Today I’ve been out walking the Severn Way through Gloucestershire and it was a good opportunity to take my new mini tripod with me:
It’s the Cullmann Alpha 380. Flexible, compact and similar to the GorillaPod brand.
I’ve been wanting something like this for several months, as an aid to filming video footage for YouTube. Before now, I’ve had to balance my camera precariously on top of walls, fence posts and trig pillars.
There was a time when I would’ve spent £45 on a less-flexible mini tripod… But, after seeing another model in the flesh quite recently, I decided to part with less than half of that amount.
It’s hard for me to be critical of this product, right now. For starters, I have only taken it out and used it once.
Perhaps this is due to the size and weight of my camera (Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4) but I couldn’t get the legs to wrap around this metal field gate tightly enough so that the unit wouldn’t rotate.
Practice may also improve this situation and I was trying to position the camera for a portrait shot. Sitting vertically, the pod holds its own very well.
It’s easy enough to make even slight adjustments and I’ve not experienced any suggestion of moving or ‘sagging’ under load. The actual camera mount does not tilt, meaning you need to alter at least one leg in order to adjust the angle.
A standard thread (I haven’t measured the pitch but it fits perfectly – ¼in?) is used to attach the dovetail-shaped mounting piece to the camera. Depending on how you intend to use it, you may find the slotted screw head a frustration, as you ultimately need to use a tool of some sort, each time you wish to remove or refit the plate.
Personally, I’d like to have seen something similar to what you see above (it folds down when not required), which is a feature of my cheap full-size tripod. Totally tool-free.
Other than that, it locks in to its housing solidly. There’s no risk of it falling out and the quick release lever (located above the legs but not in shot) seems to be very reliable.
Time will tell the rest of the story. Perhaps I’ll report back with a fresh look in six months’ time. Depending on where you shop, the Cullmann Alpha 380 is available in a small range of colours (I’ve seen black, blue and red). I went for the blue option because it stands out, most people buy these things in black and, well, blue is my favourite colour!