Velbon Ultra Luxi-L & PHD-41Q 3-Way Head

In its folded state, the Velbon Ultra Luxi-L measures a compact 39cm in length, but despite its deceptively small size, when fully extended its five leg sections allow it to reach an impressive maximum height of 161cm. It’s lightweight, too, weighing in at just 1.32kg, and comes packed with a nifty carry-case for easy transit.

Velbon Ultra Luxi-L & PHD-41Q 3-Way Head

Velbon Ultra Luxi-L & PHD-41Q 3-Way Head

Taking an average of just 19.66secs to set up, the Velbon was quite quick to erect, thanks to its innovative twist-lock design that allows you to unlock all five leg sections with a single rotation of the tripod foot. This method also helped with a speedy pack-away time, though we found that once the feet had been exposed to mud, retracting and locking the legs meant that dirt was unavoidably transferred to your hands.

The five aluminium leg sections taper in quite thinly and as a result, applying pressure showed extreme signs of bowing and ‘whip’ at its maximum height. We also found it easy to accidentally under-tighten the leg locks, causing the leg sections to slip in use, which was frustrating. On the positive side, shooting low to the ground was easy thanks to the reversible centre column, which could also be shortened further by unscrewing the bottom section. 

The included PHD-41Q 3-way head has an impressive build quality and features, providing 3 separate spirit levels for straight shots. Two rubberised handles provide plenty of purchase, making adjustments easy, with the top-most handle able to screw into either the left or right-hand side of the head.

Specification

This review was first published in the November 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.