For the last year and a bit I’ve used a Velbon Luxi M tripod, mainly because it is VERY compact (34cm closed) and quite light (1.2kg) but recently its been pissing me off a lot due to one of its ‘features’. Velbon call it ‘the unique and patented Velbon “Twist Lock” leg system – a simple quick twist and pull allows you to extend each leg, with another twist to lock the leg’ .

This might well be fine in ‘nice’ conditions but on many recent underground trips one leg has refused to twist and lock back when collapsing the tripod and was doing so with more and more regularity. To be fair to Velbon I am sure they didn’t design these legs to be used in glutinous mud, submerged in water and smashed on rocks so its probably my own fault for picking the wrong tripod for underground use…As much as I love these legs for their size the Twist Lock issue was starting to get to me badly so I got me some new legs in the shape of Velbon E-540. The 540 is still very compact as tripods go (40.7cm closed) and even with the PHD-41Q head is still under 18″ collapsed so can easily be hidden out of sight in a smallish rucksack for those trips when you don’t want to look like an explorer…
They are VERY solid and robust, although much bulkier than the LUXI M’s so more like a conventional (read big and heavy) tripod. Weight is still only 1.25kg (headless) which is impressive and down to all the fancy composite junk these are made from :-)They have yet to be used in waist deep water but soon will be…
Velbon Ultra LUXI M
Velbon GEO E-540

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