My favorite piece of kit from the trade show floor at this year’s WPPI conference was a tripod with multipurpose gimbal head from Fotopro.
Fotopro Vice President Michael Green showed off the tripod’s features, which has received awards from Outdoor Photography Magazine and BirdWatching magazine. After seeing this I feel it’s a nature photographers dream — at least for this nature photographer.
Eagle E-6H Tripod and head
What makes this setup unique? According to Green, “It’s the only gimbal head in the world that allows it to act as a fluid head, akimbo head and landscape head that does click stops for panoramic photography.”
In addition, Green added, “It allows you to shoot straight up for Astro photography or straight down for macro photography.”
Michael demonstrated for me how the head shifts back which makes it possible to put the nodal point of the lens directly on the pivot point of the tripod. This is an important feature when stitching panoramic images. This shift is also what allows you to shoot straight up. Obviously going the other way you can shoot straight down. Click stops at 45 and 90 degrees allow you to take it all the way up and down and it acts as your regular gimbal.
“On our sticks there is a ‘Bowling Center.’ A bowl makes it possible to level your camera without worrying about the legs being perfectly level. It allows for use as a fluid head as well for video.” According to Green, “No other tripod/head system works this way. Our sticks are waterproof, sand-proof and dust-proof as well.”
Wildlife nature photographer Lisa Langell
I didn’t have a chance to use this tripod in the field so I checked with my friend and Fotopro ambassador, Lisa Langell, for the inside scoop. “This setup is pretty damn cool,” she says. “I am a minimalist and I enjoy that it’s a ball head, fluid head and gimbal all-in-one!”
Lisa shared that there’s no rigmarole when shooting a different type of image. “I don’t have to change heads if I see a landscape opportunity while I’m set for tracking birds. I can move from fluid to click-stops that are a built-in option. The lens can easily be positioned on the nodal point (AKA, the entrance pupil) which is a great help for post-process stitching of panoramas.”
When asked about her experience with the waterproof and dirt proof aspect of the tripod Lisa said, “When I shoot in salt water all I need is a quick rinse without taking the tripod apart for cleaning. That’s a great time saver.”
A final feature that I feel is pretty amazing is the entire setup fits into a 20 inch Al Capone’s guitar case and will go as an airline carry on for travel. Learn more about this kit by checking out the Fotopro website. Fotopro believes in their American made gear so much that they offer a six-year warranty.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – Check out this post on why a great tripod can make a great image by Julie Powell.