The ideal tripod for your photo and video needs.
When I was 8 years old, my dad decided to start his own video production business. Right before my eyes, our house transformed into a studio in miniature form. We had cameras, lenses, lights and their stands, and all the gear that goes along with being your own filmmaker. Back then, the cameras were just shy of studio size and they were HEAVY. The same was true of their companion piece – the tripod. Tripods, or sticks (as they are called by video professionals), are an essential piece to the production puzzle. They help you stabilize your shots and make it possible to use other pieces of equipment like dollies and cranes that enhance your video piece.
Back then the sticks were very heavy and unwieldy. Some tripods actually required other equipment to move it around or even two people to carry them from place to place. As cameras evolved and became smaller and more mobile, so did tripods. I remember one of the first tripods I helped to lug around a production was made mostly of wood and very heavy metal. While the piece of equipment was built like a tank, it wasn’t the most convenient thing to transport back and forth. Fortunately, tripods are much more mobile now.
There are many types and sizes of tripods. Some are made just for mobile photography and smartphones while others are made for heavier film cameras. You need to be cautious of which you choose for your particular needs based off of the type of camera you are using. If you have a prosumer model video camera, for example, you wouldn’t want to use a basic photography tripod that is made of lightweight aluminum because it just won’t be able to bear the weight of the camera. This is something to keep in mind as you are making decisions about your equipment.
Not too long ago as I began searching for a quality tripod to add to our equipment for production, I quickly discovered that there are a lot to choose from. Even after you narrow it down to the type/style of tripod you need, there are many brands and materials to research. After many hours of studying all the options, I narrowed down my choice to the Wild Bull T Series tripod from iFootage.
Not too long ago, I found iFootage when I was searching for slider options. I was so impressed with the quality of the Shark Slider, that I found myself turning to them for other production equipment as well. They are four models of Wild Bull tripod – T1, T3, T5, and T7. The Wild Bull series is known for its fool proof stability. The iFootage tripods are designed to work with any camera on the market. They are made out of carbon fiber or aluminum, depending on the model. Both materials are a far cry lighter than the solid wood sticks I mentioned earlier. For our purposes, we are reviewing the Wild Bull T5 tripod.
The T5 and the T7 are both designed to be extremely portable and like all models of the Wild Bull series, they are ergonomically designed to be easy to handle and transport. The T5 has a convenient rubber belt that secures the legs for transporting easily. Having carried many, many tripods with the legs falling open as I walk, I can really appreciate this little touch that iFootage included in the design of the tripod. The T5 was released along with the T7 in August 2015. While it can house any type of camera, it was specifically designed for professional 4K and 8K photography and filmmaking.
The T5 is one of the tripods from iFootage made from anodized aluminum alloy. All of the screws and pins are made of stainless steel and any of the plastic parts are made from high-impact composite materials that are heat and cold resistant and also shock proof. Right from when I opened the packaging, I thought, “This is a really solid piece of equipment.”
One of its unique features is its connection joint. The T5 provides a large connecting area that provides strong stability similar to what you would find in the larger broadcast quality tripods. Another feature you will find on the T5 is a load screw for adding additional weights for stability. The lower grade tripods that you can buy at big box retailers do not provide this added place for weights. It’s very important for the higher quality video productions.
I think my favorite feature of this tripod is the efficient snapping system. They are oriented in such a way that you can extend or fold the legs with one hand. This is a wonderful, innovative improvement over many of the Wild Bull T5’s competitors. The T5 also has a wonderful interchangeable mid-level spreader and ground spreader. This element really helps with stability. You do have the option to remove it if you don’t feel it’s needed.The T5’s legs have a great range of spread, which can really be good for getting low-angle shots. The legs can be adjusted between 15 – 78 degrees.
The Wild Bull T5 was designed to handle higher load capacities. It is graded to hold up to 40 kg (approximately 88 pounds). This weight load makes it ideal for any type of photo or video shoot you have in mind.
During our testing, we used the T5 in several different ways. We paired it with a mini crane and used it with a DSLR for still photos as well as video. We took it to an outdoor location and set it up inside and found that no matter the condition, the tripod did a wonderful job of being stable and providing a sturdy base for the camera and supporting equipment. The set-up is very easy and yes, if you are on your own, you can have the Wild Bull T5 pulled together on your own in just a few minutes. As a professional grade tripod, I can’t imagine a better option for any of your photo or videography needs.
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