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Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro: Features
Portable tripods that can take the weight of a decent sized DSLR and lens are usually smaller clones of large tripods but that appears to have changed with the release of the Optera range from Trek-Tech.
Two short legs and a longer one are encased in spongy material and protected by neoprene. The longer leg is designed to sit at the front and curl up which longer lenses can then rest on.
A disadvantage would be the lack of a quick release plate but Optera have managed to work their way around it by incorporating the MagConnect Pro system which is an ultra powerful magnet that has a smaller plate about the size of a £1 coin attach to it once it's screwed into the tripod bush. An extra clip is also provided to keep them in place.
In the box you get two plates called the STAR MagAdapter and Light Force MagAdapter. The Light Force adapter is used for point and shoot cameras, has cork on the top and is screwed into the camera with a coin while the STAR adapter is used on DSLRs, has a black plastic top and is tightened to the camera using the provided allen key. You also get a Palm rest and tension cord. The cord is strapped through the links on each leg to give them extra stability while the palm rest seems to simply be a cover for the magnet when it's not in use.
The cord and allen key can be placed in the pocket on the right leg when they're not being used so that you don't lose them.
Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro: In use
It sounds like common sense but don't mess around with the magnetic plates and place it on the Optera without a camera attached. The reason behind this being that it's so powerful that it's nigh on impossible to remove it. So I'm told.
The adapters screw into the tripod bush easily enough and you can leave them fitted to the camera without them getting in the way of hand-held shooting.
The main difference between the 460 and the smaller 230 model is the extra long front leg and this is aimed at the photographer who uses long telephoto lenses.
The leg can then be bent in the middle, curled back up and used as a rest for the lens. It can also be used as an extra bit of stability when you're wrapping the legs around a branch or fence.
It easily supported the Olympus E-3 and 50-200mm lens without any sign of strain or stress. For added stability you could attach the lens to the pod instead of the camera, if your lens has the tripod mount fitted.
Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro: Verdict
Compacting right down to a third of its size, the Optera 460 is a great travel support companion that can be stuffed down the side of your bag. The small release plates don't get in your way and the tight pocket on the leg holds the accessories nicely.
I'm worried over the long term health of the bendable leg as it may become weak in time and not hold the same weight as a newer unit can.
Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro: Plus points
Table top pod that takes long lenses
Wraps down much smaller
Bendy legs for maximum use
Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro: Minus points
Unsure of leg longevity
The Trek-Tech Optera 460 costs around £48 and is available from Warehouse Express here: