Often times I open my photo gear reviews by talking about what a great time it is to be a photographer. Really, I should specify that it’s an excellent time to be a buyer of photography products. There’s just simply so many choices out there these days than there was even ten years ago for the budget conscious shooter to obtain high quality tools to help them and their work. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a tripod.
Enter the K&F Concept TM2534T tripod, which is a recent entry to the budget line, but not necessarily budget quality, world of advanced hobbyist to professional grade tripods. I’ve spent the last few weeks working with the TM2534T. I’m going to show you what I liked and didn’t like about this unique tripod offering from K&F.
Out of the Box
I pleased to immediately see that the tripod comes with it’s own padded transport bag which has an included shoulder strap. The tripod itself looks great with a classy red/black color scheme and discrete logo placement, which I like. For a tripod with an extended height of 72 inches it is quite compact when folded.
It’s feels solid in hand without being overly heavy. All the paint and finishes on the tripod look very well done. The official specifications from K&F are as follows:
Folded height: 14.76in/37.49cm
Extended height: 72.24in/183.48cm
Weight: 3.48lbs/1.58 kg
Load rating: 17.64lbs/8kg
Also included is a short center column conversion attachment with bolt and a nifty storage bag for the ball head.
The TM2534T is hefty and it feels quite sturdy with it’s all aluminum construction. The adjustment knobs are solid and lock the ball head in place securely.
Leg locks are the twist variety and feature rubber seals to protect against sand or dirt entering the locking mechanisms. The locks secure the four section legs securely. There are three angle options for the legs at 25, 50, and 80 degrees. These locks also lock crisply and allow for great versatility for low angle work.
One of the legs is padded and this leg is also the removable monopod. This is a great feature which essentially makes this tripod a two for one deal.
The entire center column assembly can also be attached to the convertible monopod which gives a total height of 77.56in(197cm) if you choose to carry it in this configuration.
Speaking of the center column assembly, it is somewhat puzzling. It’s not that the concept of the two piece center column isn’t a good idea, in fact, it adds an extreme amount of articulation especially for top-down product photography. The entire ball head and center column gives the user the ability to cover virtually in angle imaginable.
However, from a practicality standpoint the added stress points in the assembly don’t seem to be a worth while feature when you take into account the added weight and possibly stability issues. That being said, the ball head itself works smoothly and offers great fluid motion for panning.
The feet of the tripod legs give a great compromise between stability and variable surface suitability. They are rubber boots that terminate in a point that can dig into soft ground while protecting fragile floor finishes.
Also worth mentioning is the base plate that included with the tripod. It has rubber cushioning at the attachment surface as well as a “D” ring screw head which makes attaching/removing the plate MUCH easier especially when a coin or screwdriver isn’t readily available.
Real World Performance
This tripod worked as a tripod should during all my uses. The legs locked securely and remained so during shooting. There was no drift in the ball head during long exposures and all the movements worked smoothly. Something I want to again address is the center column assembly and just how much practical use it adds. The overall height the additional length of the column adds isn’t something most photographers of average height will likely need. Even with the added articulations it allows isn’t enough to justify the added chunkiness and bulk it adds to the total package.
In the time I’ve used this tripod it has held up to indoor and outdoor shooting well, with only a small amount of wear being noticed at the angle adjustment locks which is largely superficial.
I feel that the TM2534T should have no problem in terms of durability during heavy outdoor or studio use.
For all practical purposed the TM2534T tripod from K&F Concept is solid option for those needed a well made platform for a wide range of shooting situations. It offers great looks, incredible articulation and versatility, all wrapped up in a package that’s great to look at and won’t break the bank. The overly bulky center column isn’t something that I feel is exactly worth it’s added weight and ungainliness but that is something the user will need to decide. Check it out for yourself and see if it fits your particular needs. It’s going for under $150US at Amazon* or the K&F Concept website.
*Note* The Amazon description lists the tripod(TM2534T) height incorrectly as 66in.