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Lightweight and Affordable? Fstoppers Reviews Two Tripods by K&F Concept.

So many tripod choices out there for photographers to choose from, but where does one start? This time, we’re looking at two affordable options suitable both for professionals as well as amateurs.

During the lockdown, I realized that the tripod I have been using throughout my photography career may actually need to be replaced with something more lightweight and user-friendly. As someone who does not shoot landscapes or architecture on a regular basis, my current tripod, which was a hand-me-down from my mentor, was more than what I needed for the lifestyle shots that I do. It was heavy, took up a lot of space, and was not the easiest to use, albeit very precise and stable, which is ideal for minute adjustments when you’re shooting outdoors, especially if weather conditions are poor. This is why I was thrilled to review not just one but two tripods from K&F Concept!

About

The two tripods I am reviewing are the more lightweight and mobile SA254M1 and the larger and sturdier SA254T1. Both tripods, although different sizes and characteristics, sport a similar design and provide the same user experience. The SA254M1 tripod, currently in stock at $74.99:

  • Made of military magnesium-aluminum alloy
  • Weighs 1.5kg with the ball head, extends up to 62″ with two-section center column, and can be folded to 16.5″
  • Has a 28mm large KF-28 metal ball head
  • Provides 10 kg load capacity and can be rotated 360 degrees
  • Has a detachable monopod
  • Supports low-angle and macro shooting through an inverted central axis.

The SA254T1 model, sold for $139:

  • Made of military magnesium-aluminum alloy
  • Weighs 2.7 kg with the ball head and extends up to 93.8″ with two-section center column
  • Has a 28mm KF-28 metal head
  • Provides 10 kg load capacity and can be rotated 360 degrees
  • The central column moves from 0 to 180 degrees, allowing lay flat photography and more
  • Has a detachable monopod
  • Also supports low angle and macro shooting

Two photography tripods

First Impressions

Both tripods are very similar in the user experience they provide, except the fact that SA254T1 is larger and sturdier and the central column moves, allowing you to use it for lay-flat photography or use it for other types of photography where this comes in handy. Both tripods have the same type of metal head and a tripod plate, which screws in easily on the bottom of your camera. It was nice not to be looking for keys or a small coin to attach it, as these tripods have a small hook, which allows you to screw it in without using any other tools.

These tripods don’t have a lock-in system for attaching the camera to them; instead, you loosen the grip on the top and slide the plate in and then tighten it. As someone coming from using a system with a lock-in, it took me a moment to get used to it and to fully trust the tripod that my camera was secure!

Attaching a Fuji camera to a tripod.

The movements of the ball head feel smooth but secure enough. As you loosen it up, you can manually move your camera in any direction with ease, but it also means compromising on not having a knob or lever that would permit very precise and minute movements of it. Although I don’t shoot architecture or interiors very often, I know this can be crucial for that type of photography where you may only want to move your camera slightly to get the perfect composition or angle.

The legs on both tripods extend easily, as does the center column. When changing the angle of legs, you need to press down the angle adjustment button and use your strength to move the legs either in or out depending on what you are trying to achieve. I say “use your strength” because it can be a bit of hard work at times, but once you get used to it, you will soon learn the best way to change the angle. For me, it is pressing the tripod against me and then pushing the leg out to change the angle. The adjustment button will lock in place and the leg will not move. However, there may be times where the angle required may fall between the two adjustment levels, which means the leg isn’t locked in. I still found that the tripod was sturdy enough even in times like that, and it did not bother me that they weren’t fully locked in.

Locking mechanism of a tripod.

Ease of Use

I used both tripods primarily with my Fuji XT-3 with a variety of lenses, but they held my heavier Nikon D750 just fine, too. My work and personal photography are generally in quite controlled and safe environments, as I don’t generally use a tripod and shoot in nature. Both felt sturdy and safe enough to hold my cameras at a variety of angles and arrangements. When using the SA254T1 model to shoot flat-lay photography, you will need to ensure that it doesn’t become too top-heavy; however, both tripods allow you to hang any sandbags or anything heavy enough underneath them to hold them down. 

K&F Concept tripod system.

Close up of a tripod center column.

Initially, I thought I would be using the SA254T1 tripod more, but having used the lightweight SA254M1, I realized I can shoot most of my photography and video footage using it instead. The lightweight factor was something completely new to me because my previous tripod weighed a ton, and it always felt almost like an arm exercise session every time I had to use it for a shoot. After I took SA254M1 with me to one shoot in the city, I couldn’t get over how light it is and how much more flexible I feel walking to the shoot on foot, carrying my camera bag, and this small tripod in its bag. Ever since then, I would only use SA254T1 if I had the necessity to shoot flat-lay. Of course, this is based on the equipment I use and may not appeal to others who use heavier photography equipment and need that extra level of sturdiness and safety.

What I Liked

  • Both tripods are relatively light, yet feel secure.
  • Both tripods fold down and are compact to store and carry in a bag. As somebody who often uses tripods in different locations as opposed to a permanent studio, I found this to be very important.
  • Monopod legs have a smooth grip material around them, which makes handling and carrying the tripod easier, especially in cold weather.
  • SA254T1 gives the option to shoot lay-flat, making it a good budget option for content creators.
  • The inverted central axis on both tripods allows us to shoot low angles, very useful for a variety of photography and video needs.
  • A detachable monopod is a bonus that can come in handy.
  • Both are priced very reasonably. 

A man using camera on a tripod.

What Could Be Improved

  • I haven’t been a fan of the leg angle adjustment button system. I sometimes found it hard to press down the button and move the leg at the same time. Although I like how the legs feel and are built, I still would have preferred a slightly more comfortable button to press down.
  • I would have preferred a more secure-feeling way to attach the camera to the tripod. It can be fiddly at times to slide it in, and I can see this being a slight issue or an annoyance for photographers who may be working in low-light scenarios or are working with gloves on. 

Conclusion

I have officially retired my previous heavy-duty tripod in favor of these two ever since I tested them out. The smaller SA254M1 is perfect for photographers or videographers who need a lightweight travel tripod, which can still be used for a wide range of scenarios indoors, too. Being able to carry all my gear easily from my car to the shoot has been great, because with my previous tripod, I wouldn’t be able to hold anything else in the hand that’s carrying it. Whereas with the SA254M1, I can just throw it over my shoulder or easily carry it in hand, which then makes it easier to carry other accessories, such as a reflector and more. 

Unfortunately, the SA254M1 does not support flat-lat photography, which means that having the two is a perfect combination for a photographer or videographer who produces very varied content. The larger SA254T1 can be stored at home or at a studio to make the most of the flat-lay shooting, while the SA254M1 is something that can travel with you all the time without taking up that much space. The price of them both combined is still less than some of the more known tripods on the market, which makes these two a very good option for budget-conscious photographers and videographers. 


Source
FStoppers.Com

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