Login or Join Now

Upload your photos, chat, win prizes and much more

Remember Me

Can't Access your Account?

New to ePHOTOzine? Join ePHOTOzine for free!

Velbon GEO E540 Review

Join Now

Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!

55% OFF new PortraitPro 12 - use code EPHZROS414.
Category: Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
Product: Velbon GEO E540
Price: £199.00
Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5

Velbon GEO E540 - The Velbon GEO E540 is part of the professional carbon fibre range and offers a few sweet features such as a quick release centre-column lever and supplied bag that doubles up as a ballast bag for windy days.

Print Article Add Comment Add CommentJargon Buster: Off Jargon Buster: Off
Built from carbon fibre and boasting a new quick release lever for the centre column, reversible centre-column and supplied ballast bag, is the Velbon GEO E540 the perfect tripod for the landscape photographer?

Velbon GEO E540 main image
Matt Grayson takes a look at one of the professional series of carbon fibre tripods from Velbon.

Priced at £199, is the GEO E540 worth the money or is it a red herring?

Velbon GEO E540: Features
As part of the new GEO range, the E540 has a carbon-fibre and basalt composite construction for added strength and rigidity as well as an innovative quick release for the centre column.

Aimed at the hardcore traveller, the GEO is a durable but small tripod that comes with its own pouch for travelling and can also have stones or weights placed inside for ballast in strong weather conditions. When the hook and centre-column are attached, the tripod can't be stood up when fully retracted as the hook is too long.

At first glance, the new quick release lock looks like a connector for the strap, but that's on the opposite side. It works by pulling the silver section down with your thumb then moving the lever to a horizontal position. The centre-column can then be moved up and down as required. When you're done, reverse the method.

Velbon GEO E540 quick release centre-column
Using the quick release centre-column lever is a cinch, simply pull down with your thumb and lift up.
Velbon GEO E540 tripod
The lever can be seen here with the ballast hook attached to the centre-column.

The legs are made of carbon fibre for excellent strength and they're made in a new twisted spiral design that makes extension and retraction smoother and faster. On the end of the legs are the rubber balled feet that conceal spikes for use in tricky landscapes. The legs can move individually from each other which can sometimes lead to lopsided photographs if they aren't out to the same angle and there's no spirit level to make sure it is level.

Ultra low angle photography can be achieved by moving the legs out by flicking the small plastic gauge over to the side. The top of the tripod leg is stepped to allow three different settings to splay the legs out to.

The GEO E540 doesn't come with a head attached but has a 1/4in screw which will take a multitude of different heads including ones from other manufacturers. Heads to consider include the Velbon QHD-51Q at £48.73 which has a quick release plate, spirit level bubble and large ball. If you prefer three-way heads, the Velbon PHD-51Q would be a reasonable option at £92. It also has a quick release plate and spirit level bubble and is relatively small.

Velbon GEO E540: Handling
With practice, the tripod can be set up pretty quickly, I managed to get it done in 20 seconds and this could be faster if you needed it to be. It's really easy to do as the locks are on levers. When the tripod is retracted all three levers are close to each other so they can all be snapped out together.

This is one of the lightest and smallest tripods I've encountered for the market that it's aimed at. Once it's packed into its pouch, it can be slung over your shoulder and forgotten about until it's needed. The strap is a strong canvas type with big plastic buckles to keep it connected to you.

Velbon GEO E540: Performance
As part of the professional line, the GEO E540 is very well made. The carbon fibre legs are finished to a high standard and they're lovely and smooth, but I don't see a difference between them and the Manfrotto 190CX Pro because they're just as easy to extend and retract. I do like the addition of the markers on the legs so you can get them all the same length, something which the Manfrotto doesn't have.

At full extension, the head is actually quite rigid. My main concern is the weight of the tripod because it makes it easy to move in high wind. Luckily, the small pouch that comes with the tripod can be attached to each leg so heavy items such as rocks can be put in it to add ballast.

If it wasn't for the quick release lever for the centre-column, turning it upside down would be a real chore because the column has to be unscrewed, changed over and reattached. The tripod is still sturdy enough while shooting upside down. The legs can be splayed out to nearly 90 degrees for a low viewpoint and the centre column can be unscrewed to get the tripod low enough.

I found the tripod extremely easy to travel with. The large strap connects to the pouch and tripod so you can keep hold of it all together. Although the tripod doesn't fit all the way in, I think this is actually a good idea simply because it means you can get the tripod out a lot quicker.

Velbon GEO E540: Verdict
While the GEO E540 is a lovely tripod base, at £199 it's the same price as the Manfrotto 190CX Pro4 which is also carbon fibre, has a higher load capacity and has a lower minimum height. However, it's slightly bigger and heavier than the Velbon. The Q90 horizontal system on the Manfrotto is the killer and to remain competitive, the Velbon needs to drop in price. Bring it down in price a fraction and Velbon have a set of legs that will be well worth buying.

Velbon GEO E540: Pros
Carbon fibre
New quick release lever for the centre-column
Ballast pouch included
Reversible centre-column
Leg length markers

Velbon GEO E540: Cons
Price is a bit too high
Reversing the centre-column is a bit of a drag


Velbon GEO E540: Specification
Price £199.99
Contact www.intro2020.co.uk
Quick release n/a
Minimum height 14cm
Maximum height (inc. centre-column extended) 141cm
Load capacity 3kg
Leg sections 4
Leg locks clasp
Head fitting 1/4in
Weight 1.25kg

The Velbon GEO E540 costs around £199 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Velbon GEO E540

Explore More

Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre MT055CXPRO3 Tripod Review

Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre MT055CXPRO3 Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews this top-of-the-range tripod from ...

Nest Pioneer NT-234AK Tripod Kit Review

Nest Pioneer NT-234AK Tripod Kit Review

The Nest Pioneer NT-234AK Tripod Kit is a compact aluminium ...

Manfrotto BeFree MKBFRA4-BH Travel Tripod Review

Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod Review

The Manfrotto BeFree (MKBFRA4-BH) is a new compact and styli...

Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.


There are no comments here! Be the first!
- Original Poster Comments
- Your Posts

Add a Comment

You must be a member to leave a comment

Remember me:
Un-tick this box if you want to login each time you visit.