As mentioned in a earlier post, I have been using the Vivitar VPT-1250 tripod with my AlexLoop, as suggested by the vendor, Alex PY1AHD. The Vivitar tripod has a few advantages. It’s very light, fits in the AlexLoop carrying case and it’s inexpensive. On the downside, it’s not particularly rugged. It’s a great solution for casual operating but I wanted something a bit more robust for operating in the field.
After doing some searching, I came across the UltraMaxx UM-TR60BK. It’s 60-inch tripod that is much sturdier than the Vivitar tripod. In particular, the very bottom sections of the legs are thicker than those of the Vivitar tripod. The bottom sections of the UltraMaxx are about 19/32″ (13.7mm) compared to 5/16″ (7.85mm) for the Vivitar. It also wasn’t very expensive. I found a source on eBay for less than $20 shipped.
One nice feature of the UltraMaxx is the accessory hook at the bottom of the center post. This can be used to suspend some weight to help stabilize the tripod in windy conditions. I envision using a bungee cord between the accessory hook and my backpack on the ground beneath the tripod.
Adapting the UltraMaxx tripod for use with the AlexLoop was a snap. I easily removed the pan head/camera mount, leaving just the bare center post. The center post is just slightly smaller than the opening of the AlexLoop tubing. So, I took a velcro cable tie, doubled it over and placed it on the center post as I placed the AlexLoop over the post. This gave a nice, snug fit. I also removed the handle attached to the underside of the tripod; I don’t envision a scenario where I would use it.
The sturdiness of the UltraMaxx tripod does come at a price. With the head removed, it only collapses down to 19 inches (48cm) compared to 14.5 inches (37cm) for the Vivitar. The UltraMaxx doesn’t fit inside the AlexLoop bag but it does attach neatly to the outside of my backpack. Also, the UltraMaxx weighs in at 1.3 lbs (584g) compared to 12 ounces (341g) for the Vivitar. For my purposes, this isn’t a huge trade-off.
I don’t plan to retire the Vivitar tripod anytime soon. It will keep its permanent spot inside the AlexLoop bag. It’s still a good solution for quick excursions to the local park. But when I’m out in more rugged conditions, I think the new UltraMaxx tripod will suit my needs a little better.
Now, all I need is some spare time to do some field testing the with the new tripod.
72, Craig WB3GCK