Searching for the "perfect" mini tripod - XILETU XS-20 as a finallist? What's Yours?

Paul C

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
137
The whole reason for M4/3 is the small size; 1/2 size camera body + 1/4 frame sensor +1/4 size and weight of lenses = 4 times as many lenses in the same bag compared to my Nikon FF system....hooray!

With such a lightweight camera kit - the accessories have to be small too. I use step up rings to keep to one filter size, have searched out the smallest slave flashguns and triggers, shrunk the size of my tripod and monopod - but still want something more - the "perfect" mini "table top" tripod.

With the English winter now fully here - its a time of biting cold winds, grey skies at noon, and 1/4 second exposures......so time to be carrying a tripod if you want to keep the sensor ISO low.

Minitripod - mania:
I have lost count of the ones I have tried, and the many that I have bought, ranging in price from no-name Chinese micro-size tripods at £1/$1.25 to beautifully made but functionally useless Giotto's at more than £45/$55. However, my latest "best find" has turned out to be one of the cheapest. It is forgetably called a XILETU XS-20, and cost all of $8.00, postage paid, and has come in 2.5 weeks after ordering from a well-known Chinese Buying website. It arrived today, and after a good try out I am very impressed.
  • Please note - I spend my own hard-earned money on photography - and have no connection with the maker or seller
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For the price I paid - this XILETU XS-20 has to be the best value of all my tripod finds - so far!
Plus points:
  1. It has a ball head - meaning that with uneven surfaces you can always level up the shot
    • now you know why in practice I hate the Giotto with its 5 degree stepping "click stop" head - what posessed me to buy it I cannt fathom
  2. The ball head is far larger than on most mini-tripods - meaning that it it is smooth in use and will lock to hold a Lumix with a 40-150 zoom without drooping under gravity.
  3. The ball head can be adjusted 90-degrees to come parallell to the ground - meaning you can shoot in portrait format.
  4. The legs have two locking positions - set by twisting the grey ring by 30-degrees, so it can be set up either 11 or 14 cm from the surface
  5. Although this is mainly "ABS" type plastic the degree of flex with a micro 4/3 camera and lens is small. Even with a lot of arm weight the most flex I have achieved is 4mm today.
    • ABS plastic goes brittle with age - so I am under no illusions that in a decade's time it might crack if dropped
  6. Weight is 143g
  7. Folded - it is 20cm long - ideal for a space in the corner of my small size camera bag or for throwning in the outside pocket of a rucksack.
  8. It is fixed together with phillips' head screws/bolts - so can be tightened up easily with a screwdriver or swiss-army knife if you need it
  9. At this price, I can afford to pack it, use it and potentially loose it
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For just $8, with the ball head (a mobile phone holder is a dollar or two more) I think this has to be amongst the best price / weight / rigidity/ utility mini-tripods I have got.

Now, of course, the strength of the MU-43 readership is their collective wisdom and experience......and I can be sure that some others of you have equally impressive finds to brag about to send me back to searching out the "yet better still" piece of kit ! However, if your pockets are not deep, and you were looking for a mini-tripod to complement the M4/3 cameras and "amateur" lenses - I think this has to be on your shortlist. When I ordered it, I could find very few "real world" reviews to guide my judgement - but at $8.00 I felt it worth the gamble...you, dear MU-43 reader, now have one more review to go on in making your choice.
  • For what its worth, up until now, my top mini tripod was the "Made in Germany" Yashica ST-7.
    • which was derived from the much heavier Leitz Tabletop mini-tripod
  • The Yashica ST-7 is great - it was designed to go with the Yashico electro GTN/GSN rangefinder cameras -
    • but it has insufficient spread of its legs to keep a Lumix with a 40-150mm steady (although it is still good for a lumix camera with a 14-42mm or 25mm lens)
    • and it is a fiddle to unscrew the legs and screw them bag on compared with the XILETU XS-20
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Best wishes to you all - Paul in the UK
 

Snapshooter

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
17
The Pedco Ultrapods are wonderful. They are super light, small ball head mini tripods. They come with a Velcro strap that allows you to attach the tripod to objects such as branches, posts, or railings too.

For light camera/lens setups, the Ultrapod I will work: it weighs just 2 ounces and its capacity is rated as 3 pounds (though in practice, I think it is less, particularly if the attached lens makes the camera front heavy).

The Ultrapod II is more appropriate for most m43 setups. It weighs 4 ounces, and has a rated capacity of 6 pounds (though I imagine it has the same dynamic as the smaller version, with the center of gravity of the camera/lens combo dictating what the actual capacity is).

I have the Ultrapod I and love it, but want to get the Ultrapod II for heavier lenses.

More info: https://www.industrialrev.com/pedco
 

Holoholo55

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Aug 13, 2014
Messages
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Honolulu, HI
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Walter
I have a Pentax table-top tripod like this. https://www.ebay.com/itm/254179592502
It's sturdy, but because of the way it folds up, it can be a little bulky to pack.

