Tripods are very important but often a secondary consideration when putting together a camera kit due to their relatively high cost. But a good quality stable tripod with a decent fluid head can make a world of difference. All too often I see people struggling with tripods with low quality fluid heads or wobbly legs.
Buy a good tripod and it will likely outlast any camera that you buy, so really it makes a lot of sense to get the best you can afford. Most of you are probably already familiar with premium brands such as Miller, Sachtler or Vinten etc and you will never go far wrong with a tripod from them, but they are not cheap. So what about something similar but a bit more affordable, without sacrificing performance, features or quality?
Let me introduce you to the Camgear Elite 8 Mini, which was launched at NAB 2022
This is a lower cost alternative to a Sachtler tripod. The design is in fact based on a Sachtler design and a lot of the parts such as the camera base plates are interchangable. It is made in China, but is well constructed. In order to reduce costs Sachtler tripods are no longer made in Germany (I believe they are now made in Costa Rica).
The kit features a nice counterbalanced fluid head that can take a camera up to 10Kg. The carbon fiber tripod legs have a 75mm bowl and feature a single high level locking lever for each leg, so there is no need to bend down to reach a low lever at the bottom of the legs. The kit comes with everything you need including rubber feet, mid level spreader and pan bar. Weighing in at 5.7kg this tripod provides a very reasonable balance between stability and portability. Heavier tripods will always tend to be more stable, but no one really wants to carry more weight than necessary. The fluid head is very nice, it has 4 stages of damping for pan and tilt (off plus 3 different damping levels) with a very smooth action and none sticking that is common with cheaper tripod. The head will counterbalance up to 10kg and the counterbalance adjustment is in 1kg steps.
There are some nice little touches beyond the original Sachtler design such as a revised and easier to use release lever for the quick release plate, a built in tool for undoing the base plate screws and it even comes with spare screws attached to the tripod head.
I feel this tripod is a great match for cameras such as the Sony FX6 or perhaps a lighter weight FX9 kit. Take a look at the video for more details or check them out at your local dealer.
Disclosure: I was assisting Aspectra, the European distributor for Camgear at the NAB2022 show. But, I really do think this is a nice tripod for the money and the views above and in the video are my own honest opinion based on the time I spend testing the tripod in Las Vegas.