DONT PANIC! I have not gone mad, I have no intention of replacing my lovely Vinten tripods and nor do I wish to use this ridiculously cheap Chinese tripod to replace the pro tripods I normally use. But I have the need for a tripod that is smaller and lighter than the ones I currently use, a tripod that is in effect “disposable” in so much as I can take it on an overseas shoot and leave it behind if I need to. For example when I go to Norway for the Northern Lights shoots we travel by snow scooter and anything I can do to reduce the weight and bulk of the kit the better, so this tripod may end up spending the winter in Norway while I travel back and forwards between December and March. I picked it up in Hong Kong, it cost me about £100 GBP. You can get them on ebay and all over the place.
For 100 quid this is actually rather impressive. It’s rated for a payload up to 7kg, but in my opinion it’s only really suitable for about 2.5kg, but that makes it suitable for a “naked” FS100, FS700 or EX1/PMW-200. It’s almost entirely made from aluminium, there is very little plastic. It appears reasonably well made and is surprisingly sturdy. The legs are 3 stage alloy legs that extend to about 1.6m, there are two versions of the legs, mine are the short version. There is a fixed mid level spreader that cannot be removed or adjusted, but it works quite well. The ends of the legs just have a simple rubber cap on the end, no spikes or twin spikes so fitting a floor spreader might be difficult. A simple twist lock lever locks each stage of the legs. When I purchased my tripod one of these twist locks did not tighten enough to securely lock the legs, but this was cured in about 15 seconds by removing a little plastic cover from the lever, removing a screw and rotating the leaver 1/5th of a turn on it’s spigot and replacing the screw. At the top of the legs there is a 60mm bowl. This is a non-standard size, so most other tripod heads won’t work with these legs.
The tripod head as a 60mm ball and is solidly constructed, it even has a fixed rate counterbalance spring. There is a drag adjustment for tilt, but not for pan. The tilt and pan action is smooth and fluid and the drag levels reasonable for smaller cameras. In addition you can lock both the pan and tilt axis. The camera is attached to the tripod head via a sliding quick release plate, it’s even supplied with both 1/4″ and 3/8″ screws! The pan bar is telescopic and extends but the extension part is a little loose on the fixed part and this can introduce a bit of slop and small jerks to you otherwise smooth camera moves.
Frankly I’m amazed by this tripod. If your in the market for something very cheap, maybe for a small “B” camera or as a backup you really should consider this one. For the money, it appears to be one hell of a tripod. It isn’t in the same class as a Vinten, Miller, Sachtler etc and I have no idea how long it will last, but it’s a lot better than any other £100 tripod that I’ve seen previously.
11 thoughts on “Weifeng WF717 Tripod Review, Cheap as chips camera support.”
Beware! This tripod/head combo is the same (yes, “disposable”) garbage sold under the badged names Fancier, Varizoom sells it, and a couple other brands I’ve noticed over time.
The parts break, especially when you find that the head basically locks up when cold, the spreader wears out and twists up, the viscous grease will leak out and make you very mad, the legs don’t spread out as far as they should, and you definitely get what you pay for.
Mine lasted about a year, but had to be repaired many times. I still use it; it’s about perfect for the beater V1U I use as a “C” camera spare in back of the vehicle just in case.
Totally unsuited for cold weather. Take that from an Alaskan. The legs freeze if they get wet at all … but I guess any could.
I love my Vinten Vision Blue. Love it. I trust that one with my FS700 with the Canon 100-400 L and the SmallHD DP4. NOT the cheapo sticks…not at all!
I’m not suggesting that this tripod is of the same quality as a vinten etc. But you have to consider it is 1/10th of the cost of a vinten blue. My Vinten’s freeze when it gets cold enough, most tripods will unless you have them winterised. If your tripod legs get wet and then freeze, of course they can jam, but that’s just what happens in those circumstances, that’s not down to the quality of the tripod.
Normally at this price point you’ll find a lot of plastic and plastic and cold just don’t mix, over the years I’ve typically had a tripod with plastic parts (especially leg locks and bowls) break on almost every trip north of the Arctric circle. I’ll see how this tripod goes, I suspect it will fare better thanks to the aluminium construction. I’m travelling with it today up to Finland, so far it’s already been half way around the world at the mercy of airline baggage handlers etc and so far so good.
I’m not expecting it to last the 15+ years my original Vinten 5 lasted, but when the tripod costs less than the excess baggage charges on some of the routes I fly I can just junk it at the end of the trip or donate it to a school or student who would I’m sure be very happy with it.
Of course – all you say, and the reasoning behind those words, ring of truth and and the wisdom of experience.
I must say that mine survived being strapped on an ATV when the machine rolled over it….
However, the leaking head drove me nuts. The snapping handle when the head froze really bothered me, and for those of us who, at the time, had barely enough to spend on gear and so had to consider each purchase well, it might have been better saved for a better unit than wasted on something that, in the end, is truly “disposable”.
Still, I keep mine for just that disposable nature, and make sure to protect other gear from the sticky goo (I have two heads, and they both leak!)
Thanks for all you do, by the way! Your work on this site has been most helpful to me!
Sounds like a plastic bag for the head will be a good precaution. Thanks!
Where did you buy in HK?
I got it in one of the camera stores in Mongkok.
Could you please tell more detail about the shop you bought this one? I really need to buy it but cannot find in several camera shop in Mongkok.
Is the shop inside the Mongkok computer center? Or on nearby street?
Thank you in advance!
Heng Fung Photo, 151 Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po.
it’s a good head but it won’t last. The leaking grease thing will happen in 3-4 months so you buy another one. In the end you spend more money. me? I didn’t want to listen and bought it and then had the leaking grease and the camera jumping when panning during a live event (soccer game). People, listen to the others and buy a good head now ad don’t waste your time and money with this cheap one.
So far so good with mine and it’s been around the world twice now. Perhaps I’m just lucky.
I was going to get a tripod HEAD from this brand…
I have been using manfrotto and trying to move on next level, because after I get fs700 + Recorder and Blah Blah, it’s around 30-35lb… (It’s crazy…….) which, I can’t afford more than 1000$ on a new head….
I found this on ebay..
they said “It could handle 40lb”….
Should I trust this company? or.. do you think I need to buy even higher version?
Otherwise, under circumstance, would you recommend us a nice deal 30-35 lb handled tripod head?
I feel very insecure that this would handle my camera…
I wish you get this massage and return it to me… I am super lost now….
Young director. Minwoo Park