I then bought an Ultrapod II, which is OK. Not as sturdy as the Pentax, but a bit more compact. OK for a light camera and lens.

My best mini-tripod is undoubtedly a MeFoto Daytrip. https://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/08/06/review-mefoto-daytrip-tripod/
However, the QR mount is not standard Arca-Swiss and it couldn't take my Peak Design plate or an L-plate, so I changed out the QR mount to a small Arca-Swiss mount. The DayTrip is discontinued, but still available from various sources.
 
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drknaim

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Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
111
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Düsseldorf/Germany
Real Name
Tim
I like this mini tripod by Cullmann (Cullmann Magnesit Copter Multistativ inkl. CB2.7 Kugelkopf). It is very well made, relatively slim compared to some others... has a rotating head as well and you could even use it to hold your camera similar to a gimbal. It goes really well with the 10L sling from peak design, since I can put it into the front compartment together with a small umbrella or 0.5L water bottle. Could also be useful for an off camera flash...

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Attachments

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Jun 1, 2019
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533
Location
Seattle
From a YouTube video that I was watching sometime ago, I stumbled upon this: SwitchPod (https://switchpod.co/products/switchpod)
I like how it looks and the way it deploys but I am skeptical of these new kickstarter campaigns and the it is not exactly cheap either (US$100).
Anyway, pretty interesting design and unfolding mechanism.

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)
Real Name
Jean
I really like the FLM CP10 mini Tripod. It is very well made and highly flexible, the legs will adjust to almost any angle. -9in. max height, 10 in. folded, 120g- (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/999205-REG/flm_32_10_901_cp10_a1_tabletop_tripod.html)
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I have a bit of a mini Tripod affliction ... In the mail heading this way is the Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod. It is a bit bigger than the FLM CP10 and hope it will still be small enough for me to want to carry around! -16 in. max height, folded 11 in., weight 445g-
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I will not speak of the others that came before and I fully understand this is an incurable disease!!

Cheers!
 

JLGF1

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Oct 20, 2017
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Jerry
4.5 stars on B&H.

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Holoholo55

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Joined
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Honolulu, HI
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Walter
I have a bit of a mini Tripod affliction ... In the mail heading this way is the Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod. It is a bit bigger than the FLM CP10 and hope it will still be small enough for me to want to carry around! -16 in. max height, folded 11 in., weight 445g-
View attachment 790519


I will not speak of the others that came before and I fully understand this is an incurable disease!!

Cheers!
This Oben looks really good. If I didn't already have a MeFoto DayTrip, I'd consider this. It's also about a pound lighter than the DayTrip, which is definitely a consideration when you're packing it on a hike or walking around a distance.
 

Paul C

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
137
"I have a bit of a mini Tripod affliction" said Jean from Ontario - O2BanRRT - so I am pleased to see that it isn't just me who has spent a lifetime of photography on the same quest for the Holy Grail !

===========================
Thanks all for these suggestions

the SIRUI 3T15K suggested looks a lot like my choice - but is clearly built of metal and has a more sophisticated head. The Cullman one clearly fills the same design brief - If my current Xiletu loses rigidity one of those seems to be a good way to go next...

But what of some of the other suggestions ?
I keep lookig at these mid-size 2 or 3 section small tripods (shall we have to call these "midi-tripods" then?) as they get the camera off the grass and scrub level for images in the open countryside - but by them I have my walking rucksack on and the new £40/$50 lightweight near full size tubular 5-section tripods from China seem more worthwhile to carry - they get to at least 4'5" or 5-foot height and with a slight stoop for the viewfinder or composing on the fold out screen can be used to set up a photo without kneeling in the mud. So although I look longingly at them in the camera shop - my good sense keeps kicking in and I say "no" - however these designs are relatively new and I guess that the price will fall a lot over the next years and my temptation will mount ! How do they turn out in practice then - any advice from a user ?

1576160921942.png
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The "Pentax table-top tripod" that was suggested by Walter from Honolulu is one that has been sold in various brands - Cullman, Hama, Polaroid...I have had one too - it is all metal, very rigid but heavy - and I have to say it does feature in my list of finallists. Again I agree - it is great for micro 4/3 cameras although the ball head size is small and not so easy to micro-adjust. One negative - folded up it always excites interest at airport security checks - I have never failed but be checked with this one as the guards say it looks a bit like the stock and bolt of a pistol on x-ray image - so keep it ready for inspection in an outside pocket when flying off on holiday!

Pentax folding tripod.jpg
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That Feisol tripod looks great - but it looks a bit over-engineered for a "mini-tripod" definition and at near 10x the price has to strongly justify its place in my smallest camera bag. The acid test for a "mini-tripod" must be that between shots it can be stuffed into a jacket pocket without tearing it, falling out or giving you painful prods as you move about.

