Ask any four different photographers what type of tripod they prefer, and you will get four different answers. Ask those four photographers for a specific model recommendation, and you will likely get a mini lesson in their favorite fields or specialties, along with a good half dozen model numbers from each.
I know because I’ve conducted surveys like that before. Very enlightening, actually.
An outdoor nature photographer, like one of my passions is, would enjoy using the Zomei Z818C convertible tripod/monopod which I will review here today.
Zomei Z818C Tripod/Monopod At a Glance[wp-review id=”790″]
Zomei Z818C Tripod/Monopod Review
Weight: 3.66 lbs
Collapsed Height: 22″
Extended Height: 64″
Maximum Load: 30 lbs
Head Type: Ball Head
Materials: Carbon Fiber
Price: Click here to find latest price
When choosing a tripod for outdoor nature use, weight is one of the major considerations. Leg and column tubes are made of carbon fiber. This offers strength and durability with a very low weight. Together with the tripod head, the Zomei Z818C weighs in at just a tad under 4 pounds.
Hiking around with this tripod was loads of fun. It fit into my backpack straps easily, plus it comes with its own carrying case for transporting it around without hiking and camping gear. It was easy to carry around town too, with a sling I made out of old camera straps.
Durability of this tripod was never in question in my mind because I am familiar with the high quality of the Zomei brand. Being made of high quality materials, the Z818C continues to show good craftsmanship in its manufacturing.
Fit and finish of all parts was excellent. That is an important thing, because any product is only as good as the weakest link. The carbon fiber construction of the legs and center column are corrosion resistant in addition to being robust and extremely strong.
Maximum height of this tripod is about 5 ½ feet, as a monopod it comes in just a little below that initial height.
When using a tripod out in nature or on urban excursions, height is often a little less important than adaptability and adjustability. The Z818C is very adjustable, the legs can be independently set at several different angles, and the center column can be reversed.
Used as a monopod, the height was more than adequate for most uses I put it through. It doesn’t extend up high enough for me to use standing up without stooping over a little, a posture I have a dislike for in long photoshoots. But for a short period of time, it’s alright.
I noticed too, that I rarely tried to use the monopod set up at full height, but I was more often seated on a handy object or keeling.
Stability in a tripod is vital for a nature photographer, especially when using long telephotos and macro lenses. I felt the Z818C was very stable, even when used on uneven ground with my largest lens I take out in nature. The strong legs and the secure locking mechanisms contribute to the stability.
Used as a monopod, stability was not a major issue. It handled even my heavy equipment well with me as part of the stability equation.
Load capacity of the Zomei Z818C convertible tripod was a generous 30+ pounds, but I think that may be too generous of an estimation. While it handled the heaviest gear I had, I maxed out at about 15 pounds or so.
It was stable and secure at that weight. Going up to 30 pounds, though, I really don’t see how this tripod with the medium ball and socket head could handle that without any drifting.
It’s a well made medium duty ball and socket head with separate locking knobs for the ball and for the panning movement. The pan motion is also calibrated with bright, easy to read markings. It was easy to operate, even with leather gloves on, and everything locked securely in place with the weight of the lenses I was using.
The quick release system was definitely up to the task for the uses I put this tripod to. Extra plates are available at additional cost. The quick release let me switch between the camera I had mounted and a camcorder I brought along to document my trek for YouTube. Yeah, I’m a sucker for vlogging now.
This tripod was a great fit for most of my needs. I was pleased with the smooth operation and stability. With the ability to convert to a monopod, many serious photographers could find the Zomei Z818C to be their choice for a new or first tripod.