For travelers and hikers who love shooting panoramas, the levelling ranger series tripods are as good as it gets. These models have a levelling half-ball built into the apex of the tripod which allows quick and easy leveling of your shooting platform on uneven terrain. Leveling systems have traditionally only been available in very large tripod systems and manufacturers have been scratching their heads about how to offer it in more travel-friendly models. The only solution over the last few years has been to buy a modular leveling base, which is installed between the apex and the head, but these are heavy and tall, making the tripod dangerously top-heavy and just heavy, full stop.
- Padded Storage and Travel Bag
- 3x Spiked Feet
- Carabiner and Attachment Screw
- Material - Carbon Fiber
- Leg Sections - 5
- Maximum Height - 146.8cm
- Minimum Height - 10.2cm
- Closed Length - 47.6cm
- Weight - 1350g
- Load Capacity - 8kg
Incorporating the leveling ball into the apex offers several advantages -
- The 1st is a weight saving – by using the apex as the cup for the half-ball, these tripods can be made lighter than their standard versions with a modular leveling base like the LB-60 added.
- The second is a lower camera and head position – keeping the center of gravity lower, which helps with overall stiffness and safety in windy conditions. The built-in half ball protrudes just 20mm above the apex, compared to the 50mm height of the LB-60.
- The 3rd is improved stiffness due to a simpler design – as the leveling half-ball connects directly to the apex, instead of being screwed on via more connections and layers.
So, if you are a panorama addict and you don’t want to lug a 2.5kg systematic tripod and modular in-apex leveling base around, then these tripods are the ultimate support system. These models weigh almost exactly as much as their Summit range counterparts before adding a leveling base.
As seen in image #4, a large lever control on the side locks and unlocks the levelling half-ball. This lever has a spring-loaded shifting function, which ensures easy use if anything blocks it. The mounting platform features a large spirit-level on a protruding flange for accurate leveling. The leveling half-ball features a large +15/-15 degree range of motion.
*Tip – this tripod can also be used as a compact video setup if paired with a small video head.
Everything else is exactly the same a standard ranger series tripod.
The Ranger series tripods offer a strong, rigid camera support system in a package that is lightweight, compact and easy to use and maintain. Read the detailed description below to find out more about this tripod range.
The Leofoto Ranger series is at the forefront of modern tripod design. Following the success of larger systematic style column-less tripods, more and more photographers are waking up to the fact that a center-column is a major compromise in tripod functionality. Sadly, most manufacturers have been slow to adopt this change. Leofoto is one of the first brands to bring out a column-less design as their core tripod range.
When you take away the center-column, the legs can be stowed flush against each other, which trims the folded diameter of tripods by as much as 40%. Removing the center-column also makes it lighter and cheaper, while improving rigidity as there are less interconnecting parts between the legs and the camera. The only major compromise is the lack of extra height that a center-column affords. Until recently, this has posed a major issue, but the latest precision carbon tubing and joint technology means that today’s 5-section tripods are as rigid as yesterday’s 4-section tripods. Manufacturers can thus increase the extended height of tripods, while keeping the folded length travel-friendly.
Apex – All ranger series tripods feature a compact apex machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. The apex is hollowed out to save weight and hard anodized for durability. On the side you will find a UNC ¼” mounting hole for Leofoto’s AM range of magic arms for attaching accessories like smartphone holders, gopros or speedlights. Below the apex is another UNC ¼” mounting hole for attaching a weight hook – such a hook and carabiner are included with all Ranger tripods. 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 Ranger tripods offer leg angles of 23, 55 and 85 degrees.
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.
Bevelled 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.
What is the culmination of all these features? One of the world’s best tripod ranges at a fraction of the price of the competition. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, well here is the pudding. Thecentercolumn.com is the DXO labs of tripods – they do a lot of controlled rigidity and other testing and combine it with a ton of other metrics like price, weight and extras to give tripods an overall score. On the travel tripod rankings, the Leofoto Rangers hold 3 of the top 10 spots alongside Gitzo and RRS, but if you look at the price of the competition, your jaw will drop. The Leofoto options cost between 25-50% of the other tripods on the top 10 list.