For a Lumix G8 (487 grams or 17.2 ounces) and a kit 14-42mm lens at 110gm (3.88 oz) we don't need a mini tripod to be very strong. This suggests that with modern design, lightweight materials and construction there may be a long way for the structure of mini-tripods to evolve before we reach "optimal performance".

Thanks to you all for your suggestions - clearly the range and variety of mini-tripods on offer in the shops and websites such as Amazon tells us that the quest for the optimal size, design and build for mini-trioids is still far from over !
 

threeOh

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
57
The whole reason for M4/3 is the small size; 1/2 size camera body + 1/4 frame sensor +1/4 size and weight of lenses = 4 times as many lenses in the same bag compared to my Nikon FF system....hooray!

With such a lightweight camera kit - the accessories have to be small too. I use step up rings to keep to one filter size, have searched out the smallest slave flashguns and triggers, shrunk the size of my tripod and monopod - but still want something more - the "perfect" mini "table top" tripod.

With the English winter now fully here - its a time of biting cold winds, grey skies at noon, and 1/4 second exposures......so time to be carrying a tripod if you want to keep the sensor ISO low.

Minitripod - mania:
I have lost count of the ones I have tried, and the many that I have bought, ranging in price from no-name Chinese micro-size tripods at £1/$1.25 to beautifully made but functionally useless Giotto's at more than £45/$55. However, my latest "best find" has turned out to be one of the cheapest. It is forgetably called a XILETU XS-20, and cost all of $8.00, postage paid, and has come in 2.5 weeks after ordering from a well-known Chinese Buying website. It arrived today, and after a good try out I am very impressed.
  • Please note - I spend my own hard-earned money on photography - and have no connection with the maker or seller
View attachment 790435


For the price I paid - this XILETU XS-20 has to be the best value of all my tripod finds - so far!
Plus points:
  1. It has a ball head - meaning that with uneven surfaces you can always level up the shot
    • now you know why in practice I hate the Giotto with its 5 degree stepping "click stop" head - what posessed me to buy it I cannt fathom
  2. The ball head is far larger than on most mini-tripods - meaning that it it is smooth in use and will lock to hold a Lumix with a 40-150 zoom without drooping under gravity.
  3. The ball head can be adjusted 90-degrees to come parallell to the ground - meaning you can shoot in portrait format.
  4. The legs have two locking positions - set by twisting the grey ring by 30-degrees, so it can be set up either 11 or 14 cm from the surface
  5. Although this is mainly "ABS" type plastic the degree of flex with a micro 4/3 camera and lens is small. Even with a lot of arm weight the most flex I have achieved is 4mm today.
    • ABS plastic goes brittle with age - so I am under no illusions that in a decade's time it might crack if dropped
  6. Weight is 143g
  7. Folded - it is 20cm long - ideal for a space in the corner of my small size camera bag or for throwning in the outside pocket of a rucksack.
  8. It is fixed together with phillips' head screws/bolts - so can be tightened up easily with a screwdriver or swiss-army knife if you need it
  9. At this price, I can afford to pack it, use it and potentially loose it
View attachment 790441

For just $8, with the ball head (a mobile phone holder is a dollar or two more) I think this has to be amongst the best price / weight / rigidity/ utility mini-tripods I have got.

Now, of course, the strength of the MU-43 readership is their collective wisdom and experience......and I can be sure that some others of you have equally impressive finds to brag about to send me back to searching out the "yet better still" piece of kit ! However, if your pockets are not deep, and you were looking for a mini-tripod to complement the M4/3 cameras and "amateur" lenses - I think this has to be on your shortlist. When I ordered it, I could find very few "real world" reviews to guide my judgement - but at $8.00 I felt it worth the gamble...you, dear MU-43 reader, now have one more review to go on in making your choice.
  • For what its worth, up until now, my top mini tripod was the "Made in Germany" Yashica ST-7.
    • which was derived from the much heavier Leitz Tabletop mini-tripod
  • The Yashica ST-7 is great - it was designed to go with the Yashico electro GTN/GSN rangefinder cameras -
    • but it has insufficient spread of its legs to keep a Lumix with a 40-150mm steady (although it is still good for a lumix camera with a 14-42mm or 25mm lens)
    • and it is a fiddle to unscrew the legs and screw them bag on compared with the XILETU XS-20
View attachment 790442

Best wishes to you all - Paul in the UK
The XILETU is sold under a variety of different brands. I agree the design just works and works very well.
 

JLGF1

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Messages
614
Real Name
Jerry
It is forgetably called a XILETU XS-20, and cost all of $8.00, postage paid, and has come in 2.5 weeks after ordering from a well-known Chinese Buying website.
This one?

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JensM

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
702
Location
Oslo(ish), Norway
Real Name
As screename
I have a horrible SLIK, and a very nice Manfrotto 709B. The latter is so tiny that there are no reason to leave it at home.
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