There are times when a compact tripod is needed or preferred over a larger one. When researching options for a small tripod, I wanted to find one that performs well, has quality materials and construction, good design, and is reasonably priced. After I discovered Leofoto last year (see my review of the Leofoto LS-284C travel tripod), I looked into their offering for a mini tripod: the LS-223C.
The Leofoto LS-223C mini tripod is basically a small version of the LS-284C. Design and operation of the two tripods are almost identical, with the exception of size and capacity. The Leofoto LS-223C is a mini tripod and perfectly sized for table-top photography, whereas the Leofoto LS-284C is a travel tripod. Each has their own purpose and should be considered with that in mind.
LEOFOTO LS-223C SPECIFICATIONS
Basic manufacturer's specifications for the Leofoto LS-223C are:
Max height is 13.8" (350mm)
Min height is 1.8" (45mm)
Max Load is 22.0lb (10kg)
Folded length is 8.0" (202mm)
Weight is 1.2lb (0.53kg)
The legs are manufactured using 10 layers of TORAYCA carbon fiber. TORAYCA is a high-end Japanese carbon fiber product. Aluminum components of the tripod are CNC precision machined. Tripod comes with spikes, carry bag, clip for hanging weight, and a tool kit. The carry bag is black nylon and has a shoulder strap. The bag is large enough to hold the tripod with a small ball head attached and the included accessories. Leofoto provides a 6-year warranty on the tripod as well.
The LS-223C does not come with a center column, but one can be ordered separately.
QUALITY AND DESIGN
Build quality of the LS-223C tripod is excellent. It feels solid and well built. There is nothing flimsy about the tripod whatsoever.
Each leg has three sections and two twist locks. The locks are easy to operate and have smooth rotation. There is no slippage when they are locked to secure the legs.
Leg angles can be set to 25, 55, and 85 degrees according to the manufacture's specifications. Leg angle locks pull out and notch into specific locations on the base plate. The tripod that I received has the resistance for leg movement set very tight. However, the resistance can be adjusted using tools provided with the tripod.
The base plate has a threaded screw that extends from the top. A head or optional center column can be affixed to the threaded screw.
My applications for the Leofoto LS-223C tripod have been for photographing items from a flat surface such as a tabletop. Performance of the tripod has been stellar. It has proven to be very stable and versatile. The small size and capability for getting the tripod low to the supporting surface has been terrific. Setting the tripod at different leg heights and angles has demonstrated that it performs well no matter how it is set up.
The Leofoto LS-223C tripod can be purchased as a stand-alone item or together with a ball head. Two kits are available with ball heads. One kit includes the LH-25 ball head and the other contains the EB-36 ball head. At the time of this writing, the stand-alone LS-223C tripod costs $97, as a kit with the LH-25 ball head costs $125, and as a kit with the EB-36 ball head costs $129. A Leofoto DC-282C center column can also be purchased and presently costs $26.95.
The kit that I purchased has the EB-36 ball head. I have found that the EB-36 ball head works incredibly well. It is stable and locks into place without any camera shift. There are two adjustment knobs and two levers on the head. Both of the levers can be pulled out and rotated to adjust the lever orientation.
The clamp has a screw knob used for opening and closing of the clamp. It operates smoothly and fixes the camera in place without loosening. A lever on the clamp allows rotation of the clamp without moving the ball or rotating the entire head. This clever design feature allows for panning by rotating the camera and clamp.
A lever on the side of the head allows for movement of the ball, which moves smoothly and and locks securely. A knob just above the panning base controls tension on the panning base, which also moves smoothly and locks well.
A bubble level resides on the clamp where the camera sits. Therefore, leveling should be done before placing the camera in the clamp. The head is Arca-Swiss compatible and is supplied with a camera plate as well. While I do not have the LH-25 ball head, I would expect its performance to be similar to the EB-36.