I've always been fascinated by tripods where the shaft can rotate outward from the legs providing for additional shooting angles. The 3Pod Orbit 3-Section Aluminum Tripod is my first hands-on experience with this type, and I must admit, I like the options it presents.
I've been testing the Orbit in the studio, primarily for product shots. It's ideal for this situation because of all the odd angles I need to use. By pulling the center shaft all the way to its maximum height, I can then change its angle from straight up and down to a variety of horizontal configurations. I think this ability would also be very handy for macro and close up photography in nature.
Combined with the 3 different leg positions - 85, 60, and 35 degree angles - and the retractable foot spikes, this set of sticks seems equally useful indoors and out. Other features include:
- Quick adjustment flip locks
- Padded grip on one leg for cold weather work
- Reversible 3/8 and 1/4-20 mounting screw
- Bubble level on top plate
- Maximum height of 69.15", collapsable to 28.45", weighs in at 5.71 pounds (without head)
You can purchase the tripod without head for $139.95 that includes a carrying case and wrench set. The case is fine, but it doesn't allow room for the tripod with a head mounted on it, so you might need something different up the road. Kits with a variety of heads are also available ranging from $149 to $289. I haven't tested any of those, so I don't know about the heads or the cases included in those configurations.
Overall, the 3Pod Orbit is a good value at $139. The components work well together, and it has good looks with the red metallic trim at the top of the legs. But the real selling point is the Overhead Shot System that allows the shaft to pivot away from the tripod body. With it, low angle, overhead, and close-up shots are easier than with traditional tripods. Plus, the shaft can be rotated independent of the tripod head, which could be handy for video work and panoramas.
If you've been interested in this style of tripod, I think the 3Pod Orbit deserves a place on your list of top candidates.
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