Endurax Professional Camera Tripod – Model ETR-66
We hate tripods. Show us one person that enjoys carrying around a tripod and we’ll pay for their therapy sessions. Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil in the world of travel photography and a piece of equipment that we will always begrudgingly carry (sometimes 2 of the buggers). And even though there are times we can walk around all day with these 3 legged beasts and never use them, we still would not leave home or hotel room without them (they need a holiday too!).
As we do not use tripods that much we have never found the need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on them. We would rather invest money in camera lenses and other accessories. Don’t get us wrong – a good tripod is also an important piece of equipment and we would never purchase a tripod if it didn’t do the job.
We were contacted by Endurax, a manufacturer that we’d never heard of, asking if we were interested in reviewing their products. We were really interested in testing their hiking/trekking backpack as it looked quite interesting in the pictures that we saw. But instead, they sent us their cheapest tripod to review. Better make this a good review so that they send us the backpack . Just kidding! As always we are completely transparent in all our reviews.
The product arrived well packaged. The box contained the tripod, carry bag, user manual, mobile phone holder, handle for the pan & tilt head, and rubber feet. Both the handle and rubber feet need to be fitted to the tripod prior to use. The mobile phone holder attaches to the tripod head quick release plate when using.
The tripod is mainly plastic except for the aluminium legs. The three legs consist of 4 expandable sections and are supported by a centre brace, making the overall height a key benefit for this tripod.
The brace immediately restricts the use of the tripod whether you need to get really close to the ground or want to spread the legs out more. Personally, as professional photographers, we would not consider buying a tripod with this restriction, but for a beginner, this may not be considered an issue.
Each tripod leg section is secured by 4 plastic latches that lock each section as you extend the leg. We have found that over time (regardless of tripod manufacturer) these types of latches have a tendency to snap if not maintained correctly, however, the latches seem pretty well-made so only time will tell.
The feet of the tripod need to be screwed into each leg after unpacking. Each rubber foot rotates on a small ball-head that allows the foot to swivel. Unlike a standard rubber base on a tripod leg, this feature prevents the legs from sliding however we’re not sure why this feature has been included as the tripod has a centre brace which stops the sliding anyway. This feature would be more useful on a tripod without a centre brace. On a flat surface, the feet seem to give the tripod a lot of added stability due to the increased surface area of the feet.
The Centre Column
The centre column has a large plastic hook at the bottom which is always a great feature on any tripod. This will allow you to hang a camera bag or extra weight to give the tripod added stability. This is an important feature to have for this particular model as you will surely need added stability if its windy.
It would have been nice if the centre column was constructed from aluminium but instead, it is plastic. To lock the centre column you must tighten the locking collar at the base of the centre column. To raise the column you loosen the locking knob on the side of the tripod, then use the crank in a clockwise direction to raise and an anti-clockwise direction to lower. When you have the desired height simply tighten the locking knob on the side of the tripod. Once raised all the way you will obtain the maximum height of 66″ (167.5cm).
The hook, brace lock and raising crank are all made of plastic so over time these may have a tendency to break or snap off with excess pressure or a hard knock/fall.
We suggest you never raise the centre column all the way on any tripod as this adds increased instability. If we ever raise our centre column then we will usually only raise it halfway. If it is windy, then we would suggest not raising it at all. This may vary from tripod to tripod.
Pan & Tilt Tripod Head
The entire head is constructed from plastic. The handle arrives separately from the tripod, however, this is easily installed in seconds. The handle must be installed so that the tilt (up and down) option can be locked. The handle is generally included as an aid for smooth panning and is more suited for photographers that shoot videos. Even though this type of handle is not a feature we look for in a tripod it does make the adjusting and setting a little easier.
Rotating the handle will activate the tilt function (up and down) whereas loosening the knob on the side of the head allows you to pan the head (side to side). To take a shot in portrait mode (vertical) simply loosen the knob on the hinge directly above the handle and lift until the camera is in portrait mode. Once in portrait mode, if you use the panning knob the head will not lock with the knob tightened. Note: this can make the tripod unbalanced (depending on the size/weight of your camera gear). Always make sure you hold onto the tripod with your other hand when tilting the camera into portrait mode as it pivots quite stiffly.
Quick Release plate
The quick-release plate that attaches to the bottom of the camera fits securely onto the head and is kept in place by a locking lever. Even though they claim the tripod can hold up to 5kg, we don’t suggest you use any heavy equipment (especially long focal lenses). It did struggle with a Sony A7Riii and 24-105mm f/4 lens attached and was not very sturdy in portrait (vertical) mode. However, using a lighter camera system or lighter lens on a heavier camera, this may not be an issue.
Smartphone Mount Adapter
Included in the box is the phone holder adapter that attaches to the Quick Release Plate. This is a handy inclusion for those that want to improve their mobile phone photography, especially in low light scenarios (and selfies).
ONE YEAR WARRANTY – Endurax camera tripods are fully warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for one year. If the product fails due to a manufacturing defect they will repair it without charge, or replace it, at their discretion. This warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, improper care, negligence, normal wear and tear, or the natural breakdown of colours and materials over extended time and use.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for – and that’s certainly what you get with this tripod. Even though Endurax and the packaging state “Professional” (see update below), in our opinion, this is definitely NOT a professional tripod. Apart from the height (most tripods don’t stand this tall) and the rotating ball feet, there is nothing really new or different about this tripod (compared to other similar tripods in the market). Would we recommend this tripod? Considering the low price tag, yes, we would recommend it for a complete beginner or someone on an extremely tight budget that is doing limited tripod work. We do not recommend the use of this tripod in extreme weather conditions.
RATED: RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS
Since writing this post, Endurax no longer promotes this product as Professional. They now list it as the “Endurax 66″ Video Camera Tripod Travel DSLR Camera Stand Lightweight and Compact”.
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