As a regular traveller and a photographer who often reaches for a tripod while underway I’m always keen to find and use reliable, lightweight equipment that packs down well into my luggage. The Rollei C5-i tripod, which I field tested last week, met those criteria, was easy to use and returned good results.
Declaration: Stuart was sent a tripod for the purpose of testing it and writing about it. He retained full editorial control over this post and has recommended the Rollei C5-i to several photographers after starting to use it. Some of the links below, marked with a (£), are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Rollei is a long-established German company, founded in 1920, and a brand that makes me think primarily with the Rolleiflex medium format camera, one of the classics of the genre. Yet the name is now also associated with a range of high-spec tripods, produced for the company by Fotopro.
A tripod and a monopod
The C5-i tripod is described as a 4-in-1 product, meaning it converts into a monopod, mini-tripod and handle. To be honest, I couldn’t work out what was meant by the latter but I did like the fact that one of the tripod’s legs unscrews and fits together with the centre column to produce a monopod with a length of 123.5cm and an adjustable head.
My initial late night attempt to convert the kit took ten minutes of confusion and head scratching, even with the help of the instruction manual. Yet once I’d cracked how to unscrew one leg from the tripod and release the central column I was impressed by the rapidity with which I could convert the kit between a monopod and a tripod. Not needing to carry both on a trip represents a significant weight saving in my luggage.
An easy to carry tripod
The tripod packs down to a length of 43cm, which makes it relatively easy to carry, and the legs consist of four aluminium sections. Their height is adjusted by quick release screws. The legs have three angle settings, enabling the tripod to be operated between heights of 11cm and 157cm.
The maximum load of this piece of kit is given at 8kg. I tested it at night with a Canon 5D MkII and a 100-400mm L series lens without any discernable movement in long exposures.
Easy to operate ball head
The ball head proved easy to operate, grips solidly with both vertical and horizontal loads, and has an in-built spirit level.
The one minor frustration I had with this kit was my inability to attach the leather hand strap to the central column when it’s in the monopod configuration. The instructions on how to do so are clear but actually making it happen would have meant using a wrench or similar tool.
Fortunately that didn’t irk too significantly as the tripod comes with foam grips, one of which is detachable, and a smart black carrying case with an adjustable shoulder strap.
Ultimately this tripod proved easy to use and reliable. As a bonus, thanks to flashes of metallic colouring, it also looks smart. For travellers looking to save on weight this could well prove a piece of photography kit worth getting hold of and using.
The Rollei C5-i tripod weighs 1.7kg. See the full product specification and prices on the Rollei website.
The Rollei C5-i is also available for purchase via the Amazon website (£):
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