Photography News 100 - Web

First test

PRICE: £449/£569


This tripod brand is now coming to the UK, thanks to Specialist Photo. We do a deep dive into its top-of-the-range SolidRock C85 tripod Kingjoy SolidRock C85

THE KINGJOY RANGE OF SolidRock tripods is imported by same specialist team that brought us the award-winning Kase Filters. The range comprises three carbon- fibre models: the C82 travel pod, C83 all-rounder and flagship C85 model tested here.

All of the trio share similar features, including ten-layer carbon-fibre legs with dust- and sand-resistant sleeves, broad twist-grip locks and a total of three leg angles. Each has a centre-column-free design. On the C82 and C83, the lack of centre column gives the pods a thinner overall profile, which is a benefit with this design. In practice, it means you can get a low camera viewpoint without having to adjust, reverse or remove the column. For the C85, though, profile is the same as a traditional centre-column pod, as it’s equipped with a levelling bowl. But more on that shortly. Each Kingjoy is available as a legs-only option, or sold with a TX ball head. There are three ball heads in the range – the T20X, T30X and T40X. As with the tripods, they have familial characteristics. Every head has friction control and accepts Arca-Swiss plates, and the camera plate has a dual action – meaning the camera can be rotated once the ball head is levelled and locked off, without loosening the head itself. In this test, we tried the SolidRock C85 fitted with the T30X. The pair retails at £569 – or £449 for the legs on their own. C85 legs offer the best maximum height of the three. With Canon EOS R5 attached, its EVF is 171.5cm off the ground, so for me of average height, I can get my eye to the finder if I stand on my toes. Fully up, gripping and twisting the pod’s shoulder reveals little movement and minimal flex in the legs. The twist-grip leg locks are excellent – big and easy to get hold

TURN OF THE SCREW Legs lock firmly with minimal effort, thanks to large, easy-to-use twist grips of. Plus, they have good grips for a positive action, and legs lock firmly with minimal pressure. The legs themselves glide in and out smoothly. I did have a couple of sandy beach shoots and that poise was retained at the end of the test. An extra and important feature on the C85 is its quick-action levelling bowl. The twist-locking handle has an extension of about 3cm and incorporates a ballast hook. Loosening this handle means you can quickly adjust the camera angle without using the ball head. It makes getting the camera level a cinch if you have the legs at different angles, are working on uneven terrain, or if the legs are not at the same extension. On our pre-production test sample of the TX30 ballhead, there was no integral bubble level to make getting the levelling bowl correctly aligned easy. However, this has been resolved on production samples on sale and there is a bubble level on the mounting plate. So, just get the bubble level correctly aligned before fitting the camera and you're sorted. On our test sample, this feature could be a little noisy, but it worked well enough and proved useful. WC

HEAD AND SHOULDERS Production samples of the Kingjoy ball heads have a spirit bubble on the mounting plate to help get the platform level

SPECS ›  Price £449 legs only, £569 with T30X ball head ›  Material Ten-layer carbon fibre ›  Folded length (with head) 66.8cm ›  Max height (with head) 163.8cm ›  Min height (with head) 61cm at default leg angle, 23cm with legs fully splayed ›  Leg sections Four ›  Leg angles Three ›  Leg locks Twist rubber grips ›  Ballast hook Yes ›  Thickest leg diameter 34.6mm ›  Thinnest leg diameter 22.4mm

Verdict The Kingjoy SolidRock C85 sells at £449 legs only, or £569 with the T30X ball head. In the context of pro-standard carbon-fibre tripods, that is very good value for money. It offers an excellent maximum height and you can quickly get a super-low position if required. And the levelling bowl is really handy, too, making camera levelling a cinch. With kit of the quality tested here, Kingjoy might not be a widely known brand in the UK at the moment, but that will surely change – and quickly. PROS Light for its size and max height, impressive stability, levelling base is very useful and quick to use, leg and head grips great CONS Levelling bowl has a slightly noisy, rough action

›  Max load 30kg ›  Weight 2.44kg T30X ball head ›  Price £129 ›  Material Aluminium alloy

›  Camera plate Double panoramic plate, accepts Arca-Swiss plates ›  Damping control Yes ›  Max load 25kg ›  Ball diameter 57mm ›  Weight 450g ›  Contact

LEVELLING IT OUT The C85 has an integral levelling plate, locked and unlocked with a quick twist of the rubber-covered lock that also has a ballast hook

68 Photography News | Issue 100

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