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Ask anyone what their ideal tripod is and the answer is usually: "one that packs up small to carry, extends to good working height, doesn't weigh much and is versatile". Well on first impressions the Velbon Ultra REXi L meets at least three of these needs and we're about to find out how versatile it is too.
Comparing the tripod with my well used Manfrotto Neotec 458B you can see below that it's almost half the size when closed.
This is down to the Ultra REXi L's innovative leg extension system, comprising five sections and just two knurled locking rings. You twist and pull to extend and close the leg sections. From a design point of view having two instead of the usual five twist locks means the tripod can shave off about 5cm from the closed height, while five leg sections, instead of four, helps reduce the size by another 20cm or so. You end up with a closed height of just 36cm compared with the Manfrotto's 64cm.
This tripod has a friction adjusting centre column which can be split and used at a short length when the legs are splayed out at maximum angle.
Each leg can be splayed individually at one of three angles and the feet have rubber points to help grip on smoother surfaces.
The centre column has a reversible thread to accept either common 1/4in heads or the more pro spec 3/8in heads. For the test we attached the QHD-61Q ball & socket which adds a quick-release camera plate and spirit levels.
This is a tripod you don't feel necessary to leave behind. Its small enough to strap onto a rucksack or camera bag without impeding comfort and the supplied carry case is an added bonus.
You can see how small the Velbon Ultra REXi L is compared to the Manfrotto 458B when closed. Yet when extended they're the same height.
The Velbon Ultra REXi L has three leg angles, adjusted with a sliding lock.
||The centre column of the Velbon Ultra REXi L can be unscrewed and split.|
The Velbon Ultra REXi L has one simple twist action to extend the five section legs.
||A lift up release unlocks the Velbon Ultra REXi L's friction centre column.|
At first I thought this was going to be the same on the Ultra REXi L, but after a few goes and the initial factory stiffness had worn off the legs were opening and closing with ease. It means you can go from collapsed to extended in seconds, which is perfect for when you're out walking in a group and want to stop and take a photo.
A tripod has to support your camera firmly and let you adjust it into the best position. For bluebell photography I like to get down to ground level and this tripod allows that with easy. A latch slides to the right at the top of each leg section and there are three positions. Fully right is maximum one and in this position with the centre column split you can get really low. This was ideal for bluebells.
Low shooting is one of the Ultra REXi L's key features. If you want to go really low you need to unscrew the bottom part of the centre column and remove it. It's easier to leave it off if you don't need the extra height. The tripod provided a superb rigid platform at this angle.
Each leg can be individually adjusted for uneven surfaces or more versatile angles. Here I couldnt get close enough to the sap in normal use, so rested one of the legs (fully splayed) on the stump.
I balanced the cones on the tree to get an interesting background and then extended the tripod to full height so it was square on. It's still surprisingly solid at full extent
The rubber feet grip well and stop the tripod sliding around and the thick leg tubes really make the tripod rigid and a solid support, even at full height. Despite the five leg extensions there's no compromise on rigidity. If anything it's actually a little sturdier than the Neotec at twice its price.
It's a challenge coming up with new features on tripods, but Velbon have played a trump card, producing a tripod that not only gives a good solid working height, similar to tripods at twice the price, but also delivered that essential photographers wish list requirement - small, light and tall. You couldn't wish for more. Well that's not quite true - a macro arm would be nice, but I can live without that for the benefit of conveninece. All in all the Ultra REXi L is a highly desirable tripod that, thanks to its design, you're likely to take out and use rather than leave at home.
|The Velbon Ultra REXi L is a real genius of the tripod world, blending four essential ingredients compact and light with large and sturdy.|
Quick to extend
Low level shooting
Velbon Ultra REXi L: ConsLegs can be fiddly to extend
Center column slow to split apart
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Number of Legs sections||4|
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