plate and the Ulanzi F38 mounting plate version. Each of these comes at a different cost and you only get one option, so choose wisely.
But wait, there’s more!
One of the most annoying things about the majority of tripods is that over time, things work loose. The day you buy it, it’s good and firm, but the more you use it, a screw gets a little slack here or there, and all of a sudden, your tripod legs are waving around like a drunk octopus.
It’s easily solved with Allen keys, screwdrivers, socket sets or other tools, but how many of us are going to carry those out with us on every single shoot just in case something happens to work itself loose that day? Not many of us, I’d bet.
Ulanzi has us covered, though. The handle, normally used for tilting and panning when shooting video, is removable and features a hex socket on the end of it. Inside the handle itself are seven different bits (CR-V T6, CR-V 3.5, CR-V H2.5, CR-V H3.0, CR-V PH1, CR-V PH2 and CR-V H4.0) to let you tweak and tighten everything on location as any loosening issues arise.
Overall, it looks like a pretty well-thought-out and practical tripod. And while it doesn’t have a traditional video tripod head on top, what it does have looks as though it should easily satisfy most travel video needs with small mirrorless cameras. It should also offer advantages over traditional travel tripods for photography, too.
I have to admit that while I’d want to have a good play with one before making a decision, I could see myself replacing my Manfrotto Befree Live (buy here) with one of these. If the real world experiences matches on the on-paper specs and it doesn’t feel cheap, almost certainly.
Ulanzi TT09 VideoGo Travel Tripod Specs
|Tripod Legs||Lever Lock Leg Design|
|Tripod Capacity||20kg (44.09lb)|
|Ball Head Capacity||5kg (11.02lb)|
|Max Height (w/o centre column)||119cm (46.85″)|
|Max Height (w/centre column)||142cm (55.91″)|
|Min Height||14cm (5.51″)|
|Folded Height||45cm (17.72″)|
Price and Availability
The Ulanzi TT09 VideoGo Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod is available to buy now for $219.95, $239.95 or £259.95 for the Arca Swiss, CLAW and F38 mount versions, respectively. This is an early bird introductory offer, and those prices will each increase by $40 once the launch promotion ends.