Photography News 84 Web

First test

K&F TC2535 PRICE: £120 It’s small enough to be slipped inside your camera bag and light enough to be carried around all day without backache. Retailing at £120, the carbon fibre K&F TC2535 is top value, too

SWAINS.CO.UK

K&F CONCEPT IS fast building a reputation for imaging accessories, from filters and lens adapters to bags and tripods. The TC2535 is a carbon-fibre tripod designed to be ultra-portable, yet offering the supporting talent of heavier models. It’s currently on the market at around £120, so it’s remarkably good value, too. For stockists, contact Swains, the wholesale distributor. Being carbon fibre means that the TC2535 is remarkably lightweight, weighing just over 1100g. The TC2535 is sold as legs only but, while K&F has a selection of suitable heads, this tripod accepts any head with the standard 3/8in screw fitting. I used it with a Benro VX20 ball head that weighs 280g, so the pair weighed less than 1400g. With its legs reversed, the pod measures just less than 36cm. This makes it small enough to be stashed in a backpack or slung under a shoulder bag. Alongside the tripod, a padded bag and carrying strap are supplied as standard. So, when you want to travel light or are keen to have a tripod with you just in case you might need it, the TC2535 has all the right physical credentials. It’s lightweight, thanks to its carbon-fibre build and, with five leg sections, its folded size is kept to a minimum. For packing, it can be reverse folded. Clearly, it depends on what bag or backpack you use and how you prefer to carry a pod around, but I found the TC2535 – normally or reverse folded – sat happily and securely strapped to the side of my backpack, making it easily accessible when required. Having five sections to get a practical working height does means that extra time is needed to set up, but that’s just a few seconds. Each leg is secured with twist grips that are smooth in use and

lock firmly without much effort and there’s also no problem using them when wearing gloves. I did find it’s a little more tricky to get a firm grip of the lock on the skinniest leg section, but that said, even finger tightening was enough to hold the leg firmly in place. One leg doubles as a monopod. Simply unscrew the ballast hook, so you can slide out the centre column and then attach this to the loose leg. Being small is one thing, but that doesn’t count for much if it can’t provide stable support when needed. Fortunately, the TC2535 is impressively stable for its size and weight and it reaches a useful height too. Of course, it’s all about personal preference, but it is rare that I use a tripod at standing height unless there’s no other option – say, when shooting over a fence – but as you can see from the accompanying pictures below, with the TC2535 fully extended and using the centre column, it’s close to my full standing height. You can get pretty low with the TC2535, too. Splay its legs and slide the centre column up, and a low viewpoint is quickly achieved. It would be nice to have the option of an additional short centre column that can be attached for a lower camera position. For this test, I did some night-time long exposure shots using Nikon full- frame mirrorless and DSLR cameras and used the tripod fully up with the centre column down and extended. My test shots were taken with either a self- timer, the exposure delay mode or a remote release. By allowing the camera and tripod to settle and with hands-free release, the results from this tripod are excellent, even with the central column up. Admittedly, it’s not going to be super stable with a

SPECS ›  Price £120

›  In the box Tripod legs only, tripod bag with carry strap, ballast hook and two allen keys ›  Legsmaterial Carbon fibre, one leg detaches for monopod ›  Centre column Two sections, twist grip lock, ballast hook supplied ›  Leg locks Twist grips ›  Load capacity 10kg ›  Folded length 35cm (reverse folded), 44.5cm (closed) ›  Leg sections Five ›  Leg angles Three ›  Max height (no centre column used) 110cm ›  Max height (with centre column fully extended) 142cm ›  Monopodmax height 131.5cm (with centre column attached) ›  Monopodmin height 56.5cm (with centre column attached) ›  Max tube diameter 25mm ›  Minimumheight 42cm (centre column in, legs in default position), 30cm (centre column up, legs splayed) ›  Spirit level No ›  Weight 1105g (legs only) Contact swains.co.uk

long lens in a strong breeze. But used with care and good technique, there’s no reason why the K&F TC2535 can’t deliver great results in the majority of shooting situations. It also performs more reliably than the best on-board image stabilisation systems and much more versatile too. WC

PROS Size, weight and impressive stability for this weight CONS None the centre column fully extended. It’s also nicely engineered and finished. Verdict A tripod is only useful if you have it with you. That makes the K&F TC2535 potentially incredibly useful, because it is so compact and readily portable. It sells at a really tempting price, too. Its performance rates highly, offering impressive stability for its size and weight and, with care, works well even with

ABOVE The TC2535, at full stretch with the centre column up, brings the camera up to my standing height (about 1.70m). Support, even at this height, is good LEFT Splay the TC2535’s legs, lift the centre column and you get a decently low camera position – even low enough to get muddy knees!

TOP The carbon-fibre centre column has two sections and a standard 3/8in screw fitting ABOVE The twist grips are positive in use and lock securely with little effort

36 Photography News | Issue 84

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