An affordable, sturdy travel tripod and fluid head.
In my opinion, one of the most important pieces of camera gear you can own is a tripod. There are lots of different kinds out there and I’ve been caught before by the inexpensive flimsy ones you can pick up off a shelf at a big-box retailer. While those budget-friendly options do serve a purpose, it’s not what you should be using if you own a DSLR. It’s very important to have a sturdy, well-built tripod that can both hold the weight of a decent camera rig and also help you get the shot you’re looking for. iFootage has a great line-up of professional-grade tripods and heads that provide the right equipment to get the job done.
The Gazelle series of tripods has two versions — the FastBowl and the Uprise. Both models are available in aluminum or carbon fiber. This review will focus on the Uprise TA6 model of the Gazelle tripods. The main difference between the two models is that the FastBowl features a bowl head quick release system while the Uprise has a detachable center column and a swivel bowl head. The tripods feature rapid height adjustment between a standard standing height and a working height of 19.5cm for low angle shooting. The tripod is only 52.5cm long when folded and only weighs 1.94kg. The Gazelle Uprise also has auto-lock leg adjustment that locks the leg into three separate positions. There are multi-purpose feet included — rubber and spike feet — to provide options for any type of terrain. The legs extend using an ergonomic buckle system that can be operated using a single hand. The Gazelle Uprise tripod is made using high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum, carbon fiber and stainless steel materials.
The Gazelle tripod is complimented by the Komodo K5 Tripod Head. It’s a well-balanced fluid head that is designed with a unique high-precision bearing system to ensure smooth camera movements when in use. The fluid head pans and tilts with a range of 360º for pan and +90º/-83º for tilt. A quick-release plate is included along with a plate safety lock. There is a fully adjustable foam grip arm that fits on either side of the head. It features universal mounting along with its lightweight, portable design. The Komodo K5 is built with aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. It is corrosive and wear-resistant.
Komodo K5 Tech Specs
- Material: Aluminium alloy
- Weight: 0.76kg
- Loading: 5kg
- Height: 98mm
- Base diameter: 60mm
- Base screw thread: UNC 3/8-16
- Mounting screw: UNC 1/4-20
I’ve been a fan of iFootage for a while now and I continue to be impressed with the quality of their equipment. The Gazelle is an impressive specimen for photographers of all kinds. The tripod is lightweight enough to toss on your back for a hike and its also great for studio shoots. I have a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon EOS-R and it works great with both of them. The Gazelle comes in a box that I would quantify as ‘nice’ retail packaging. Inside the box, you will find the tripod pre-assembled inside its soft-sided carrying case. The case has an extension pouch for the purpose of carrying a tripod head with the tripod. Fortunately, the Komodo K5 just barely fits into the bag with the tripod.
In addition to iFootage, I also really enjoy using Manfrotto support equipment. I felt as though this tripod would be a bit like the Manfrotto BeFree Video Travel Tripod. While I don’t think it’s fair to make a direct comparison I will say that the iFootage Gazelle feels more sturdy to me than the BeFree Tripod. The Gazelle provides enough support for my Canon 5D Mark IV with the Tamron 70-200mm lens. Combined, that’s a pretty weighty camera set-up. I tried the same combination with the Manfrotto BeFree tripod and while it worked, it just didn’t seem quite as stable as the iFootage Gazelle. That said, the Gazelle doesn’t fold up as the Manfrotto does. The Gazelle is smaller than other iFootage tripods, but it’s not quite as compact as the BeFree by Manfrotto.
As far as the Komodo K5 head goes, it’s very easy to attach and replace when needed. The tripod comes with a 75mm Bowl Head attached with a 3/8″ screw attached. So, the Komodo head is a welcome attachment. The quick-release plate makes it very easy to attach a camera body or large lens, like the aforementioned 70-200mm, to the tripod without any issues. One of the best features of the Komodo K5 is the huge range of motion it has. With it, you have the option of getting shots looking straight down at subjects if you want. The head provides very smooth movements and because it can handle loads of up to 11lbs, it’s ideal for my purposes.
I have not had the chance to travel with this tripod/head combo on an airline, but it works just fine in a car. One day earlier this spring, I got the inclining to go get some shots of buildings in our downtown area. I grabbed my camera bag and the tripod bag and tossed it in the back of my car. While I was downtown, I did do some walking from location to location and I have to admit that the tripod was easy to carry around in its bag. After placing my camera bag on my back, I slung the tripod bag on my shoulder and I was ready to trek around. When I found a spot I liked, I pulled the tripod out of the bag, twisted the head onto it, and then put my camera on top. Tear down was just as easy.
The iFootage Gazelle Uprise and Komodo K5 may not be the ideal combination for everyone, but it works really well for on-the-go set-ups. It’s sturdy enough to handle larger DSLR camera packages, but lightweight enough to cart around when you have to travel by foot. I can recommend this for photographers and videographers alike.