The LM-403C is our baby - a custom model made for the ZA market. To understand why we went to the effort of having this custom model made, you need to geek out a bit on tripods.
There are many factors that determine the rigidity of a tripod leg, but the two main ones are 1) leg diameter and 2) section count. Leg diameter is the simple one - bigger is better and 40mm is the largest tube size that Leofoto makes. Joints perform an essential role in tripod design - they lock telescopic leg sections, which allow tripods to extend very tall, but fold down to a practical size. The more joints you add to a tripod's leg, the shorter it folds down. This does however come with two downsides - each section/joint requires 3x actions (1x action per leg) to be deployed/extended. Joints also compromise rigidity - if you compare two tripods with the same leg diameter, but a 3-section and a 5-section version (e.g. LM-403 vs LM-405), you'll quickly see that the 5-section has a lot more flex.
You can thus add more sections to a tripod to make it fold down shorter, but at some point you are compromising too much rigidity and deployment time. For some people 5-section tripods are great - such as photographers who do serious hiking or have to fly with their tripods often. The opposite is the SO-362C, a 2-section tripod which deploys at lightning speed and has incredible leg rigidity, but folds down to a whopping 1.2m. It is totally unpractical to travel or hike with, but for those who want the ultimate rigidity and deployment time, it is perfectly justified.
4-Section tripods like the LM-404 are arguably the most popular as they offer a sweet spot between everything, but 4-sections is still prioritising folded size over rigidity. In our opinion, for the shooting and hunting market, 3-sections is the sweet spot. It can be deployed in under 10-seconds, offers incredibly rigid 40mm legs, but still folds down to 70cm, which you can hike and fly with if necessary.
Our camo tripods are not just about aesthetics - it serves a much more important role that is not so obvious. The carbon fiber tubes are wrapped in an ultra-hard protective vinyl, which offers a layer of protection between the elements and your tripod. Most of the tripods going into the shooting community end up on farms and game reserves, where they are carried through the veld and transported on the back of a bakkie. This is a tough life and we want to make sure our tripods last as long as possible when put to real use doing hard work. The camo wrap goes a long way to ensuring years of hard use before the elements start wearing away at the epoxy on the carbon tubes.
For the camo lovers, there is also the added bonus of the aesthetic.
For those who aren't so fond of camo, don't fear - we have black LM-403 on the way due November 2023.
- Material - Carbon Fiber with protective vinyl wrap
- Leg Sections - 3
- Maximum Height - 162cm
- Closed Length - 70cm
- Weight - 2380g
- Load Capacity - 40kg
LM-403C heights at each leg lock angle
|With 0 sections extended||642mm||423mm||110mm|
|With 1 section extended||1145mm||730mm||155mm|
|With 2 sections extended||1614mm||1005mm||195mm|
The Summit series is Leofoto's large tripod range offering a modular apex that can accept a leveling base or a wide variety of heads. These tripods offer maximum support, stability and compatibility along with Leofoto's proprietary accessory connection port.
Modular Accessories - One of the key attractions of systematic tripods is the removable apex plate, which can be interchanged with a variety of other accessories.
- In-Apex Leveling Base Photography |A must-have for panorama and video shooters. Click here for the YB-75LP.
- In-Apex Leveling Base SOAR | A leveling base is the most affordable head for sports use. Due to the long ranges at which all shooting is done, shooters don't need nearly as much articulation/pitch as photographers need, making a leveling base the perfect psuedo-head. Click here for the YB-75LR.
- Video Heads | All Leofoto 32- and 36- series Summit tripods are compatible with 75mm balls and a 75mm bowl adapter is included with all tripods. All Leofoto 40 series tripods are compatible with 100mm balls and a 100mm bowl adapter is included with the tripod. Leofoto's video heads can be found here.
- Center Column | Center columns are a must-have for studio photographers. Leofoto make both standard and geared columns for the Summit tripods, which can be found here.
Modern Apex Design - Summit series tripods feature an apex machined from aircraft grade aluminium. About 30% of the apex chassis is machined away to save weight, resulting in a hollowed out design that doesn’t compromise on strength or rigidity. Atop the apex you will find a standard 3/8” mounting screw compatible with 99% of tripod heads as well as a big, bright spirit level. The bottom features a hook for attaching weight in windy conditions, but the hook can be removed to reveal another 3/8” mounting hole.
The side of the apex features 3 instruments –
- A screw clamp that locks the apex around the baseplate/bowl adapter/center column.
- Safety catch with a simple pull-tab to release the baseplate/bowl adapter/center column from the apex.
- Leofoto 3/8” proprietary attachment port for magic arms and other accessories.
Premium Joint Assembly - The legs attach via stainless steel hinge shafts and brass bushings to a machined aluminium hinge chassis – premium materials you won’t see on many tripods in the market today.
Premium Japanese Carbon Fiber - Leofoto uses 10x layer cross-weave carbon fiber tubes made by Toray Inc – one of the world’s top carbon fiber manufacturers. This ensures strength and rigidity, while ensuring class-leading weight specifications. The hinges feature self-returning angle-selectors, a small feature that speeds up operation. All Summit tripods offer leg angles of 23, 55 and 85 degrees.
Uncomplicated Joints – All tripod ranges feature fat joints with prominent ribbing to provide great grip and torque for easy loosening and tightening of the joints. One of Leofoto’s proprietary features is a single-piece joint-shim (the shim helps legs to lock together more firmly and prevents the legs from being able to rotate within each other); those who have opened up a twist-joint tripod and seen parts fly will know the frustration of disassembling and reassembling those delicate internal components. All Leofoto tripods feature a one-piece shim, which makes maintenance and cleaning of the joints much easier.
Beveled Aluminium Core Feet – A tripod foot is just a piece of rubber, right? Think again! Most manufacturer’s tripod feet are just a steel spike encased in rubber – this makes it heavy and allows a lot of flex/vibration in the malleable rubber. Leofoto’s engineers have gone to great lengths to make the ultimate tripod foot and the result is an internal aluminium frame that minimizes the amount of flexible rubber in the construction. While this is a tiny detail, it adds to the rigidity of the tripod. All Leofoto ranges’ feet feature a multi-angled bevel, which helps it to grip on uneven terrain. All Leofoto tripods also include a set of spiked feet for shooting on ice or slippery rocks.
All aluminium components are treated with a hard-anodization process for durability against scratches and bumps.
Naming Convention | LM-404C
- LM | Summit
- 40 | 40mm top leg diameter
- 3 | 3-section
C | Carbon Fiber
- Material - Carbon Fiber
- Leg Sections - 4
- Maximum Height - 175cm
- Closed Length - 80cm
- Weight - 2600g
- Load Capacity - 28kg
- Summit tripods include a large padded bag.
- Free bowl adapter – Summit tripods include a free bowl adapter for leveling bases or video heads. Other manufacturers charge R1000-R2000 for this critical item. (32- and 36- series – 75mm, 40-series – 100mm)
- 3x Spiked Feet
The Summit series is Leofoto's large tripod range offering a modular apex. These are available in large to extra-large sizes.
The SO series is Leofoto's dedicated PRS range and is essentially a Summit tripod, but in an inverted 2-section design, which makes deployment much faster.
The SA series kits are aimed at all SOAR users and offer a compact apex designed for the MA-30L anvil head. These kits are available in a full spectrum of sizes from a portable SA-324C to a monster SA-404CL. The SA kits are a lot more affordable than the equivalent Summit or SO with the anvil head.
The Ranger series offers the most affordable solution for those who want a premium rifle sport tripod at the lowest possible price.