While preparing for an overseas photography workshop in which I was planning to take a Fujifilm mirrorless kit, I wanted to get a travel tripod that would perform well but not have a high price tag. The main objective was to have a carbon fiber tripod that weighed around 2.5 pounds, would fit in carry-on luggage, and would have reasonably high build quality and stability. In researching, I came across the Leofoto LS-284C travel tripod. The specifications matched what I was looking for and the price was excellent at just under $200.
Travel tripods come in a range of size, weight, and price. These three parameters are typically the first items that people look into when researching different tripods. An optimal combination for a travel tripod is small when folded, lightweight, reasonably priced, and stable. It must also support the weight of the head and camera equipment that the photographer intends to place on it.
While travel tripods are small and light, those properties compromise stability to some extent. A lightweight tripod will simply vibrate more than a heavier tripod with larger diameter legs. Other considerations that affect stability include leg material, leg spread, and product quality. Most travel tripod legs are made from either carbon fiber or aluminum. Aluminum tends to be less expensive, but carbon fiber is a better material for damping vibrations.
Build quality between tripods can vary significantly. Generally, the better the quality, the higher the cost, although there are exceptions. Tripods that are built well and constructed from quality materials and parts are easier to use and more stable than low-quality products. The Leofoto LS-284C tripod tends toward the higher end of the intermediate-quality range and has an affordable price.
Leofoto LS-284C Specifications
Leofoto is a relatively new company that manufactures tripods, ball heads, and other photographic accessories. Specifications for the Leofoto LS-284C indicated that this tripod met the parameters that I was looking for in a travel tripod. Because their other products received overall positive reviews, I decided to give this travel model a try.
Basic manufacturer's specifications for the Leofoto LS-284C are:
Max height with center column is 60" (1525mm)
Max height without center column is 47.2" (1200mm)
Min height without center column is 2.7" (68mm)
Max Load is 26.5lb (12kg)
Folded length is 17.5" (444mm)
Weight is 2.4 lbs (1120g)
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 a carbon fiber center column, spikes, carry bag, clip for hanging weight, and a tool kit. Leofoto provides a 5-year warranty on the tripod as well.
Quality and Design
The tripod is solidly built and exceeded my expectations, especially for the price. Each leg has four sections, which helps to keep the folded length minimized. Legs move smoothly and the twist leg locks turn well and are secure. There are three leg angle adjustments. The narrowest, giving the highest level on the tripod, results in a leg spread that is a little narrower than I would like. In use though, I did not experience stability problems with the tripod set to its highest level. A wider leg angle increases stability, but shortens the height. Leofoto opted to keep the tripod a little higher, and this choice is fairly common for travel tripods.
The carrying bag is quite nice and large enough to hold the tripod, center column, and attached ball head. A zippered pocket inside the bag that can hold the spikes, clip, and toolkit. The bag has a shoulder strap and is very comfortable to wear sling style while walking around.
An unusual element of the design was to have a center column that screws onto the top of the base plate, rather than being permanently mounted. Personally, I like this design for a couple of reasons. If one does not want to use the center column, then it can remain off of the tripod. Mounting the center column just takes a few seconds and the screw-on mounting system is quite stable. The center column mounts from the top of the base plate and extends upwards. Because the center column does not extend below the base plate it does not limit the minimum tripod height. Thus, this tripod can get very low to the ground, which is a terrific benefit for people who shoot at low levels.
On my trip, I used a Fuji X-T2 camera with a Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 lens mounted on the tripod. Shots were taken with shutter speeds of 5 to 6 seconds. Images came out sharp and I was pleased with the tripod performance. This image of a cosplayer was shot with a 5-second shutter speed and camera mounted on the Leofoto LS-284C tripod.
To summarize, the Leofoto LS-284C travel tripod is a good candidate for anyone considering the purchase of a tripod in the travel category. It performs quite well and has a low weight and small size. Build quality is quite good and the price is excellent. At under $200, it is a real bargain. The only con is that the leg spread at maximum height is a little narrow, which could reduce stability in some situations. I did not experience any problems, but it is something that people should be aware of. This tripod is worth considering for people who travel with their photography gear on planes or other size-constraining transportation and for people who hike with their cameras.
The Leofoto LS-284C tripod has recently become difficult to find as a stand-alone product without a marked price increase over the $200 cost that it was available for when I purchased it. I will provide another updated link to the tripod when and if it becomes available again at the normal price.
Leofoto products can be purchased from Amazon here: Buy on Amazon
The Leofoto LS-284C tripod can be purchased on eBay here: Buy on eBay