Review: UCO Ultrapod Small Tripod

2007-06-04

in Geek stuff, Photography, Rants

For the Paris trip, Hilary kindly acted as courier for this small tripod, sold by Mountain Equipment Co-Op. While it is not without some good features, it is a disappointment overall. The main reason for this is bad design.

The first mistake has to do with the rubber pads at the base of the legs. They fall off very easily: particularly the one shaped like an L-joint. They should be tighter or glued on. The second problem is with the velcro strap. It has no convenient place to go when the tripod is unfolded, except wrapped around one leg. It should be positioned more intelligently for situations where you want to fold and unfold the tripod often, or it should be made removable. I have never used it once, but I am a bit hesitant to irreversibly cut it off.

Far and away the biggest problem has to do with the knob controlling the ballhead. Even if you twist the knob with as much torque as you can possibly muster, the tripod head remains somewhat loose. If you want to keep the tripod on the side of your camera with the legs folded up along one side, the friction between the ball and the plastic socket for it is not enough to keep it there. Even more annoyingly, when you have tightened the knob as much as you can, it often becomes badly stuck. You will find yourself frequently using your teeth to loosen it. I have had to resort to pliers on several occasions.

While light and promising in its form-factor, this little tripod does not live up to its potential. I am grateful to Hilary for bringing it, but my search for a small, always-on tripod for my A510 is not over.

PS. ThinkGeek sells the same device.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon June 5, 2007 at 10:51 am

It is tough for something to be light, cheap, and capable at the same time.

Milan June 5, 2007 at 11:01 am

The issues I identify could be fixed without making the device any heavier or more expensive.

Tom June 6, 2007 at 8:38 pm

Try oiling the knob. It will make it easier to both tighten and loosen.

Milan June 8, 2007 at 10:33 am

Tom,

That did help, though the general problem remains.

Milan November 14, 2007 at 2:33 pm

The tripod has continued to weaken in the ways described above, but is still quite usable. I will buy a new one the next time I see one on sale in a brick and mortar store.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: