In-depth tripod overview: Leofoto ‘Summit’ LM-364C: Digital Images Assessment

0
40


The absolutely prolonged Leofoto LM-364C with a compact (non-Leofoto) gimbal, full-frame digital camera, and 500mm prime lens.

Leofoto is a model of Laitu Photographic, a producer that has been making tripods, heads and equipment since 2014, each underneath their very own identify and for different manufacturers. The early merchandise from the Leofoto model have been clearly ‘impressed’ by the designs and appearances of profitable merchandise from different firms. Nevertheless, they’ve lately developed a few of their very own revolutionary gear, in addition to a broad catalog of photographic equipment; from plates and clamps to straps and digital camera cages. The standard of this new gear is meant to compete on the similar stage as among the finest available in the market, as properly, and that’s what we’re right here to judge.



Specs and what’s included

  • Most top of 145 cm (57.1″)
  • Minimal top of 9 cm (3.5″)
  • Folds to 53 cm (20.8″) with 14 cm (5.5″) diameter
  • Weighs 1.92 kg (4.23 lbs) with flat platform
  • 30kg (66 lbs) load restrict
  • Three leg angles (23° / 56° / 87°)
  • 4 leg sections (36mm prime leg diameter 32.5 / 28 / 25mm)
  • 70mm platform side-clamped with launch button
  • Massive weight hook underneath platform
  • Bubble stage included on apex
  • Detachable 42mm mushroom toes on normal 3/8″ thread
  • Consists of padded bag, instruments, directions, 26mm spikes, 75mm video bowl

The Leofoto LM ‘Summit’ collection are all modular apex, systematic tripods, just like the older and bigger ‘Mountain’ collection, and are available 32, 36, and 40mm prime tube sizes. Inside the Summit collection, there are three, 4, and five-section leg choices, in addition to common and lengthy variations. Just lately, Leofoto even added a completely olive inexperienced model of the LM-364CL.

Along with the LM vary, Leofoto additionally makes the LS ‘Ranger’ collection, which share the identical leg choices, however prime them with a compact apex for a slimmer, lighter bundle. This collection consists of the CEX fashions, with a built-in leveling half ball on the slim apex. (Ranger proven on prime, Summit beneath.)

The highest platform on the LM-364C could be changed with the generously included 75mm bowl insert to simply accept massive video heads or appropriately-sized leveling half-balls. Leofoto additionally gives carbon-fiber fast columns, geared columns, and horizontal columns to suit this 70mm central opening. Whether or not these equipment are available in your a part of the world can nonetheless be unsure, although Leofoto is gaining distributors in lots of areas.

To get actually low, and nonetheless be stage, the Leofoto LB-75S leveler suits into the LM-series apex.

In comparison with others

This tripod was examined and in contrast with its modular apex friends. Left to proper; ProMediaGear TR344, Actually Proper Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.

The Leofoto LM-364C was examined and in contrast alongside tripods in the identical class of ‘Sequence 3′ (33-36mm prime leg tube diameter) “Systematic’ (modular apex with detachable platform) sort, when it comes to measurement and utility, together with merchandise from Sirui, Actually Proper Stuff, ProMediaGear, Gitzo and FLM.

All of those tripods have been utilized in 4 seasons of sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; arrange within the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They’ve been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and as much as 4kg (8.8lb) lenses hooked up to cameras starting from APS-C to medium-format, taking pictures something from long-exposure landscapes to excessive telephoto birds-in-flight. The one check they didn’t undergo was being rough-handled on the airport, due to pandemic journey restrictions.

Peak comparability

Beneath is a relative top comparability between the Leofoto LM-364C and a 6 foot (1.83m) photographer.

ExcessiveMidLow

Again to prime


First impressions

The Leofoto Summit LM-364C standing tall on thick legs with a leveling support inserted into the 70mm opening of the modular apex.

The 36mm prime tubes of the LM-364C are the second largest on this group, and the aluminum elements are impressively completed for the worth, with a properly machined apex and good rubber grips on the leg locks. The wide selection of Leofoto equipment out there for these ‘systematic’ tripods will increase their utility and attraction, and the match and end of those extras is equally good. By way of supplies and development, the preliminary impression of Leofoto gear is kind of good.

Nevertheless, the proof is within the particulars. When absolutely prolonged however not but locked, the leg tubes wiggle a bit greater than anticipated, as in the event that they aren’t a really tight match inside one another, or the loosened locks enable an excessive amount of play. As soon as the locks are tightened, in fact, this flex disappears and the legs are inflexible. That is nonetheless totally different from the texture of each different tripod on this group, and factors to a less-precise mating of the tubes and locks.

The flat platform that comes initially put in is a thick and well-finished aluminum plug with deep sides, a big weight hook beneath, agency plastic disk on prime, and a set screw to forestall a head from unscrewing off of it. This platform could be simply swapped out as a result of clamping spider and repositionable locking lever, much like the Gitzo methodology. Nevertheless, in contrast to Gitzo, Leofoto put a pull-out security button prominently on one facet, so it’s potential {that a} unfastened platform might come out with an unintentional knock of that button. That stated, any accountable consumer ought to insure the platform is tightened down earlier than transferring or utilizing any of those tripods.

Every so often, the flat Leofoto Summit platform was swapped for the LB-75S platform leveler, or the included 75mm video bowl and a Leofoto YB-75SP leveling half ball. Each of those extras are as properly made because the tripod itself, and really clean and simple to stage. On account of their normal sizes of 75mm for the half ball, and 70mm for the insert diameter and inside ridges, these equipment can be utilized within the apexes of 4 of the opposite tripods on this group, and labored equally properly on these legs.

The spring-loaded, ratcheting leg angle locks are straightforward to drag from the entrance or push from the again, and ratchet again in fairly properly. Nevertheless, when it will get actually chilly, the grease on the angle locks companies up they usually don’t actually snap again in like they do within the hotter months, or within the studio. Adjusting the angle of every leg remains to be straightforward and fast, however required a nudge typically.

Again to prime


Use within the area

Packed up, the LM-364C is about common in weight, however stays properly tucked into its padded, ‘horn-type’ bag for longer journeys. Whereas the general packed measurement is on the bigger finish of the group, its leg tubes are additionally the second widest, so there’s a number of tripod being carried round. One minor annoyance is that, just like the Gitzo, there isn’t a exhausting cease underneath the apex when folding the legs inward, so with out a heart column, they are often pushed to excessive angles. This made repacking the legs a bit extra cumbersome in comparison with some others.

In use with heavy a great deal of lengthy lenses and gimbals, medium-format cameras and geared heads, and even sophisticated panoramic heads, the hefty Leofoto by no means felt insubstantial or less than the duty. The stabilizing impact of these wider-than-average leg tubes was obvious, and the LM-364C solely exhibited a number of minor hiccups of sliding leg locks or sluggish angle locks whereas supporting no matter was the gear of the day. Contemplating how massive the heads and lenses on prime normally have been, it was hardly ever seen that the Leofoto is the shortest, absolutely deployed, set of legs within the group (by 1cm).

The Leofoto leg locks are properly wrapped in agency, grippy rubber, and are straightforward to understand and unlock. They require only a quarter flip to unlock, and the legs come out fairly simply, however on various events, the legs appeared locked after a fast flip, however then began a sluggish, sliding compression as soon as weight or stress was placed on them.
The included rubber mushroom-style toes labored properly on many various surfaces, and whereas the included spikes have been straightforward sufficient to put in, they appeared quick and a bit insubstantial. They nonetheless did their job on ice and a few softer surfaces. Leofoto makes a spread of different toes out there, together with titanium rock claws, which appear each extreme and enjoyable to check out on the seashore.

One factor to notice, the apex of the LM-364C solely has a single 3/8” threaded gap for accent attachment, much like the Gitzo ‘Simple-Hyperlink,’ somewhat than the everyday 1/4” seen on most equipment and different tripods (whereas the ProMediaGear has each sizes). This simply implies that a reducer bushing might be wanted to connect that ‘magic arm’ or clamp to carry a cellphone, battery pack or different small gadget. Naturally, Leofoto gives 3/8” threaded equipment particularly designed to make use of the anti-twist holes subsequent to this attachment level.

Upkeep

Cleansing the legs of the LM-364C requires pulling off the one-piece shim with much more drive than every other tripod, and it felt like this skinny, plastic half was going to interrupt. It didn’t, however it’s nonetheless a bit unsettling to do that for every leg part. The shortage of rubber seals within the locks can be obvious.

Availability of additional shims is unpredictable in numerous areas, and no point out of spare elements was discovered anyplace from Leofoto, Laitu, or their distributors.

Again to prime


Take a look at outcomes

Vibrations could make even the sharpest lens prove mushy, blurred pictures, and might break lengthy exposures. Within the typical use circumstances for this class of tripod, decreasing the consequences of vibration is extraordinarily vital, since longer focal lengths and better resolutions enlarge the consequences of any motion, and environmental vibrations like wind and water can have an rising impact on bigger legs and kit. Digital camera vibration could be mechanically minimized with mirror lockup, digital shutters, and a distant shutter launch, whereas including weight to the underside of the tripod (with the burden hook or a tripod stone bag) will help stabilize the entire setup. Nevertheless, not all sources of vibration could be eradicated, so we examined whether or not the tripod will dampen them or transmit and replicate them to the digital camera.

The tripod legs have been absolutely prolonged, and our vibration analyzer for heavy-duty tripods (an iPad on a 3.2 kg (7 lb) cantilevered weight) was mounted on to the flat platform’s 3/8″ threaded bolt with an extended lens plate. An industrial solenoid valve with a plastic hammer was used as a supply of vibration (a knock to the underside of 1 leg). The ensuing graph of all three accelerometers exhibits each the resistance of the tripod to the preliminary shock, in addition to the speed of decay for residual vibration inside the tripod.

Leofoto LM-364C vibration resistance check outcomes – click on for bigger graph

*Notice that this graph is relative solely to this class of tripods. The burden and check tools was adjusted to offer a conclusive consequence for this measurement of tripod.

Within the vibration testing, the Leofoto LM-364C confirmed the complete benefit of its 36mm prime tubes and stable development, offering a superb quantity of resistance to the preliminary shock, after which a really fast dampening of any residual vibrations. This places the ‘Summit collection’ Leofoto within the higher half of this aggressive group for direct vibration resistance, solely edged out by the Gitzo and RRS. There may be nothing to complain about right here.

Again to prime


Conclusion

With Leofoto gear on the whole, you get quite a bit for the worth paid, however in some circumstances, that ‘worth’ is coming from the improvements and designs of others. In terms of their tripods, they’re generic sufficient that it is the efficiency that issues, and the LM-364C holds up fairly properly. This ‘Summit’ tripod supplies a pleasant steadiness between measurement, weight and modularity, whereas remaining solidly in the course of this demanding pack of rivals with regards to efficiency.

The low value for this measurement and kind of tripod is the actual attraction, and after a radical overview and lengthy testing interval, there have been just a few minor points with the match of all of the elements. Should you spend a number of time utilizing your tripod, it is a nonetheless a good selection and might be a satisfying companion in lots of situations. The wide selection of choices within the ‘Summit’ and associated ‘Ranger’ collection, with comparable legs and supplies, imply there’s most likely a superb private match within the Leofoto tripod line for many wants.

One ongoing concern is after-sale help and availability of spare elements for a tripod of this sort, which is meant to be maintained and used for a really very long time to return. Admittedly, this will also be a priority for another manufacturers on this comparability in case you are exterior of North America.

What we like

  • Very inexpensive value for stout 36mm legs
  • Superb vibration resistance
  • Makes use of normal apex and foot sizes
  • Comes with video bowl, bag and spikes
  • Numerous associated tripod decisions and equipment

What we do not like

  • Leg tubes and locks do not match exactly
  • No rubber seals inside leg locks
  • Exhausting to get substitute elements

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here